The Day I Was ARRESTED in Ekiti for…


It was indeed an August occasion. One that I would never forget. I had been invited by Obasola Bamigbola to teach on the Business of Photography to a class hungry photographers in Ado-Ekiti. He had proposed we charge a fee of N2k and limit attendance to 10 students and I suggested we reduce the fee so as to reduce the excuse of the average potential participant for not making it because it was “too expensive”.

The workshop was to hold on August 28 by 7:30am and I eventually got to the city around 1am. My sleep was short, my excitement was high, my expectation was optimistic. After a short meeting at 7am with one of Ekiti’s finest photographers, Femi Adagunodo, I headed to the location where the workshop was to be held (Glintz Multimedia).

The time was almost 8am and my nervous quotient was raised by a factor of 100. Just 5 more minutes and the workshop would start officially. Suddenly, I heard the voice of someone that sounded like a thug. He was asking for confirmation of where the photography workshop was to hold. After Obasola answered him in the affirmative, he insisted that no one should leave the room that we were all under arrest. Truth be told, I honestly thought it was a joke.

After summoning his fellow thug compatriots, I realized that we were being treated like criminals whose crime was murder. At that moment, I knew that the police really isn’t your friend. Or are they? I was about to find out.

After arriving at the police station, we were directed to the office of the person that was supposedly the “oga at the top”. I was appalled at the level of treatment a police official hurled at a citizen before hearing their side of the story of whatever they were charged with. Apparently, the unwritten rule is that you’re “guilty until proven innocent”. The Oga would eventually ask the other 8-10 photographers that were arrested with us to step outside while Seun Akisanmi (that’s me) and Obasola Bamigbola remain in the room.

Present in the same room were three individuals that had apparently filed the petition that warranted our arrests. The OgaATtheTOP flipped though a few pages of stapled petition papers and with a disfigured face (as if he just drank bitter leaf juice), demanded to know who I was and what I was doing in their terrain. After a 60-second brief reply to his interrogative question, I started glancing through the pages of my internal memory book to see who I might have offended enough to petition the police for my arrest. Could it be the 23 NiPHEC vendors I still owe one outstanding or the other? Could it be my mother-in-law that I’m yet to deliver her 60th birthday album? Could it be my friend whose daughter’s birthday album was still in my archives? I was blank.

The charges against me was three-fold and had been initiated by the leadership of the Ekiti State Association of PROFESSIONAL Photographers. The first charge against me was that I had advertised a training program that was part of an embezzlement scheme to defraud participants of their hard-earned N1000 and present certificates to them that will make them go into the photography world and “spoil” their market. It sounds funny right? You should have seen how I was smiling when I heard that. The words “preposterous” and “ludicrous” began to play table tennis in my medula oblongata (sorry, I’m a distant relative of Senator Patrick Too Much Grammar).

The second charge was that we claimed to be PROFESSIONAL Photographers without associating ourselves with the “alpha & omega” association of professional photographers in the industry. At this point I was looking at the faces of the 3 accusers of the brethren, two of whom were older than my father. Suddenly, I felt sorry for them after reading what seemed to be deep bitterness in their eyes. They were really cross with me that we didn’t liaise with their association before advertising such a workshop. Honestly, I felt compassion for them in my soul.

At that very moment, I had a mini-trance that gave me an understanding of what people like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr went through. I was encouraged knowing instinctively what such an incidence will do to the proliferation of the gospel of photography. I smiled. I frowned. The thought of such “association” members loosing their “market” share of clients to the advent of digital technology made me feel sorry for a set of people that were unwilling to acclimatized to the wind of “positive” change blowing in the industry.

The third charge against me was read: that Seun Akisanmi & Obasola Bamgbola have done a similar workshop in the last one year and embezzled participants’ N1000 without offering them value for their money. At that moment, the two words that were playing table-tennis in my head had a tie: this was both preposterous and ludicrous.

