GH photographer shares how Naa Ashorkor believed in him & paved way for new jobs
- Ghanaian photographer and live wedding blogger Theophilus Arthur reveals how he managed to acquire a degree in photography
- The young entrepreneur details how to rely on friends and sometimes rent cameras to learn photography
- Theophilus Arthur expressed his gratitude to Ghanaian actress Naa Ashorkor for giving him the opportunity to be her personal photographer
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Wedding photography tells the unique tales of the beginning of a beautiful love story. It is one of the precious heirlooms that will forever be passed to children and future generations.
Indeed, a picture tells a thousand words and it is important to hire the right photographer to document all the sweet memories on your big day.
Ghanaian photographer and Chief executive of Fliistyl Studio and iPhone With Kwame shares the story of his humble beginning, the setbacks, and how he persevered to set up a studio in Accra.
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He also revealed why he decided to venture into live wedding blogging in an exclusive interview with YEN.com.gh’s fashion editor, Portia Arthur.
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Kindly tell us about yourself
I’m Theophilus Arthur but I prefer people calling me by my local name because I’m a proud Ghanaian. I prefer to be called Nana Kwame.
I was born in the central region of Ghana. I went to school at St. Augustine’s College after that I went to tertiary at NAFTI. I have a degree in film editing. I didn’t go to school for photography. I learned photography online. When I was growing up, I used to like acting and all that.
What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dreamwas to become an actor. I wanted to be an actor because I liked acting and dancing you know. Someone recommended NAFTI because of my passion for acting. While I was schooling, I applied for so many auditions outside the school and I didn’t get it so I decided to you know, learn how to shoot my own films and then do my productions myself.
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So at NAFTI level 100, they’ll teach you how to shoot and a bit of everything. But when I reach level 200, I decided to major in film editing because I realized that the editor is the second eye of the director or is also a director.
The editor is a creative director and being an editor makes you a director too because you’re able to edit in your own way I decided to shoot my own film because I wasn’t getting the chance to act.
It opened the way for me to explore photography life. So my going to NAFTI gave me that way of becoming a professional photographer.
What were some of the challenges you faced as an entrepreneur?
So some of the challenges I faced becoming a photographer or a video guy was lack of capital. I didn’t come from a rich family so there was no capital to buy the camera and other equipment. It was very expensive and my parents couldn’t afford it. I used to take some equipment from my seniors or friends to learn photography after school.
Sometimes I had to rent but I couldn’t afford the rates they were charging me. Sometimes friends do complain and eventually give me the cameras on their own time not when I wanted to use them.
There are cheap cameras abroad but we didn’t have any family members abroad who were willing to invest in my craft, buy and ship to Ghana.
Another challenge was marketing the photography business. It’s not easy. Even right now, it is not easy to market my live blogging page. Most people ask about the number of social media followers before booking your services.
They’d say you are a beginner so you have to shoot for free for you to get followers and you have to sacrifice your transportation and fuel fee just to go and shoot free content for people to enjoy and you benefit from it.
Another challenge is getting photography permission from the right people. In Ghana, when you want to shoot at certain places, either they’ll ask you for money or something and sometimes it is a challenge getting access to managers or supervisors for permission to shoot at a hotel or restaurant.
What special training have you undergone so far?
I went to the National Film and Television Institute and I did four years and a degree in film editing. Another special training I’ve been giving myself is learning from YouTube. Anything you want to do, you’ll definitely get content on YouTube that’ll help you grow.
Why did you choose to become a live wedding blogger?
I’m somebody who believes in sharing priceless moments across the world, not the money but you know how fast or how people will admire and appreciate its beauty and you know take something out of it, and mostly if you share or blog if you blog people admire the beauty and the content of it and then even go ahead asking for the vendor’s name to patronize their services.
So I realized that style or path will promote my business. It will be a faster way of connecting viewers or clients to the business and also making people enjoy the beautiful moments at weddings.
Videographers and photographers, when we go and shoot a wedding or program, it takes time for us to work on it but with live blogging, you know you can post moments and those who didn’t come to the wedding and all that they follow up and enjoy every moment you’ve posted and it’s a new thing the people of Ghana are trying to embrace and accept.
So me having a phone and a background in photography, I chose to add that just to spread priceless moments and make everyone enjoy every content I bring out and also connect vendors to clients.
What is your biggest inspiration and who is your role model?
