Someone once said a great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed. Being a photographer avails you the opportunity to see life through other people’s lens of understanding.
Photographers and artists constantly have the nudge to create magic through their work, and that’s exactly what Toni Payne is doing through her Toni Payne Photography brand. Giving life to objects she captures with her camera.Payne wears many hats and has taken her talent to different sectors; from managing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, directing music videos, expressing her thoughts through poetry, to being an award-winning photographer. The media personality and entrepreneur enjoys working with still and moving images to create visual masterpieces.

Holding a degree in Video Digital Art, her love for the arts dates back from her childhood days. A creative mind, who is also not shy about addressing controversial topics, Toni Payne has morphed over time into a vibrant entrepreneur and entertainment icon. She has set a high standard and a great work reputation for herself in the entertainment industry.

Though her journey has not been particularly smooth, she is still winning at life and living her dreams. She shares her inspiring story and passion for visual art in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence
I WOULD say yes; my childhood did prepare me for what I do now. Being creative was not frowned upon. We were forced to choose to be a doctor, lawyer, but my upbringing was liberal in that sense and a career in the Arts was not seen as a bad thing.

Inspiration Behind Toni Payne Photography
Asides Toni Payne Photography, I also run a commercial photography business called Osha Creation. I studied video digital arts at the university; I have always had a thing for visually documenting still or moving images. I decided to get fully into photography after I left the music industry. I am a creative person whose mind tends to run at full speed, so, I needed an outlet and found that going outside with my camera calmed me down, and coming up with different photographic creations made me happy.

I always say photography saved me because, at the point when I took up photography, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself career-wise. I knew I did not want to go back to music, I also knew it had to be something I am passionate about and enjoy. So, I chose photography and it’s been the best choice I’ve made.

The Journey So Far
It has surprisingly been great. When I started my business, they said it takes a while to build customers, especially because I am starting from scratch where no one knows my work or me. Within six months, I had my first few clients and it has been non-stop since.

I enjoyed commercial photography and knew it would pay the bills, but my dream was to create Art using photography as a tool and positioning myself as one of the best Visual Artist Photographers of our time.

Managing Some The Biggest Names In The Entertainment Industry, My Make-Up Line And Goals
If I ever decide to go back to music, the money must be right. I did things back then because I had a passion for it, but quickly found out that sometimes, it is best to invest in yourself and your talent. The makeup line, heck yeah, I would; it takes a lot to own a makeup line. I was young and excited and had put so much money in and when I decided to uproot my business in America to come to Nigeria, it wasn’t a smart move.

I believed in the country and was just excited to be able to do something like that there. If I were to do it again, I will stay put here in LA and just let it trickle down to Nigeria via distributors and retailers.

How I Manage And Maximise My Talent
I create almost daily. I am no longer in school, but I am still learning every day. The skills I learned in school are helping me today with my photography. These are lifelong skills that can be applied to so many things. I am still growing, so definitely, I plan to use my current knowledge and soon-to-be-acquired knowledge to advance my growth.

Long-term Goal
I want to be a household name in the Art industry. I want my work in homes and I want owners of my work to be proud to say they own it. All my works are limited pieces, so for collectors, it’s valuable. I want to bring artistic value to the table and hopefully also groom future artists.

Rising From The Ashes Like Phoenix After A Period Of Adversity
I always ask myself this question. Like, how did I even survive that episode, because every time I look back, I am baffled at how I did not break down? I think I drowned myself in my work; I stayed busy and that helped a lot.

Also, I have an amazing family. My family supported me the entire time and made sure I was very ok. I also think God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle. We might all be faced with trials in life to test us; I believe that was my test. I am glad I stayed graceful through it all, because today, I can hold my head up high and say nothing to myself. The strength that I got from dealing with that has also prepared me for the beautiful things that are coming my way now.

