Noticing her interest, her father, the creative director of Mo Photography, started teaching her how to handle the camera before eventually gifting her a professional camera on her fifth birthday.
“I started playing and learning how to operate cameras at the age of two,” she told The Guardian. “When I was about three years old, my grandmother, who is also a photographer gave me her old camera, which became my best companion then. I still have the camera. It’s specially kept in my room. I became a professional photographer at the age of four. I am still learning. In fact, I learn new things in photography every day, especially as my dad does the teaching bit by bit, not wanting me to be overloaded for now.”
From hobby to a business worth over N100,000
As time went on, Ariyike had training from other photographers like Fototide, Oyerounkeh Foto, Omotgraffix, Bami Ligali, Chazi Photograffy and Buckles Memoirs, a photography company for young children.
Taking after her father and grandmother, she started her own photography business — Ariyike Studios — in Lagos state where she covers all kinds of events. Her father’s company helps out with editing, packaging and delivery.
“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 said proudly.
This remarkable photographer landed her first clients from people who saw her work online and gave her a call. Describing the memorable moment, she said, “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!”
Her first income was about N100,000, according to The Guardian. As an extremely young photographer, she has had to deal with some challenges with many clients refusing to see her talent because of her age.
“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.
“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.”
Winning awards has helped Ariyike’s career. She got her first — the Amazing Amazon Initiative Greatness Award on Children’s Day, May 27, 2017. She has since received others including the Dream Outreach Kid Entrepreneur Award 2017, Pre-Teen CEO of the Year 2017, Kidpreneur of the Year for2017 and 2018 and Nigerian Child Summit Award 2018.
Talking about her success, she said, “Many did not know anything about me then. But now, the story has changed and my work speak for me. I get calls from different people, while some of their own come to my studio for photoshoots.”
Combining business with her studies
Ariyike is a professional award-winning photographer and a primary four pupil of Cedarcreek School, Egbeda in Lagos state.
On how she copes with the two, she said, “My business does not affect my school activities since I do only weekend jobs, and my clients understand this. I have special arrangements or events during the week.”
Her parents also help by turning down invitations to different photo exhibitions and art shows.
“My parents cancelled all invitations for me to participate in different exhibitions and art shows this year because they want me to pay more attention to my studies. I spent the major part of 2017 and 2018 on photography, attending different events and exhibitions. But this year, I have to limit it because of my schoolwork,” she said.
Ariyike dreams of running a world-class photography school where everyone gets free training.
“I look forward to owning a studio and training school or have a platform, where I will train people, including adults on photography and cinematography for free. I also hope to give out cameras to the less privileged, especially children and young people, so that they can fend for themselves and even be better than I am in the profession,” she said.