My biggest inspiration is seeing my work go viral and you know especially the recent one I posted about seeing other artists encouraging me and seeing how beautiful my work is and how they are loving my content.
It’s my biggest inspiration and who’s my role model? I’m my own role model. I aspire to myself and I motivate myself I preserve myself so I believe in myself and I’m my own role model.
Tell us about your wedding photography style.
My photography style is more photojournalistic. It’s is a documentary style of getting the most beautiful and memorable images or moments. It makes moments unfold naturally to paveway for you to record the magic as it happens.
What kind of clients do you work with? Can clients request specific shots?
I’m not limited to rich or poor, I’m open to all. The client has rights and he or she has the right to request anything he or she wants. If I can, sure. If I can’t, I’ll make the client know.
As a professional photographer, who has been your biggest client so far?
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My biggest client so far is Naa Ashorkor. I used to be her personal photographer and paved the way for other celebrities to know me and I recently shot her sister’s wedding and my other biggest client is a lady I shoot who is an artist. So my biggest client so far so good recently is Nadia Gyeka.
That was one of the biggest weddings I’ve ever blogged and her remarks were so nice, she wasn’t expecting the importance of what I did in the live blogging but she saw moments even before her videos or pictures were given to her.
She is verified on Instagram and her comments have opened a lot of doors for me. I am grateful to Sylvia’s paradise for connecting me with such a great personality.
Share the biggest setbacks you have faced during the live wedding coverage
My biggest setback was that I was blogging about an event and my phone went low, my power bank went low and there was no socket or source of electricity to power my gadgets.
Another setback was when I went to an event and I saw others shooting the same content, blocking each other and all that. And the audience and family members telling you to sit somewhere because they think I’m blocking their views when I’m blogging about a wedding.
How did you get your first client and how did they contact you?
I got my first client through social media admiration. So I did free work for someone and I posted it and tagged the person. The person loved it and recognition came out of it. They contacted me through social media.
Even though I wasn’t having a lot of followers, the work spoke for itself. Recently, I had a remark from Caboman Mc. He’s one of the top-notch Ghanaian events Mc and I’m really grateful for that.
What is the difference between wedding blogging and wedding videography?
The difference between wedding blogging and wedding videography is that blogging, it’s not a post-production thing it has to be an instant thing and people get to enjoy the moment as it goes.
If for instance, they kiss right now, I can take bits of it and blog but with the videography, you have to record a whole lot of things from A-Z and go and go back and edit it and take your time but with the blogging, you don’t need many types of equipment and you don’t need to cover A- Z.
Why has live wedding blogging become a popular trend?
Wedding blogging engages your viewers and follows whatever you are doing because you post as you shoot. By the time the event closes, you have already one or two stuff that people who couldn’t come to the event can witness. The clients can also enjoy some moments before the final work comes out of the wedding videography.
Wedding videography requires a lot of teamwork, equipment, and time. It’s very stressful and it needs time. Wedding blogging doesn’t need much editing but with the videography, you have to edit and make sure there’s no bad editing inside.
Because it paves way for the couple to enjoy every bit of priceless moment before their final video comes. It also paves way for people to follow or enjoy the highlights of the events when they weren’t able to attend the event. It’s a popular trend because now, technology has improved and we’ve embraced reels so much that they go viral within a sec.
What makes you unique from other wedding photographers and bloggers?
I’m multi-talented, love photography, and have a passion for whatever I do. It makes me unique from other wedding photographers and bloggers and one thing that makes me unique is the fact that I see and understand differently from others and I believe in moments.
The fact that I’m able to do photography, videography, and blogging makes me unique and I appreciate God for that.
What is the future of photography in Ghana?
The future of photography in Ghana is bright because day in, and day out new people come into the sector. One thing is that Ghanaians believe in followers more than the value of the content or the outcome of the person’s work. They believe in trends more than how beautiful the person’s work is.
Have you been nominated or received any awards in Ghana so far?
I’ve never received an award as the ever film editor in Ghana but I’ve been nominated for so many awards in Ghana.
Because with most of the awards, you are supposed to pay for them and it also depends on the number of followers you have.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
My advice for aspiring photographers is never to give up, keep creating, and be creative, every mistake is a new star, apply, shoot, don’t limit yourself, and set an aim. Don’t wait to get better equipment before your work gets better and above all, let God be your mark or guide.
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