I first heard the expression twenty years ago from a friend who was an outstanding outdoor photographer. Since then I've used it numerous times, usually in reference to photographers who spend too much time trying to fix a bad image. In fact, a few years back somebody sent me the link to a Mythbusters episode where they proved you could!
Every day I look at websites of professional photographers, and I'm shocked at how many artists compromise on the quality of the images they share.
They seem to fall into a few different categories:
Having galleries with great images is essential. You don't need a lot of images to show your skill set. And, if you don't have the skill set yet, then stop calling yourself a pro. Your galleries have got to look better than "Uncle Harry's." If they're not, you're building a weak foundation for the brand awareness you're working so hard to establish.
Sadly many of these artists do have the skill set and the passion for the craft, but early on they wanted to fill their galleries to the max. They never went back to update their galleries. They didn't take the time to do a "lifeboat drill" on their images and decide which ones get saved and which ones need to be trashed.
When I was a kid, I had a red Mustang, and I was trying to sell it. It had a fairly significant dent in the door, but I didn't want to bother fixing it. Everybody who looked at the car loved it, but not the dent. My Dad finally took the keys, got the dent repaired and sold the car for $200 more than I was asking. He sat me down and gave me a life lesson I've tried hard to never forget,
"Whatever it is your selling, don't set yourself up to have to apologize for anything!"
Think about how that applies to your business. Whether you're showing images to sell your photographic services or a house for that matter - don't compromise. Don't show people anything that would require an apology, excuse or an explanation as to why it's not their best choice.
If it's a lousy image, don't show it! Never show less than your very best work. Never compromise on quality. Only show "wow" images - images so good you'd just have to show one of them to get hired! Most important of all, be consistent in everything you deliver!
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.