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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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rocking the Natural Look - No. 3

The shoot this weekend was a success. I am still looking for 97 more people with natural hear to shoot. Until then, the practice sessions continue. This week, meet Ms. Busiku Mpimpa, wearing her hair proudly natural.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I am an Enthusiast... and loving it!

 So 2015 seems to be going a little slow for my Blog. I attribute that to a few things that have been going on in my life.Oh the life of an enthusiast. First of all your 7 - 5 jobs keeps you busy and then there is the name building thing. Because a lot of people do not know much about me, they are hesitant to hire me for their big events.

I am happy though that I have a few confirmed bookings for weddings and some prospects. Hopefully we will get the hype up enough to bring in a lot of clients. So as not to be idle, I have embarked on a project to photograph 100 men and women with "Talking Natural Hair". I have already photographed two and a third one is in the works. The idea behind it is to find 100 people that rock that natural hair and rock it well/proudly.

I want to see how long it will take me to photograph these 100 people before moving on to another practice session to photograph 100 strangers. The idea behind this is to continually practice between my wedding shoots.
Rocking the Natural Look #1

Rocking the Natural Look #2

Speaking of practice, I helped this one person at the office the other day and it turned out he is a photographer. A good photographer at that. This is the one time I believe that being nice to people has its benefits. We got talking about camera gear and I asked about a 70-200 f/2.8 lens. He said if there was a lens he would need for a wedding shoot, it would be this one. And he was willing to let me try it out for the wedding shoot I have on the 5th of April. Couldn't believe my luck. So I took the lens for a spin today to get familiar with the speed and difficulty I would be working with. I will need a very steady hand to work with this lens. And I will need some muscle too. The f/2.8 version is heavier than the f/4.

I am sharing some of the images from the trial I had a Munda Wanga Wildlife Sanctuary today. I caught a Leopard Tortoise couple doing their thing. #WinkWink

Flightless birdies foot.

Standing tall and pretty.

Mother peacock and her little one.

Mr. and Mrs. Tortoise making out. #RealSlow


Monday, March 2, 2015

Shooting with Jason J. Mulikita

So it has been forever since I blogged and it seems like there is a lot to be said. I  hope that this posting today marks the beginning of some form of consistency into blogging.

Last year I had the pleasure of working with Oliver Olimix Mubonde, a top notch wedding and studio photographer based in Lusaka. The opening of this year provided another unique opportunity to work with another one of Zambia's (and the Sub Region) most sought after wedding, commercial and landscape photographer. I am sure if you have been following photography even remotely you know who I am talking about.

During the holidays, I reached out to Jason J. Mulikita of JJArts Photography to ask if I could shadow him on a wedding shoot when he had space for one more person walking around with a camera. A few weeks into January of 2015, I got a surprise phone call from Jason indicating that he had a wedding coming up and if I was still interested I could join him. He didn't need to tell me twice. I accepted the invitation to shoot with him and and the rest is history or at least the future that we are talking about.

In the lead up to the shoot, I kept asking questions just so I can know what would be expected of me. And the asking paid off. When we got together on the day of the wedding, Jason was a wealth of information for this enthusiast. He shared not only the secret behind his popping wedding photographs but also the secret to most of his clients.

If I forget all the technical information he shared, the one thing I should remember is this: "Build friendships/relationships". It is not just about getting the job done at all costs and walking away with your fee. He mentioned that most of his clients come from referrals by clients he has worked with in the past. Some even from the same family. I have endeavored to build bridges with those of my clients who hire me. And I know if I do a good job, I will get the referrals going forward.

So, the principle behind building friendships is this: clients are more comfortable with you and it shows in your photos. You are not just some stranger who has come there for a day to deliver some work. You are someone they can relate to and they will be free to be themselves around you. And I saw this during the time I spent with Jason. They were like family around him. I guess all the technical skill will count for nothing if your clients look grumpy and tense in their photos.

I also learnt that macro lenses work well best for weddings. You can get so much done with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens. And if you have a camera that can take high ISO settings, bump up the ISO. I learnt that with weddings, you reasonably know what to expect. You don't have to be clicking all the time. You know the moments that are to be expected. Another thing I learnt is that having someone assist you during a shoot is a good idea. They will capture some of the minutiae while you keep focused on the main event.

