Hey guys, I am back with another interview. This time with the young photographer, Damilola Adebiyi. It was so lovely to chat with Dami about following her photography passion and her growth as a photographer. Let’s get stuck in !!!
Vicky: You are a student, tell me about what you are studying and why you decided to do this course?
Dami: Yes!!! I am a fourth-year pharmacy student. I chose to study pharmacy because I wanted to make a difference in healthcare back in my home country, Nigeria. I am not impressed with the quality of health people receive in Nigeria. I felt like healthcare was too focused on profit resulting in many people die from avoidable diseases such as malaria. I would like to make a difference and studying Pharmacy is my way of achieving this.
Vicky: How did you get into photography?
Dami: I started off as a makeup artist; I bought my first camera to take pictures of my work. In the process of learning how to use my camera, I started getting more interested in learning much more about photography. My friends would ask me to take their pictures, from this I got feedback which made me feel like I could progress as a photographer. I also got some negative feedback but it only motivated me to be better.
Vicky: When you started photography, how supportive were your family?
Dami: My family were very supportive, my mum paid for me to go to makeup school. My dad also supported me when I decided to get a website. My siblings and friends are amazing, they try their best to post my work and let people know what I am doing.
Vicky: Do you get inspired by any other photographers?
Dami: Yes!!! They are a lot of photographers that inspire me. They are a couple of photographers on Instagram which I regularly check up on, like Brandon Woelfel. We are very close in age which inspires and motivates me to push my boundaries.
Vicky: What was your first camera?
Dami: A Nikon D3300 with an 18-55mm kit lens.
Vicky: Nikon or canon, which do you prefer?
Dami: Some people say Canon is better but I am really used to Nikon. So I guess, I am biased to Nikon.
Vicky: What type of photography do you prefer and why?
Dami: I am a versatile photographer mainly because I am still learning. I might focus on one genre later on. Right now, I mostly cover events and private photo shoots session but I really love shooting out in nature.
Vicky: How did you develop the confidence to shoot professionally and gain profit from it?
Dami: Firstly, if you are going to start a business you need to be a walking advertisement and let everybody know what you do. Initially, I used to work for free. I was so worried I would not fully satisfy the customer but over time by practising about 4, to 5 times a week, I improved. I started charging my customers because I knew I could deliver good results.
Vicky: Many creatives start and stop projects. What has motivated you to continue as a photographer?
Dami: I am aware that a lot of people look up to me as a photographer which motivates me to keep going. I don’t really doubt my abilities anymore but I go back and analyse my photos, what I did well and what I didn’t do well. I can then research on how to improve; I am always learning something new, which is exciting.
“I AM ALWAYS LEARNING SOMETHING NEW, WHICH IS EXCITING”
Vicky: Did you do take any photography classes?
Dami: I did not take any classes like I previously mentioned I started off just learning how to use my camera. I learnt through watching YouTube videos and reading photography blogs. I also connected with a professional photographer who mentored me and taught me a lot. I searched for internships but I could not find any close to my city. To be honest, Google and lots of practice is my secret key.
Vicky: How easy is it to access information that can improve your photography skills?
It is very easy to find information but don’t read and listen to rubbish. Be attentive, it is similar to finding information for your coursework. At first, you might not find relevant papers but if you keep digging, you will find a credible source and will produce good results.
Vicky: Are you aware of any free websites or courses that provide helpful information?
Dami: A few, for example, Photographymad.com is quite good. A lot of the universities such as the Gray School of Art (RGU) have short courses in photography and other creative subjects.
Vicky: What are the characteristics of a good photographer?
Dami: You have to be funny, creative, patient and be willing to learn. I have learnt from models and others on set. You have to be a nice person but not too nice so that people don’t take advantage of you and your time. The willingness to explore and practice is also really needed.
Vicky: How do you engage with a subject during a shoot?
Dami: You need to make your model feel comfortable; you can have a relaxed conversation with them to shake off any shyness or nervousness.
Vicky: What do you enjoy about your job?
Dami: I enjoy getting to meet people and different personalities. When I am editing, I feel like I know the person much more because I have paid so much attention to there physical features. As a photographer, you are able to see so much detail and tiny things that people or the human eye tends to miss. This makes me very happy.
Vicky: What do you dislike about your job?
Dami: I don’t dislike a lot but I don’t like when people are rude or do not respect my prices. When it comes to getting paid, I could do this for free but nothing of good quality comes for free. In addition, cash flow is needed for my business to grow. There is a lot that goes on behind that one photo. You must consider travelling to locations, long hours shooting and much more. Despite this, I love my job.
Vicky: Who else is involved when you shoot?
Dami: I have a friend, who accompanies me on shoots. She helps me with equipment and she has a great personality and often makes the models feel relaxed.
Vicky: Is it important to know how to edit photos?
Dami: I believe that you need editing skills; however, if you take high-quality photos, you will not have to spend too much time editing the photos. Depending on the job, I think it is best to portray the subject in their natural form. For example, if my subject has stretch marks I would be reluctant to Photoshop them out because they are part of my subject’s uniqueness. Photoshop has been misused in certain industries such as beauty and fashion, portraying and celebrating unrealistic representations of people.
Vicky: At the rate which smartphones and filters are improving do you think a photographer is still relevant?
Dami: It doesn’t matter how good your phone is, high-quality cameras and lenses will always provide better pictures. Maybe in years to come, they won’t be a difference between phone cameras, DSLRs or other camera devices. Yes!!! Photographers are still very relevant, you must consider the skill, experience, creative interpretation and the use of high-quality equipment.
Vicky: Where do you see your business in 5 years time? Do you want to stick to photography or would you like to branch out other things?
Dami: I hope to have a studio as big as Studio 24, which can accommodate and employ other young photographers to connect, learn essential skills and work. If time permits, I would love to broaden into fields such as videography.
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