I want to do a series of posts on some of the traits of great photographers. "Quality" isn't really a trait, but a commitment to a lifestyle. Those photographers we admire never compromise on the quality of their images, their relationships with their clients or their approach to customer service. They do everything at the very best level they can and they set the standard.
There are stories about Ansel Adams spending hours working on one image, coming out of the darkroom and just ripping it up because it wasn’t right yet. I've heard stories about people calling his studio and asking for information about his workshops and not realizing they were actually talking to him directly.
Have you ever seen a bad image from Bob and Dawn Davis? While Bob is the shooter, they're a team and Dawn is working the post production side. They're an unbeatable combination.
Yervant spends hours fine-tuning and perfecting an image until it’s a work of art rather than just a photograph. Check out any album by Yervant and you'll see quality, not just in his work, but in his storytelling.
Ever watch Michele Celentano working with a client? There’s no compromise in the tools she uses to create outstanding images. In fact, from the first meeting right through to delivery of the framed print she'll hang for the client, there are no shortcuts.
Look at any image of John Paul Caponigro's or spend some time talking with him. There simply is never a compromise. And with John Paul, it's in his blood. He recently had a special "Father/Son" print offer which included his work and his father's, both recognized as incredible artists.
Delivering quality images and maintaining the highest quality in your relationships with your clients is critical to building your reputation and in turn developing repeat business. Even more important is making sure your work is always better than your competition and the Uncle Harry’s of the world.
I’m always amazed when I hear photographers complain about the amateur who “stole the job from them.” Seriously, if their images were solid and their reputation of the same caliber, Uncle Harry shouldn’t have stood a chance. Everybody knows the line, cameras don’t make pictures photographers do!
Here’s the one real message on quality that every seasoned well-respected photographer lives by…
“Always work to exceed each expectations!”