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Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Blog Less Active

Today, after a long while, I decided to visit the blog. The last post was made some time in August 2015. That really scared me considering I had every intention to post as regularly as I can about everything and anything related to photography - especially photography by yours truly. The past month and past few weeks have been busy photography-wise and life-wise.

I keep thinking of how to grow the photography business. Jobs are coming in, but not at a fast growing rate. I guess it is very true of photography that you get better with experience (age if you would like to keep it simple) and clients will flock to you based on your experience. I am not sure I am near that level yet. I need to check if I have even passed the 10,000 shutter actuation mark to count my first worst 10,000 image mark.

I must say though that I am truly grateful for those clients who have trusted me to do their jobs despite being "a little-known" photographer. And I am sure I have not disappointed in the work delivered to them.

Through it all, I have learnt that good work will often speak for itself and advertise on your behalf. Regardless of whether you sell prints, or shoot and post on Facebook, the work will inspire curiosity in other people who are your potential clients. I have learnt to humble myself in the presence of those who have been doing this work longer than I have. They usually have a wealth of knowledge to shared and a braggadocio will hardly benefit from their knowledge. When you humble yourself and are willing to listen, you will be amazed at how much knowledge is shared. I am unashamed and unapologetic in asserting that some of my best work has been shot in the presence of seasoned photographers.

Let's change gears a little bit. I had a wedding to shoot in September. I had met the clients earlier in the year when I shot their engagement and months later, I shot the bride's shower. I was thrilled to find out that I would shoot their wedding as well. Even more so when I found that I would be shooting with one of my photography mentors. I had a lot of fun shooting this wedding, starting from the bridal preparation through to the end of the day. Considering I was shooting along side a mentor, when it was time for the garden shots, I laid down my gear to help light the shots. I decided it was more important for the client to receive one set of very good images than to have people facing in different directions and look at two different cameras.

At the end of the day, I realized that I still had a lot of material to deliver to the client - even though I missed a good chunk of the garden shoot. I also gained experience in lighting technique, something that I wouldn't have had a chance to learn if I was busy trying to duplicate photos.

Yiliwaka and Morgan Walubita

Yiliwaka and Morgan Walubita

Yiliwaka and Morgan Walubita
Based on the work from this wedding, I had one person call my wife and I for a shoot in her home. Asked how she found out about us, she said she had seen work we did for a client. She had been looking for someone to get some photos done and some were charging excessively. Glad I was able to get the job done and hope that it opens more doors.

Patricia K. Luhanga

Patricia K. Luhanga

Patricia K. Luhanga

Patricia K. Luhanga
The outlook for the next few months looks very promising. Hoping to create a vision of what to expect next year and how to expand the skill and gear arsenal.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bonjour, Ca va?

It has been very quiet in here. I can hear crickets and pin drops. I have been out of the blogging scene for quite a while owing to work commitments. First I was in Libreville eating poulette nyembwe (chicken in peanut butter sauce). And then I was out in France riding the Roue De Paris and chasing an opportunity to see whether Mona Lisa still has that enigmatic smile or not. I noticed a plan emerging: I was in all French speaking countries and I spoke no French. I was lucky to still make my way through predominantly French territory with a bonjour here and a com si com sa there.

I had very little shooting opportunities when I was in Libreville because I left my camera. I was there for my first job and had to put my paying hobby on the back burner. Plus I had heard a little about restrictions with taking pictures in Libreville. You don’t want to carry your camera around in a country where they expressly say you can’t take pictures of certain fixtures. To be safe and protect my gear, I decided to leave it behind. I didn’t even dare to carry my point and shoot with me. I made do with the phone though I was only shooting flowers and nothing more. Well, unless it was a head bopping lizard with a yellow head and a black body. It was an altogether good business visit and I would do it again. Work was good and very productive and that is what I like.

The hotel where I stayed in Libreville hosted a lot of weddings for the three weekends I was there. And I noticed a lot of photographers have heavily invested in their craft. They were shooting with 5D Mark IIIs equipped with 2.8 L versions of the Canon 24-70 and 70-200 lenses. And then the video guys were shooting with Black Magic gear. I must confess that up until my visit to Libreville, I had not seen anyone shooting with a Black Magic camera. I didn’t even know that there was camera equipment called Black Magic. Pardon my ignorance; I am still very new at this. But I learn every day. I even observed a few shooting tricks from the guys there and I hope to use them one day when I am shooting a wedding.

Paris offered more shooting opportunities – but again, I was in class for 8 hours of the day and could only shoot after class. I was lucky to be there in summer when the days are super long. The sun was out all the way till 10 PM I the evening. My first shooting opportunity was Disneyland for a full day and I came out with a lot of exciting images. I even tried a long exposure in broad day light. I didn’t even use any Auto Exposure Bracketing to shoot one of the long exposure images. I can’t say I am heating up; but I am more comfortable manipulating the camera settings in manual mode than I was over a year ago.

