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Conversations with Akinyola Adabale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Akinyola Adabale.

Hi Akinyola, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started photography when I was four years old. My aunt used to take me to the FedEx Factory at 4 am to develop photos in the darkroom. I was very intrigued by the process but due to my age, I could not start learning hands-on photography because I needed to first learn the responsibility of how to handle equipment i.e., camera bodies, chemicals, lenses, etc. The first time I picked up a camera, I was eight years old. I remember being really excited because I finally reached the disciplinary stage where I understood the importance of caring for my equipment. Throughout the years, I’ve owned a lot of throwaway cameras but this was my very first time holding a professional camera. Unfortunately, my mom did not have the means to afford a professional camera. I didn’t own a professional camera until my first year at the University of California, Irvine. I bought a Canon 5D Mark III at the time because I was working as a marketing assistant for the university. I quickly started getting recognized for my compositions in shooting dance film and dance photography. After graduating, I embarked on the journey to becoming a world-renowned photographer. That was my dream, my goal; the only thing I breathed. In 2016, I became the social media photographer for Veggie Grill; shooting all social media content for their lifestyle photography.

At the same time, I was the content creator for the West Hollywood Dance Festival. I worked alongside the director and founder to create promo materials to gain publicity for potential donors and ticket sales. In 2017, I joined a nonprofit as the director of media. There, I single-handedly built the entire carbon footprint that is known today as IMANIX. And in 2018, I worked as a production assistant for Raw Media House; creating video and photography production for high-profile clients such as P-Diddy/Ciroc, Def Jam Records, Patron, EA Sports, Summer Walker, Athletica, Logic, Blac Youngsta, Trinidad James, etc. Currently, I am a property manager for SRO housing in Skid Row helping to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles county. I still do photography on the side but not at the capacity that I would like to practice. I spend a lot of my creative time doing small passion projects for friends and capturing and editing drone footage. I would like to return to the creative world. I miss being on photo and video shoots but when I return, I would like to be in control of the creative process. I have a lot of great ideas and hopefully, I can offer the world a view from my perspective.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I paved most of the road myself, so no it has not been smooth. I was always one of those kids that colored “outside of the lines.” I believe that it had a lot to do with my own self-doubt and never feeling good enough. Also, it got really discouraging because I had to buy my own equipment. I got lucky enough to get an industry camera, but a lot of my equipment was bought used, or put back together because I simply didn’t have enough money to afford even the cheapest model. I struggled even harder because I didn’t have proper representation. I remember reaching out to a bunch of agencies and asking for representation; I received a lot of “no’s” or “this is not my niche” which left me devastated because I felt at least decent about my work. I also started noticing that a lot of people of color weren’t represented the same. I reach out again to see if certain agencies would represent a photographer of color and honestly dead silence. I knew there was more to life than being ripped off or asked to lower your price so that you wouldn’t lose customers. I wanted to be the photographer that was invited on set; asked especially to come and shoot models, or dancers, or whatever the need was. When I was told I had to master one style and only that style to be recognized; I immediately refused. I didn’t want to do one thing. I wanted to shoot it all. What would life be without bumps in the road? A little boy from Compton making it big in the world without having to become a rapper, basketball player, football player, etc. Not saying that those professions aren’t valid, but I wanted to be an artist. I’ve always dreamt of being an artist.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am an Artist! I can dance, act, play music, graphic design, produce, direct, etc. I am creative. I live for creativity. I currently specialize in photography and video production and am best known for my photography. I enjoy capturing the natural moments of my subject. Those in-between shots that no one sees because they’re so momentarily active. They’re split seconds transmuting between movements. The moment we can miss in the blink of an eye. The moment we’re most natural and relaxed. I’ve also worked with a lot of dancers. Being a dancer myself, I understand how to capture the peak moments of sudden movements. I love bringing a subject to life. I am most proud of being able to bring joy to someone through my artistry. I am fulfilled to know that someone is ecstatic to see the outcome of my vision executed on print or web. I am also proud of the many people I inspire through my work. My work gives people a sensation of hope, beauty, and transformation. The number of people that don’t believe they photograph well; leaves with a different perspective when they shoot with me. My Process sets me apart from the rest of the photographers.

With my production background and in-depth knowledge of lighting and framing, I bring a different edge to photography. Since I am a one-man team without people doing lighting, makeup, hair, gaffing, or digi-teching, I am left to do it all myself. What makes me unique is my process. I require my subjects to conceptualize their ideas by sending me mood boards, storyboards, etc. I want to be able to capture as close to what they want while still giving my photography that artistic freedom to be open and play around with different angles or levels. When it comes to post-production, I allow my subjects to take part by setting the mood with stories, biblical exerts, or even just how they feel in the moment. I am also capable of switching directions at moments’ notice. I am always open for discussion and will never turn down an idea but rather try to incorporate elements so that everyone feels a part of the team.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I am a hardcore perfectionist. I have to get it right because my eyes will forever see mistakes. Sometimes, I have to be willing to let it go. I have to be willing to part with the project or piece to meet deadlines because I am extremely harsh on myself. Most people discover this after maybe a 2nd or 3rd shoot. They start to wonder why they haven’t received picture edits from me and honestly, it’s on my part. Sometimes I set unrealistic deadlines because I am afraid clients won’t understand the amount of work it may take to edit one photo and if you are charging by the hour and it takes you 10 hours to edit one photo, people may go with a cheaper option but expect what you inspect. Sometimes the inexpensive route isn’t always what it seems to be. So, I have to create new ways of editing at the same quality but faster. Whereas, when I first started editing took me 10 hours plus; now I’m down to 2 hours and can edit more efficiently and the quality is actually greater.


  • 4 Look Headshots with 3 edits each look=$300.00
  • 3 Look Headshots with 2 edits each look=$225.00
  • 2 Look Headshots with 1 edits each look=$150.00
  • Each addition edit=$50.00
  • Deposits are used towards original price and are partial refundable=$100.00

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Personal Photo by Skye Schmidt

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