Ipinayo Ade-Akingboye likes to think of herself as a creative. The short #MotherlandMogul studied Architecture in the University of Lagos but is currently a wedding and portrait photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria. Ipinayo is often playing Candy Crush but finds time to run her photography hustle.
She was a Finalist for the Etisalat photo competition in 2012 and was nominated for Eloy awards Female Photographer of the year. Ipinayo also participated in the Fayrouz L’original competition and her team came second.
Was there a specific time when you realised that photography is a viable career choice?
Hmm, all I can say for sure is that I really enjoyed every time I was shooting. It became something I didn’t mind doing for the rest of my life.
I chose photography as a career choice when I concluded my NYSC. Although I had been shooting for about 3 years professionally, it never really was full time. If I had exams coming up or school obligations, I would not take jobs. But so far, I have been able to start photography full time this year and I am enjoying it.
You’re also an architect, how do you combine your knowledge of architecture and photography, if ever?
Well, architecture taught me discipline and how to solve problems. Before I start a session or organize one, I ask myself certain questions like;
- Who is it for,
- What is it for,
- What solution or experience is it meant to provide?
That’s all from my architectural experience.
Are you self-taught or do you have formal training in photography? Would you say one option is better than the other?
I wouldn’t say self-taught but I didn’t have any formal training in photography. I have these amazing friends who used to let me follow them about while they were shooting. They helped me a lot when I had questions.
How long did you have to learn and perfect your craft before you could earn a living through your photography?
I can’t really put a time stamp to that cause we are always learning, I have not stopped learning. I think anyone at any stage can earn money through photography.
It all depends on the kind of work you’d like to be known for, the quality you put out and the type of clients you want.
How have you worked on differentiating your brand so it stands out?
I believe when you are on a journey to find out who you really are, no matter what it is that you do, your work will speak for you.
What’s your dream photography project?
My dream project is to travel round Nigeria and shoot a particular subject that comes in different shapes and sizes but all places have them in common.
What should a young African woman who’s interested in photography do to make her hustle successful?
She has to know the difference between a business and a hobby. She should surround herself with people who don’t think her dreams are too big and most of all, she should stay true to who she really is.
With creative people (and that includes many freelancers) the line between a business and hobby can sometime be blurry. Sometimes what started out as a hobby can transition into a business, so it’s very important to understand the rules. A key feature of a business is that it’s operated for profit. You often engage in a hobby for sport or recreation, not to make a profit.
To demonstrate a profit motive for your business, first of all make sure that you keep excellent records. It may help your case if you can keep track of some of the following information:
- The amount of time you put into the business
- The percentage of your total income that comes from the business
- The reason for any losses
- Changes and improvements you’ve made to the business
- Evidence of your own knowledge in the field
- A record of any past business successes including any profits made in earlier years
- The current and anticipated future value of any business assets. Both need to be differentiated because they help you know exactly what you want and where you are headed.
There is nothing wrong with making photography a hobby, I mean thats how I started. When I decided I wanted to make a living off it, it became a business for me.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I personally try as much as possible to meet my clients before the day of shooting so there is a certain level of comfort already. However, this doesn’t happen all the time.
Other times, I try to chat them up when they are getting their make up done and all. It is very important that your client is comfortable around you, it allows you bring out the best in their portraits.
Photography is not a cheap hobby, what can a budding photographer do to save money with regards to equipment etc?
Get a day job? Lol! I have so many colleagues that have/had day jobs so they could save up to get necessary equipments for them to start on their own. A professional camera costs between N850-N1.5m now, body only.
Also, not everyone would get the well paying clients immediately but you have to keep up. You have to be at alert so when its your turn, you are ready with no excuses.
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