The FASTEST Way To Destroy Your Photography Business


I got a call about 3 weeks ago from a disgruntled client of a colleague of mine. Apparently since my colleague (whom at this point I’m not pleased to be associated with) has covered their wedding in August, no album or DVD has been delivered. I eventually called the photographer in question hoping that the story the client told me had some holes. He eventually admitted that everything the client said was true and that he will unfailingly deliver the album on October 24, 2013 (2 weeks after the call). I insisted that he should put a call through to the client and stop avoiding the clients call; something I consider to be the highest level of disrespect towards a client.

October 24 came and went and I eventually called the client in question to ask if anything had been delivered. To my surprise (and I must admit, I was very surprised), the photographer had neither delivered the job nor called the client to give a cogent reason for not meeting the deadline (of which there no longer seems to be a reason that will be cogent enough). The following was the mail that the client eventually sent to the photographer.

Hello Lagbaja,
24th of october has elasped which is the EXTENDED DEAD LINE for our Wedding Video/Photo book to be ready. You have taken I and my Wife for granted again & again and I have always reasoned with you and spoken to you calmly cos we are CITIZEN’S of BLW NATION. I had to call up your Coach to talk to him about your actions, which resulted to the 14 days extra which elapsed yesterday 24th October 2013, and By that action We have exhausted all our options. Am giving you a 7 days period of GRACE from today 25th October-1 November 2013. From 2nd November, 2013 ACTIONS will be taken against you, If We don’t get our wedding materials.
Regards,
Your Disgruntled Client

What makes this situation personal for me was the fact that the client contacted me because he found out that the photographer did a course in our photography academy. As much as I was not happy about the misdeeds of the photographer in question, I’ve noticed some service providers engage in such unethical behavior (something I’ve been also guilty of). However, I’ve discovered that this is the worst type of marketing you can provide for your business as a dissatisfied client is likely to market his dissatisfaction to 30 or more people while a satisfied client might market to just 5 or more people. Either way you do the maths, you’re on the pathway to looking for a new job in another industry (hoping someone will even hire you) if this is not stopped. And sometimes, all it takes is for one client to be disgruntled; you’ll need to build about 2-5 years worth of goodwill to cover the heart-break you’ve caused. I’ve been there and can tell you that as a fact.

This is an attempt to appeal to the photographer in question and to all service providers (especially in Nigeria) to desist from such unscrupulous behavior as it only ends in the pathway of destruction. We all have issues we deal with, but I’ve since realized that the average client/person is usually understanding when you keep them in the loop of what is happening instead of avoiding their calls or calling them back. The least we can do is to keep in touch and call or email the client. They deserve that. Either do that or refund the clients’ money (something most client might not even prefer especially since they only plan to do the ceremony once in a lifetime). It’s another way of robbing them of their money at gun point. Enough said. Let’s strive to be business people with Integrity.

 

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The Day I Shot Some Soldiers


I have stayed long enough in medical school to understand that almost everything has a technical term by which they are called, especially in the world of phobias. Phobia for almost everything has a name:
Claustrophobiafear of enclosure
Sitiophobia – fear of food
Anemophobia – fear of air
Coprophobia – fear of faecal matter
Anthrophobia – fear of flower
Phobophobia – fear of fear itself.

But fear of soldiers or guns, what do we call that? Or you think such phobias don’t exist? Trust me, they do. It was the worse thing that could happen to a harmless female photographer while behind the camera attempting to shoot some soldiers. Its interesting writing about it now, but at the very time it happened I wasn’t laughing.

The last two working days of the week was fun. Doing a funeral photography for the first, in the ancient city of Ibadan (I had only been there twice) was for me a fantastic experience. With that excitement, I jumped up and down, and from point to point, trying to capture interesting moments of the event. The service of song went well the day before the incidence am about to describe happened. So with that excitement, I went the next day, with my other female photographer colleague (the GREAT Ronke Alao),  to cover the lying in-state at the home of the deceased. Distinguished dignitaries were present at the event, so were their soldier entourages.

Just before the lying in state started, I decided to take photographs of other side events like the food session, the condolence register, a side view of the beautiful house etc. It was while I was doing this I noticed the soldiers standing with their guns and I thought that would also make some nice shots, thinking about it now, I realize how silly that decision was. Well thank God I did, at least, it gave me something to write about.