I honestly don’t feel it necessary to even start explaining the speech I gave in my defense. The summary of what I later “educated” the clueless Oga of police was that IT IS NOT COMPULSORY to join an association of skilled workers (barbing, photography, hair styling, makeup artistry, etc) before you can practice what you’re passionate about. Ofcourse if what you do for a living involves risking someone’s life one way or the order (e.g. Medicine, law, etc) you’ll need a license from a governing authority. But photography hasn’t gotten to that level yet (anywhere in the world) that you’ll need a license for practicing.

We were at the station for almost 3 hours and were eventually dismissed after lawyers from the Justice Department came to our aid to educate the association executives and Police on our right to willfully join an association. According to Section 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria, we have the right to “peaceful” assembly and association. If photography associations feel threatened by the new generation of photographers rising up now, the foundation of their tenets of association needs to be re-visited. Especially when I’m being accused of training people that will get into the industry and start charging N50 per picture instead of N100. If only they know we’re out to raise world-class photographers and not just Ekiti-based local champions.

I left the police station with a sorry heart for the system of Policing we have in this country. The same Oga of Police (along with his assistant) that had disrespected us when we showed up at the station were now asking us to “give them something”. I gave him something quite alright. I looked into my wallet and handed him the last copy of a small rectangular paper I had on me: my NiPHEC complimentary card. If he was surprised, it didn’t show on his face.

The workshop was eventually rescheduled to 2pm and we had a fulfilling time in the presence of the Lord, sorry, participating Photographers. Getting back to Lagos, I sensed within me that the industry is on the right track of transformation. Incidences like this one will only help promote the impact photography is having (and will continue to have) in our society. I also made a resolution not to be forced to join an association whose mentality borders on the belief that the sky is too SMALL for all us to fly.

So after being arrested in Ekiti for being an associationless photography preacher & practitioner, my passion for what I do has been renewed. Dear WORLD, get ready for the revolution that is coming…

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Participants of the Ado-Ekiti Photography Workshop

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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.

 

An INTENSIVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP by Dotun Ayodeji


Here’s a forthcoming workshop you should consider attending. It’s being organized by one of the photographers I admire in the industry. A worthwhile investment if you ask me. You can also check out his beautiful collection of pictures at DOTUNSBLOG.com

Topics
Day 1
– Basic discussion of gear and equipment
– How to define your style of photography based on your choice of lens and perspective
– My simple approach to shooting weddings. Shooting details, the story, portraits, formals and reception
– Realistic flash Techniques and how I use it at weddings
– How to influence the flow of your wedding day photographs with a strong timeline
– Posing and directing your clients – The simple or high fashion style
– Building a referral base of clients who love your work
– How to attract the high end client market or a client base above your current market
– how to shoot for your clients not other photographers
– Branding basics and pricing
– Blog this don’t blog that
– Portfolio review

Day 2
– Live shoot with hands on instruction
– How to find the light
– Live edit – how I process my image from capture to print.
– Ask me any question.

dotun's blog wedding workshop

A Hard Lesson To Learn


He finally gave his verdict on our unacceptable behavior of reporting late to work and our failure to meet  deadlines on assigned tasks. In a soft, polite and cool voice; my boss said “…with the exception of Ronke Alao, the rest of you guys are to embark on a 14 days leave just to re-assess, think things through and possibly refresh yourselves.”

The news of the unplanned leave suddenly struck me hard like a tornado and it left me totally speechless & confused. At that critical moment, all I thought of was the fact that I am going on an unwanted leave that would last this long. Honestly, just like the popular Warri slang would say “I come weak like dodo, I swear”.

On Independence Day, I woke up with disturbing thoughts that I have actually commenced my unplanned leave. Quickly, I turned on my television set to listen to Mr. President’s  nationwide,  live broadcast scheduled for 7:00am. It happened to be one of the usual sermons we hear yearly that the government is doing this and that, that Nigeria will get better. I sometimes wonder if such broadcast can for once be said without the words “fellow Nigerians” because seriously I have heard it more often than necessary. Anyway, I am one of those patriotic Nigerians that still have an iota of hope that despite our diverse cultural differences, problems and security challenges; this country can still survive, grow and become very prosperous. It all requires every one of us to have a right mindset and be actively involved in electing leaders that can represent us and uphold our mandate.

