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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My 1st Professional Wedding Coverage: Praise & Tosin Fowowe


WoW! It was 7 years yesterday (September 16, 2006) when I handled my first DSLR (Olympus e500 with 2 kit lenses) to shoot my very first wedding. It was the union of two of my friends Praise & Tosin. Going through my archives, I could easily see some improvements I’ve made over time in covering weddings. I decided to post the pictures unedited so everyone will know where the journey started for me photographically. I think the pictures we take now look nicer; perhaps the couple can hire us for the 10th Anniversary REUNION. Here’s to wishing Praise a Glorious Birthday and a Happy Anniversary. 🙂

 

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS


My week officially started on Tuesday. No, I didn’t skip work on Monday but as I stood in line at Silverbird Cinemas for ‘free’ popcorn and drink; the sweet aroma of the corn filtering through my nostrils and enveloping my sinuses, I felt like my week had just started.

The trip to the movies was sponsored by eloPhotos as a treat/field trip of some sorts. There’s something about seeing great movies that sharpens one’s artistic mind.

Not too long after arriving at the movies, I saw about five photography colleagues that had come to see the same movie I came to see, Elysium. I thought that was interesting. Perhaps we photographers should speak to the management of Silverbird Cinemas and see if we can strike a deal, where photographers enjoy a movie discount.

While still waiting to get my free snack, I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying, “…you could go in and see the movie for ten minutes, then come back out and the popcorn line wouldn’t be so long anymore”. I didn’t have to turn to recognize the voice; it was my boss. I couldn’t believe Mr Seun was back at the Cinema to see the same movie for the third time! I had left him and the rest of the team at the office since they all had seen the movie. No one knew Mr Seun had plans to ‘sneak’ out of the office to see the movie again.

I finally got my popcorn and fanta then found the cinema room. The movie ran for a little less than two hours and in one word, I would simply describe it as AWESOME. In case you haven’t seen it, I do not want to spoil the fun for you so I won’t give you the gist. GO SEE IT.

Tuesday ended on an interesting note. My alternate cellphone got lost in a bus and I didn’t realize it till I got home. I tried appealing to the good nature of whoever picked it by sending text messages; since he/ she wouldn’t pick my call. It didn’t work.

The next day came along and I lost an earring. Perhaps I am having my things walk away from me, one at a time. The day’s highlight was having Maximus of Phaneross Photography come and speak to eloPhotos interns on the topic, “Improving Your Photography”. It was an insightful 3-hours lecture.

As if the week had not been strange enough for me, Wednesday afternoon had to have it’s own element of weirdness. I boarded a bus headed for Ikorodu from Ojota. Just before we got to Ikorodu, I found that almost everyone in the bus was talking about some guy, a muslim cleric, who died years ago. They said he recently made an ‘appearance’ on the wall of a mosque at Owode area. His image was said to have appeared on a wall. People were reported to have taken pictures of this wonder and were now selling 5 X 7″ photo prints in traffic. Strange story or biggest scam of the year? You decide.

Lagos being the crazy city it is, I never run out of amazing things to see everyday. Things such as a man holding the cab door open for a lady to enter first. This happened on Thursday. I was taken aback, surprised to see this guy who didn’t know me, open the door for me. This may seem ordinary to you but after a week of seeing even pregnant ladies been pushed off by desperate passengers hoping to get in a bus, seeing a gentleman was very refreshing.

Thursday turned out to be a busy day. We had an event-Dieko and Tunbosun’s engagement- to cover. I headed to the groom’s hotel room to take shots of him while my colleague covered the bride. The groom was quite camera-shy but after chatting with him and doing my best to make him relax, he got comfortable with having his pictures taken.

The event was fun to cover and will stand out in my mind as the first event where I was served food. If I had any doubts in my mind about wedding photography been physically challenging, those doubts got cleared on Friday morning. I woke up wondering what hit me. I became very aware of muscles I never knew I had. My leg felt like it had 50 kg weights strapped to it.

On Friday, we had what you could call a strategy meeting. Mr Seun Akisanmi met with the interns and discussed what we learnt at the previous day’s event and what we could do better subsequently; especially on saturday for the church wedding and reception.