Achieving Work-Life Balance As A Single Parent And Career Woman
It means getting up and just getting things done. I try to do a to-do list, but my day also has to be scheduled around my son’s schedule. It can be hard balancing time because it feels like there are never enough hours in the day, but I do my best. The only issue I have is that I hardly get enough sleep.

Lessons from some of my life challenges
Protect your peace. Don’t trust anyone 100 per cent. Those who claim to love you can harm you, so stay vigilant. Stay graceful and work hard. Never let people’s opinions of you affect you or your daily bread; they will move on to the next topic soon enough.

Trust your heart and stick to your convictions. One million people will give you advice, but always remember that the only advice that matters is the one your heart gives you because it’s you that will have to live with your choices. Be a good person and trust God

Being A Woman Of Rubies
I am resilient, strong, and passionate.

Other Projects And Activities?
Right now, I am 100 per cent focused on the visual arts. I spent the majority of my career doing one million things at once. This time, I just want to enjoy what I am doing and focus on growing it. I have chosen it to be my career legacy, so it requires my full attention.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
My grandma, my mum, and my aunts (more than three lol); I see how they go about their daily grinding and living and loving and that inspires me.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Entertainment Industry
Structure. I believe it lacks proper structure, but I guess these things take time.

Upcoming Project
I recently launched an NFT Collection called Still Life with Food, a collection of digital food photos reminiscent of works from old masters like Picasso. It is also available in prints. I am having talks with a group about bringing my art to Nigeria. The prints are made on metal and are just gorgeous. They are limited edition, so if you own one, you and less than 100 people in the entire world will own any piece you purchase.

If I could turn back the hands of time
I would have started photography earlier and I would have put all the energy I put into music into my own personal work


Eniola Opaleye is a phone product photographer and a law graduate. Her ability to create appealing product pictures with her mobile phone stands her out amongst several product photographers. She has shot countless images of products with international standard.

She currently has a telegram community of over 300 members where she teaches basic tips on product photography. Eniola doesn’t believe in giving up on her dreams irrespective of challenges faced. One of her product pictures trended on the bird app (twitter) and attracted the recognition of influencers and foreign communities. Asides taking product pictures she interns with a consulting firm.

She shares her journey with Women of Rubies on this interview;

Childhood Influence

I was very creative while growing up and it has helped my journey as a phone product photographer changing the way product pictures are shot in Nigeria. I was that child that loved hair styling and makeup so much that I would plead with my mum and sisters to practice with their hair and face, you know how last born can be? I pestered till they agreed to be my model. So I was sure I was either going to learn the art of makeup or hair styling, but then I kept procrastinating to take the step till I gained admission to study law and I just didn’t enrol to learn either of the two till date. I remember I had a mini doll I made hair for passionately (laughs).

My Inspiration Behind Photography

I was in a space I couldn’t continue with street photography I started with last year during the lockdown. Then I asked myself “what can I do?”. Immediately it struck me I could take beautiful shots of random product I have at home. Gradually, I improved and some pictures of small business owner’s product I saw on Instagram on a particular day made me realize there is a market that needs a solution. A lot of vendors don’t know how important good pictures help sell their product, I saw that and decided to proffer that solution with what I have.

The journey so far

It has been interesting. I started with little or no recognition to being recognised across several countries. I can recall lots of people didn’t understand what I was doing and they felt it was a child’s play. I started doubting my skill and said I would stop phone product photography till I get a camera but see who is getting paid for the skill she didn’t give up on. I’m also learning every day, using props that I wasn’t aware of and the beautiful thing is I come across products I haven’t seen or used before.  I’m optimistic about this journey and the opportunities lined up for me. 

Impact Of My Journey As A Law Graduate Currently Working In A Consulting Firm

It has been in several ways; the firm has helped improve my work ethic and client interaction. This is what I have also implemented in my business and life, how to engage with clients, communication and negotiation skills, and also maintaining good relationship with people. I have learnt to understand people differently and manage situations. Also, learning how to meet deadlines is also important in this business. Clients want you to deliver and you don’t want to be perceived as a lazy photographer who doesn’t keep to deadlines.

