THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN NIGERIA

My intense obsession with “street photography” started well before I had a chance to publish my first blog post.

It was through pictures of beautiful scenery and exciting adventure stories that I developed interest towards all things blogging.

“What good is travelling if we don’t document our experiences and what better way to preserve them than photographs” – intelligent person

We live in a world where everyone wants to share everything, that’s the technology mantra. If there are points of interests and travel tales we always want to capture them all!

Street Photography is an art that involves urban landscape and people who spend a great deal of time on streets, especially, the young, the poor, employed and unemployed, transport workers, commuters and those engaged in other activities.

Fishing under the 3rd Mainland Bridge

In Nigeria, this activity as thrilling or breathtaking as it may sound must be executed with care.

I’ve been enjoying this craft for a long time so please, pay attention to these pro-tips.

First rule, keep your lens clean and be photo-ready, capture best moments always.

Let’s begin work on the list.

#1. Taking pictures of people without permission.

There are numerous photo ops across Nigeria ranging from architecture, landscape, lush vegetation, wildlife, gushing streams, rock formations and views of the ocean.

You can also snag pictures of everyday people in action showcasing their tradition, richness of ethnic groups and blossoming culture in the purest form.

All of these are interesting and while street photography has become a trend, make sure you ask for permissions before taking pictures of people or businesses.

Stranded on Lagos-Ibadan expressway (check archives)

#2. Evade the Feds.

Nigerians, youth especially, live in times where there’s an imaginary war brewing between them and the Feds.

Police, LASTMA, Mopol, Traffic Wardens can get easily irritated when you snap photos of them. They can be very violent and in extreme cases, totally unpredictable. Ask SARs.

Refrain from taking pictures of Feds or security guards, if you must, ensure they don’t notice you.

“*security guards would excuse you out of a building because DSLR killed them in their first life. *saying excuse you is putting it nicely * about 10 people might watch you being escorted…” – Hameedah Salaudeen ~ BLOGGER PROBLEMS : UGLY BLOGGING TRUTH BLOGGERS WON’T TELL YOU!

#3. Keep things Coded

Master the act of taking stealth photos, this is preferably done with a smartphone. Pretend like you’re making a call, operating the phone or searching for something. Also, use the volume button or earpiece to take pictures.

Why all these stress for a couple pics you may be wondering?

Well, you want to avoid situations that will cause unnecessary attention and stress. Take the shot and keep moving.

Here’s what happened to a foreigner that wasn’t “keeping things coded”

“When I was in a busy outdoor market, I took a picture and a few seconds later I was pressured to pay a “photo fee” to a guy who walked over and said he’s in charge of the market. I’m not sure how things would go down in any of these instances if I refused to pay, but I decided not to find out, and nothing bad beyond these small payouts ever happened.” – excerpt from an oyinbo’s journal.

Independence Tunnel

#4. No flash! Turn it off.

This is not as important as it sounds but if you’re not a fan of people staring and ruining your shot process you should definitely be attentive. I can’t stress this enough so permit me to share an ordeal.

I’ll tell you about a day I had a few months ago. I was at tollgate, the border between Lagos and Ogun state and I wanted to photograph the beautiful scenery.

I strategically positioned myself at the roadside and took the shot with my LG X135 (that phone did a lot for me but it’s gone now). I wanted to cross when one FRSC officer abruptly stopped me, I contemplated evading but I finally obeyed his call.

As I approached him, he started asking for the photograph, my flashlight was on! That was the mistake that got me into this mess and sincerely, he wasn’t even my main focus.

The National Stadium, Surulere

I was allowed to leave after some photos of the National Stadium on my phone saved me. I also had to delete the picture before leaving (waste of good pic).

READ: I JUST VISITED THE NATIONAL STADIUM, YOU SHOULD TOO.

#5. Avoid Touts.

On numerous occasions, photographers, vloggers and seasoned travellers have been harrassed by agberos (touts).

You can have a perfect stance and angle for any picture only to see them pull up requesting for a few bucks. Sometimes, your camera can even get seized.

A YouTuber shooting a video of Lagos Marina was once threatened by touts, they said they’ll throw his camera into the ocean if he didn’t settle. The guy had to pay a fee to get his camera back, sad right.

Never mistake a serene and security-conscious environment as the best place for street photography. Before you shoot, examine the environment so locals don’t harass you over your gadgets.

Don’t fall into wrong hands.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja GRA

#6. Be careful with Drones.

Drones are best described as remotely controlled aircrafts or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

In recent times, they’ve become popular among content creators and photographers. For example, it’s not strange to see drones hovering over busy and alluring landscapes on the streets of Lagos. Churches also make use of the equipment to cover religious activities and entertainers for events or concerts.

You can get arrested for flying your drone around some areas in Nigeria. There are laws pertaining drones in the country that involve restrictions from Military Bases and Research Facilities.

In one of his videos (watch it!), popular Nigerian YouTuber, Tayo Aina discussed at length the ban and other drone laws enforced by Nigerian government.

He mentioned that on October 25, 2018 Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) issued a statement prohibiting the launch of remotely controlled aircrafts in the airspace.

This is Lagos

Also, there’s a stipulated N500,000 fee to register drones weighing 250 grams and above. The online registration can be done on NRPAS.

Read more about Nigeria drone guidelines and requirements on Legal Naija.

While operating your drone, respect people’s privacy, fly in good weather conditions and stay away from Government Facilities and Airports (you don’t want anyone thinking you’re a spy).

Fly with precaution so your drone is not shot down or confiscated.

#7. Look out for Great Scenery.

Nigeria can be a photographer’s paradise. It is blessed with many tourists destinations and alluring landscapes, art galleries, museums, building and civil construction, natural attractions and so much more.

Urban and Rural Exploration is a relishing sport in this Republic.

Be sure that you’re one of those improving and contributing to tourism in Nigeria using an intriguing photograph portfolio.

Everywhere can be a potential ideal destination depending on how you choose to showcase it. Take photos that capture the Nigeria essence.

Lagos BRT (check archives)

While considering popular points of interest and attractive spots don’t send the wrong message to aspiring tourists. Rundown locations and slums like Ajegunle, Makoko etc. can make your presentation artistic but never present them as a single image of Nigeria.

We are a strong, rich and resilient nation.


Honorable Mentions

  • Master the act of storytelling, let your photos send a message.
  • Make collages with pictures you’ve taken. This is a simple way to use your photos to depict events and happenings.
  • Explore! Don’t just sit at home, visit somewhere.
  • Get a good phone or camera for Photography.
  • Edit your photos. Always tweak images with nice apps to post-process them.

“Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs” – Susan Sontag


GREAT NEWS!

Your content can now be featured on ericotrips. All you need to do join our travel network, contact us and share a unique travel experience or tourist attractions and you could be one of our many great contributors.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, tell me what you think of my list, leave your comments and have an amazing month!

15 thoughts on “THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN NIGERIA

  1. I’m particularly enthralled by this post. I love photography, particularly street. Trust me, I’ve saved this.

    By the way, do you use your phone or you have a camera? I think I’m coming for some lessons 😉

    A good job you’re doing on your blog, Erico.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a majority of street photographers find street photos with people in them to be more interesting. With that being said, urban landscapes have their place as well.

    Like

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