At only eight years of age, Oluwaseun Moyinoluwa Ariyike is both a Primary 4 pupil of Cedarcreek School, Egbeda, Lagos, and a professional award-winning photographer who makes up to NGN 100 K per gig.
She first picked up a camera in 2013 when she was only two years old and all she did at the time was play with her father’s camera and fiddle with a toy camera that she carried everywhere she went.
By the time Ariyike was four years old, she was taking pictures with an old camera belonging to her grandmother and effectively taking her first steps as a professional photographer — something that appears to run in the family.
Now she’s eight-years-old, running her own photo studio, Ariyike Studios, and doing an excellent job of it too.
Ariyike’s father is the Creative Director at Mo Photography. And the little girl’s journey to becoming a photographer at such a young age began when her father noticed her interest in cameras and decided to gift her one on her fifth birthday.
It was he who first took her and tutelage and helped her appreciate the concept of photography and the workings of cameras.
Then, the little girl went on to take lessons from some other photographers including Fototide, Oyerounkeh Foto, Omotgraffix, Bami Ligali, Chazi Photograffy, and Buckles Memoirs. The latter is a photography company for kids.
Following in the footsteps of her father and her grandmother, Taking after, she started her own photography business — Ariyike Studios — in Lagos where she covers all kinds of events. Her father’s company helps out with editing, packaging, and delivery. But she does the shooting.
“It started as a hobby and a passion but grew into a business. It is a family tradition; I am the 3rd generation on the line,” she told Guardian Nigeria.
Ariyike got her first clients by putting out some of her work online. Clients reached out to her after they saw some of her posts on Instagram and that she made NGN 100 K from that first gig.
“It was an award presentation event. They saw my posts on Instagram and gave me a call. I am sure they were not expecting much from me until they saw my enthusiasm and passion. I guess I wowed them,” she enthused.
Being incredibly young, it’s a challenge sometimes for Ariyike to be taken seriously even though she undoubtedly has the talent.
“The challenges came at the initial stage when ushers and organisers at events always try to push me back because they didn’t believe I could do anything with the camera,” she explained.
But that is beginning to change. People are starting to look beyond her age and recognise her abilities.
“They usually see me as an obstruction to the event flow. The story has changed now. I get more recognition now because I didn’t give up. Of course, the first shot is all I need to get anyone’s full love. They are always wowed.”
Ariyike has won several awards since she got the hang of working wonders with a camera. Her very first award — the Amazing Amazon Initiative Greatness Award came on Children’s Day of 2017.
Other awards have come in since then including the Dream Outreach Kid Entrepreneur Award 2017, Pre-Teen CEO of the Year 2017, Kidpreneur of the Year 2017 and 2018, and Nigerian Child Summit Award 2018.
On how she juggles her studies with the demands of running a business at such a young age, Ariyike said she takes her academics very seriously and takes only weekend gigs.
According to the eight-year-old, her parents also help keep her focused by ensuring that she doesn’t have to attend every art show or photo exhibition. And she does get a lot of those kinds of invitations.
Ariyike dreams of a future in which she would run a world-class photography school where everyone gets free training.