The Amazing Feat Of How One Of My Product Pictures Trended Recently

It was a dream come through and a perfect birthday gift. I have been posting pictures on the bird app but gained little recognition, however I didn’t give up. It was a win I deserved and it attracted influencers which opened up several opportunities that I had to turn down some. It made me realize I needed a community/group where I could help other aspiring product photographers with some tips on product photography. The amazing part of my work is, I inspire other phone product photographers who feel they can’t be recognised to keep creating and that makes me happy.

My Current Experience With Photography And What I Hope To Achieve In The Future

I am enjoying the ride, perfecting my skill, building my profile and ensuring client satisfaction. I see my brand creating appealing product pictures for top brands, teaching millions of small business owners across the world how to create eye-catching product pictures just from their home and hopefully in cooperate phone videography while building my profile as a seasoned legal practitioner.


Meeting demands and showing up with good content can be overwhelming considering it’s just me and the brand for now. Then investing in photography equipment can be expensive but gradually I will balance it up.

My Other Projects And Activities.

I love design, so it’s a skill I’m trying to perfect because I need it for my brand as well. It has helped me create simple graphics for my Instagram page and some other projects. I’m working on video content for small business owners but it is still in the works so when it’s ready it will be available for all to see. 

Three Women Who Inspire Me To Be Better And Why

I really admire Mazbricreative’s work, her product pictures are standard, colourful and she has worked with several known brands. I also watch her behind the scenes and see how creative she is, this helps me to get creative with all my pictures.

Amanda Campeanu is a commercial brand photographer based in Brisbane, I love her ability to teach with her Youtube videos and this has really helped my product styling.

Ty Bello is amazing and good at what she does, she has built her brand over the years and I aspire to follow that path. She gives me hope that being a woman in this line of work shouldn’t be a limitation but an advantage.

My Advice To Young Women

Don’t let anyone kill your dreams, you have the power to decide how you want your life to turn out with the help of God, so take charge. Always know what you want, it helps you to make specific decisions and if you don’t know what you want, go to God, watch that thing people are saying you are good at and build the skill till you perfect it. Lastly, have the right people in your corner they will always be there to lift you up when you feel discouraged and be prepared for the growth you desire. 

As A Woman Of Rubies

I am a sought after woman who possess value. I inspire other women to become better version of themselves through my consistency, discipline and desire for success.


Ladies, don’t send your nude pictures to anyone. At this time and age of advanced technology, your nudes can get all over the world if it falls into the wrong hands. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram and WhatsApp, sending any man or anybody your nudes is a bad idea.

With the kind of men on the loose these days on many social media platforms and how they destroy the reputation of ladies who have foolishly given them their nudes in the past, one would think other ladies would learn from them.

But no, many are still sending nudes as a proof of love to strangers who can use it against them at any slight misunderstanding. When you guys break up, your nudes will be scattered all over the world.

Ladies should learn how to say no when a guy asks for their nude pictures. It’s become incredibly common place and the trend needs to stop. I don’t know where some ladies got the idea that sending nudes will keep a man by their sides forever. You are digging a hole for yourself if you still carelessly send nude pictures to your boyfriend, fiance or husband. Just stop it!

Here are 5 reasons you should never, ever send your nudes to men.

He can screenshot it and share without your knowledge

One of the reasons not to send nude pictures to anyone no matter how much you trust them is that most people know how to take a screen shot with their phones. And the person you sent your nudes to can save it and share without your knowledge.

He can use it against you when you both break up

Everyone thinks the relationship they are in is going to last, but the harsh truth is that most relationships, when they end, don’t end on the best of terms. Things can get nasty, complicated and bad after your breakup. Your ex can become vindictive enough to use your nude pics of over three years ago that he saved could do some damage to your reputation when you two break up.

You don’t know where your pictures might end up

Once your nude photos are put online, you never know how long it will be there. Even if you make your lover promise to delete the pic as soon as they see it, that isn’t a guarantee that they actually will. It might end up on porn sites and you won’t like it.