I didn’t even know what gave me the effrontery to move close to them in an attempt to take the shots. They stood in two groups, three soldiers in each group. I had taken a shot of the first group, and still feeling cool with myself, I started focusing my lens to shoot the second group. As I looked into the camera, I saw to my surprise the soldiers pointing their guns at me!!! Was that a pose or what I asked myself. Just then, one of them ordered me to come close.

At that point, all my excitement turned into cold flushes of fear and it traveled with turbulence through my blood vessels. I wished for rigor mortis (stiffening of my joint and muscles, the type seen in dead bodies; pardon my medical jargon) but my feet moved in the direction of the pointed guns. It all happened in a split of seconds, but that was long enough for my heart to travel down to my mouth. Thank God my boss had taught me about the importance of always having the camera strap on the neck, it saved my camera that day because I would have dropped it on the floor while shivering with fear, had the strapp not been on my neck.

“Why you dey snap us photo? Who you be? Who send you message? You no know say dem no dey snap soldier?”
– the soldiers asked me, All I could say was “Am sorry sir”, with a shivering voice. Another soldier ordered me to show them the picture of them I took. I quickly reached for the camera which was hanging on my neck and showed them the picture. They ordered me to delete it. “Yes sir” I replied and I reached for the delete key at once. “You sure say e no remain there”? one of them asked me wanting to know if I still had any other picture of them on the camera. “e don finish”, I replied, bending my knees with each response as a show of submission, respect and humility. They threatened that they would deal with me if they ever saw me point the camera at them again. Well, they really didn’t have to tell me that, I had learnt my lessons.

Just while I thought the discussion had ended and I turned my back to leave, one of the soldiers ordered me to come back, I obeyed at once. I was surprised when I  looked up & saw a pitiful look on his face, as if pitying me for all I just went through (I wondered what the look was about). “I for deal with you today, but na this your innocent look save you”. Was that supposed to make me happy or trying to put himself in my good books, or was he just trying to sound the last warning, I wondered. Anyway, I said a sober thank you and stylishly moved fast to leave the vicinity of the soldiers, before they changed their mind about the mercy they had had on me.

As I reminisce the scene, I couldn’t stop being baffled at how much fear I had for the soldiers. I guess I was more afraid of the gun than of the soldiers themselves. Well may be its more of phobia for gun then. I have a feeling they did all that because I am a lady, I doubt if they would have done that much ‘shakara’ if it was a guy. Well, sounds like some form of achievement. I can boldly say now that I have been at gun point because of Photography (what a heroic feeling!). I also couldn’t stop wondering why the soldiers would not want their picture taken and at how much of mountain they made out of a molehill. Anyway, you should have seen the way I avoided the soldiers all through the rest of the event. I made sure I kept my distance from them and our paths never crossed again.

Apart from that incidence, the whole event went smoothly, I had maximum fun doing what I love to do. Other than the photography excitement, it was an opportunity for me to think again about life and its essence. As I watched the remains of the deceased lie still in the casket and being committed to mother earth, I asked myself: is this where it all ends? Whether we like it or not, one day, this body we all carry about, and we sometimes tend to give all the attention, all of our runnings about, the troubles and cares and fears of this earth, will end in that lonely chamber called GRAVE. Of course with long life, we’ll be satisfied, but there’s still an inevitable end. This earth is more like a sojourn, there’s a place we all are returning to afterall. We seem to forget that fact sometimes, or do we simply not care about what happens to our souls when the body perishes? (That is if we even believe we have souls in the first place).

” What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and looses his soul, or what shall a man give in Exchange for his own soul? Mark 8:36-37. Ponder about this.

I’m Damilola Opawale & you can call me the Soldier Photographer

 

How I Almost Became A Blind Photographer


You never know how precious your eyes are until you come close to losing them or at least losing your sight even if the eyes remain in their sockets. Last week, I had reason to be grateful for the gift of sight.  It was like any other Monday at the office; busy as ever. The work day soon ended and my colleagues and I headed home. I got to Ojota and boarded a bus heading to Ikorodu as usual.

