Jide Kola is an award-winning wedding photographer from Nigeria. He tells us more about the country’s wedding photography industry, why he loves Fujifilm, and the pros and cons of shooting in Nigeria.
Please tell us more about wedding photography in Nigeria.
The wedding and events space in Nigeria is one of the fastest moving industries in the country and the photography aspect of it has grown in the ranks over time, at least pre-Covid.
We have been able to train the clients to appreciate art in wedding photography and they are willing to pay for quality work. The competition is quite stiff as there are loads of talented photographers in Nigeria, but this helps to challenge us to stay on top of our game and consistently deliver top notch wedding photos to our clients.
The pandemic proved to be a hard time especially for destination weddings due to travel restrictions, but countries are reopening, and I’m about to resume my jet-setting life again.
How did you become a wedding photographer?
I would really have loved to say that I was born with photography and created for cameras, but that’s a big fat lie! It was in late 2014 when a photographer friend of mine (friends since elementary school) had his second shooter cancel on him last minute.
He had billed the client for two photographers at the wedding and had no alternative, so he called me as a prop to fill in the spot, hung a camera on my neck and asked me to move around acting like I’m taking pictures.
It was such a fun experience (although he deleted all the images I shot that day) and this ignited my passion to become a wedding photographer. Mentoring sessions, conferences, masterclasses, Fearless Awards, All African Awards and Publications later – I don’t think I can ever stop shooting weddings.
Why do you shoot Fujifilm?
I started off shooting a DSLR from another brand, then sometime in 2016, I wanted to replace my camera and at the top of my list were weight, colour tones and dynamic range. Being a wedding photographer, I would wield two camera bodies and my shoulders were always sore and other camera brands couldn’t render the black skin colours as beautifully as I would love.
I rented the Fujifilm X-T2 for 24 hours and that was the game changer. All boxes checked, plus straight-out-of-camera images looking perfectly cooked, I could carry two cameras for days without feeling a thing. I am sold and I’m never turning back.
Do you have a favourite Fujifilm lens?
This is a close one. The Fujinon 23mm f1.4 and Fujinon 18mm f2 are my absolute best lenses. They are my storytelling lenses and affords me the luxury of getting close to the action as I love to. If I absolutely had to pick one I may lean towards the 23mm simply because most of my award winning images were shot on that lens.
What are the pros and cons of being a photographer in Nigeria?
Hmmm… I’m not sure if these are peculiar to Nigeria but the most fun thing about being a photographer here is being able to manage your own time. You’re not compelled to commute during rush hour traffic, nor do you have to answer to that grumpy HR manager! It’s also very fulfilling being a photographer in Nigeria because of the influence that comes with it, you’re able to reach out to a vast sphere and there are decent accompanying financial returns.
A few downsides are: Filing taxes is quite a difficult task; there are also boom and drought periods so financial stewardship is very important; and also learning to say NO to people that love to pay you in exposure (haha!)
Do you have a favourite photo?
I think my favourite photo has to be from a wedding in Toronto, Canada. During the ceremony in church, the bridal party had lined up the pulpit stairs flanking the couple on either side as the joining was going on. The light on the couple was interesting and had also shaped the bridal party. Shooting around this scene, I found a Fibonacci composition using the shoulders of the groomsmen as my arc. The flip screen on my Fujifilm XT-2 enabled me to get the shot without having to climb any surface. The photo has since then won three awards and most recently a Fearless Award.
Is there a dream wedding destination you just have to shoot?
I would absolutely love to shoot in Egypt – the pyramids, Giza, the desert sands… take me to Egypt!