You don’t really know the kind of person you are dealing with

Some men are sadists. They love to see women in pain. You don’t know why your lover asked for your nudes. You don’t know his history with women. You don’t know whether he loves collecting nudes from women so that he could blackmail them later. You can’t really tell. So don’t send nude pics at all.

He won’t stop asking for more

Even if you sent him one after being pestered for so long, there is no guarantee that he will stop at one. He will keep asking for more and you won’t be able to say no. So, don’t even send any. Respect yourself and care enough for your future to never send nude pics to anyone.

Source: Feminine



Ariyike Moyinoluwa Oluwaseun is an 8-year old Nigerian photographer who was featured in Reuters News. She won the award for ‘Arts and Creative Personality of 2018’.

Reuters reports:

“A young photographer won ‘Arts and Creative Personality of the Year 2018’ at the Nigerian Child Summit Awards and she’s just 8 years old”

Ariyike started her career at the age of 5, and she inspires young creatives with her passion for photography as she says in an interview:

“When I grow up, I don’t want to be an Engineer or Doctor, I just want to be a photographer. I won’t like anyone stop me from what I’m doing”

Her parents who are also photographers help her in editing the pictures that she takes, and they are in full support of her ambition.

For the full interview, watch the video below:

Embedded video

Reuters Top News


Meet Ariyike Oluwaseun, the 8-year-old Nigerian photographer who is making her mark in the world of photography

274 people are talking about this

Few years ago, Abisola Ijalana did not know that her decision to take a photography training during the Daystar Skill Acquisition Programme would set her on the path to becoming a sought after and an  award-winning photographer. A graduate of the University of Ilorin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. During one of her several trainings in the United States of America (USA) on Newborn, Baby, Children & Maternity photography. Abisola  had the privilege to receive training by U.S based, world renowned baby & maternity photographer, Kelly Brown & Susy Martinez and since then the Founder and creative director of M12 photography have been unstoppable. Bisola has impacted lives through her craft and supported several social causes .. The 2016  reciepient of the Eloy Awards Female photographer of the year shares her inspiring story with us in this interview.

Childhood Impact

Growing up I did not know I was going to have a career in photography. However I have always loved the works of art and anything that shows creativity. I also loved taking pictures of myself growing up. I worked briefly in a marketing communications company before my university graduation and this exposed me to the creative industry. After I graduated from the university, and I needed a career as an entrepreneur, photography easily appealed to me, since it is part of the creative industry.

Abisola Ijalana!

I am Abisola Ijalana, a young Nigerian female entrepreneur from Ogun State in Nigeria. I run M12 Photography (@m12photography), a maternity, newborn, baby & children photography specialty brand in Nigeria. My photography journey started when I enrolled for the Daystar Skill Acquisition Programme (D-SAP) in 2010. At the end of the programme, I underwent further training in photography with Quartz Fotography, run by Mr. Leke Adenuga. I hold a Bachelor of Science (B.sc) degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin. I am a graduate of the British Council, Creative Enterprise Programme. I am also a graduate of a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management (CEM) from the Pan-Atlantic University. I was one of the 12 female photographers selected for a one month training workshop for female photographers in Nigeria in 2011, organized by the German Gothe Institut and Camara Studios. The workshop was aimed at developing the photography skills of female photographers in Nigeria.  I was also a participant in Women in Management & Business (WIMBIZ) Mentoring Training Programme in 2012. I am an award winning photographer, Female Photographer of the Year (ELOY Awards 2016) in Nigeria. I  am married with two boys.

Inspiration behind M12 Photography

When I finished my foundational photography training in 2010, I decided to start my photography career. I and my husband decided to choose the name M12 Photography for the business name. M12 Photography was formed with the intent to provide qualitative and customer-driven photography services. It initially was not a photography specialty business. I covered different photography assignments from corporate to social events. With time, M12 Photography has evolved into a photography specialty brand focusing on maternity, newborn, baby & children photography.

