…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
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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. 🙂

 

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

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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?