This is so simple to fix. I've written about different aspects of the challenge so many times in the past...
STOP SHOWING MEDIOCRE/BAD IMAGES!
Pick any business and pretend you're the owner. Would you expect to be successful selling inferior products? A dry cleaner couldn't survive returning things only partially clean. A gas station wouldn't make it, short-changing customers with "almost a gallon" measurements. Your favorite restaurant wouldn't survive long with bad food. I can see the tag line now, "But there's only a 20% chance you'll get sick!"
It doesn't matter what the product or service, people have to believe you're the best and with photography they get a sneak preview by visiting your online galleries. That's why you've got them - to show people what you can do! Knowing then, how important your galleries are, why are some of you still not cleaning them up? Why show an image you wouldn't buy yourself?
Then there's the other extreme...Just a few days ago I had to delete a photographer from the wedding forum I manage with Chris Fawkes from Australia. We had a photographer who's images were stunning - sadly most of them were stock images he bought. In addition, he made them look like his work - no photo credits and mixed at random with other images. That's a new type of madness that needs to stop. If it's not your work then don't show it!
Another level of madness comes with some of you who insist on using images you've taken in a workshop. I'm not against working with models to build your portfolio. I'm also not against taking things you've learned in a workshop and creating new images for your galleries and portfolio. What I am against is using that shot you got as you literally stood next to Kevin Kubota, while he was teaching and piggy-backed off of his expertise. It's not your work, even if you did click the shutter.
There's only one way to build your business and it's all about building your own skill set. It's about directing your passion for imaging into your quest for quality. So, here's a suggestion for your galleries. (My apologies to those of you who have read this before.)
Take the time to review your website. Look at the images you're showing and ask yourself one serious question. "If this was the only image I could show, would I hire me?"
This is a career field based on quality...Quality in your images, your relationships with your clients and the way you do business. Don't let yourself get caught up in the argument about showing lots of images just to fill up space. If an image isn't good enough, don't show it. Just work to build your inventory of images so that each one is a "wow" print, current and fresh.
Vince Lombardi said it best,
"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."
Make your commitment to excellence and never compromise!
Illustration Credit: © faithie - Fotolia.com
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.