Wani Olatunde is a top wedding and lifestyle portrait photographer. She is also Chief Romantic Officer of premium wedding photography boutique, Wani Olatunde Photography.
The former investment banker started her journey in photography as a hobby. In December 2009, she decided to focus on photography, and in 2012 she became a full-time proffessional photographer.
She has photographed weddings all over the world including the UK, the US, Zimbabwe and Dubai. Her work has been published in several magazines, including Vogue and Washington Bride & Groom.
We caught up with the self-taught star to chat about her experience with photographing Nigerian weddings, her plans for wedding photography in Nigeria and more.
What words would you use to describe the experience of photographing a Nigerian wedding?
Chaotic but fun. You never quite know what to expect with a Nigerian wedding but I love the vibrant colours and exuberance of the celebrations.
What has been the most unusual request you’ve ever had from a client?
Hmmm – nothing unusual per say. But some clients don’t realise how exhausting the process is and want you to be with them from the moment they wake up to when they go to bed, which really isn’t necessary for full coverage. This quickly changed when I started charging per hour and not per day. I want to be there to offer my clients everything they need, but always within reason.
What is the most outrageous price slash that a client has ever requested?
Oh people ask for all sorts. If you don’t ask, you don’t know right? The funniest ones ask for the same services at half the price. I always say sure but half the price means half the services. Sometimes people still try the shoot for “exposure” tactic but fortunately I learnt those lessons the hard way in my first few years. Schools and supermarkets unfortunately do not currently accept exposure as a valid form of payment.
Biggest frustrations faced as a wedding photographer in Nigeria?
Oh dear – mini rant alert. The single most frustrating [thing] I face as a wedding photographer in Nigeria is that I constantly need to fight for my client’s attention. This peculiarity of multiple family members hiring multiple photographers for the same event is one most photographers in other countries don’t have to deal with. Remember the Royal Wedding this year – did you see a horde of photographers around Meghan & Harry blocking everyone’s view? I look forward to the days when this is done at Nigerian weddings. I always advise hiring one photography team (as big or small as you like) who all have different roles as this makes life much easier for everyone including the couple and the guests.
The best part of the job?
Celebrating LOVE. I’m a hopeless romantic who loves a good love story. I love the new beginnings and the whole family coming together to celebrate. It is such a joyful experience and while I don’t think your wedding should be the highlight of your life – I think it should definitely be one of the happiest memories. I love that my photography gives the couples and their families beautifully curated memories that can be passed down from generation to generation. I really do love what I do – frustrations and all.
What are your future plans or hopes for wedding photography in Nigeria?
I really love how the wedding photography industry has evolved over the last six years. When I first started, there were only a handful of great wedding photographers and people used to fly in US and UK photographers for high profile weddings. The industry has grown in leaps and bounds and now there are dozens of amazing photographers and someone to suit every bride. I would definitely love to see more women shooting weddings as I can count on one hand the number of top female (wedding-focused) photographers. We also need to continue to grow business education in the sector to allow people to make a better living off photography in general so I love ideas like the Business of Photography conference held earlier this year. The future of wedding photography is definitely a bright one.
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