Daniel Ehimen

A still, shot from below, from footage captured by filmmaker Daniel Ehimen on a Canon EOS C70 with a Canon CN-E14mm T3.1 L F lens, showing three women in colourful dresses looking down at the camera.

A still from a project for the Africa Magic TV channel, shot on a Canon EOS C70. "We used the distortion that's available with the Canon CN-E14mm T3.1 L F lens to create this dramatic effect and draw interest," says director and cinematographer Daniel Ehimen. "The HDR support from the EOS C70 holds the blue skies and the colour fidelity of the green." © Daniel Ehimen

Director and cinematographer Daniel Ehimen lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. His showreel includes cinematic features, TV shows and short films, and he's proud of the fact that no two works are the same.

Always looking for the next challenge and confident in his ability to overcome any obstacles that stand in his way, Daniel's attitude to filmmaking embodies the 'Nollywood' spirit that, in just a few decades, has enabled Nigeria to become one of the world's most influential film industries.

Daniel first picked up a camera while at primary school – a gift from a journalist who worked with his father. "That camera taught me discipline," he recalls. "I had 24 shots, and each had to count because the film was expensive. It had interchangeable lenses, which straight away taught me the difference between shooting with wide-angles, zooms and telephotos.

"I started by shooting friends and family, but slowly began introducing curated elements to style each frame, emulating magazine covers or pictures I'd seen that inspired me."

A headshot of Canon Ambassador Daniel Ehimen.
Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Specialist areas: Directing, producing

Favourite kit: Canon EOS C300 Mark III
Canon CN-E135mm T2.2 L F
A still from Ba Ni, a 2022 film directed by Daniel Ehimen, showing two teenage beggars. © Daniel Ehimen

Eventually, Daniel progressed from film to digital and bought a Canon EOS 7D. "That's when my interest in photography exploded," he says. "I became a lot more knowledgeable because I could learn by trial and error, without spending a fortune on film, and the internet became a much more accessible tool for learning."

Daniel began to earn a living as a fashion and beauty photographer, curating images to fit client briefs. His introduction to filmmaking came when he realised the skills for both mediums were interchangeable. "I knew I could create a beautiful composition and it eventually clicked that rather than shooting just one frame, I could shoot 24 frames per second and create a moving image," he says. "That's when I fell down the rabbit hole, and I haven't stopped since."

A still from footage shot by filmmaker Daniel Ehimen with a Canon CN-E50mm T1.3 L F lens showing African sculptures arranged in a jungle setting.

"This was an interesting composition we made from the perspective of African culture," explains Daniel. "The footage was captured with a Canon CN-E50mm T1.3 L F lens to avoid distorting the sculptures at the edge of the screen. This was very interesting because we added some virtual reality capture to be able to integrate live action with these figures." © Daniel Ehimen

A still from footage shot by filmmaker Daniel Ehimen showing African sculptures arranged on a sandy surface alongside shells and two fire bowls.

"Similar to the previous image, but this was more a representation of the Bronze Age of the Edo Kingdom, using a mixture of virtual reality and live capture," says Daniel. "The Nigerian spirit is brave and bold – creators are constantly opening new doors without knowing what to expect on the other side." © Daniel Ehimen

Daniel initially studied biochemistry at the University of Benin, but after discovering his passion for visual arts he signed up for a diploma in filmmaking. His mentor was American cinematographer Shane Hurlbut. "I learnt so much from Shane," he said. "He isn't afraid to hold back, and I got unprecedented access to his methods over the course of five years, which inspired me to find confidence in my own voice."

Alongside his work on award-winning feature films, commercials for international brands and independent short films (including Ba Ni, a short clip of which you can watch above), Daniel also invests time in training a community of like-minded filmmakers. He sees it as his duty to share the lessons he's learned in order to raise up everyone around him – an attitude that has made him an indispensable part of the Nollywood film scene.

What was the subject of your first film?