The public holiday declared by the government wasn’t going to be all rest either for me as I was meant to cover the 50th birthday ceremony of a lady to be held at Iteri Palace. Arriving at the event, I was so surprised to discover that I was the only professional photographer present for the party. The event started two hours way behind schedule due to the heavy downpour of rains that lasted for more than an hour. The whole party turned out to be very entertaining with plenty to eat, drink and lovely melodious music that thrilled every one present. I had an exciting time photographing guests of the celebrant who were mostly dressed in colorful Yoruba attires.

The rest of the week went really fast. On Thursday I and my colleague, Toye Peters went to cover the court wedding ceremony of Bisola and Olumide at the Ikoyi marriage registry. It was a special event for me as that happened to be my first time of covering a court registry wedding. It was indeed worth remembering as every moment I spent photographing the couple and guests present was worthwhile.

The traditional marriage ceremony was performed on Saturday according to Islamic rite. I had a bit of challenge photographing during the event as the bride’s uncle’s house which was the venue used was not properly lit. Also, the two sitting rooms used were so congested and the main sitting room where the couple and most of the guests were, had a brown ceiling. This made it difficult for the light from my  flash to bounce back. I had to tilt my flash head at an angle of 60 and 45 degrees while photographing.

In conclusion, it has been a great week overall as I have learnt in a hard way to be more disciplined, more time-conscious and that no matter what the situation may be, always learn to meet deadline on assigned tasks.

Photographically Yours,
Onodje Oshevwiyore

…And the Bride DIED


On October 4, I concluded a deal with a wedding client that would have turned out to be one of the most interesting I’ve had this year. I covered the sister’s wedding 4 years ago and they insisted that it is “Seun Akisanmi” in person that they want to cover the one-day event. We had been talking for about 2 weeks but the deal was finally sealed on October 4. Or so I thought.

For a wedding that was supposed to hold before the end of the year, they ought to have dropped a part payment of at least 80% to help secure and lock down the date on my calendar. What made me more excited about the job was that the pay was good; good enough to help reduce my outstanding deficits. I gave thanks to God for the timely job.

And so it happened that I gave the client a call on October 12 to remind them about the importance of making a financial commitment. It was then I was told that the bride-to-be died on October 5 (the day after the deal was sealed). I was heartbroken twice: first for a selfish reason and secondly for the groom.

I wondered how the groom must have felt knowing that the person he was about to be married to died a few weeks before the wedding. And for reasons that perhaps could have been treated properly; malaria/typhoid. I was heartbroken because of the loss of financial resources that could have lifted some of my burdens. It was at that moment I realized that some people that weep at funerals do so for reasons beyond what people think. I realized some perhaps are heartbroken because the dead will not be able to pay back the N52 million debt he owed before his demise.

Beyond my selfish reasons, I realized the importance of the relationship I have with this client (and all my clients). I realized that every client that comes my way is for a specific purpose. Consequently, I asked myself the following question: Would this have happened if I had been praying for the client?

Perhaps if I had spent time praying for this client (something which I usually don’t do and only remember to do sometimes for selfish reasons), will the story be written thus? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m beginning to be more conscious of the spiritual aspect of my connections with people. I’m beginning to realize that every client, protege or mentor in my life is there for a reason. And the least I can do (without first considering the financial rewards that might come my way) is to pray for them.

The tragedy still weighs on my heart and I wondered if it could have been averted. At least I’ll be $3500 better if the bride had not died. God help us, God help us all.

#whateverittakes
The Photography Workshop that will help you STANDOUT from the crowd. Visit http://www.elophotos.com/whateverittakes for more details

 

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. 🙂

 

Shooting Aliko Dangote’s Daughter


English: CAPE TOWN\SOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 - Ali...

English: CAPE TOWN\SOUTH AFRICA, 06MAY11 – Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Nigeria, during the African Fellowship Programe with Young Global Leaders announcement at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 held in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 May 2011. Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org /Photo Matthew Jordaan matthew.jordaan@inl.co.za (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I got a call from Aliko Dangote last month, (I am not name-dropping); he wanted to know about our wedding packages. Realizing it wasn’t a prank and I was really speaking to Dangote, I adjusted well in my seat and faked a cough. I gave him a price using a multiplying factor of
17 times our standard price. Now I know you’re dropping your jaw in surprise and thinking, “This guy is a thief” but my dear, it’s Aliko Dangote. If he is calling me, it can only mean one thing, he already made up his mind to hire us. A person like him won’t waste time window shopping. Forgive me, Dangote wasn’t the one getting married; his daughter was. The wedding was scheduled to be a two-part event; the traditional wedding at his hometown in Kano and the reception on his yacht the day after.

