I sold out

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by archer, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. archer

    archer Member

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    Two weeks ago I received the largest reprint order I've had in many years and I gleefully accepted even though the portrait was not what I consider completely successful. I needed the money but more importantly, four years ago I ruptured a disk in my back and I knew that this job was going to put me through the wringer. Well tonight I finished the printing and tomorrow I start the matting and framing. I'm going through Norco, like popcorn and it is truly a godsend. My husband is very supportive but can do very little to help me as he knows very little about the process and keeps saying "that's good enough. Nobody but you can see the difference." On the bright side, the commission is substantial enough to pay the taxes on the property and the home owners insurance and still have enough left over to replenish our savings which have been pretty decimated since the economic downturn. I guess I just want someone to tell me that it's okay to feel bad about taking money for something you feel you could have done better. Anybody else ever felt this same ambivalence? Thanks for answering.
    Denise Libby
    P.S. The client just loves the portrait and I suppose that's what's important.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2011
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Don't look at it as selling out.

    Portraiture is highly subjective and invariably the sitter picks OUR last choice for the one they love.

    I'm so glad work is coming your way.
     
  3. rjs003

    rjs003 Subscriber

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    I think all of us look at our own work and think that it could be better and I don't believe that we will ever be satisfied with what we turn out. So yes, take the money and continue to strive to make your work better.
     
  4. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    John Lennon told George Martin, one year before he was murdered, that he wishes he could have re-recorded most Beatles songs, as he felt they could have been better. When asked about Strawberry Fields, for which Martin said he bled to make it a masterpiece, Lennon replied..."especially Strawberry Fields!"
    Most artists are extremely critical of their own work and often disappointed by their efforts. Human nature, I guess. If your clients love your work, and you have done your best to give them what they wanted to make them happy, then you should feel good about your efforts and not guilty for proper compensation. It's always good to wanting to do better, but it sometimes takes a toll on ourselves and makes the creative process a lot harder.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Sometimes we are our own harshest critics, and rightfully so. That can often lead us to think an image is poor, not good enough etc, but others see our images from entirely different perspectives.

    So I don't think you sold out, we all have to live. However if you had an exhibition of portraits and used that image then that'd be an entirely different issue.

    Ian
     
  6. Focus No. 9

    Focus No. 9 Member

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    It simply means others think you are a success. A reprint order...A curtain call. Accept it, enjoy it for what it is and LIVE!
     
  7. jawarden

    jawarden Member

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    That's not selling out. Not at all.

    Be well.
     
  8. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    Since it is a work for hire, the opinion of the one doing the hiring is the only opinion that matters, and from what you said they are quite pleased. Are you doing the best job you can with the printing and matting? Handling the contracted work in a professional manner? Then there is nothing left to beat yourself up about (even though a good beating could be an excuse for more Norco! :wink: )

    Thank your customer and cash the check!

    Joe
     
  9. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    We are always our own worst critics. If the client loves the portrait and wants to bless you with a rather hefty stipend in appreciation, and in exchange for reprints, who are you to say no to it. I sympathize with your pain. I have two ruptured dicks in my lumbar and five cervical discs that are totally collapsed. I am possibly having surgery on my neck(disc fusion)to alleviate the pain. My pain mediation plan is a tad more aggresive than yours(morphine). Congrats on the bonus round and now, 'tis time to relax and enjoy life a little(as soon as the work is delivered).
     
  10. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I have a shot which I abhor, I think it is just wrong in the composition and balance. Won 2nd place at a photo show a couple of years ago after my mom entered it on my behalf but I still hate it.

    The sad truth for artists (and hardest to swallow) is you are hired for your skill but not your opinion. Take the money and do what you need to do and love.
     
  11. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    You did sell out!







    Kidding, of course. You made a business decision. Commitment to analog materials is not a suicide pact. Now, if it'll make you feel better take a slice of your profit and use it to make some images you can truly appreciate apart from commerce.
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It took me a while to get over this. Giving someone what they want isn't selling out. it's just selling. Many people have to give up all day, every day, all their lives, at things decidedly hard and unpleasant, for the mere privilege of a bare living. That one might for a few short hours or days do the same at work that isn't really all that bad isn't much of a moral dilemma in perspective.
     
  13. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Is Francis Ford Coppola a sellout? I'm sure he's accepted millions of dollars for his work. I'm sure he, as with many film makers, has many regrets and many problems and criticisms with his own previous works.

    I doubt anybody would call him a sell out.

    There is a bit of a ... shall we call it perception, or perhaps stereotype, that you have to suffer to be an artist. Doesn't mean you can't get the occasional paycheck WHILE suffering, right? You'll suffer the mental anguish of knowing your own criticisms over the prints you just made, and you'll move on and remember that lesson in the future.

    Just like Francis. Look forward. You're done with that project. If somebody is interested in paying for it as-is, go for it. Look ahead to the next, and the next.
     