Entrance to the Disney Studios Park

Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse

Slow shutter speed capture of Dumbo's ride

The rest of week in Paris was mostly about shooting the Tour de Eiffel. Any chance I got, I took a photo of this metal lattice that stands very tall in Paris. I shot it from close range, a little further and even on a moving tour boat, the Bateaux Mouches. By the way, the Bateaux Mouches is arguably the best way to see Paris. Try it when you get a chance to go there.

Musee du Louvre

Tour De Eiffel shot from the Roue De Paris

Bridges connecting Ille De La Cite to the rest of the city

Tour de Eiffel from the Bateaux Mouches

Locks of Love

When I came back, I was the official photographer for Yiliwaka’s bridal party. I am not sure how well you remember some of my posts, but I shot Yiliwaka’s engagement to Morgan and they were so happy with the work I did that I was hired to shoot the bridal party and I will shoot the wedding. And what’s more, I will shoot the wedding with one of the “Rock Star” wedding photographers I have had the opportunity to shoot with. Yeah, you guessed right if your guess is Jason J. Mulikita of JJ Arts Photography. He is a vry selfless photographer who shares openly about the art of photography.

The decor at Yiliwaka's bridal shower

The bride

Another one of the bride shot with OCF

Looking forward, I have a couple of shoots coming up. I will start with a model shoot for a model who would like to enter into the 2015 edition of the Zambia Fashion Week. I am geared to give this shoot my all and experiment more with off camera flash. Then I have a weeding in September, a Ball in November and another wedding in December. In between, I will keep perfecting my skill and work hard to become better at what I love doing.

Merci boucoup!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A little This and That

Times have been busy and blogging has been a luxury for the past few months. Balancing full time jobs and finding time for the hobby has been somewhat of a challenge. But things have been happening in the background nonetheless.

The last time I was here I shared some work done for Avocado Hair and Day Spa. How did I land that job in the first place? My full time job recently helped me meet a new employee who knew some that needed some photos taken for the Avocado Website they are developing. She had seen me with a camera taking passport photos for work and she thought, "well this same guy could do it". She approached me with the proposal and the rest is history. I worked on a shoot for Avocado Hair and Day Spa. And I have them on the list of my clients for my portfolio. I already shared some of the images from that shoot and you can see them at Avocado Hair and Day Spa.

Things seemed to quite down after that. One day I got a Facebook call from a fellow photographer asking me what I was up to and we got together for a chat and catch up. You may have heard of BlinkStar Photography, and Bright Mweemba is the photographer behind that brand name. We got together just to compare notes and share our journeys through photography. You can see a lot of his work on his blog BlinkStar Photography. After our meet up, it seemed like the natural thing to do - well of course we took photos of each other. He is a hardworking photographer who knows how to get work done. And he is very good networker; someone worth having in your corner if you know what I mean.
Mr. BlinkStar himself
I have had to put the #TalkingNaturalHair project on ice for a few weeks/months just so I can gather courage to talk to people and ask them if they are comfortable with me taking a photo of their hair (well more them than their hair). I find that I am less engaging with new people and I am sure they are uncomfortable with me taking a photo just for fun. But that will come back soon enough.

On June 14, 2015, I had the opportunity of documenting an MDG2015 (Millennium Development Goals 2015) wedding. I had been talking to Suwilanji Sichalwe since his engagement last year about the possibility of covering his wedding when it happened. And I thought he was joking when he said I could do it. We talked about it, he gave me a date and that is how the deal was sealed. He is a resolute guy I must say. When we had agreed, he asked for my account number and months before the wedding, the fee was settled. I had only seen his bride, Wina Mukumano, from a distance at church but she was a bubbly bride to work with. And she was on point. She was time conscious and didn't want to keep people waiting. At one point I remember her coming out of the house with the matrons still getting ready.

The wedding church service was at University SDA Church. It is a beautiful venue, but also a hard place to shoot from owing to the lots of back light streaming into the church from the windows. But that made for a good challenge in my books and we came out with a lot of good photos. I had about one week to deliver because of a planned out of town trip and I managed to deliver. I share some of the images from that wedding here.

The Bride, Wina Mukumano. Fully lit by bounce flash.

A reflection of the bride as she got ready.

Ready, set and go! One happy bride.
The Groom, Suwilanji Sichalwe when doors opened to usher in his bride.

Listening to the Minister of the Gospel.

Presenting Mr. & Mrs. Sichalwe!

Together they are called SuWina.
For this wedding, I tried to introduce some off camera flash as you will notice in the two on location photos I have shared. It is something other photographers have mastered over the years but I have been hesitant to use it because I don't have a proper soft box for it. But I tried nonetheless to work with it using a soft box meant for studio lights. And the results are stunning. I have a ways to go before mastering off camera flash but I believe this was a good start.

