The ZUMI Weddings team spoke with wedding photographer, Klala on the secrets of his success and why the Nigerian wedding industry is so huge. Excerpts below:
What’s the secret of your success as a wedding photographer?
“I’m always active and I have amazing drive and I take my time to reason things out. I believe that even if I had done something other than photography, I would still have been the best at it. I’ve always had that belief since I was young. When I was a student at the University of Ado Ekiti, I organized a beauty pageant that was sponsored by Coca Cola and other shows that shook the state. I’ve always had the zeal to succeed.”
The Nigerian wedding industry is huge, what do you think is the reason for this?
There’s a lot of money spent on weddings. Every wedding has a budget but most times people spend more than their budget. Families pump in money for weddings. The whole family buys tickets and comes for the wedding and it’s like a reunion. The groom’s family is happy they’re all together and it’s also the same with the bride’s family. That’s one of the things that makes the industry so huge.”
As a wedding vendor in this digital age, how can you package yourself to be noticed on social media?
“Social media has brought a lot of exposure to wedding vendors. It has helped and connected people. The first thing I think about when using such a platform is “where can I find my direct customer?” The key thing is to identify where you can find your direct customer.”
“When I first found out about Instagram, I was just using it to post personal pictures. But when I realized I could use it to make money, I learnt all I could about it. I identified it as the right platform for me. I realized that the more photos you post, the more followers you get. I realized that staying active on Instagram keeps you on the mind of your followers.”
“Another thing I did was to bring my customer service to Instagram. There are some people on Instagram that are made and they can make you; these are the bloggers. When they post your pictures, it gets a lot of reach and attention. They used their time, money and energy to build their page, so when they post my picture, I always say thank you. That has connected me to almost all the bloggers and I have a personal relationship with them so they’ll continue to post my pictures. Instagram has been a great platform for me. It’s a good place to connect with the high and mighty and once you do a good job, you don’t have to beg anybody.”
What should brides look out for when choosing wedding vendors?
“When you’re planning your wedding, it’s very important to have a wedding planner. Most couples allow the day to decide for them. The wedding day can be a sweet day, but it can also be a terrible day. Time seems to fly faster on that day than any other day. That’s why you must keep to time. If you do this, you’ll enjoy your day. If not, you’ll be running around and you won’t be happy. That’s why it’s important to have a planner. You must also plan along with your planner too, plan very well.”
“In choosing vendors, don’t get carried away with what you see on social media. You need to know your vendors very well. Some of them start well but don’t finish well. Some just jump into business while others are really interested in the business. For some wedding photographers, they don’t deliver the work on time, some wedding albums haven’t been delivered for the past two years. Some people get their album after having their second child. A wedding photographer must not just know the art of photography, he must also know the business aspect.”
What has been your worst experience as a wedding photographer?
“My worst experience was a bride who had two photographers, but she refused to look at our camera. She concentrated more on the other photographer. So in most of the photos she was looking at the other photographer, yet our pictures were better. She has tried to hire us for something else but we said we’re not interested. If you’re running a business with no policies, it will kill you one day. I reject some jobs that might put me or my brand in trouble.”
If you could give one piece of advice to all brides, what would it be?
“My advice to every single bride is pray very hard before your wedding and after your wedding, don’t stop praying. Because there’ll always be temptation and troubles after a lot of weddings. We’ve done a lot of weddings and from experience, there’s always something coming after the wedding… so before the wedding pray very well, and after the wedding, please don’t stop praying.”
There you have it folks, a journey into the mind of the amazing Klala. To check out his work, follow him on Instagram @klalaphotography.