I am sharing an image or two from the day I spent with Jason. By the way, Jason will be conducting training from today for the next couple of weeks. I am happy I signed up for the training. I hope that my clients will get the best photography from our growing business with Lubumbe.

You can see Jason's work from his website here or on his facebook page.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Two Weddings & A Ball

November and December combined gave me the opportunity to cover two weddins and a Marine Corps Ball.

Earlier this year I started posting photos I had taken of my wife, sisters and niece, I had no idea that people would then be interested in having me take photos of their events based on those photos. I had covered weddings before, mostly pro bono and where people promised to pay, they would give me a measly fee that would not even cover my fuel costs to get round to their events.

I didn't complain, as that still provided me with an opportunity to practice and cover events from start to finish. I know Rome was not built in a day, and I also know that you must start somewhere by taking the first step. So I kept at it.and when I got my first DSLR, I got a lot more practice hours. It is still below 10,000 shots so every shot I have taken in that range, will count as my worst. But they have gotten way better.

So, after I posted a few photos I had taken, I got an interested person calling me through my sister to ask how much I would charge for a wedding. Full day, only shooter starting at bridal dress up through to reception. I was stunned! I had not yet thought of putting a price on the service I would provide and would have done it for next to nothing. After a bit of thought, I gave her what I thought my price would be. Considering this was my first enquiry, I threw in a lot of incentive for the low price. My thought was if I could get customers to spread the word round, that would be payment enough for me. So we had a deal.

And that is how I met Grace and Lekani. Grace had been in touch all the time because her husband to be worked out of town. She is the one that filled me in on the dates, and even when there was a change after President Michael Sata died, she kept in touch and informed me of the changes. The finally got married on November 23, 2014 and their day was beautiful. My first paying clients had a successful day. And from that wedding, I have gotten a few enquiries already and I know in due time a lot more will come.

Grace & Lekani

Grace & Lekani

Grace & Lekani

Thank you for being my first paying clients!!!
Around the same time that Grace and Lekani got in touch with me, my young uncle declared his intention to marry his long standing sweetheart, Julia. They met when they were little at Libala SDA Church and they intended to wed at the same church where they met. I had shared some photos of this couple when rehearsals for their wedding started in August of this year. You can find them here.

My young uncle was determined to have me as his photographer. He could have picked anyone from the group of other talented photographers, but he chose me. And I think it helped that my wife was their matron. On December 14, 2014, they were married at Libala SDA Church.

The photo session was at Southern Sun Hotel. It rained heavily on this day but we managed to get some good photos on location using what was available to us at the time. It was also the first time I had a couple coming in for Studio shots at home. My Neewer lights worked wonders and I am sure the studio skill will get better with practice.

I am sharing a few photos from our session with the Hamoonga's here.

Shhhh! Be quiet!

Julia and Lweendo

All I told them was to act as though they were talking.
They ended up with a deep conversation as you can see.

Wrestling the bride's maids for her husband.

I fell in like with this one.

The proposal all over again.

One final event I had on December 6, 2014 was the Marine Corps Ball. I was approached to find out if I could provide photography services for the Ball. I didn't know what to say. I am friends with the person who has provided photography services for as long as I can remember for the Ball and I was a little hesitant to give my fee. But when I got the enquiry more than once, I provided my fee and we had a signing.

The contract template I was given seems like a good idea for me to have with my wedding clients. It seems like the professional thing to do where the negotiated fee is indicated and I wont forget how much I am expecting for my hobby. I had a lot of fun at the Ball, both as a guest and as a photographer. I may share one photo here but the rest will be shared by the client.

Special thanks for the opportunity to cover the Ball.

As you can see, it has been a busy couple of months for this Enthusiast. I recal a discussion that got heated on the Photographers group about how much to charge. As well as other skilled photographers who were on the more realistic side, I do think you need to somewhere. Small it may be, but it is a start nonetheless. As word gets out and as your skill improves, you will be able to charge more for your services. I am learning that you do not need to rush into bigger prices; your liability is higher. As an enthusiast, I may not be able to stomach paying back a couple thousand kwacha, but I can manage what is at my level.