In other news, you will notice that the name of my blog is no longer Chronicles of an Untrained Photographer. I showed my work to a seasoned Photographer, John Healy and his indication was that I do not have to call myself untrained. He said something profound to me which in my understanding has opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities. I  may not sit in class to learn photography, but we learn through practice and a lot of other ways. So no more untrained photographer tag line on the blog.

On June 16, 2015, I had the opportunity to meet Gareth Bentley, a big name in Zambian photography with specific focus on environmental portraiture. Through the efforts of Jason J. Mulikita and Hudson Chirwa, I was among a few invited photographers to sit and listen to Gareth's journey as a photographer and more specifically the recent project that he and Johan Rahm had worked on called Extraordinary Zambia. Gareth's story is inspiring. He came into photography in the days of film and darkrooms, shooting images at school and selling prints to his peers. He still had images shot from a point and shoot to illustrate his journey and now he is a most sort after photographer.

As Gareth shared with us, I kept thinking of how many photographers out there get it all wrong and brag about their gear without backing it up with exceptional images. One thing remained true through out the discussion, never despise humble beginnings. Gareth and Johan put together a book that was sold out in under 2 weeks. And I am told more copies are coming. Gareth took us through the exhibition before it closed at 37D Gallery.

The talk also helped me to meet some of Zambia's most talented photographers whom I have only interacted with electronically. These included Jamiel BandaMtumbi GomaChosa MweembaYemba ChilambweKalenga KanganjaFatumata Somola KabembaElina ErikssonSamuel ChipupuEsnala Lahru Banda and Lovemore Kabwata.

It has been an awesome few weeks and now I have to endure 3 weeks without the camera. I will try to shoot with my phone to share some photos of where I am.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Something Different, Something New and Something Challenging

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Work for Avocado Hair & Day Spa

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bad Phoblographer/Photopreneur

It feels like I have neglected the blog for a long time now. Not so good for someone who is trying to build a reputation as a Phoblographer eh? I must say that the Photopreneurship has been bits rewarding even though I have not Phoblogged in a number of days. A lot has been going on since I last blogged. Some high minded guy called Zambian Photographer broke. Really? And all because they saw through his bid to over price some affordable piece of gear? South Africa has had another wave of Xenophobic attacks on foreigners because foreigners are taking away their jobs and women. Really? And there has been an Earthquake in Nepal. My thoughts go out to their people of Nepal on their losses. Both of lives and infrastructure. And what is this nonsense about Bruce Jenner wanting to live as a woman? With so many grown children and having married women twice before? Hypocritical, no?

The shoes

The necklace

The Pumps

The Makeup

The silhouette

Grooms details

The groom

The couple

Happy campers

I had the opportunity to shoot Mwansa and Nonde’s wedding on April 5, 2015 and boy did we have fun. The couple was introduced to us by the Bride’s elder sister. After a few phone calls, we met to discuss the details of the wedding such as dates and locations. From the first pitch, the couple was set on hiring this photographer for their wedding. I found out that they were worried about the pricing of the services based on the beautiful images they had seen on the Facebook page. And they were shocked to find that we were very affordable.

If there was an assignment I could say was handled in a very professional manner, it was this one. All through the process I kept in touch with the couple and even met them a few days before the wedding to go over the details of the wedding as I prepared to take on the assignment. Overall, I do believe the interaction I have had with seasoned photographers and some of the hints and tidbits of photography they have shared are bearing fruit.

On the day of, I managed to get to the preparation venue on time and had a fun shoot with the accessories. I even managed to split myself between Bridal and Groom preparation. Major focus though was on the bridal preparation as I have come to learn that matters a great deal. The photoshoot was nearly disturbed by the onset of rains but we proceeded undeterred.

I must say this couple was easy to work with. They were bubbly, giggly and clearly enjoying their day. The wedding day deserves a lot of happiness and this couple was a natural. And it shows in their photos. A pat on the back for the team work my wife and I exhibited in getting the job done. We worked together on getting the business, work together through the processing of the photos and to the final delivery of the work. A very good business model I must say.

A few photos of the wedding are shared here; the couple will share the majority of their photos on their Facebook pages.

On a different note, we have continued with the #TalkingNaturalHair shots. We managed to fill spot number 5 when my sister in law came through for a fun shoot. And this coming Sunday, May 3, 2015, my wife and I will be in one location to capture as many photos as we can so that we can share one every weekend in our quest to get to 100.



Enjoy May Day and for all those who celebrate this day as International Labour Day, enjoy your well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of work.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Rocking the Natural Look - No. 4

This past weekend we were visited by Ms. Nchimunya Kasongo, rocking her big Afro Hair. We shot it.

#TalkingNaturalHair #NaturalLight

#TalkingNaturalHair #NaturalLight