Is “good enough” really good enough? As I pondered this, I chose to Google the question, just to see what results I would find. As with any other Google search, this led to varying results, from both reliable and questionable sources. One quote really stood out to me, however: “The concept of ‘good enough’ is at the heart of all mediocrity”
Customers in any business are looking for more than just “satisfactory” in the work produced, and the portrait business is no exception. Those who are looking for lasting portraiture to be hung carefully upon their walls and treasured for generations to come do NOT want a piece of art that is just “ok.” These clients care about quality, and carefully search for the right portrait artist. They are looking for much more than a temporary Facebook profile picture that may stay on their page for anywhere from a week to a few months or more. They desire a quality piece of art that reflects the personality of each individual in the portrait – a prized piece for their home that tells a story.
When it comes to portrait photography, customers have varying tastes, to be sure. This taste is often driven by the latest trend or fad in portraits, and is often propagated by shares of such images on social media and popular photography websites. Customers looking for excellence in portraiture tend to look past this week’s social media trends and reference classic portraits when giving examples to us of the style they are looking for in their upcoming portrait session.
While trendy does not always equal tasteless, clothing and backdrop fads come and go with each passing decade and are often no longer relevant just a few years after their peak. I’m sure we’ve all had our moments looking through an old family album and reacting to the trending fashion of the day (“Mom, you wore THAT?!?!”). Here at Phil Hyman Photography, we are often asked by our clients what to wear to a portrait session. Some of this, of course, depends upon the type of portrait being taken, age of the portrait subject(s), and number of people in the photo, but our answers are usually very similar: wear comfortable, classic attire in plain, neutral colors (such as black or white shirts and blue jeans or khaki bottoms). This helps to keep clothing from being a distraction from the subject and also may help to avoid later embarrassment from that wild patterned shirt you chose to wear 20 years ago when your portrait was taken.
After years of experience with customers here at the studio, we keep boxes of tissues on hand for portrait pickups. We have had many a parent or grandparent moved to tears when viewing the completed portrait of their child for the first time. They are amazed at the way the true personality of the child shines through the canvas. In our portrait sessions, we do not coax a child to pose or smile – of course, we certainly allow them to smile, but we interact with them in such a way as to really bring out their individual personality while we use the camera to create a lasting piece of artistry. This creates a portrait that will be truly loved for many years to come.