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  15. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I used to feel like this in my regular job, then I came up with some simple rules to determine if what I was doing was the right thing.

    1. Is this what the customer wants?
    2. Is it physically possible to make it?
    3. Will their check clear?

    If all the answers are yes then I am happy in the knowledge that I have provided someone with something that made them happy, and most important, I will get to eat and have a place to live for another month.
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You did good. Buyer is happy with the work you exchanged for their money. Excellent! Couldn't think of a happier ending.

    Once I ended up 'donating' my portrait services, for a single person portrait, to a silent auction at my step son's school. It was for a fund raiser for buying a van for the school to transport the kids to various activities. Somebody bid 50 bucks and won it. I spent something like 12 hours of my time visiting their house, instead doing a group portrait, which I really wasn't set up to do, four rolls of 120 film, processing chemistry, and 25 sheets of Ilford Warmtone 11x14 fiber paper, mat board, and frames, totaling multiple times what they paid for it.
    Now that stunk! Badly. I could have just given the school the money instead. I wasn't even happy with the pictures.

    You got properly paid for something by someone who knows how to appreciate your skill, ending up helping both them and yourself. Feel good about it. You deserve it!

    - Thomas


     
  17. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    You provide a service that is consistent with the customer's level of satisfaction.

    Last week, I took a job from a client who wanted a whole bunch of old Kodachrome slides scanned to computer. There were 150 of them.

    In order to scan all those slides, adjust exposure, adjust color and retouch all the dust spots it would take quite a bit of time. Yes, infrared dust removal works but it doesn't catch everything and it sometimes leaves artifacts which have to be retouched or else the slide needs to be rescanned. To do them the way I wanted to do them, it would have taken weeks of working in my spare time but I wanted to deliver the project as soon as I could.

    In order to do a good job and still deliver in a reasonable time, you have to cut corners in one way or another. You just can't spend an hour on each image cleaning up every speck.

    So, what I did was to scan about a dozen of them and showed the results to the customer. I made a couple of them the way I would do them for myself, the "good way." I made a couple of them by cutting a couple of corners and I made a couple more by doing them the "quick way." I let the customer pick the level of work she wanted. She picked the quick way.

    Even then, I still spent a little more time working on them than the customer asked for. :wink:
    I always try to do things just a little bit better than I think is "good enough."
     
  18. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't know any accomplished artist who is completely and unequivocally happy with their work with exception of some "music" "talents" with humongous ego (and bank account). I think there are always thing that could be improved in any works of art. I think that's one of the drive that makes artists excell to the new height.

    Obviously, with all the "faults" included in your work, the paying customer appreciates your skillful result and the product. I think it's a high form of compliment. I think, as long as you did the best you could in given circumstances and limitations, there is nothing to be ashamed of that the work isn't "picture perfect."
     
  19. archer

    archer Member

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    Thank you all for the good thoughts. Your words really do help me to feel better about the situation and especially Tom because I've been there before when a favor turned into hours of agonizing work and tons of money out of my pocket. I guess the pendulum swings both ways. Thank goodness.
    Denise Libby
     
  20. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I never made a perfect print, but I'll do it tomorrow!
     
  21. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    That's right, Ralph, there is always another day to achieve that illusive perfection :smile:
     
  22. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    .
    When you aim for perfection, you will discover that it's a moving target.
    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2011
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi denise

    i am sure there are people that think if someone is successful they are a sell-out,
    but it isn't me. as long as your client is happy that is the most important thing!

    ... even if the portrait is a portrait superimposed in a brandy snifter, or a naked
    baby in a pile of fake clouds, wearing wings ...

    john
     
  24. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    To quote Jason Newstead of Metallica when asked if the band had sold out.

    "Yes! Every seat in every stadium. Every night."

    Artists pour their souls into their work. If someone is willing to pay to enjoy it, the artist should not feel bad one iota at depriving them, fairly, of their money. The artist earned it if the people will get enjoyment from it.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Denise:

    For a moment, I thought you were going to say that you had shot it digitally, and printed it on an inkjet :smile:.

    In my mind there is a fundamental difference between delivering work that you would like the chance to improve upon, and delivering work that you consider to be sloppy and second rate.

    The first is really a reflection of your desire to both excel and give superlative value, while the second would be a symptom of laziness and a general lack of care - clearly not the situation here.

    From what you have posted, I infer that you feel that the photograph chosen by the client is one with a good level of quality - just not the photo you had envisioned.

    In my experience, clients who buy photographs often value things that photographers (and frequently third parties) don't value nearly as much.

    And sometimes, the only evidence available that the client has any good taste at all is that they hired you!:wink:
     
  26. pentax4ever

    pentax4ever Member

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    An artist is typically their own worst critic. I would say be happy that someone appreciates your work enough to pay good money for it.