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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

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.