Being a recipient of Goldman sachs 10,000 women scholarship

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Scholarship programme is to empower 10,000 women in developing economies. The Pan-Atlantic University is the partner in Nigeria and it is being run by the Enterprise Development Centre of the university. To qualify for the scholarship, I went through a screening process at the university. At the end of the exercise I was chosen together with some other women entrepreneurs & awarded a scholarship to undergo a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management (CEM) programme.

Passion for Child Photography & its Profitability

The funny thing is that I did not start my photography career as a baby & children photography specialist. I started my career shooting weddings, parties, corporate & other social events. With time I discovered I had a passion for shooting babies. I recall when I had my first child, early in 2011, I was new in photography then, I was taking my child to another studio to have a photo shoot like 1months, 2 months shoot etc. I wanted to create a mile stone photography of him. I gradually began to develop interest in this field of photography.  I also noticed that no one was serving the baby/children photography market as a specialty like it is being done in the USA and in some parts of Europe, and I decided to carve a niche for myself by focusing on this market segment. While it is okay as a photographer to be a generalist, shooting different photography jobs, I feel it is better to be known as a specialist in a particular field of photography. You must be known for something.

Children photography requires a lot of skill and patience. I have trained myself to be an expert in this field. I have also learnt from renowned baby & children photographers outside Nigeria.   In terms of profitability, I will say it has been profitable. People will pay you if you provide value. I put in my best to provide value for my clients. I get a lot of business referrals from satisfied clients.

Being the Recipient of ELOY Awards Best Female In Photography In 2016

I am very happy with the award. It tells me that everything we do in business and in our personal lives, there are people who are watching. It means we need to put in our best into anything we find ourselves doing. I am inspired to continue to improve on the quality of my work and my service to my clients, my fans and my community. The award also shows that female photographers are being recognized in Nigeria. I want to thank the judges and everyone who voted for finding me worthy of the award.


I will say the Female Photographer of the Year Award at Eloy Awards 2016. It is my first award and I appreciate it. My clients, fans & followers had the opportunity to participate in the process with their votes. It is heartwarming when you know that people appreciate your work and your contributions to the photography industry.

Challenges of Being A Child Photographer

Shooting babies & children comes with its own challenges. Majorly, especially when I started the specialty was making them stay calm for a photo shoot. Some babies tend to be cranky and uncooperative. Some older children can be hyperactive during a photo session, so getting them to stay calm and focused can be challenging. It requires a lot of patience on the part of the photographer to shoot babies and children. Depending on the child, in some few hours I am done with the photo shoot, but in some cases it will take much longer hours. Sometimes I have had to reschedule a shoot because the child was cranky and uncooperative throughout the session. As a specialist in this field, with training, re-training, practice, patience, dedication I have mastered the art of posing and shooting babies & children.

What stands me out!

I will say the creativity I put into my work and my chosen photography specialty. M12 Photography is a reference brand for baby & children photography in Nigeria. Sometimes I get referrals from my fellow photographers who refer their clients to me, because they have recognized my expertise in this field of photography. Baby & children photography has given me a unique identity which has made me stand out of the pool of photographers in Nigeria.

Other Activities & Giveback Projects

I am a facilitator on ‘Newborn Photography’ at the annual edition of the Nigeria Photography Conference & Expo (NIPHEC) and also a contributor for Bella Naija Living on www.bellanaija.com, a leading blog in Nigeria. I have also trained some young women who have shown interest in learning photography under our internship programme. I have been part of some social causes. My photography works were on display at a public exhibition in Lagos in 2014 titled “Battle Scars” organized by Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre, Goethe Institut and Camara Studios. The event was aimed at raising awareness about cancer and raise funds for the treatment of cancer patients. The proceeds from the sales of the exhibits were donated to support cancer patients’ treatment. M12 Photography has also supported some other social cause programmes in Nigeria as part of our social responsibilities.

