Airtel Meets Jose N Silva; Photography Workshop In Nairobi

This weekend has been amazing, amazing in the sense that I learnt a lot of things, met new people and it taught me that if someone takes a picture of you, DO NOT forget to ask for their email address, phone number or their name so that you get your portraits *sigh* (Man in the black trench coat, I am looking for you)

As is, Airtel Kenya organized a photography workshop here in Nairobi Kenya at The Foundry, where Jose N Silva, a renowned street photographer from New York, USA was the main speaker alongside one of the Kenyan bigwig photographer Asif Khan.

Jose N Silva at the photography workshop at the Foundry
Jose N Silva at the photography workshop at the Foundry

One thing that stood out is the fact that Jose is self-taught, being an educator himself, he got into photography as a hobby and recently left his profession as a high school teacher to focus on photography full time. You can check out his awesome gallery on his Instagram account here.

“I began taking pictures as a way of making keepsakes for myself. My memory is terrible and photography has the magical effect of instilling in me where I was and how I felt when taking that particular shot.

Looking around the room, you realized that photography enthusiasts, pros and the Kenyan Instagram community were well represented as Sarah Lafrohemien, Sam Dave, Jaydabliu, Ahmed Salim, Rey Matata, Sam Mulwa, Zollo, Nimu Isabel, Kidero Paul, Namuks, Mungai , Trevor The Mentalyst, Mutua Matheka among many others were all present at the Foundry Africa.

Jose’s emphasis on mobile photography could not be missed.

“Mobile photography will teach you the basics, composition, framing and many more, it is after you outgrow it that you should advance to a sophisticated camera.”

Here are a few guidelines for composition that Jose mentioned:

  1. The rule of thirds – this will teach you where to place your subject
  2. Leading lines and vanishing points – they control how and where the eyes will focus to when you look at the picture.
  3. Symmetry– These provide a balance when composing a shot.
  4. Natural framing– Some things frame themselves naturally, e.g. trees, fences
  5. Light – “…the object is nothing, lighting s everything” -Leonard Missone


Someone in the crowd asked Jose how he tackles the situation/question…

“why didn’t you follow me back on Instagram?” 

His answer, “Tailor make your feed, follow people who give you inspiration and develop that relationship with whoever you follow, that’s why we have instameets because Instagram focuses on the community.”

On those people who only take photos for Instagram…

“Take pictures because you want to tell a story, not because of likes, let your pictures represent your style.”


Exit Jose and enters Asif Khan, a talented and widely traveled Kenyan photographer on the gram.

His talk was based on night photography and how to post process with Adobe Light-room. Here are some of the key points he gave out.

  1. To get high quality images, always shoot in raw.
  2. Because you do not have adequate light when shooting at night, have a tripod or make sure your hands are really steady.
  3. Plan in advance what you are going to shoot or what shots you want to achieve.
  4. Find the sweet spot on your lens. This is that setting at which your camera performs best.

His last tip:

“Choose what your voice is. Get your niche, and you’ll be good at it.”

You can get more pictures from the event under the tag #AirtelMeetsJose on both Instagram and Twitter.

I cannot forget to thank Airtel Kenya for such an opportunity and for the increasing brand engagement in photography, photography in Kenya is definitely heading in the right direction.

Oh we got goodies from Airtel too! #UnlockYourpotential

Goodies from Airtel
Goodies from Airtel
Be my Hashtag pin badge.
Be my Hashtag pin badge.


PS: If you read the previous post on macro photography in Kenya, one of the guys, Mungai, mentioned that he would like to meet Joe Were aka Jaydabliu, wasn’t it amazing seeing that happen at #AirtelmeetsJose


Jaydabliu and Mungai at the Airtel Meets Jose workshop.
Jaydabliu and Mungai at the Airtel Meets Jose workshop.




Twitter: @jnsilva_

Facebook: The Foundry Africa

Instagram: @ThefoundryAfrica

Facebook : Airtel Kenya


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