There wont be any mention of the thriving Nigerian wedding business without the wedding photographers who continue to capture every breathtaking, quality and inspiring moment of a hit wedding and bring them to life through their gorgeous pictures. Wedding photography has gone behind, Camera, lights, Action, it now requires a form of diligence, patience, inspiration, creativity  and paying attention to details. Popular Nigerian photographers whose specialty are Weddings include; Jide Odukoya, Jide Alakija, Dotun, OghenewoAkara, Kevwe, Klalap, Wani Olatunde and a host of others. What has made these successful wedding photographers stand out is their craftsmanship and resourcefulness. For aspiring wedding photographers, there are steps to take to become master wedding photographers, these steps are highlighted below:

 1. Details are so
important:
 The cake, gloves, table
design, wedding centerpieces, brides shoes, bridal train outfits, catching of
the wedding bouquet, little groom and little bride holding of hands may seem so
unimportant but they matter, they give awesomeness and add breathtaking quality
to the finished pictures.
2. Train and be
retrained:
 Understand the
photography Industry, either go to a photography school, learn from an
experienced photographer or take an online course. But your learning does not
stop with physical classes. Keep up with recent industrial trends, new
photography equipment and camera products; know all the brand names photo
magazines, wedding sites. Attend photography and wedding conferences,
workshops, seminars, add value to yourself and become more exposed. 
Learn from the
experiences, mistakes and successes of others. 
3.   Get
assistance:
 Do not be a Jack of all
trades, seeking for help even if you will pay for it should not be seen as a
waste of money, rather it helps you save time and efforts. Only one man cannot
be in two or more locations at the same time, or hold a camera and speed light
together. If there are two or more wedding photographers covering an event,
there will be more shots to choose from, pictures taken from different angles,
insights, locations and views, will present more variety of pictures to choose
from for couples to select the best. Acquaint your crew/team members with their
job responsibilities days before the main event.
4.Be prepared,
punctual and timely:
 Before setting out
to a job location, ensure you have your camera equipment and accessories ready,
full batteries, water proof storage. Save your pictures and have backups on
many storage devices as you can (external hard disks, flash drives, compact
discs, and laptop), customers can come asking for pictures you took several
years ago, you can give them, but with additional fee. Google drive offers an
online storage capacity. Though it seem impossible to store so many pictures
(thousands of pictures consumes thousand bytes of storage) , but try to save
few edited ones that you can. 
 Also eat a hearty
breakfast, as you have to stand hours on end before, during and after the
wedding, most times a wedding service/reception can go on for hours before caterers
will remember to offer you food. Do not wait till you are offered before you
eat, have some snacks, energy bars to keep you going. Visit the location a day
before to acquaint yourself with site of the wedding and not arrive on the
D-day to avoid lateness or being lost. Arrive early, do away with distractions
and be professional at all times including the times when your temper is
aroused. 
5. Prompt delivery is
key:
 Delivering wedding
pictures, four months after the wedding is over, is a No-No. With super fast
photo labs and picture processing units, a wedding couple can get the soft
copies of their wedding pictures same day as the wedding, the edited version a
week after and a photo album latest a month after the wedding. The earlier you
complete and deliver a wedding order, the higher your chances of getting more
work done. Avoid pile up and backlogs of wedding pictures. 
6. Analyse your customer
experience: 
 Client reviews are
basically important to a thriving wedding photography business, once an order
has been completed and delivered, ask for feedback from your customers, let
them send you an email/sms or post on their Facebook page and give positive
reviews about your service, if they are satisfied or not. Customer referrals
and word of mouth of advertising is the lead form of business advertising,
generating new sales and business leads. Customer feed backs will give information
on your areas of strength and weakness, which area needs improvement and what
aspect of your business the clients love the most. Customer relationship, picture
quality or timeliness. 
7.  Network and
connect
 with other professional
wedding photographers, photo printing companies,  and other individuals
involved in the Nigerian wedding business industry, not only limited to those
within Nigeria, there are Nigerians , foreigners living outside Nigeria who
have  need for the services of a wedding photographer  and are
potential business partners. 
8. Utilize the
potential of social media
:
To successfully build your brand and business image, join Facebook groups
related to your photography interest, have Facebook, linked in, instagram ,
twitter  pages, get a website for your photography business too. Advertise
on wedding blogs, sites and online forums.  In 2016, there have been more
online conversions of online fans/readers/audience to customers. Engage with
your followers, post pictures of previous jobs, behind the scene videos, tweet
customer responses and watch your client base soar.
9. Never compromise on Integrity: This is the reason why many photography
businesses have failed in Nigeria and only few Nigerian photographers still
remain prominent. When every other thing fails, Integrity will keep you going
and adhere you to your customers. 
10. Be genuine and
creative:
 Don’t be limited by the
norm, draw inspiration from other professional photographers, nature, wedding
pictures and your own ideas. Stand out from the crowd; let your pictures
identify you. Be special in the pictures you create. 
11. Agree on terms of
engagement:
 Have a contract with the
wedding host spelling out and job requirements.  Details of what is
expected from the wedding photographer are important. 
In the contract, the
following must be specified;
  • Date and time of event
  • Venue of wedding
  • What parts of the event are you expected to cover?
    Church service, Nikkhai, court /registry service, reception, bride’s
    dressing, bachelor eve…………
  • Accommodation /transportation logistics? Will the
    photographer be responsible for his lodgings/transport arrangement so he
    can add it to his service charge or there is an alternative?
  • Photography fees and service charge: Fees must cover
    duration, cancellation clause, expenses, Vat and refund /additional fee
    policy.
  • Number of pictures/shots to be taken pages of album,
    number of edited pictures, cd or DVD, photo album or photo book.
  • Terms of payment: Payment before delivery or after
    delivery, discounts, percentage of payment to be made before undertaking a
    job. Always encourage your customers to make payments into bank accounts
    and not pay cash. 
12. Always watermark
your pictures:
 To avoid infringement,
illegal use, and protect your intellectual property. Anyone who intends to use
your pictures should have to ask for permission; also a watermark will
guarantee others know the originator and owner of the picture. Place a
watermark where it can be visible and not easily removed.  
13. Create a portfolio: A portfolio is your mobile curriculum vitae; it
is a collection of your best pictures that shows your experience and quality of
your pictures. It can be in a photo album, cd, a pdf file or a website. On
request, you should be able to provide the hard copy or a link to pictures of
previous work done. 
14. Build a lasting
brand:  
Branding is important to
building your image as professional wedding photographer. Be protective of your
brand and always put your best foot forward. Get an attractive logo,
letterhead, company’s account, register your photography business, start a
blog/instagram page and strive to be better than the last work done.
15. Always use a
professional camera and expert services
: This is the most important, buy or hire a good camera, tripod,
speed light. This will eventually reduce the hours of editing, time spent on
photo shopping and give you clear, quality and professional looking pictures.
If you must give out pictures for editing, hire professionals who will get the job
done efficiently, use a quality photo printing company, every flaw on the
images will reflect negatively on your business. Aim for the best customer
satisfaction always even if it means you spending more to achieve it. 

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