The ride was uneventful for the most part or at least till we got past Mile 12. From then on, the traffic was a nightmare, two lanes had been turned to four by impatient motorists and the super-impatient ones had crossed the median to face oncoming traffic; a phenomenon commonly referred to as “passing one-way”. As terrible as it sounds, this isn’t unusual on that road. It’s disorganized chaos that people who ply that road have grown accustomed to.

Suddenly, I heard a loud thump on the bus and wondered what it was. Looking out the window, I saw the most ridiculous thing ever; LASTMA officials picking stones and throwing  at vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Even though I understood that it was wrong for people to face oncoming traffic on that road, (and it is very unsafe too), I didn’t see the wisdom in law enforcement officers throwing stones at innocent passengers.

A few minutes passed as the journey continued. I decided to call my husband and let him know that I was almost at the bus-stop. Just as I finished speaking with him and ended the call, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt something hit my right eye real hard and felt water pour all over me. With one hand over my eye and my head bowed, I could hear my self screaming, “Yee, yee! My eyes”. I could hear the guy sitted on my left side saying, “Sister sorry o”. My mind was in a daze as I struggled to make sense of what just happened and also cope with the pain of something hitting my eye with such force.

At this point, I could hear the lady sitting by my right hand side, asking if I was okay. I asked her what just happened and she explained to me that it was LASTMA officials who threw pure water satchets at the bus. That was when I realized, what hit me was a satchet of pure water and it hit my eye with such force that it busted.

On getting home, I narrated the ordeal to my husband who was almost as irritated and pained as I was. I assured him I was okay and started showing him some of the pictures from our photo shoot the week before. While we both admired the pictures, I felt something streaming out of my nostrils, it was blood! Bright red blood was streaming out of my nose! My alarmed husband rushed to get me toilet paper to contain the bleeding.

My husband watched with concern written all over his face while I applied pressure to my nose area with blood-soaked tissue paper, assuring him that I’d be just fine. Well, after a few minutes of waiting for the blood to cease and it didn’t, I got a bit scared myself and told him I needed to lie on a flat surface. Off to bed I went. The bleeding subsided shortly after I got in bed.

As I laid in bed, I thought of the nameless, faceless guy whose “bullet” hit me and caused me all these harm. If I felt anything for him at that moment, it sure wasn’t love. What could a passenger like me have done to stop a lawless bus driver from flouting the law? What kind of city hires confused human beings (like the ones I had encountered that night), to enforce traffic laws?

The next day, I set out to work as early as usual, way before sunrise. It was later in the morning that I realized that my right eye was quite sensitive to light. It was fine as long as I stayed indoors but hurt really bad the moment I came out in broad daylight. This went on for two more days before my eye felt a bit normal.

Thinking back at the whole episode (after the emotions of anger and frustration had diffused), I, Ronke Alao, thought of how fortunate I was. Imagine if the LASTMA fellow had chosen a stone as his weapon that day and it hit my eye, doing real damage to it? I’d love to make a name for myself as a photographer but not as a one-eyed photographer. We as photographers tend to gush over our expensive gadgets and the new lens released into the market that is meant to see better than the human eye. As much as we value these expensive equipment, let’s always remember that we are blessed with the most precious “lens” of all, that can’t be ordered on a website: our very EYES.

 

An Attempt to Overcome My Shyness


Just so you know, I’ve been seeing a shrink lately in an attempt to help combat my tendency to be shy. Yes I can be very shy. But this is one of the many attempts to overcome that shyness.

I am hereby boldly declaring that as my birthday approaches in less than 60 hours time (on October 31st to be precise), I would not mind any or all of the following gift items:
Techno Phantom A+, Blackberry Q10 (New or London Used), Samsung Galaxy 4 phone, 2012 BMW 540i Active Hybrid, A 3 bedroom Apartment situated in a choice estate in Ikeja (or the financial Equivalent), A core i5 Intel laptop for my wife, canon 70D or Canon 5D Mark III (with or without any lens), forgiveness (FULL or in PART) of any debt I might be owing you (YES, YOU), or any financial contribution you feel led in your generous heart to give towards the celebration of my 35 years on planet earth.

There. I feel a heavy burden of shyness has been lifted of my shoulders already.

Yours BOLDLY,
Oluwaseun Akisanmi