After a couple of emails back and forth, the contract was signed. The flight and hotel itinerary for me and my two assistant was sent. I got a shocker on getting to the airport; we were all booked for first class. Now, I know you are wondering if flying first class is really a shocker. For a first time flier, flying first class turned out to be a pleasant surprise and only a thoughtful client would do that.

I should have known the airport scenario was preparation for good things to come. We were checked into the penthouse suite of 5-star hotel in Kano (can’t remember the name now). Now for the Dangotes, this is how they roll but for me and my team, this is the best treatment we have gotten so far from a client in our entire photography career so you can understand our excitement.

Whoever came up with the statement “ Money is the root of all evil” I am guessing has never been to Dangote’s house. The house, sorry, the edifice is a 16-Bedroom mansion (yea, I counted), two executive living room and a standard living room. The dining room is the largest I have ever seen, an Italian exquisite design which can sit twenty-four people at once. I know you can wait to see the pictures now but indulge me, I have not even gotten to the best part yet.

The bride’s room is spacious like Maracana stadium but not as big though. Taking her portrait session there was absolutely amazing; super beautiful bride plus beautiful room equals no serious editing.

Another interesting thing that fascinated me about this job was their timeliness and orderliness. The event started at the exact time stated (9am promptly), a few meters away from the Olympic-sized swimming pool and within three hours, the traditional ceremony was done. We had the couple’s session and family portrait at the artificial resort in the compound.

The reception was held the next day on his yacht. I don’t need to describe it (ii.e. yacht) because I won’t want you to start cursing your luck. The event was a more advanced version of R Kelly‘s ‘Happy People’ video. It was a suit and tie event and trust me when I say the rich Hausas sure know how to clean up nice, they really do. I had lots of fun shooting this wedding and just when I fixed my super wide angle lens (Canon 8mm- 10mm lens) on my camera to take a panoramic shoot of the yacht, I heard
someone call out my name. Tayo! Tayo!! Tayo!!! I turned around to see who it was; it was my mum staring down at me on the bed, wanting to know if I was not going to the office today. “So I had been dreaming”, I asked myself.

I am supposed to write on how my week went at eloPhotos Studios but the week had been on pause mode because I am still waiting by my phone and expecting Aliko Dangote to call me to cover his daughter’s wedding.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and I am a Dreaming Photographer.

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 Groom that almost missed his wedding


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The following conversation was between a couple whose wedding we recently covered. The groom came very late to church and the bride was in tears thinking he won’t show up. The conversational exchange was written on a paper that I would eventually find in my care.

Bride: You made me cry in public.
Groom: Why were you crying?
Bride: Uncontrollable emotions. You kept me waiting at the altar, and you also kept the church waiting. It’s a sign. Mschewwww!
Groom: What sign? I couldn’t knot the bow tie, couldn’t get socks too.
Bride: you have come again oh! Bad sign!!! The gist will also go round. Bad sign.
Groom: it’s our wedding day babe and there is no bad sign unless you’re envisaging something, and who cares about what other peeps think.
Groom: You’re slowly ruining my day.
Bride: You want to turn the tables? I forgive you, tell me sorry.
Groom: I have been saying sorry since I came. I won’t come to my own wedding late intentionally.

#LOBATAN

If you were the bride whose groom was running 1 hour late and not picking his calls, what would you do?

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


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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

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And the award for THE WORST GROOM OF THE CENTURY goes to…


English: Fingers Crossed

Image via Wikipedia

It was a few years back. The wedding was a few hours away from our Lagos office. We were recommended by the bride’s sister & did not meet the groom until the day of the traditional wedding.