On my way home on Friday, I met a former school colleague at Ojota and we got talking. We both graduated from the same faculty. He asked if I worked close by. I was dressed very casually but looked smart. I proudly told him, “I am now a photographer and work at Ikeja”. I think I impressed myself with the confidence with which I said it. It felt good.

It was a week full of fun, weird happenings and ridiculous stuff but I am glad it is over.

My name is Ronke Alao & I am proud to be a female photographer.

 

Bunmi & Tope’s Wedding Album


Finally out. The pages of the album of our June 15th wedding. Drop your comments and let us know what you think.

Titi & Dami’s Wedding


Here’s a new slide show we just did for Titi & Dami’s wedding celebration. You can also view the pictures below. Let us know what you think.


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Grace & Obadiah’s Wedding Album


4 years ago today marks the day Grace & Obadiah went to the altar. I received a text message from the bride asking us to upload the album we gave them then so the world will know how beautiful the day was. Happy Wedding Anniversary to one of the most adventurous couples we’ve been privileged to cover: Grace & Obadiah.

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Leke & Seyi’s Wedding in Pictures


Attached herein are the pages of the wedding album of a beautiful couple whose wedding we covered in August. Let us know what you think.

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The best act after the curtains closed.


I met her and her dashing handsome groom-to-be about a month before the planned wedding day.   I came to a quick conclusion that she really knows what she wants and how to go about getting it. I sensed she would not let any chance to tweak every thing into shape pass her by.

I guessed that if you positioned everything in perspective, she must be quite meticulous, thus far, and creatively so. For a start, if she wasn’t tall her groom-to-be compensated adequately. If she was tan brown-skinned, her groom was more than three shades lighter.  That she was careful to choose what represents her well was not left in doubt – here she was with eloPhotos about talking the wedding pictures.  

I couldnt help imagining if she had a role to play in Hollywood movie,

she would probably do well as a producer/ director and actor at the same time.

When the day finally came, I got to see that begin to play out.

By now we had gotten through with post vows photo-shoot the day earlier in her beautiful princess A-line gown with the debonair groom. That previous day, We had to work on the groom to bring out the smiles we needed for the great pictures for the larger part of the shoot, but while the chief executive director was fully on hand to ensure that happened,

the bride played her role(s) effortlessly

It was the traditional engagement ceremony on this second day that was the main event. As our job was to make sure every moment was well captured, I did more than a little bit of exercise, and my colleagues can testify. That It was a warm West African day wasnt any help either. May God bless photographers. I was very conscious that it had become humid under my shirt, from the aerobics, but we dont give up, we go on.  

I found out as the ceremony progressed that the bride’s mother was actually from my hometown, but I wouldnt let that out at this time, because that new level of familiarity could become distracting from the main focus, my lens on the right subject at the right time.

I was so devoted I thought.

The bride was playing her part well, because she always seemed to know where the cameras were and as soon as she knew they were trained on her, she had ample poses and smiles for our shutter buttons to splurge on. Fashion shoot? No. Top wedding photography in progress.

Just as I was heaving a sigh of relief that the MC had brought the ceremony to its logical conclusion, I felt somone tap on my shoulder. I had only managed to draw my last ounce of strength or so I thought to close my camera bag zipper.  Then my colleague broke it to me that, just outside the venue, some close friends and associates wanted to have pictures taken with the couple.

Nooooo! If this wasn’t fair to my ears, I was sure the bride would be even more tired than I was and the groom too.

Gosh we already had soo many pictures taken!  
‘Well I didnt sign up for this,‘ I thought. When I got to the spot where the fun melee was coming from under my colleague’s supervision, what I saw hit me like meeting an unexpected old friend on the bus.   The groom was all smiles,  really, radiant glowing smiles. This was priceless, as it didnt come out as brilliant during our shoot the day before. When I surveyed the brides face too, I could see some inner light had been switched on. Oh my goodness, these were great post-reception pictures I would be missing forever!

On their own my fingers began to fumble with the zipper on my bag and in a flash the camera was out and snapping away in tandem with my colleagues.

It was awesome

and sooner than I imagined, the tiredness I was feeliing dissipated. Many times the groom literally swept the bride off her feet and cuddled so close to her you could feel the love through the lens.

So although we almost had a script we followed when working with this bride so that ‘every moment captured’ was not in doubt, but some of the best moments came through when the curtains had been drawn on the whole movie! And we were there to capture it!