We turn to some popular YouTubers to try their best Tips and Tricks to be successful and as a pioneer on the Internet to better understand the ups and downs of life.
This week we spoke to Niyi Fagbemi, a travel and lifestyle artist who uses videography to showcase the beauty of Nigeria. Niyi has over 185,000 followers on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
From documenting the life and beauty of the Calabar Festival to filming an aerial view of Africa’s largest floating slum, Fagbemi’s goal is to showcase Africa’s uniqueness and document Nigerian stories. Fagbemi also works with international companies such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Bank of Africa (UBA) to tell powerful long-form video stories about his home country.
Niyi attributes his career growth to his passion for finding beauty in Nigeria. In an interview with Passionfruit, Fagbemi spoke about his art and described his favorite projects that he works on. He also spoke about his monetization strategies, his favorite filming gear, his unique challenges as a Nigerian YouTuber, and his advice for other aspiring YouTubers.
The following interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.
Why did you choose to showcase Nigeria’s niche beauty?
Growing up, I heard a lot of bad things about Nigeria. I mean, right now I still hear a lot of bad things about Nigeria, even from an international context.
The truth is that every single country in the world has its own bad points. Even European countries and the West have many challenges when it comes to some aspects of their way of life. But what is released is more the glorified beauty.
However, when it comes to Africa, they prefer to tell the not-so-good side of our countries and I feel that this has affected the mindset of Nigerians and Africans as a whole. One thing that’s really close to my heart is not only to put Africa and Nigeria in a good light, but also to change the way people think about how they see Nigeria.
How do I make money and make a living as a creator?
For the type of work I do and the region I’m in, documentaries really make the most money for people.
One thing about documentaries is that you can travel and get to know other parts of Nigeria as well. you meet people I mean it’s just a great way to network and also a great way to make a living.
I work for many international agencies and also for local agencies. I still do short form content for people but I think in the future it will be more long form content for companies and organizations and maybe the short form will be around 3 times a week.
Do you have any monetization tips or advice for YouTubers?
Before you even think about monetizing anything, the first thing you need to do is have a passion for something because if you’re not passionate about something, you’re not going to make money from it. You have to find something to specialize in, a niche that you know you’ll be good at. It’s not something that’s going to happen right away. It involves a bit of trial and error.
So if you have your core interest, you need to research the monetization strategies in this area. For example, in videography, there are travel, lifestyle, and third-party organizations to work for. You need to be creative and work with organizations to expand your reach.
Also, you need to consistently create content to strive to get better at your craft.
What is your favorite film gear for creating content?
First, I understand what kind of Sagittarius I am. I’m not the type to like overly large cameras. I love travel friendly gear. I especially like mirrorless cameras. My favorite cameras are the Sony FX 3, Sony Alpha 7R IV and Canon EOS R5. My two best lenses [are] the FE 35mm F1.4 GM and the FE 72-200mm F2.8 GM.
What particular challenges do you face as a Nigerian YouTuber and how do you deal with them?
When traveling to other countries, including Africa, the Nigerian passport is restricted to about 26 countries. There are many limitations when it comes to this. So, as an African, I have to apply for visas from other African countries where I want to help tell their stories. Sometimes there are also many challenges in obtaining visas, immigration and customs situations.
What is your advice for other Nigerian YouTubers?
Your position is a good thing and a tricky thing at the same time. You have to understand that the Nigerian market is very populated. You must be in top form. You must be willing to outperform others. I mean it’s not a competition – the sky is the limit and the sky is big enough for everyone.
But if you want to be among the best in your field, you have to make every effort and work consistently hard. You need to network with other people, know your craft and stand out from the crowd
Which creators would you like to see? Email your ideas to [email protected]
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*Initial publication: April 6, 2023 at 12:43 p.m. CDT
Edikan Umoh is a freelance writer who has written essays on a range of different subjects including human behavior, storytelling, mental health, personal wellbeing, women’s issues, and media and internet culture. She explores and tells the stories of marginalized populations, documenting lifestyle, culture and media through their experiences. Her work has appeared in Open Democracy, Black Ballad, Media Diversity Institute and Reader’s Digest.