Why I love competition

Do you play to win?  Why settle for bronze when you can go for gold?  No, this is not a Charlie Sheen “winning” post.  The only “win” I care about with my business is the one my customers allow me to achieve.

It’s easy to get discouraged with almost everyone in the world now calling themselves a photographer.  I’ve written several posts about this topic and here is how I use it to my advantage.  I am excited that so many people enjoy photography, but there’s so much more to learn from the history of the trade to the ever changing technology of the day.

It is a shame how much bad photography is being provided under the umbrella of “professional photography”.  I can’t change that, but what I can do is continue to raise the bar in my own work, and how our business is run.  It is encouraging to hear so many positive comments from customers who have had some experience with not so professional, professional photographers.  The more I research the market, the better I feel about the consistency, and creativity we deliver to our customers every day.

Here’s a fun website dedicated to the embarrassing end of the market www.youarenotaphotographer.com which is quite entertaining.  I spend most of my time however finding and following the best of the best.  If you want to see creative photography, done “insanely great” check out my friends Scott and Adina Haynes.  They are relatively new in the industry, and are creating some amazing images with a strong fashion feel.

I have commented before that many (not all) of the newb photographers are so caught up in trying to be fresh, new and creative, that they reject many of the time tested laws and principles of the art and science of photography. Personally, I pay close attention to the style, work and innovations of as many photographers as I can find. There is a current trend to shoot images straight into the sun which results in massive lens flare.  It is a trendy look that is used in many marketing and store signage campaigns.  Take a stroll through any mall and you are sure to find several examples of this look.  It’s no surprise that some clients want such a look (they see it everywhere), but that doesn’t make it the best option, all the time.

So how is it that the segment of photographers that claim to be so creative and fresh, are largely just copying the visual trends which are better suited for marketing than what the clients might actually want?  I pay very close attention to these trends, and sprinkle some of these trends and styles into my work, but only at a minimum, if it seems to fit the moment. “Natural light” photographers for example can produce great results when conditions are good, but often panic when the lighting is poor, or they are forced to use flashes.

It’s not about how much gear you have, it’s about knowing when and how to use it.

So to all my competitors I say keep up the work (both good and bad) which helps me refine what I do for my clients.  It does not appear I have to worry about a lack of awful portrait photography in the market, and it makes the consistent, high quality work we do all the more satisfying. I choose to appreciate and spend time with the photographic artists that inspire me, and am committed to absorbing it all to make me a stronger competitor every day.

For a portrait experience that just might be different than you think, call Picture Place 651-426-0232.


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