A photo session in “Senegal”

One interesting thing about this profession is the name we’re seldom referred to: artists. To an artist 1 + 1 is not always equal to 2. In light of that “creative” fact, let me first be clear on one thing: this session actually didn’t take place in Senegal. But the title got you inquisitive enough for you to decide to click, right. 🙂 Mehn, I’m good. Ok what really happened was that I had a session with a citizen of Senegal and since I was in the presence of a Senegalese (I hope that’s what they’re called), I figured I was in Senegal.

It all started about 9 months ago. While exhibiting our works at the Shoprite mall in Surulere (you might want to consider that location for an exhibition), I met a potential client from Senegal. We met on a saturday and she wanted a photo session the next day because she was traveling back to Senegal on Monday. Apparently she had been searching vigorously “all over the world” for a photographer that can take GOOD black & white pictures. First of all, I didn’t know black & white pictures were difficult to take. According to her, she hadn’t met a photographer that pleased her in that aspect. So she saw our b & w pictures at the exhibition and fell in love with us.

I drove to her hotel on sunday afternoon and we had a 30-minute session at the pool side of Southern Sun hotel, Ikoyi. The three framed pictures she eventually ordered practically covered 90% of the cost of exhibiting at the mall. Talk of a quick turnover. It was just as if I didn’t “spend” any money to get this client. To my surprise (really, I was surprised), she loved the pictures.

Fast forward to March 4, 2012. After attending church service, I picked up my BB and got a message @ 2:06pm from this wonderful client of mine:

Hi, in lagos at southern sun, some colleagues would like to take some picx like me…are u available?

Ofcourse I was available. I was planning on resting but decided to reschedule that task. 3 hours later, I found myself at the hotel once again. Same swimming pool section, same spot.

I thought her friend, Fatim, was gorgeous. I told her how pretty she was and was told most Senegalese ladies are very beautiful. The session lasted for about 20 minutes and she ended up choosing the following pictures in black & white. We talked for an hour after that and I learnt so much about Senegal.

I was of the notion that she was 25 yrs of age when she suddenly showed me a picture of her 3 children, the oldest being 18 (so don’t even bother asking me for her bb pin). I was shocked. We talked about marriage, family, life in Senegal and if you had met us there you would have concluded we were great friends.

Now, under normal circumstances I’m very shy when it comes to relating with women but photography & my camera has been a self-esteem booster. Now I can boldly talk to any lady as long as my camera or complimentary card is nearby. After delivering the printed pictures, I was given an invitation (not on paper though) to come to Senegal to photograph her family. What a honor. That definitely meant she loved them.

Pictures taken with Olympus E3, 12-60mm lens, 50-200mm lens, Nissin Flash & a few kind words of affirmation.

N.B. If you consider yourself an “international” photographer practicing in Nigeria, it makes sense to also open a dollar & GBP account. You never know what currency your client might pay you in. Enough said, enjoy

For tips on growing your photography business, “like” our facebook page (facebook.com/elophotos), add us on your bb: 271E3BC8 or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/eloPhotos

40 pictures for the price of 10: Another photographer’s dilemma

So it happened again. Another scenario where a photographer excitedly forgot to have a written agreement. Each time I hear stories like these, I get increasingly angry at the way photographers engage in unprofessional conducts. In most cases, the client is not to be blamed: put the blame on the photographer that has not earned the title “professional”.

It all started with this particular client that wanted a photoshoot for her upcoming book. The photographer billed her $125 (N20k) for the session and agreed that 10 high resolution pictures of her choice will be edited and given on a dvd. The session lasted for about 4 hours after which the photographer gave the client 150 low resolution files on a dvd for her to choose 10 from. Apparently, the client was over-satisfied with the quality of the pictures that came out of the session: so satisfied that she decided to choose 40 pictures. She then called the photographer that her husband wants 40 pictures edited instead of the “verbally” agreed upon 10 pictures. The photographer explained that it will cost extra. The client laughed it off and insinuated that the photographer did not just take pictures for a living but apparently had added comedy as a multiple stream of income.

When the photographer told me this a few hours ago (& I hope both parties are reading this), I wasn’t upset with the client: I was upset with the photographer that did not put into writing an agreement that would have considered common scenarios like these. We seem to be quick at collecting “deposits” from clients but we forget that there ought to be a written agreement before any money changes hands.

Always put it in writing. Write down everything and anything that could prevent both parties from having unnecessary arguments. Even if it’s your uncle or sister that hired you, at least do yourself a favor by writing down the expectations of both parties and send a copy to the client’s (your uncle or sister ie) email for confirmation. If you don’t know what to put in an agreement, google “Legal forms & agreements for photographers” and you can start from there. Better yet, check out a copy of our sample agreement for wedding clients.

Stop blaming the client for “cheating” you or being unreasonable and start being more professional. Either that or some of us might as well start implementing plan B: an 8am – 5pm salary job in any organization that can offer to give us our daily bread .

It’s your call
For tips on growing your photography business, “like” our facebook page (facebook.com/elophotos), add us on your bb: 271E3BC8 or follow us on twitter http://www.twitter.com/eloPhotos