He sent me a bb message asking to see me urgently. He was frustrated. After finding his way to our office 24 hours later, he was getting ready to explain the ordeal he had been through.
His name is Lagbaja Tamedo & his cousin had approached him to ask for his photography services as his contribution to the forthcoming wedding. Since Lagbaja was financially broke, he had told the cousin that instead of making a financial contribution, he’ll give him a whopping 60% discount off the photography bill. The discounted bill would come to $320 (N50,000). He figured that should be enough to cover his basic cost of production for the album he’ll be delivering to the cousin. The cousin agreed to his terms.
3 weeks after the wedding, the cousin was calling my Lagbaja to ask for the wedding album. My friend asked him for the $320 payment he ought to have received before the wedding and an argument ensued. The cousin argued that he did not agree to pay such an amount and that he thought that the photographer will be giving his photography services free of charge. The cousin started insulting our photographer friend and that infuriated him (I.e. Lagbaja). This wasn’t the first time a family member will treat him thus. That was when he pinged me for my advice.
My first response was that he should accept responsibility for what has happened. I strongly advice against being so quick to “donate” one’s professional services to family members just because they’re family members. In my experience, it’s usually those closest to you that don’t seem to appreciate the creative juices flowing in your veins. Just ask Jesus when he attempted to do miracles in his hometown.
I asked him why he didn’t put it in writing so as to reduce the chances of an argument later on. I asked him why the cousin didn’t pay the discounted bill weeks before the wedding date. The chances of getting your bill paid by a client are significantly reduced if they don’t pay 80% of the bill 2-4 weeks before the wedding date: it will end up being another prayer point that the host of heaven will have to deal with. Like my mentor once said, God gave us a brain so we’ll give God less work to do.
I told him that one of the few people on earth I don’t bother writing an agreement for is my father: his memory is as sharp as Usain Bolt is fast. ALWAYS put everything down in writing. You’ll be grateful you did.
I asked him to go ahead and deliver the album to the cousin whether or not he pays because the photographer’s reputation will still be at stake. Although this was a hard pill to swallow, I knew that a disgruntled customer (or cousin) will be a better marketer of his/her experiences with you than a satisfied customer. An unsatisfied customer will tell 10 other people while a satisfied customer will testify to less than 5 people.
Finally, I convinced him to attend the forthcoming photography workshop on Running a Profitable Photography Business. He’ll have the opportunity learning great business tips from the likes of Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga (QF), Shola Animashaun, Folake Ojeikere & Yetunde Babaeko.
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