I read something last week that said "Every artist was once an amateur". Little by litle, amateur skill will fade and the art will become better. Compliments of the season to you all!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Nesting Turtle Dove Outside Our Bedroom Window

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I noticed a Turtle Dove nesting outside our bedroom window. So, to put everything in context first of all, we live in a block of high-rise flats. We are on the third floor (British Standards) and some branches of the trees come close to the windows. The only wildlife we see up close are Pied Crows that roam free in the trees.

It was a pleasant surprise to see a different species for a change, a Turtle Dove (Njiba, Nziba). And to see one so close and in a nest was an added bonus. Being the enthusiast I am, I obviously took a few photos of the bird. The purpose of this Post today is to share some of those photos.

Nesting Turtle Dove
After two weeks of looking out the window every morning, to the point of that becoming a morning ritual, I came home this past Saturday to my wife telling me that our Nesting bird had been attacked by a Pied Crow (Chikwalala). My wife tried with all the energy she could summon to shoo the black and white attacker but at the time she saw the fight, the Pied Crow had already taken one of the eggs. I managed to take a photo of what the Turtle Dove was protecting, one of the eggs seen below.

The Egg that survived the first attack
This afternoon I came back from work hoping to see the familiar bird in site but found the nest empty. And the only surviving egg was also gone. I am not sure if it was taken by the Pied Crows or the mummy Dove moved it. I did notice that the egg looked cracked the last time I checked. And in hind sight, I think the nest has been empty since Saturday considering the eff was broken. It is a pity that we will not see the little hatch-lings come into this world. Thanks for nothing to the Pied Crows for robbing us of that opportunity.

A few lessons learnt from the Turtle Dove: Patience, Perseverance and fighting to the end.

We wont be seeing her any time soon

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meet the Awesomes (Elastus and Lisa)

I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Awesome! Awesome!!!

On October 26, 2014, we had an opportunity to shoot a wedding for our friends. I say our because this is a couple that my wife and I are friends with.

Lisa getting ready to walk down the aisle.
We met Elastus some time back at church. He is a gifted brother who can sing. We would see him now and again at church and he shared music a time or two. We would keep an eye out some Sabbaths to see if he had a young lady in his life. Not that we wanted to match make, but just being curious.

Imagine our delight when we saw photos of what seemed to be an engagement shoot. A little speculation about what was going on and we finally got our confirmation. We had dinner with Elastus and his fiancee, Lisa. They were an interesting couple to sit and chat with. They are both lecturers at the University of Zambia and devoted researchers. You can clearly see they have so much in common and are in love.

Elastus catching a breath before the church service began.
We are glad to have them as our friends, and imagine how honored we were when we got not only an invite to the wedding but also a chance to cover their wedding from the sidelines and in the shadows. We came back with photos that would so easily be missed and were glad to have been a part of their wedding day.

Let me tell you about the hidden gem for their wedding venue. It was the first time I heard of this place and wondered why I had not heard about this place before. It is Ananda Wedding and Conference Venue. It is a tasteful wedding venue with a very intimate looking chapel. The furniture is classy and elegant (if I can put those two words together). Because the venue is so far out of town, they provide snacks before the reception. All in all, this is a very ideal wedding venue and I do believe it would be every couple's ideal location.

Dress Assist!!!
We got to the wedding reception in time for the festivities to begin and it was amazing to see one of our favorite musicians, Abel Chungu, singing for the couple. The Awesome's did a great job with their celebration. It was nice to see Elastus and Lisa dancing to "Google". She did a Beyonce medley as she upgraded him whereas he pulled a "dibili" number on her.

In keeping with his passion for singing, he did an awesome rendition of John Legend's "All of Me". He sang his heart out for his bride. He broke a sweat and drove his wife to tears, happy tears I must say. He had told us he was a sucker for old music, we believed him on this day as they danced to an old song (new singer) that blended well with the beginning of a new life. "At last... du du du..."

It was a wonderful evening filled with love, laughter, happy tears and we do wish the Awesome's a happy life ahead.

She was officially handed to him.

The ring exchange.

Their first dance.