Do Nigerians Appreciate Female Photographers Enough?

Female photographers in Nigeria are making giant strides in the industry. Growing up, photography was a male dominated industry, but now we have quite a good number of females in photography. This means we are beginning to appreciate female photographers in Nigeria. There is no gender discrimination in terms of getting photography jobs in Nigeria. The successes recorded by some of the female photographers in Nigeria has been a source of inspiration and motivation to a lot of aspiring and current photographers and the general public.

One Person I Wish To Capture with My Lens

TY Bello

My Passion Makes Me a Woman of Rubies

I have passion for what I do. I have been able to project female photographers in Nigeria positively through my work. I have excelled in my chosen career and I am a role model to some young women. I believe what I do has inspired a lot of current and aspiring women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Final word for women all over the world

Let us continue to do great things. Let us make great impacts in our chosen professions. Let us continue to support each other (#women supporting women). We need to support to each other before we can effectively reach out to the government and other institutions to support women. Let us continue to create platforms that showcase and celebrate women doing great things in our society.


Photography in Nigeria is one of the fastest growing professions today. Nigerians have come to realize the essence of photography and how it affects our everyday lives. Unlike before, photography is now seen as a proper profession.

Most photographers earn as much as six figures per job and get up to three jobs in one day. Photography also used to be known as a male dominated job, but recently, females have proved the saying, ‘What a man can do, a woman can do better right, as they have embraced photography and are doing great at it.

Here are 10 Nigerian female photographers excelling at their jobs:

1. TY Bello
ty belloToyin Sokefun-Bello, better known as TY Bello, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, photographer and philanthropist. She is popularly known for both her photography skills and singing skills and she has created a successful career for herself in both industries. She was trained by renowned photographer Don Barber, with whom she went to train after spending the first four months of her NYSC at Fototech.

2. Aisha Augie-Kuta
Aisha augie kutaAisha is a photographer and film maker. She creates documentary, fashion and aerial photography. She explores a lot of ideologies in her works, such as portraying two sides to a story , gender and identity. Aisha’s photography creates visual art forms that speak through her lens.

3. Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko
yetunde ayeni babaeko Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko is the CEO of CAMARA studios, an established photography studio based in Ikeja, Lagos. The Enugu born, Germany raised photographer has been taking the photography industry by storm since 2004 and is still conquering much territory. For Babaeko, women are the custodians of tradition, so she uses black and white photography to capture the timelessness of her goddesses. She also uses her photography to document and educate women on breast cancer.

4. Tosin Pedro Gbamis
tosin pedroTosin is a wedding and portrait photographer who travels all around Nigeria to capture and document rare moments in peoples lives. She tells the stories of love and life through her images.

5. Bisola Ijalana

Bisola Ijalana is the Creative Director of M12BabyStudio. She enjoys creating arts of newborn, baby and Maternity Photography, capturing the essence and Purity of Life. Her Photography is for anyone who treasures the joy of a new life!

6. Yagazie Madu
yagazie maduYagazie Madu, a doctor of Optometry and the Head Visual Artist at Gazmadu Photography. She specializes in Portraits, Wedding and Lifestyle Photography. She also loves to capture and document moments, people, beautiful place, real life situations and a huge sucker for love stories.

7.  Adeola Olagunju
adeola olagunjuAdeola Olagunju is quite unique with her works which is usually conceptual and deep. She is a critical, creative, meditative, and passionate artist. Her images speak volumes as they stage the photographer’s attempt to break free from the norm of photography

8. Yemi Disu
yemi disuYemi Disu is the CEO of Four23 Photography. She is into Maternity, wedding , kid and fashion photography. She started out with photography as a hobby and has now evolved in her profession.

9. Iyaomolere Morayo
iyamolero morayoIyaomolere Morayo is the CEO of The Voice Photography. She prides herself ans her photofeaphy brand in Telling fantastic stories of love and family one frame at a time.