A Good Reason to Give an 80% Discount

So I met with this client in her office in Ikoyi. She is the president of the Parent Teachers’ Association of a high profile school in Lagos. They’re planning a family fun fair and want professional photography coverage.

One interesting thing about the school was the fact that the percentage of Nigerians that are students is about 14%. Americans account for about 40% while the remaining 46% comprises of 53 other nationals. They wanted a scenario where the students that come in, have their picture taken and get a printed & framed 5 by 7 copy before leaving. They also wanted a photobook that will be presented as a summary of the 5hr event.

Considering the size of the school, we were going to be looking at a team of at least 4 photographers to do the coverage. Another 2 photography “editors” will be manning the 2 computer systems that will be responsible for churning out prints within a turnaround time of 15mins. I explained to her that the type of photobook package we would deliver will cost them N250k: one 50-paged 8by12 inches book. Unknown to her I was actually planning on delivering our 500k package. This is because I really want to wow the directors & parents of the school knowing that I will get more jobs thereafter. I further explained that for each student that wants a printed picture, they’ll have to pay N1k with an assumption that if about 200 students how up, that will make it worthwhile.

It was at this point that she “shouted” that the school didn’t appreciate photography enough to have allocated such an amount to it….that the amount budgeted was N100k…..that even the amount budgeted will be her personal contribution to the fair. I paused. I was shocked.

N100k under normal circumstances will not cut it. This is because I plan to pay my 6 photography assisstants for that day N10k each for their help. I’ve not even removed my other overheads.

She further explained that the school presently has a photographer that can print the same 5 by 7 picture for N250 for the students…that if I wanted to charge N1k, I would have to contribute N200 back into the PTA’s fund. I explained to her that my overhead for delivering my type of quality will not allow me go less that N1k. If they want to remove N200, then maybe I should charge them N1200. I explained that even the N1k each student will be paying is a token compared to what they will be getting and what we will have to gone through. She said she’ll present it to the Directors and get back to me.

One of the things that surprised me is the fact that the school was considering bringing Whiz Kid for the show but my own photography bill was too much. Its ok to pay Whiz Kid over N1million for his 15minutes+ performance but its not ok to pay the photographer N500k for the 5hour coverage. Wow. Even the N1k I was charging will only pay me if a minimum of 200 students show up. There was no guaranty that 200 of the schools’ over 800 students will show up. It was a gamble for me.

I eventually told her that I would still work with her budget of 100k for the photobook but for this time only. Considering the fact that it isn’t the school that will be footing the photography bill & that we were the ones that covered her husband’s birthday a few months back, I would work with her budget.

More importantly, I thought it will be a great avenue to meet the type of clients that I’ve always wanted to work for: the elites of the society. Don’t let’s even start mentioning the school fees each student pays (in $) per term. Don’t let us also mention that the United States government has a big interest in this school. Let’s talk about the fact that this could be my opportunity to eventually be one of the photographer’s that will be covering President Obama’s child naming ceremony in a few months. Let’s talk about the fact that this could be an opportunity to eventually be photographing events for the United Nations. Let’s talk about that. Now that’s enough reason to break my rule of not giving anyone discounts. I think its a good risk to take.

The 80% discount I’ll be giving them (considering the fact that I still want to present the 500k package) will be my cost of advertisement to reach a new class of clientele. Let’s hope I’m right. May God help me. May God help us all

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