Photograph — DesignMantic

My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.

Motunrayo Oyedele has harboured a love for the spotlight since her undergraduate days. Though she was not a model by trade, she relished every opportunity to be captured by the lens of a phone camera. Her passion for photography didn’t end with being photographed; she equally loved the art of editing her photos.  Interestingly, this passion led her to pursue a career in professional photography. And so began her journey, chronicled in her pivot journal.

How it started

I am a graduate of Demography and Social Statistics from the prestigious Federal University Oyo-Ekiti; it is one of the courses offered in only a few universities in Nigeria. I settled for the course only because I did not gain admission to study my initial choice of economics and development studies. Upon admission, I was alien to what the course was about. But as time went by, I got a grasp of it. 

A demographer’s work is quite important in society as they are in charge of the human population study. Demographers work in organisations like the Society for Family Health; although we went on a tour of the organisation and similar organisations in my final year, I did not work there. I worked in the budget department at the Ibadan North secretariat for about a year. 


I developed a passion for being photographed during my undergraduate years. I enjoyed being in front of the camera and editing photos of myself to perfection. This hobby of mine soon became known to my friends and acquaintances, who would often request my services as a mobile photographer and editor.

As I continued to hone my skills, I began to realize that photography was more than just a hobby for me. And soon after my National Youth Service, I took the leap and ventured into the world of professional photography.


After completing my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), I was faced with the challenge of deciding what to do next. I knew I wanted to further my education and pursue a Master’s degree, but I also needed to find a way to earn a living. However, a 9-5 job wasn’t an option for me as I get easily distracted. So, I decided to acquire a skill that would allow me to make money while studying.

At first, I was unsure of what skill to acquire until a friend reminded me of my neophyte photography skills. It dawned on me that I had a passion for photography, and all I needed was a gentle nudge to pursue it. Without hesitation, I began my search for where to learn photography. After considering several options recommended by friends, I settled for the place that felt most comfortable.

Initially, I found learning photography challenging as my prior knowledge was limited to taking pictures with my phone. I soon discovered that photography involves more than just practical learning; theoretical knowledge is just as essential. Without a good understanding of the theoretical aspect of photography, one cannot efficiently do the practical.

Despite the initial challenge, I was determined to learn. I turned to YouTube to enhance my knowledge and discovered Unmesh Dinda’s piXimperfect, where I learned valuable lessons on photography, photoshop, and content creation. I spent roughly three months learning the ropes before resuming my Master’s degree.

Throughout my studies, I continued to learn through YouTube videos, and despite facing discouragement at some point due to a lack of equipment, I didn’t give up. Instead, I drew inspiration from industry professionals like Yemi Kings, Tolani Alli, personal photographer to Prof Yemi Osibajo, the vice president of Nigeria, and TY Bello. Their works encouraged me to keep pushing and never give up on my passion.

How it’s going

As a freelance photographer, my work primarily involves covering events such as weddings and birthdays, but I have also had the opportunity to work with government officials. I was recently commissioned to cover the book launch of the Governor of Ondo State, Professor Rotimi Akeredolu, and I have also covered an event for Prince Ademola Adegoroye, the Minister of State for Transportation in Nigeria.

However, I also have a passion for education, which is why I established an NGO called Eduminds Africa. Our mission is to promote quality education and gender equality in Africa, and I am proud to be able to give back to society in this way. I firmly believe that education is a fundamental right for everyone, and I am committed to doing my part to make this a reality.

Career hack

If you’re looking to succeed in your chosen field, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want. You can learn a lot from those who have gone before you, and studying their paths can provide you with valuable insights and guidance. While you don’t want to simply copy what others have done, understanding their strategies and approaches can help you chart your own course towards success.

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