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.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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

Advertisements

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.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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

The $100 Photographer vs. The $10,000 Photographer


Find us on Google+

Going down memory lane, I am reminded of an encounter with a photographer 5 years ago. In his early fifties, I met him at a print lab. He was complaining & murmuring about how his client was yet to pay him the balance owed. After a few minutes of successfully eavesdropping on his discussion with a fellow photographer (stop looking at me like that as if you don’t eavesdrop on people’s conversations also), I was able to gather more info about the job in question.

He had covered his client’s wedding in Enugu where he spent about 3 days for the detailed coverage of the celebration. He was angry because the couple were yet to pay him the balance of what he had billed them. I was shocked when I discovered that his total photography bill for the wedding coverage was $100. How can a “professional” photographer charge that and survive. I was shocked because this “gentleman” had been in the photography business for over 20 years.

At that time, I was still billing wedding clients $400 – $600 for a day’s coverage. Yet he charged $100 for 3 days. He was angry at the client & I was angry at him.

The fact that he was using a film camera was no excuse. What profit will be left over to take care of his family. What type of education will he give his children. When will he be able to afford a good car for himself. Which vacation will the profit afford him. I was angry.

Fast forward to 7 days ago. I was in a workshop organized for photographers. One of the speakers, Ali Baba, talked about how a “PROFESSIONAL” photographer called him in January to “thank” him for a referral. A few weeks prior to the call, Ali Baba had contacted the photographer to ask how much it will cost for a portrait session for a “high profile” client. The photographer gave him a bill of $12,000 for the session after which 32 high resolution softcopies will be delivered on a dvd. He replied the photographer that the client only had a budget of $10,000 & they both settled for $10,000 for 30 high resolution softcopies.

As if that wasn’t shocking enough, the bigger shocker came when Ali Baba mentioned that the reason the photographer called him was to thank him because the client ended up ordering a total of 142 high resolution softcopies. Whichever way you do the maths (even if you got an “F” in your Maths SSCE or SAT), you’ll still end up with a whole lot of zeros that should make any photographer happy. Well this photographer was happy, hence the “thanksgiving” call.

My question is this: What’s the difference between these two photographers? Seriously, what is it that will make a client offer to pay $100 to a 50 year old photographer while another client will gladly pay over $10,000 to a 35 year old photographer. There are many answers to this question one of which I can already hear echoing in your mind as you read this: THEIR DESTINIES ARE DIFFERENT. I’ll leave this one to you to digest.

As for me (& my house), I’ll like to be like the later photographer when I grow up. I’ll like to be perceived as a photographer that adds so much value (albeit intangible) to a client’s life in 2 hours that they’ll deem it fit to pay me $10,000. I’ll like that. Trust me, I’ll really like that. Besides, how else will I be able to afford the Harvard University school fees that my 3.8 year old daughter wants to go to. No, you tell me. I know it’s not all about how much you make at the end of the day but its important to make enough money that will provide the kind of lifestyle you desire.

The other question is this: What “value” do you as a photographer bring to the table? The conclusion might not be as appetizing as the BMW series write up but whatever you do, make sure you’re building solid foundations for you photography business & brand. Neglect doing that & your end will be predictable in 20 years time.

It’s your call
———————————–
Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
———————————–
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

A Crazy Photographer’s 12 Goals for 2012


In no particular order of priority, behold 12 of the goals that I plan to achieve by December 31st, 2012.

1. Wash my plates after eating. It’s a weakness that many husbands and bachelors are guilty of. I plan to express my love more to my wife by washing my plates after eating. It’s the least I can do. Can’t promise to wash any other person’s plate but I’ll start with mine and see how it goes.

2. Spend 2 nights at the 7-star hotel in Dubai. I plan to document photographically my stay at this hotel. It’s one of the projects I wholeheartedly look forward to embarking upon. At $2000 per night, I better start taking my photography business more seriously and begin saving.

3. Photograph an event in Asia. I’ll prefer a wedding coverage to a rioters’ coverage. Either way, covering a joyous moment in an Asian culture will be fun. India will be good for a start

4. Host a photography convention in Nigeria. This is going to be BIG. Planning a 3-6 day convention will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and I’m confident it will be impactful. Watch out

5. Get an invitation to speak at a photography convention/conference in the United States and/or Europe. Don’t have an idea how this will come to pass but I’m preparing my speech/notes so that I’ll be ready once the opportunity comes knocking

6. Co-found a Photography Association in Nigeria. To help address issues such as the rights of a photographer & a standard level of professionalism, an association registered with the government is inevitable. If you’re interested in helping out, holla at me.

7. Write my first photography book. Still thinking of a title. So far I might settle for “Diary of a mad black photographer.” Or what do you think?. I hope everyone that has been encouraging me to write a book will not ask me for complimentary copies; you’ll need to purchase it so I’ll be encouraged to write more books. I’m still open to better title suggestions.

8. Start a clothing line. Don’t know whether to call it eloFashion or Seun Akisanmi but the designs that have been playing around in my head can’t be expressed in photography; a fashion design outfit is inevitable. I know its important to be known for just 1 thing but having multiple streams of income isn’t a bad idea. Anything to make me quickly get my edition of BMW 750i before it is discontinued.

9. Earn $1 million in photography income. Though my bank account balance might be reading $70, I believe this is the year of the manifestation of my millions…..in dollars. Watch out

10. Stop drinking 100-150cl of Pepsi everyday. Just discovered that such a habit is neither good for my health
Nor my bank account. I plan on replacing the Pepsi drinks with a daily dose of 3 litres of water. I just hope the Pepsi seller won’t go bankrupt this year because of my decision.

11. Read at least 10 hours of photography materials every week. This will be necessary if I need to keep tabs with the loads of information that will be added to the database of photography in 2012.

12. Write everyday in 2012 on my journey & experience in photography. This will be interesting. Doing a writeup on photography every single day…..will be challenging and fun. One down 365 to go. 2012, I’m ready for you.

for daily photography-related tips and articles, visit http://www.elophotos.com or add us on your BlackBerry 271E3BC8