I have obviously set my company name right out there and now even if I pick a different name, anyone would know who I was because my "contributions" and questions are a bit differently weighted than yours are. Now I have never intended to use this site as a sales tool. Only as an educational tool. So here's the thing, I like this site so much I am starting to give it to many photographers who walk in my shop. Now even though I try to be really honest about my potential novice-ness, how much harm do you think it might do if my customers get on here and essentially begin reading about their jobs and my need to get help in getting it done. How would it make you feel if you could read right there in front of you, your photo tech asking what would seem to you to be basic photographic questions? Admitting that I don't have densitometers and kelvinometers and. . . needing an education?
What a quandry. I am hoping that my directness with new customers will make what they read on here expected, sort of. I would hate to not give out the site ( I couldn't do that, too many people would fit in well here.) Or I guess I could go to read only mode and not participate. :sad:
If I was just starting out and was unsure of myself and trying to pass myself off as a professional, I would hesitate to give out this site to customers. I would try to get to a level of competence before doing so. I would give it six months to a year. (We used it call it - fake it til you make it)
If you are asking fundamental questions that your customers think that you as a professional should know, I think it could harm your credibility, your reputation and your business. I expect your customers expect a level of competence from you. If you need to use APUG as a learning resource, that is a good thing, but I personally would not give out this site until you feel more proficient. If your customers have questions of you, instead of sending them here, I would tell them you will research the question and get back to them. That way it is a win-win. You maintain your credibility, and they get their answers.
If they find the site on their own, fine then if they ask, you just tell them that you are doing research.
Either that or register under a different name as well as the one you now use and ask certain questions incognito.
Remember every profession has a place they can go for specific answers on questions, they just don't tell their clients that they are doing it.
I suppose it all depends. If your customers are repeat customers and they are happy with the jobs, then it should not matter. If it is a new customer and he is happy with the job then also it should not matter.
The other side of the coin is that you are supposed to be the expert, and your customers might be familiar with color processing etc, if you are admitting here you dont even have a densitometer for process control, they might start to doubt your ability, even if you are turning out the best job possible and this might hurt you, simply because for important jobs they might start getting nervous.
I guess you have to balance what is more useful to you, if you are getting help, acquiring experience and learning more form the site then loosing a few customers might be worth it, in the long run you will become the expert, but if your bussiness situation is such that loosing one or two customers might represent 30% of your income then I would say it is not worth it and use the site only in emergencies.
Just remember, americans above all cultures I know admire "chutzpa." Dont forget, Bill Gates promised IBM an operating system when he did not even had it developed. So if you commit to a job and pull it through even if you had no idea how and your customers find out, they might admire you and trust you more. Good luck...
My tech is on this site... me...
The area of photography is an extensive one.
I have taught novices - an experience that will quickly take the wind out of your sails - some of the "simple" quetions are just not those whose answers were ever really thought about - or. over time, have changed along with progress in materials and methods.
If you ask a question that every "novice" should know ... I have been on the "answering" end of those ... and have had to do a LOT of research to be able to answer some of those.
Would I feel something like a lack of confidence if a Photo Technician had to ask a "basic" question about some aspect of photography? NO!! I've had the priviledge of knowing some of the most respected, and believe me, they do that all the time. When a tech STOPS asking, that indicates that he feels he "knows it all"... Erk!! ... that translates into "believing his own press", a.k.a. self deception.
Being truly skilled doesn't mean complete knowledge about all aspects of a craft. It does require an ablility to ferret out what one needs to know, at the time, and to work out answers to problems.
This site, APUG?? I think it is probably one of the most "filled with intelligence" of any I know of ... a casual visitor will probably be overwhelmed at the level of some of the discussions here. Some of the writing here is so esoteric, I wonder if anyone really knows what is going on.
Ask away! You can always claim to be trying to answer a "basic" question from a student, and be trying to frame it in the most understandable terms for a novice.
There is, near here, a well-respected custom lab. I've had work done there - one custom job involved a photograph of a white house taken on an overcast day ... I "killed" myself trying to get the color balance in that one e right (not my negative) - so that the grass looked like green grass, the sky overcast, and the house white - and finally gave up and shipped it to them. They did a great job. I have never been in their lab. I imagine they are well equipped, with densitiometers and analysers and what-all, but, I don't know whether or not they are - and to tell the truth, I really don't care. Their work is first-rate, and that is all that matters to me.
I'd be glad to change your name and edit out references to your company in your posts if you like, just email me if you want to take this route and go on the 'apug witness protection program'. Personally, I think if they are happy with your work that is what matters. If a 'novice' produced nice prints for me I would not complain :)
If you're here and genuinely interested in learning, I would take that as a good sign.
A densitometer makes your life easier and more efficient, and efficiency is related to profit, but as long as you're committed to getting good results with no excuses, the customer shouldn't object to your using trial and error.
Maybe I wouldn't be so out there, though, using your company name as your userid. It would be more friendly and personable in any case to use your name!
In my professional life as an engineer I had to look at lots of books, ask lots of questions - even to people that worked with me.
It never underscored me - as a matter of fact, it helped me with my career.
Now, there is a minimum knowledge that one expects from a professional, so I think it's better if your customers do not find you in this site...
Oh, by 'you' I mean your company's name.