One Non-Photography-Related Reason Why I Respect Joe McNally


I’m reminded of what Joe McNally told me on May 2, 2013. After teaching his class at NiPHEC, he promised to send autographed copies of his book to me so I can help give the 3 models that helped him with the classes. To be honest, I didn’t think he’ll remember to follow through especially since the models where not necessarily pestering him for copies of the book.

Perhaps one reason that made me not to take him too serious on that was because I was used to people (especially Nigerian citizens & leaders, the set of people I’ve spent most of my life with) making promises and not keeping them. If he didn’t keep his promise, I would not be offended because I was used to it.

Fast forward to September (I think I’ve been using the “fast forward” phrase too much, I must look for a replacement phrase so I don’t become too predictable), I got an email from his manager asking me for the address to mail the books to. By October 3rd, the books were in my office. I was impressed.

I was impressed because it occurred to me that the ability to keep to one’s word is a feature that will distinguish any business owner or personality from others. It is actually a rare commodity in this part of the world especially since I still struggle to fulfill the many promises I’ve made to family, friends & colleagues.

Consequently, I realize that if I want to increase my value/worth as a brand, I need to be known for keeping promises. If I tell a client I’ll be there by 9am, I should get there by 8:30am. If I tell my wife I’ll give her the world on a plate of gold, I better be ready to do that even if it means getting killed in the process :). Infact, I’m more conscious of the promises I make to people now. Once uttered, I should be ready to do my best to fulfill the words.

I know this might not be a tip that will be palatable for a lot of photographers or creative professionals but if we want to stand out in this part of the world, keeping our word is a sure path to convincing people & clients that our brands are synonymous with INTEGRITY. Your pictures may be better than Joe McNally’s and your gears may be more expensive than my dream BMW 540i Active Hybrid. However, if you’re not a man of your words, everything will soon fizzle out in the amount of time it took you to read this piece.

So if you’re reading this and coincidentally happen to be one of the few people I owe anything (whether favor, money, discount, gala, water or pictures), please give me time. In due season, I’ll pay them all. In due season, I’ll fulfill my promises with God’s help…..so that when I grow up, I’ll be like Joe McNally.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

Why I Love UNSATISFIED Clients


On October 25, we covered the burial ceremony of one of our client‘s brother. Our client – a 73 year old woman – had hired us as the main photographer because she was impressed with the coverage we gave her for her 70 years birthday 3 years ago. Artistic, organized, well-packaged, creative….those were some of the words she used to describe the 70 birthday album.

So it was a no-brainer for her regarding who to call for a “creatively artistic” coverage of his brother’s burial. I would later discover that she apparently had a photographer that she had worked with for over 30 years: Uncle J Photos. Apparently Uncle J had been hired as the backup photographer.

Fast forward to the week of November 14. We called her to book an appointment so she could view the designs before we printed. She went through the digital designs, gave some corrections and gave us the go-ahead to print.

4 days after the album was delivered, I put a call through to her to ask what she thought of our latest artistic endeavor. It was almost as if she had the answer premeditated because I was barely through asking the question before she blurted out a LOUD “NO”. I was shocked. I thought we showed the pictures to her before we printed.

She told me that when compared with Uncle J Photos’ album, that our album was not “a detailed coverage of the event”. I wondered what she meant by “detailed” coverage knowing that the album was just a summary of what we assumed to be key moments of the events. I concluded I would visit her on November 26 to see Uncle J’s album.

I eventually discovered that November 26 was the day her husband will turn 80 years. She didn’t want us to bother coming because she didn’t want to pay for something she wouldn’t be satisfied with again. Upon arriving there, they had just finished praying for the husband. The main celebration wouldn’t be until December 15 and I have a second chance to re-deliver a more “satisfying” album to her if I wanted to be part of her husband’s birthday.

I eventually saw uncle J’s album and was very surprised that it wasn’t necessarily “finer” than ours; it just had more pictures on each page than ours. Apparently the client wanted us to cram more pictures on each page of the album. By so doing, we would have proven to her to have done a “detailed coverage”. I gladly collected the album we gave her and assured her that I’ll do my best to please her (a promise I now realize might be difficult to keep when dealing with a 74-year-old woman).

She appreciated my kind gesture and spontaneously introduced and recommended me to 2 of her best friends sitting with her. “Elophotos is one of the best photography outfits in Nigeria“, she muttered to her friends. I was surprised she was recommending me despite the fact that I had not completely satisfied her. What if I had not showed up that day to ask for the album back? Perhaps I would have lost the opportunity to have another 70-something-year-old as a client. I’m learning to be more patient on this job.

It then occured to me that it is clients like these that please me. I appreciate clients that challenge me to do better than what I delivered for them the last time. I appreciate it when they give me feedback on how they feel I can satisfy them better even if the feedback is contrary to my artistic beliefs. At the end of the day, when I’m able to satisfy these “unsatisfied” clients, they will provide the funds that I will use to send my daughter to Harvard primary school, buy my wife’s N500 bathing soap and ultimately get my BMW 540i Active Hybrid classic. If I’m not ready to challenge myself to satisfy them, I might as well close for business and relocate to my family house in the village (Abeokuta).

May God give me the grace to satisfy the unsatisfied clients that come my way. For in doing that, I will ultimately be raising an army of eloPhotos passionate ambassadors and marketers. May the God of Light help me on this photographic journey.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

Teaching PHOTOGRAPHY: my CALLING, my DESTINY


‪Yes! Teaching photography is my calling and I have found it. After I had resigned my job and decided to fully launch into photography, I have no regrets so far. I have come to understand that nothing is insurmountable with passion.
Formerly a school teacher, I automatically knew that formal teaching wasn’t for me. I hated every bit of it. Don’t get me wrong; passing my knowledge to others is really what I love doing. However, I have only found out that doing it in an informal and practical way best suites me.

While I was a formal teacher, everyday was boring, the formal classroom setting and theoretical way of teaching irritated me off (I did it for the money only) but then I was not fulfilled. Hence my reason for resigning and joining eloPhotos.

While facilitating the “Introduction to Digital Photography” module last week at the last training series of elophotos academy for the year, I found fulfillment in passing on my knowledge. The informal, practical and interactive class setting suited me perfectly, all I did was facilitate and through discussion method passed the knowledge across. I might not be able to take the best wow pictures but I am sure I can teach photography to a dummy. If you’re considering a course in photography, the new training session at eloPhotos Academy begins January 13, 2014. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/academy for more details.

On the other side of the news, last week was quite eventful. I attended the last day of the British Council Creative Enterprise Expo and it was EXPLOSIVE! A rendezvous of creatives discussing strategies, innovation and creativity. Anytime I find myself in gatherings like this, it gives me hope for this nation as well as challenges me not to be left out of the advancement that is around the corner. Have a nice week.

Your Photography lecturer,
Toye Peters

Job Vacancies in a Photography Print Lab


A top photography print lab is expanding its services in Lagos by opening a branch in Opic Isheri just 5 minutes drive from the former Lagos/Ibadan toll gate. The following positions are available for professionals with experience to apply.

A Photobook binder
A Graphic Artist/designer
An Accountant.

Kindly send your CV or inquiries before December 17 to Pictureworksextra@yahoo.com for more info.