Abisola Lawal, a graduate of Creative Arts and Visual Anthropology from Tai Solarin University of Education and the University of Ibadan, is a make-up artist and a photographer. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of El-Pose Concept and LareineBeaute, in this interview with Seyi sokoya, talks about how she turned her hobby into a business.
I was born on the 8th of July, 1988. I am from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State. I am a professional photographer and make-up artist. Having to do both hand in hand has been really amazing and has exposed me to lots of opportunities, one of which is “The Wedding Expository.’’ I shuttle between Lagos and Ibadan because of my business and my PhD programme which I am currently undergoing at the University of Ibadan.
In my free time, I do make-up shoot for some models I am currently managing. My photography business name is El- Pose Concept, while that of my make-up is LareineBeaute, coined from a French word meaning Queen’s beauty.
What pushed you into photography?
From the onset, it was just a hobby. Being a creative art student, I was interested in graphics, of which photography happened to be the main focus. I purchased my first analogue camera in 2008 which I used in taking random photos of friends during outings or at birthday parties. After my NYSC programme, I decided to turn my hobby into a profession. Now, passion drives me.
Did you study this in school?
Yes, I did. As a matter of fact, my first degree project work was based on photography and darkroom processes while my second degree project work was based on wedding albums.
Is there any regret?
What has been your down moment since you started this career?
Photography equipment is very expensive to purchase and there is always a need to upgrade at some point, and having to move the equipment from place to place requires carefulness which has not been easy since I am not mobile. Also, it’s a competitive business, so getting clients sometimes seems difficult. Some clients want a perfect concept but their budget is always jaw-dropping, and to me, what is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
How do you know if a client is satisfied?
Appraisal and referrals are always the basic. They will always come back. Currently, I am some families’ personal photographer.
How do you handle it if a client feels unsatisfied?
There is actually no way to go about it. The best way out is to ensure all the wrongs are corrected if they complain or have a different idea after seeing the previous works.
So far, it has been positive. There have been series of referrals, and as stated, I have become personal photographer to a lot of families. This has also created a bond.
Does proximity affect your service?
No. I can work anywhere.
What is the limit of what you can cover?
I am limitless. I have travelled as far as the Republic of Benin to cover a client’s work. I have also been to the East, South and North. My long term goal is travelling far and wide, outside Africa for jobs.
Why do you combine make up and photography?
Just as I had flair for photography, I also did for make-up. I have been to places where clients asked me to recommend a make-up artist, so I thought it to be wise if I had it to be a complete package. Sometimes I am called for only make-up. This has made my business vast because I am able to get the client’s satisfaction.
Why are many ladies going into the makeup a business?
Different reasons. It could be for income or for satisfaction because some feel they will do it better if they know the way around it.
What is the basic requirement?
Before venturing into photography, you must have a good laptop and a DSLR camera, which is the basic among other equipment.
What are the benefits?
Exposure. You get to meet people, know trends, make money and live your passion as a profession.
Does gender play a factor in your career?
Yes. Positively and negatively. Positively because photography is seen as a man’s job, so when a woman is seen, there is high expectation that it could be done better so there is that urge to want to work with one. Also, in a group of ten photographers, there is a probability of having two females, especially in fashion shows or exhibitions, so there is this easy access and acceptance. Negatively, it is just the opposite. Once a female is seen, there is this belief that there is a limit to which she can go. Secondly, some clients ask for more so if they are turned down, the opportunity is automatically taken away.
What advice do you have for a new person in this business?
The key things needed are your passion and consistency. Hold on to your passion. Sometimes, it gets really tough, but at your low times, never forget your high times. Hold on and keep pushing.