Good enough?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Christie Photo, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This may be a bit touchy...

    It's not unusual when reading critiques here to come across the phrase, "I know your customer will love it, and that's all that really matters."

    Really?

    I hope not. If we're the photographers, isn't it more important that we, with our background, want more? If we satisfy someone who has little or no knowledge of what we do or what is possible, it that really all that matters?

    If I deliver a photograph that's mediocre, and the customer accepts it, have I let them down? Did I "get away" with something?

    Pete
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    On one hand...if the initial goal that we set out to achieve...is to please the client, then I guess we could argue that...yes, it is enough to satisfy someone who has little or no knowledge of what we do or what is possible.

    On the other hand, I think that most of us (or at least, the artist inside of us) will always strive to do the best that we can...to do better even. Most of us are our own worst critics...and on some level, are never truly satisfied because there is always something that could have been done better or differently.

    With that in mind, do we want to agonize over every shot...thinking or knowing that it could be better? Or do we want to be satisfied that our client is happy?

    Then there is the fact that art is subjective. One person may think it's a masterpiece while another person will think it's crap. If our idea of perfection is different than our client's (and every one's idea of perfection is at least slightly different) then how can we ever truly achieve a perfect scenario of both us and the client being completely satisfied?

    Sorry, I may be wandering too far off topic.

    When I give a comment like "I know your customer will love it"...I don't say it as if to say 'you compromised but it won't matter because clients are idiots'. It's more to say that it's an image that would please a lot of people and probably/hopfully your clients among them.

    Does that makes sense?
     
  3. smyth

    smyth TPF Noob!

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    I think generally when people say that, they mean they don't neccesarily like the photo, but if the client likes it, that's the most important thing. After all the customer is always right. Well most of the time anyways.
     
  4. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    The first few times I fell in love with some wedding shots I took and then watched the customer pick out the nastys in the bunch I was shocked. How could they not pick the shots with the best composition? How could they not pick the ones with the best color and lighting?

    Then I remembered that I had already cashed their check. ;)

    I think that critiques here sometimes wander off into the corn fields. I posted some selective color a few months back and most of what I got was "jeez I don't like selective color". That helps. I don't really like it either, but that's waht the customer asked for and I was looking for opinions about selective color. Does it matter that I don't like them? No. Does it matter that most here don't like them? No. What matters is I fufilled the order from my customer and they were happy.

    I think it IS important to learn from each other here, but in the end nothing matters except for what the client wants.

    Now... let's seperate the three aspects of my photography right now and talk about who's opinion matters where... This may be wandering off into those same corn fields I just whined about. :lol:


    1) Weddings / Portraits
    - This is where I make most of my income from photography. Whatever the customer wants is what they get here. I laugh to myself when a client asks me for an opinion and then does whatever they want anyway. This is photography they are buying for their home or office. My photographic education or opinion doesn't matter to them when they look at the print on the wall... they just want something pretty.

    Don;t get me wrong I really love wedding photography and I am always trying to better myself, but from experience people buy the "same old same old" more often than not. Does that mean I don't shoot cool things in a neat different style when I can? Nope, but it does mean I dang sure get the boring shots because they sell like crazy!!!

    2) Photojournalism - I may move into photojournalism later in life, so I practice this when I can to build my portfolio and build relationships in the industry. I'm a freelancer for 2 local papers, the Associated Press and the Canadian Press. I don't too often set out to do this type of work except for hurricanes or major disasters so more often than not it's just stumbling across a crash or a fire. I strive to get good creative shots, but I realize that in the end the photo editor is the only persons opinion who matters.

    3) Landscape / Nature / Travel - I love nature, travel and landscape photography. I sell framed prints of my work, but at this point it's just icing on the cash cake - not real serious money. I have sold images to a few calendar houses, but it was for cheap. This is where I RULE THE CASTLE. Nobody else matters here - I would rather end up with a piece of art that I know is my vision and not sell it than take pictures of the same crap every photographer has at the art shows. This is where my opinion is king and I certainly get great ideas and suggestions here at the Photo Forum.

    Okay back on task...

    I think as photographers and as business people we have to be able to recognize when we should be pushing our opinions and styles and when we should just say "yes ma'am" and push the shutter release... to me some photography is personal and some is just business.

    Pete you mention delivering a mediocre photo, but who thinks it's mediocre? If the customer thinks so then I agree you're in trouble, but if it's you who thinks it mediocre I think you should remember they might think it's the cat's meow!
     
  5. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But is that helpful? Does a statement like that help the maker learn or improve?

    Futher, a photographer will occasionally use that statement to defend shortcomings in his/her work... pretty much a tread-stopper for me.
     
  7. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    I have worked at a lab for a while, and you (speaking to the general reader) would be surprised at just how many times I hear customers say "I can't believe the photographer didn't centre this! So when it is printed, please crop." There is the odd time when you can convince them by using a crop tool or just paper over the negatives that it is more aesthetically pleasing following the 'rule of thirds' (though not saying that) then completely central. Though most of the time they know precisely what they are looking for and stop at nothing. I have not shot a single event even under a professional yet so I don't have the personal experience, but I can see where it can be frustrating trying to improve your work meanwhile what the clients may want is actually a regression. That doesn't quite pertain directly to the question posed, but just a thought that stemmed off of it.

    I think recently I made a similar comment, except it ended in, "I know if I was a client, I would be very pleased', which correlates precisely to what Big Mike stated. Oh, now I think I have gone off on a tanget - I am curious to what others have to say.
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well... agony may be too strong a word, but...

    Don't we want to apply what we know to every image? I guess what I mean to ask is shouldn't we learn to stop to consider all elements of an image before we trip the shutter?

    Surely. I think most of agree too there are conventions to which we should try to adhear. Isn't that what critiques are all about? Don't we try to offer how an image has met or broken from convention and explore if it was successful to do so or not?
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, God! I know! It's usually the expression they want when this happens to me.

    I have (only rarely) told potential clients that maybe I'm not the guy for the job. Once in a while, someone will ask me for something very specific that I don't want my name on, and I bow out. Maybe that's why I never made a ton of money.
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, I don't think this is off topic. Thanks!

    And thanks to everyone who's weighed in so far. I too am curious to hear more.
     
  11. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    This would depend on individual goals.

    I think Photography will be an emotionally rich journey if we aim to please ourselves first. If there is a client base for what we do from within, great!

    I personally do not show an image that I do not like. Period. They might like it, but if I sell that image, I'm not promoting my individual 'vision', which is important for me.
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    As I got into commercial work and even as a young assistant I realized that I have to deliver exactly what the client wants. Never mediocre, because I work hard to deliver the shot and they are the best that I can do. Sometimes they demand the impossible. That's when I am proud. Sometimes I say; well if that is what you want... Thankfully that does not happen often.

    This is from my commercial/editorial background. I can train my clients. I know that wedding/event style is a whole different world.

    Love and Bass
     

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