Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's the Quality Stupid!

Starting this photography business has been quite an experience so far. It's been less than a year since we started and we've signed up many more clients than we could have hoped for. Let's leave the reasons for that for another posting, but I'd just like to focus on one part of our running our business: Quality.

From the start my partner and I have always said that we want to be proud of the work that we do and we want our clients to feel the same way. Generically, this should probably be true of any work that a person does, but the reality is that quality can sometimes be forgotten when time is short.

So it's nice how things have worked out between my partner and me. We tend to focus on different aspects of quality, although we don't necessarily focus on just that area. I tend to be most concerned about the technical quality of our work. So that includes the camera bodies, lenses, data workflows, archiving, etc. My partner tends to remind me about the creative quality of our work. And in this business, that is so much more important than what I'm used to in my day job. I would say the quality of relationships with our clients is just as important, but I'm just going talk about the creative aspect right now.

Creative quality isn't just a matter of "being creative", it's a matter of having guidelines for ourselves around what we want to do, what we'll do to satisfy clients, and what we'll decline because it's outside of the realm of things we want to focus on. It includes ensuring our "style" is evident in all of our work. Style is obviously a vague thing, but it's one of those "I know it when I see it" things, and even more striking, it's one of those "I know it when it's not there" things. So it's very important to keep mindful of.

To be honest, we talk about our style and how we love to take certain types of photos, but we're really growing into it and understanding it better as we go along. And that's probably true of any person. Because it's such a vague thing, I don't think someone can define style in advance and fulfill the definition at each step. We can set up guidelines for ourselves about what is and isn't our style, but those guidelines take better shape as we get more experienced.

And that's what keeps this stuff so interesting. If one of us tries something out (either while taking the photos or while editing them) and we both like it, we'll try it out more often, and eventually it may become one of our hallmark things - a calling card if you will.

So back to my original point: keeping an eye of the quality of what we do is something I'm so much more mindful of than I've ever been. And I didn't expect to think about it so often a year ago. Sure I've aimed to do quality stuff at my day job, but if I slack now and again, it's not really a huge deal. But with our business, it's very difficult to get away with anything but the best. Each client of our's has so much riding on our work that it would be a huge letdown for them if we didn't put our all into. Afterall, they're not just paying us to take photos, they're paying us for something very specific. And that's our quality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your focus on quality is great and it shows in your work! The artistic effect is great and you can make anyone look like a superstar. I love the pictures you've done (as does anyone that sees them).