Why Your Best Client May Be Your Last Client


So I recently had the privilege of hiring a cobbler to do a customized sewing design on an album box I wanted to deliver to a client. I explained to him the design I wanted and emphasized the importance of delivering a neat job.

30 seconds into the sewing, I knew in my heart I would never work with this vendor again. His design was sloppy and neatness seemed to be enemies with him. I had planned to give him about 4 other materials to sew for me and decided right that moment that he will not lay his needle on another of my materials. At the end of his 5 minutes work of technical imperfection, he billed me N100. I hurriedly paid without negotiating; couldn’t wait to get him out of my sight.

If only he knew that I had budgeted N2000 for all things I wanted to sow. If only he had asked for my opinion on the sloppy job he just delivered. If only he had been more technically proficient in the carriage of his expertise. He looked at my expressionless face and perhaps thought he had secured a great client in me. I thanked him for his time and sent him away.

I immediately summoned my colleagues to share with them a customer-service revelation I had stumbled upon. Sometimes when we deliver our jobs to clients that don’t seem to say much (apart from paying and thanking us), we should be a little skeptical. It is important to prod customers that “seemed” to be satisfied and ask what they honestly think of your service delivery or product quality. Sometimes we’re happy for the $2000 we just harvested from our best client without being conscious of the fact that “our best client” might not have been completely satisfied. Hence we ultimately loose out from the $20000 jobs he would eventually bring our way.

Buttom line is for us not just to be quick to charge and collect money from our clients; we should try to be 100% sure that they are satisfied. For only 100% satisfied customers will help to be your loyal and faithful BRAND MARKETERS.

How much should a wedding client deposit before you’re bound to cover their celebration?


Find us on Google+

That is a debatable question. Last month marked the 4-years wedding anniversary of one of our clients. The bride approached us to be the official wedding photographer of the day. Being a close friend at the moment, she felt she deserved a discount of some sort. I eventually agreed and told her the condition of the discount warranted that she would have to pay the full discounted amount before the wedding day.

It was a 2-day celebration and we eventually settled for N100,000 (approximately $650). After paying in bits & pieces she was eventually able to make a total deposit of N55,000 before the wedding. I explained to her that this wasn’t acceptable as a large percentage of clients who don’t pay their wedding photographer upfront usually end up defaulting. She explained that it will not be her story & that she will pay the balance not later than 2 weeks after the wedding.

My greatest mistake was to have agreed to her terms. As at the time of this writing the balance is still unpaid and they are yet to get their wedding album. The agreement was that if they didn’t pay the full amount they wouldn’t get any pictures; not even 1 soft-copy.

Sometimes I wonder what the couple would tell their guests & children whenever the wedding album is requested. If I were to go back in time, I would not have accepted the wedding.

That particular wedding made me take my wedding contract & agreement more serious. Now everything is written down and signed by the couple & the photographer weeks or months before the day of celebration. We’ve even had a client that told us after his wedding that he thought he was getting 2 albums and I had to ask him to check the agreement again. He apparently forgot.

One of the major conditions in the wedding contract is for the client to pay a minimum of 80% of the total bill before we will be “bound” to be the official photographer. In cases where we’ve worked with the client before, the client sometimes pays 100% before the event. Considering the fact that most of our clients are “referred” to us, there’s an assurance that we’re likely not going to disappoint on delivering what we promised.

So next time you meet a wedding client that is bent on paying 50% and balancing later, think twice. There’s been many scenarios in which the client is supposedly a trustworthy individual and I’ve been disappointed afterward. Besides, how come the caterer, musician, MC, band, decorator, & other vendors get between 80-100% payment upfront. It’s your call.

Structure the payment plan in a way that will favor yourself: the photographer. Even if my client were to pay my balance now, what album or quality package should I deliver: the package of 4 years ago or my present package (considering the fact that i did not give them a written agreement then)? Be the judge

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

Goodbye to Pictures on Facebook


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It is with a heavy heart I write this. As at 3am on December 20, I completed the deletion of over 90% of our pictures on Facebook (facebook.com/elophotos) and our main site http://www.elophotos.com. I felt that was the best decision to take at the moment.

I got a call on Dec 19 from a client friend that we covered her wedding 2 years ago. She had just been presented with the maiden version of a new magazine, Wedding Shakara. Her wedding pictures were printed in the magazine and she was calling to find out if I gave them the pictures. Apparently they had downloaded the pictures from our page on facebook where we had it showcased for the bride (with her approval and permission) & her friends to view.

The pictures were used without the permission of the photographer or the client. There has to be a professional law in Magazine Publishing 101 that states the unauthorized use of pictures. Maybe I’m missing something.
The client was shocked; I was disappointed. I was disappointed because this is not the first or second time this has happened in the past few weeks. Just a few days ago we had a potential client visit our office only to be surprised that we were the ones that photographed the much publicized picture of a girl, my 3 year old daughter, fetching water with a waste bin. The client had recently seen the pictures in a newspaper without any photo credits.

It is painful because the unauthorized use of such pictures increases the probability of a client not trusting the photographer; especially if a privacy agreement prohibiting the unauthosized use of such pictures was signed in the first place.

I remember another client that called a few months back to ask if I was the one that gave the Style magazine (This Day Newspapers) her picture for use on an article. She didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t give them the permission to use the picture; especially because the magazine imprinted ‘photo by elophotos’ at the footnote of the picture. I would have thought that a media outfit like This Day/Style Magazine would have sought permission before using such pictures.

But then again, maybe the fault is mine. If the pictures had been watermarked, potential users would have contacted us directly for either purchasing the license for use or getting the appropriate permission for publicity. Even with the concept of water-marking ones pictures, we’ve had our water-marked pictures used on a cd-jacket cover that was used to sell cds.

Perhaps the rules might be different in the journalism world. Perhaps the unwritten rule is that “if the picture is available on the internet, you can download and use to your satisfaction.” Perhaps there are other laws I am unaware of with regard to pictures & copyright. Will somebody please enlighten me on this matter. This Day, Wedding Shakara, anyone….please enlighten me.

I guess I should stick to uploading client pictures to passworded galleries online. That might help curb this a little. Either way, it is to this effect that I had to delete over 90% of our pictures on facebook & elophotos.com (including the photo album of the Superstar, Supermodel ANUOLUWAPO).

I apologize to all our fans that will miss all the pictures. We will attempt to watermark all the important pictures and re-upload them to our website before the end of January 2012. Apparently this is something we ought to have started years ago. Forgive us our trespasses as we continually learn the art of this business.

Although I know that water-marking the pictures still won’t stop those that are bent on using them, it will at least reduce the unauthorized use of such pictures. I just wish there is a way facebook could provide the option of not allowing some pictures to be downloaded. Till they get around to doing that (if they have done that already, please write me and let me know how to activate such features), I’ll stick to water-marking and using sites like Smugmug.com or wordpress.com that provide the type of security I need.

If you’re a potential client reading this, please understand that this is the reason you’re not seeing as many sample pictures as will make you convinced we’re capable to meeting your photography needs. Just give us a call & we’ll arrange a meeting for you to be able to view as many works as your time will permit. Either way, our site (elophotos.com) will once again be pictureful before the end of January, 2012.