The traditional wedding was slated to start by 12 noon. Usually 95% of traditional weddings we’ve covered do not start on time. The start time for this traditional wedding would break all records. After waiting for the arrival of the groom for what seemed to be an eternity, the groom finally showed up about 4 hours late.

I was so curious to meet such an interesting groom that would arrive that late for his wedding. I was more curious to know the reason for the lateness. If my memory is right, the reason wasn’t cogent enough for me to allocate a portion of my brain to it for remembrance.

I finally got to where he was waiting to be called in by the family of the bride. I was shocked. It was the first time I would meet a groom that was drinking alcohol & smoking at the same time on his wedding day. Maybe he was nervous. God knows. He was a chimney. He would brag about how many packs of cigarettes he could smoke in a 24 hour period. I should have checked the Guinness Book of World Records; he should be there somewhere.

With a bottle of whiskey on his left hand & a cigarette bud on his right he quizzed me. “So you’re the sucker that wants to empty my bank account,” he asked. “Your pictures better be worth it.” I assured him that he would not be disappointed. I thought to myself the type of husband he would be. If we were to go by first impressions, this wasn’t it at all.

Anyway, the traditional ceremony was over by 6:30pm. As I was going back to where I lodged, I decided to stop by the nearest atm to get some cash. You would not believe who pulled up right ahead of me. Guess again. You got it. The very groom I met a few hours earlier. He was going back home and pulled over at the sight of a lady in front of the bank.

He started asking the lady the usual questions: Where are you going, What’s your name, etc. I was shocked all over again. I thought this guy just got married. For heaven’s sake, the evidence was still fresh on my Olympus e500 dslr. Within 2 minutes I was surprised to see the lady write on a piece of paper what seemed to be her phone number. She gave it to the groom and he promised to call her.

I watched from a distance and would have been caught red-handed had I given into my instincts to bring out my camera to record the moment. He smiled to himself and had the look of someone who just got another trophy. That should count for another record in the Guinness Book: shortest time to get a lady stranger to give you her phone number. It would have taken me at least 50 minutes.

I asked myself why he decided to get married at all. I would later find out that the bride was pregnant and he had no choice but to go to the altar. Or maybe he loved her. Who knows.

Well the drama continued the next day. It was the church wedding. He arrived about 30 minutes late. With eyes all red & a tired look he apologized to family members for his shortcoming.

I later learnt that his bachelor’s party was the night before and he had the experience of his life. He went to bed drunk and woke up late. His best man who was supposed to be his ‘alarm clock’ was also a co-culprit. They finally got to the wedding and I was happy it wasn’t a scenario in which the groom changed his mind. Maybe it would have been better for the bride if he had changed his mind. I don’t know.

He was able to win the praise, admiration & forgiveness of the pastors when he donated a “large amount” in dollars for the church’s building project. The way the pastors prayed for him was almost a sign that he was guaranteed to make heaven. The pastors were happy, he was happy that they were happy & I was shocked all over again. “What a groom,” I thought to myself.

The award-winning moment finally came when the pastor was about to JOIN the couple. “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife……” While the pastor was still speaking he looked back over to where his best man was sitting. Winking at him, he signalled with his head that the best man should take a look at his hands. His two hands were positioned at his back and looking at his fingers, I got the message he was trying to send the best man: HIS FINGERS WERE CROSSED.

“….till death do you part,” the pastor concluded. With fingers still crossed, he replied “Yes I do.” Can you believe that. Crossing his fingers, smiling and making such a commitment. I was shocked all over again. I never knew a groom like that existed.

For those of us that might not know the meaning of crossed-fingers, it signifies a high level of unseriousness when a promise is being made. In other words, if I were to cross my fingers and promise to cover your wedding at no cost to you, DO NOT TRUST ME because I’M JUST JOKING. That was what the groom was saying: DON’T TAKE MY WORD TO THE BANK.

So it is to that effect that I present the award for THE WORST GROOM OF THE CENTURY to ……. Well, he knows himself. I don’t want to be ambushed on my way to work tomorrow for mentioning names. May God help his wife. May God help all the grooms & husbands out there making promises with crossed fingers. May God help us all.

If you were the photographer that saw his fingers crossed, what will you do?