So I got a call from Aliko Dangote last month, (I am not name-dropping); he wanted to know about our wedding packages. Realizing it wasn’t a prank and I was really speaking to Dangote, I adjusted well in my seat and faked a cough. I gave him a price using a multiplying factor of
17 times our standard price. Now I know you’re dropping your jaw in surprise and thinking, “This guy is a thief” but my dear, it’s Aliko Dangote. If he is calling me, it can only mean one thing, he already made up his mind to hire us. A person like him won’t waste time window shopping. Forgive me, Dangote wasn’t the one getting married; his daughter was. The wedding was scheduled to be a two-part event; the traditional wedding at his hometown in Kano and the reception on his yacht the day after.
After a couple of emails back and forth, the contract was signed. The flight and hotel itinerary for me and my two assistant was sent. I got a shocker on getting to the airport; we were all booked for first class. Now, I know you are wondering if flying first class is really a shocker. For a first time flier, flying first class turned out to be a pleasant surprise and only a thoughtful client would do that.
I should have known the airport scenario was preparation for good things to come. We were checked into the penthouse suite of 5-star hotel in Kano (can’t remember the name now). Now for the Dangotes, this is how they roll but for me and my team, this is the best treatment we have gotten so far from a client in our entire photography career so you can understand our excitement.
Whoever came up with the statement “ Money is the root of all evil” I am guessing has never been to Dangote’s house. The house, sorry, the edifice is a 16-Bedroom mansion (yea, I counted), two executive living room and a standard living room. The dining room is the largest I have ever seen, an Italian exquisite design which can sit twenty-four people at once. I know you can wait to see the pictures now but indulge me, I have not even gotten to the best part yet.
The bride’s room is spacious like Maracana stadium but not as big though. Taking her portrait session there was absolutely amazing; super beautiful bride plus beautiful room equals no serious editing.
Another interesting thing that fascinated me about this job was their timeliness and orderliness. The event started at the exact time stated (9am promptly), a few meters away from the Olympic-sized swimming pool and within three hours, the traditional ceremony was done. We had the couple’s session and family portrait at the artificial resort in the compound.
The reception was held the next day on his yacht. I don’t need to describe it (ii.e. yacht) because I won’t want you to start cursing your luck. The event was a more advanced version of R Kelly‘s ‘Happy People’ video. It was a suit and tie event and trust me when I say the rich Hausas sure know how to clean up nice, they really do. I had lots of fun shooting this wedding and just when I fixed my super wide angle lens (Canon 8mm- 10mm lens) on my camera to take a panoramic shoot of the yacht, I heard
someone call out my name. Tayo! Tayo!! Tayo!!! I turned around to see who it was; it was my mum staring down at me on the bed, wanting to know if I was not going to the office today. “So I had been dreaming”, I asked myself.
I am supposed to write on how my week went at eloPhotos Studios but the week had been on pause mode because I am still waiting by my phone and expecting Aliko Dangote to call me to cover his daughter’s wedding.
I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a Dreaming Photographer.
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