Photography is fast becoming one of the most industrious businesses and investments in Africa. In our monthly issue of ‘The African Woman Series’, CEO of Yen Studios, Mariam Owolewa, has shared with us some simple ways you can improve your photography skills without having to spend millions of naira or dollars.
More so, she talked about other aspects of photography you need to know, the photo-editing program you can use, her professional journey, how to deal with difficult clients, challenges, inspirations and lots more. Enjoy!
TAW: Kindly tell us briefly about you.
I’m a graduate of Mass Communication from Lagos State Polytechnic. Professionally, I’m a portrait and lifestyle photographer. I couldn’t resist the hunger for my creativity which inspired me to start up my photography studio – YenStudios.
TAW: How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
Photography today is so competitive; so you have to be updated in every part. So what I do mostly is follow great photographers on all social media, practice new techniques. I also learn from YouTube tutorials. Paid masterclasses and of course I love the free masterclasses too (lol). I participate in a photography competition, it helps in building strength and trust in your crafts.
TAW: What do you like most about being a photographer?
I love the part where you get to freeze a particular moment forever; and years later you look at the picture, it brings you so close to the event as if it was yesterday.
TAW: Which is your favourite lens? Why?
I only have two lenses and my favourite is my 50mm. The images from them are always soft and clean.
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TAW: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer for you?
The most difficult part as a photographer is getting clients to pay your worth. The gadgets aren’t cheap, especially the way the dollar is high. But clients won’t just understand; and there’s always another photographer ready to do it cheaply. Another challenging part is sticking to one kind of photography because some aspect pays the bills.
TAW: How do you connect with difficult clients?
Difficult clients are easy to relate with just make sure every transaction and agreement is on paper; so that you can defend yourself anytime because some are ready to ruin your career.
TAW: What inspires you?
My eyes are my inspiration, I’m grateful to have them. Whenever I see a location or someone or I just imagine it, I can’t just wait to capture it into reality. Whenever you’re with a camera no matter who your subject is, they always listen to you and that gives me some form of relevance.
TAW: What kind of gear do you use?
I use Canon 80d with 50mm and 18-135mm kit lens, Godox Ad600bm, 2 Speedlight, 165mm softbox.
TAW: What does photography mean to you?
Photography means ‘Life’ to me. It’s like freezing memories.
TAW: What do you like least about being a photographer?
The part I love most in Photography is the finished product. Where I get to see my images and be proud of what I made.
TAW: Why did you choose to pursue a career as a photographer?
I want to be able to connect with different kinds of people through my photography. I’m not much of a talker; but with photography, I can speak millions of words.
TAW: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
The most rewarding for me right now is the ACCEPTANCE OF MY CRAFT. Have experienced a client that loved my picture and she thanked me for good 5days and It wasn’t free. That moment I knew there was something in for me here.
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TAW: Did you go to school to study photography?
No, I started learning photography in a standard Studio; before I gained admission to school.
TAW: How long have you been a photographer?
It’s been 6years since I started photography professionally.
TAW: How would you describe your photography style?
I see myself as a futuristic kind of photographer; but for now, I’m a portrait and lifestyle photographer.
TAW: What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I use Canon 80d
TAW: What kind of tools do you use for post-processing?
For post-processing, I mostly use Instagram.
TAW: Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
My favourite work so far is the KOPIKO CONCEPT I did recently. I love how it turned out, I invested a lot to get the image to reality and the model understood the assignment. It’s just one of many crazy ideas in my head.
TAW: Whose work has influenced you most?
Every other photographer is unique. I get inspired by a good picture and the photographer who never disappoints is Lexonart.
TAW: What makes a good picture stand out from the average?
The composition and clean shot help in differentiating your photographs from the crowd.
TAW: What is your favourite subject to photograph?
I really don’t have a favourite subject and I love to take female models and it’s bound to change.
TAW: What photo-editing program do you use?
For photo-editing, I use lightroom, capture one and photoshop (very important).
TAW: Mariam Owolewa, what are your career goals?
My career goals are to be a renowned photographer and have more amazing clients to work with.
TAW: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
5-10 years, hmmm! I believe YenStudios will be one of the top five photography studios to be celebrated.
TAW: In your free time, what kind of pictures do you like to shoot and which ones do you avoid?
I love shooting crazy concepts and I always avoid retouching.
I would love to know what other topic(s) you are interested in reading on this blog. Kindly share this blog post if you find it interesting and informative. See you next time!
Check out some of Yen Studios amazing works by Mariam Owolewa. Feel free to also visit her handle on Instagram | @yenstudios_ to book a loving memory session with her.