By Lola Seriki- Idahosa
Events can always be replayed in our minds no matter how much we try to remember, photographs are simply the best way to save memories and photographers are the best bet in achieving this.
In the Northern part of Nigeria, Modupe Oyekanmi popularly known as MOD, a northern Celebrity Photographer, is one of those you can rely on With quality photos, she recently attributed her success as being the best northern photographer to sincerity, hardwork and humility in an interview with tracereporter in Kaduna.
Because of her outstanding in the job, she’s called the Best Female Photographer in the North and her services can speak for itself.
Said her, I have passion for the profession and hope to remained on top as the best female photographer in the North.
Modupe who is also into music, has an album to her credit called “hold on” and she read a lot and learn from more experienced hands.
Modupe is 35, happily married with two children.
Modupe Oyekanmi is my name, formerly Modupe Ajayi I am from Kogi state. Happily married with two children and a wonderful husband. Studied Human Resources Management. Went for a short course on photography and now a professional photographer and also an event planner, but basically into photography.
How do you cope:
Being a female photographer is very interesting sometimes when you are covering an event the groom is amazed seeing a female photographer covering the event. A female is able to adjust the brides gown unlike a male photographer who are not able to adjust the gown even if such happens the groom will be angry that he is touching his wife, that is why it is interesting because you are free with both the bride and groom. Being a female photographer I am also free to enter the room of the bride unlike men who have boundaries into the rooms of the females.
For how many years have you being practicing photography:
I have being into photography for close to seven years. Actually from my childhood, I liked photography, when I see cameras I give a good pose if you want to take me a picture. It got to a point when my mom bought me a toy camera My dad is a photographer, when I want to use his camera he shouts at me and says this is not a toy. Even my son plays with my camera to avoid that I bought a toy camera for him. It is very nice growing up with the love for photography. Its something I grew in and love it.
Experience as female photographer:
The experience has been so great because whatever you find yourself in you should grow in it, photography is growing by the day. You have to think, study, try to get a new style different from what you have been used to. The experience it so sweet and so large.
Your defining moment:
I have covered a lot of events, but that which brought me out is that of the El-rufai’s although I have been their photographer for years now I mean the Governor’s elder brother. But we covered El-rufai’s sons wedding which was a plus for us.
The job that really brought us out was in 2015 election period weeks before Buhari became president. Events unlimited was prepared and ready for work. I remember then the mother of the bribe asked me, if we will be able to travel to Kano to cover her daughters wedding because at that time the situation in the North was very tense. And I, being a positive thinker told her, that nothing will happen and we will be there to cover her daughter’s wedding. And thank God Buhari won the election and peace was restored. So in the midst of that dangerous jubilations we headed to Kano and Katsina and other crew members headed to Kebbi state, and that same week we came back to Kaduna to resume the El-rufai event. So there two events really launched event’s unlimited into another phase. We got unprecedented publicity during those events especially on the social media.
There are a lot of challenges. A major challenges is that knowing you cant do this business alone, we work with vendor’s, caterer’s, and decorators. Sometimes when you have a mediator or middle man in your business it is a challenge to me, because when you have direct contact with your client from that point of discussion, you get to know what your client wants, and get to know them better and create a relationship with them, so that on the main event day there is a connection between you and the bride.
Because most brides on their wedding day their minds seem to be far away. So to draw their attention you can just blink from where you are taking pictures, but when there is a middleman that means you will be meeting your client for the first time and the connection will not be there. Most times we don’t have a connection with our clients especially when another vendor is giving you the job. You need to have a relationship with your client in order to get a good output when you are delivering your job.
Another challenge is when some “quick quick photographers” want to take over the event from you the official photographer, most times you end up shouting move back!!, but they won’t listen to you. Another challenge is the event people themselves they want to take selfie with the couple, they will want to snap and snap and snap and not leave the front of your camera and when you ask them to leave they get angry. It a big challenge for the business but we have been working on it over the years.
The Hall managers should be able to help their clients control the crowd especially those with “invitation cards”, while those without invitation cards, the Hall managers also control the unofficial photographers so that the official photographers achieve their aim and everybody is happy.
Is photography a money making profession?
Yes it is money making I must confess to you especially when you know what you are doing and you work on your image and continue to improve on your skill, so that your work will be acceptable.
I have a professional name called MOD, I am also into music which is the name people know me with musically. I am an artist and my stage name is MOD.
What gives you an edge over other photographers:
It’s because I am a female photographer and I am free with the bride and another thing that still helps me is that I am free with the client, I ensure that my client is relaxed. I am also down to earth and engaging.
Sometimes when the brides head tie is falling off or not in place, as a female photographer, I will try and adjust it, but if it’s a man he may not be able to do so and the groom might even be angry because the male photographer touched his bride. I love being corporate I love dressing my bride. I am also free with the guests, we play we talk, am not just there for the bride. I have already heard one or two testimonies …they say I love you, you are not proud like some female photographers.
How is it like being a mother, photographer and a wife:
They are two different jobs entirely, laughs. Photography is usually weekends and the children are not in school. So it’s hectic. Especially when I was breastfeeding.
I have been able to balance the two jobs. Sometimes I travel with my kids because family’s I will want to leave them with are also working, I have also been able to balance the two by planning, so in other not to inconvenience anybody I take them along. They have now come to relies that mummy is working, my son even helps me with the tripod. I also brand my children too, so they are part of the crew laughs…
What advice will you give the young ones who wants to do the business of photograph:
I will tell them that it is interesting profession because it has two different aspects which is the wedding aspect and the fashion. Both of them are very exciting, so I will advice them to do one of them or even both. Photography is sweet. Think of what aspect you will be good in, photography wants you to think wide, it makes you want to bring something unique out.
Likes and dislikes as a photographer:
I like being honest and honest people as well. I have a gift of detecting honesty in people. Honesty is very good it would not hurt you but it may deprive you of some good benefits. I also have this gift to know it you are telling me the truth. I am also very straight forward. I will always tell any clients the truth, it might deprive me of some goodies, but on the long run, you know, I am telling you the truth.
I dislike nagging and people nagging because it distracts me and makes me weak at times. It does not bring out the best in me especially when I am working.
What will you like to be remembered for:
I would like to be remembered for good deeds. I want to be remembered for so many things especially in my music I want to be remembered for making peoples lives transformed by my music.
What did you studied in higher institution:
I studied human resources management, I went to a polytechnic. My ND was public administration. I came to Kaduna Federal Polytechnic to do my Human Resources Management.