Tell us about yourself?
My name is Onafuwa Olumide Charles, a native of Ogun state, but born and bred in Lagos. I am the 7th of 8 children. I have a National Diploma Degree in Computer Science. I am a Visual Storyteller and currently the Lead Photographer at Onafuwa Photography.
At what stage in life did you decide it was photography for you?
I made the decision two years ago. Most of the things I learnt have always been visually impacted either through photos or video content. I am a bit-part introvert and extrovert, so I really don’t talk or write much. And being art-inclined, the ability to communicate through a medium is needed. So communicating my ideas and messages by creating imagery was a direction I chose, and I consider it a step in the right direction.
Why did you choose wedding photography?
For a couple of reasons. It brings out my true personality. I like to make friends and meet new people and wedding photography creates an avenue to meet people, solve their problems and forge relationships that open doors to other possibilities. For a couple to entrust their most memorable day into your hands, you need to have gained their trust and they have to be sure you are capable. Then, there is the joy that comes with sharing in other people’s happy days while helping them preserve those memories forever.
Lastly, I like to parry (as an Ijebu boy lol) and the appeal of the Nigerian Jollof is hard to resist.
So How did your art career start, was it always photography centered?
Art has always been there. Before Photography, I was into Graphics Design, creating flyers, logos and the likes. I got into Photography by progression when I started paying more attention to editing details in images. I decided that I would rather create than make adjustments and corrections. I enjoy Photography more though, making good stuff and getting to work with different set of people every time.
What was your photography training like, did you undergo any?
Oh yeah, I attended Daystar Skill Acquisition Training held in Lagos for two weeks. I started learning on my own, after the training. I have a group of friends who are Professional Photographers who contributed a lot to my development.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did it influence your thinking, photography and career path?
I love Photographers for specific qualities that I have observed in their images especially Photographers that tell stories with their images. I love Susan Stripling for her use of natural light, Konstantin Eremeev (2015 My Wed Photographer of the Year) for his vast creativity and Tauran Woo for the balance in his images.
Can you describe your creative process, especially with the kind of photography you’re into?
I am simply inspired by God and things around me. I take my time to make sure I have every detail worked out even in the shortest periods of time. I am a fan of “Don’t Do The Usual” and that drives me a lot. I try to be as couple-focused as possible. Everything from the connection between the couple and their parents to partying with their friends. Every wedding is different and offers unique creative opportunities.
The goal with every wedding and engagement is that I shoot in a way that turns love and relationships into fun and timeless memories that couples can look back on and remember how much they love each other.
I want to know about you and the people you love, I ask questions and we talk as much as photography will allow. I hope a thank you note is always in our future after the wedding.
If not photography, which other career path would you have chosen?
I would have been into Graphics and Designs fully. I did a little Computer Programming and it is also another interesting option I would like to pursue.
What would you say is unique about your style of photography?
I would say the qualities that stand me out is the Creativity, Balance and pictures that communicate stories.
How would you rate the cost of wedding photography now?
The Photography industry is constantly evolving, and there are more Photographers than ever who can do the everyday work. That includes everyone with a smartphone. However, finding a true Professional to get your Wedding documented in a captivating story is the key.
For prospective couples, the main consideration is the fear of making the wrong choice. Photography is expensive and how do you know if a Photographer is right for you? How much should you pay for photography services? The good news is there is a photographer for your budget, even free(You may not like what you get though, just saying).
To make this decision, I like couples to ask a lot of questions. Take a look at Photographers’ past wedding photos, get a sense of their personality, because you need to remember that this will be someone who will be spending a large amount of time with you on one of your most important days of your life, so they should be someone who you enjoy being around.
You’re into weddings, portraits and events. How do you balance all and which would you say pays better?
It depends actually. I do more of Weddings on weekends majorly, Corporate events could stretch for days and Portraits sessions sometimes come in a large bunch. So I try to balance all.