"It was called A Father's Confession, and it was the story of a father allowing himself to be vulnerable around his son. My dad was a military officer, so the struggle of opening up was relatable to me, and when I found the right people to play the parts, I knew I wanted to tell the story. Shooting this film changed everything for me, because it was the first time I truly understood how to use a camera to bring a complex subject to life. I shot it all on my Canon EOS 7D, with very little additional kit or accessories. I had no funding, I just knew I wanted to tell the story, so I used the resources available to me. My filmmaking has developed a lot since then, but I hope the message inspires parents to take more time to understand their children and the importance of opening up around them. I'm sure it will make me a better father to my own children one day."

What inspires you?

"I'm inspired by the people around me, and the country I live in. There are 525 individual languages in Nigeria, and each person has their own original story just waiting to be told. Our culture is so rich – I see Lagos as a volcano that's constantly erupting. It's chaotic; there are no promises, and there's so much uncertainty. Living in an environment like that creates responsibility – I have to forge my own path, and that's what inspires me and encourages me to be brave."

What would you like to achieve in your career?

"I'm only at the very beginning of my journey. All the work I've done until this point has blemishes, but I'm proud of those blemishes because of the honesty they represent. They're true to the nature of who I was at the time, and they're part of my story, which is one of learning and pushing. My dream for the future is to create an ecosystem that helps others overcome the limitations I had at the beginning."

One thing I know

Daniel Ehimen

"There is always going to be something that stands in your way, but the only way you lose is to give up. Keep swinging, stay in the game, and see every setback as an opportunity to learn and evolve. Fail quickly, embrace it, then push forward with the lessons you've learned. When you're already on the ground, there is nowhere lower to go, so the only choice is to rise up. My attitude is always 'what's the worst that can happen?' I approach life with a lot of intensity and without fear of failure."

Facebook: @Daniel Ehiman

Instagram: @danielehimen


Daniel Ehimen's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to shoot their films

Canon Ambassador Daniel Ehimen's kitbag containing Canon video cameras, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS C300 Mark III

Featuring a 4K Super 35mm DGO sensor, with 4K 120p slow motion, HDR and Dual Pixel CMOS AF, this is a professional video camera that knows no limits. "The dynamic range of this camera is outstanding, and I love the highlight roll-off," says Daniel. "Its ISO performance is so good that I don't have to think about noise reduction when I'm shooting in low light."

Canon EOS C70

Inspired by other Canon RF mount cameras, the EOS C70 is compact, lightweight and features a variety of customisable controls, allowing you to adapt to any situation. "This has almost all the firepower of the EOS C300 in a smaller, more compact body, which makes it great when I'm working alone," says Daniel.

Canon EOS R5 C

Capture breathtaking 8K video and 45MP stills with a compact Cinema EOS camera that's ready for anything. "I bought this for my car work, because it's 8K full-frame and has RAW capability. When shots need high resolution, I know it won't let me down," says Daniel.


Canon CN-E135mm T2.2 L F

A lightweight, compact EF Cine Prime lens offering spectacular 4K image quality and a full-frame image circle. "This is my favourite Cine lens for filming single compositions of faces, because it renders the face perfectly," says Daniel.

Canon CN-E14mm T3.1 L F

Enjoy fine control over depth of field with the widest angle of view available from an EF Cine lens. "This lens provides me with distortion that I can use to exaggerate moments or bring attention to a subject that might otherwise seem normal," says Daniel.

Canon CN-E24mm T1.5 L F

This lens provides a broader perspective to capture grand vistas or small interiors. Daniel says: "This does the same as the 14mm but at a quarter of the power so I use the close focus to draw in my subject, holding the lens sometimes just 25cm away to create a sense of closeness and intimacy."

Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 L F

Great in low light with fine creative control over depth of field, this wide-angle lens offers spectacular 4K image quality. "This serves as a bridge to normalcy – no funky business," says Daniel. "So it's versatile and good for presenting your world as OK."

Canon CN-E85mm T1.3 L F

A short telephoto prime with a natural angle of view. "This lens is famous for its amazing bokeh, but it becomes super nice when treated as a portrait lens," says Daniel. "The narrow field of view provides the opportunity to selectively reveal the world around your subject."

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