16 Jul Oluwakayode Adegbesan: I love what I do. It keeps me going
25-year old Oluwakayode Adegbesan has a background in building engineering from the University of Lagos. He is currently the creative director of MAK Studios, a photography studio in Ibadan, Nigeria that recently clocked two years old. In this interview, Oluwakayode shares the motivation to go into photography and eventually start MAK Studios! Do read & share!
While in the university, my school went on a six month long Academic Staf Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. During one of those mornings at home, my younger brother and I decided that we were tired of just sleeping and waking all day without achieving anything. It was becoming boring and nauseating. Whilst my brother decided he was going to learn Photography and Graphic design, I was undecided about what to learn. He came back home that evening and in just about eight hours that he had spent outside the home, he had learned so much and I was quite jealous and inspired to tow the same line of learning photography. I just wanted to do it to pass time before we resumed at school.
I enrolled as an apprentice at a photography outfit that one of my church members ran but It wasn’t satisfying. I checked online and came across another photography Academy and enrolled as a trainee and an intern for 6 months. It eventually ran for about ten months. Under the leadership of my mentor there, Mr. Seun Akisanmi, my eyes and heart began to love making images and doing it creatively. Also, I got some measure of exposure that I had always longed for. It was on one of those days after a training session that I made the decision to pursue and have a career as a photographer and run my own media company.
About MAK Studios
MAK Studios is a media company with a specialty in Photography. The major problem we solve is documenting or creating memories while paying an utmost attention to quality, creativity, and originality. Our impact in the life of people has been overwhelming as we’ve helped people see themselves in a more refined way and helped people tell their stories or put their ideas across to people via images, videos or designs to achieve the desired purpose.
We are currently located at Ibadan. Our target audience is majorly young people and professionals, companies, intending couples and every other person that needs a media touch to their story.
I Love what I do. That alone keeps me going regardless of the challenges. Also, I love my family so much and I always want to make them proud. I have people who I look up to in photography. People whose images just won’t Let me rest but inspire to be better. Some of them are Seun Akisanmi, Tolani Alli, Jide Odukoya, Tunji Sarumi, Ademola Olaniran, Bayo Omoboriowo, Susan Stripling, Damilola Elliot, TY Bello. This list is actually endless. I also have people I look up to in business and other areas of life. Some are Olubunmi Fajuyigbe, Olufemi Ajani, Ayo Ajani, Olakunle Soriyan and a few others.
Getting the word out
I love social media a lot and I leveraged on that. I have a few loyal peeps who were willing to risk doing business with me. I remember sending a WhatsApp and BBM broadcast that read ‘I’m a Photographer, hire me!!’ It was crazy but then I got some feedback. I posted the same message on Facebook and the feedback was encouraging.
I also did a lot of free jobs and assisted others just in getting the word out there. I still do it, it works like magic. Funding posed a major challenge but I saved up and a few relatives trusted me with their money. Also, I value relationships well and as such, I really give my clients a first class experience apart from delivering fantastic images. This has led to over 80% of my clients either coming back or referring someone to me.
The major challenge I had was balancing the art of photography with business. I had to read up, attend classes and get advice on how to run a business. I often pay attention to details and top notch creativity in everything I do from production to post production stage. At first, It was so stressful and elongated my delivery time. I had to start taking interns and train them to my taste. In time, with little or no supervision, they did excellently well. Hence we were able to take more jobs, embark on more projects and still work within a stipulated time.
Another challenge was funding but it usually sorted itself out one way or the other. Bringing together a group of people to form a team was a problem. Integrity is very important and once people do not trust your brand, that is all. So getting people of like minds was a Herculean task, but we are getting stronger and better.
Also, virtual business owners do really work hard! It is quite hard for customers to trust you. This is one of the reasons I’m pushing for a physical space soon. I’ve discovered that no matter how much we put on social media, there is nothing like customers having a firsthand experience of the products.
On giving up
Giving up? No. Re-branded? Yes. I had to change the brand name from MAK photography to MAK Studios to accommodate more of what we do. I had to change the logo also. If I am committed to something, I rarely look back. I’ve had times that I was really discouraged because of difficult clients. There were times when my storage device crashed but then I’ve never thought of giving up. These times were periods that made me re-evaluate my work and come up with better ways of doing them.
I hope that MAK Studios will become the no 1 image making company in West Africa and one of the top studios in the Africa and the world that provides media related solutions to issues. I hope that we would create images that would change the world from our future physical locations in every state in Nigeria and key cities in Africa.
Dear Business Toddler,
There’s always a way if you look long enough.
Founder, MAK Studios