Photoprnenure! not a bed of roses…….
As a professional Photographer, ethical standards and principles should be adopted, well, more or so I learnt in my photography class way back.
I remember I always told my sister when I go to parties or event to cover shoots, most times, she tells me, ‘Michael make sure you bring something o’ and am always like, ‘Tosin dear am going to work and not to grub myself out o’ then she rolls her eyes and says and I quote’ oh please, don’t give me the professional photographer line again, you can’t accept food they offer right’ then she rolls her eyes again (believe me, she rolls her eyes a lot, have known her since like, forever).
On this fateful day, a saturday in december to be precise, I was to cover a 2(two) year old boy small birthday party some where in Surulere, Lagos. I had met these clients at a home family shoot I did for a friend, I guess they admired the way I conducted the shoot, so thus, we had a date to do their son’s birthday shoot about a month later, given this scenario, it would be assumed these potential clients knew the photographer’s worth.–
Lesson 1- never assume, the clients knows your worth! NEVER). After so much follow up from me, the day finally came (sighs).
It was suppose to be a birthday party, I however got there early enough though. Yea! I arrived there by 2pm, the celebrant was asleep, (Photographers should expect this a lot at children photography shoots) they couldn’t wake him up because he had been playful all Morning, therefore, waking him up will make him cranky all through the shoot (which by the way, is not Good for me). As I waited, about two hours there about, i was offered food, I declined as it isn’t professional for me you know- am thankful I did though.
Lo and behold, we began shooting after the parent had to wake the 2 year old celebrant, and believe me, it was indeed a cranky beginning for the shoot, but thankfully the little celebrant fell into the photo shoot mood much later. It became more fun.
We finished shooting, now it was time to talk business, I named my VERY FAIR price, and to my dismay, the client said it was too expensive. At this juncture, I realized it was my fault not to have discussed price from the onset –
Lesson 2 – Never let familiarity mix with the principles of business.
‘The most embarrassing part is where a friend of the client told me that I possibly shouldn’t be charging that much simply because I ate the party food and apparently, I was charging for transport fare as well’ hmmm.
Lesson no 3 – Be as professional as possible with your clients from the very first moment of procurement, (regardless clients are friends or family).
Well, the old me could have been angry or shown the obvious embarrassment but considering the business side of Photography, ‘Customers are always right’.
I eventually reduced price for the shoot, but the client still wasn’t satisfied- at that moment, I was ready to deliver for free than come too low at an unreasonable price. I could have shared this price with you guys but, am afraid I will definitely be fined by the Nigerian association of Professional Photographers#winks.
It felt like i did a free job though, my consolation however is the experience I got from this job, thus one of my historical experiences starting out as a business Photographer archived! it was indeed worth the stress.
Yea, which brings me to –Lesson no 4 – Never let a bad business outcome cloud your judgment about other ones to come, let every experience be a challenge!
I sure learnt lessons from this experience, hope you can learn from this and relate it to your businesses and your day to day activities.
Thank you for reading, do have a beautiful day ahead.