It’s hard to believe that we have already been open almost a year. We’re pleased with how it is going. It seems like, to us, people walk away thrilled with what we’ve done. It always makes our day when someone takes the time to write something on our Facebook page. We get a lot of compliments from customers through email, internet posts, letters, and in person. As some of you know, I have a bit of an ego and FotoFly doesn’t help in keeping me humble. It’s not unreasonable to think that we are approaching perfection.
Well, for the record, we aren’t. Sometimes, things do not go well. There are sessions where we struggle. There have been times where we haven’t been able to connect with the child and the pictures reflect that. Sometimes I am not pleased when reviewing someone’s pictures. The photographers, me included, make posing or lighting errors. There have even been a few sessions where we didn’t take a single picture and had to reschedule.
We occasionally fail at explaining how we do things and someone will show up expecting something we don’t do. Frequently, the photographers get carried away and spend too much time editing the pictures while the customer waits. We’ve had printers stop working at inopportune times. We’ve even had a customer get home and attempt to view her pictures – only to discover that her CD is blank. Very disappointing…
With many companies (restaurants, dentists, golf courses), if you’re ten minutes late – it’s not a big deal. With us, since we start every session on time, we won’t allow your session to run into the next one if you’re late. We always try to make it up and give you the variety that you expect- but those missed ten minutes are significant for us. This can be frustrating to people for us to be that rigid.
I cringe whenever I ask a customer how it went and her answer is ‘good’ or ‘ok.’ I really, really want every customer to leave being amazed at their experience and say, ‘Wow – it was unbelievable! I love my pictures!’ This is something that causes me a lot of stress. When you create something, it becomes an extension of you and it’s hard not to take things personally.
I’m getting better at accepting that we aren’t and can’t be perfect. All we can do is our best and learn from the frequent mistakes that we do. I can say that we have the best kind of people working here. They sincerely care about what they’re doing. They are trying to be creative in every session. These photographers want the pictures to be good as much as you do. They allow themselves to get emotionally involved in each session – which is risky for them because they become vulnerable. When they talk to you at the beginning of the session, you will feel the earnestness coming from them. Their goal is to give you the best expressions, poses, lighting, creativity, and variety possible. Sometimes, a tired toddler or an upset infant has other plans. But, I can safely say that these photographers are committed to make the best of whatever situation and do everything possible to get the absolute best result.
They are very skilled but intend to get better. They are great photographers now – wait until next week, or month, or year – they’ll be even better. I cannot include what they do in a job description. Imagine a job description that said, ‘Catch spit-up in your hand to protect a dress’ or ‘Hit yourself in the head to get a smile if necessary’ or ‘Bring an extra shirt to work because you’ll likely get peed on.’ I can’t pay these people enough to do what they do. They are voluntarily giving this to me and you and it’s inspiring.
So, we are not perfect – not even close. We are trying to be. We constantly talk about how to improve. We are doing well now but wait until next month or year… If there is someone that has left a little disappointed with some aspect of your experience, please let me know. I am very interested in suggestions and ideas from you. Please email me if you have an idea or feedback. Eric@fotofly.com.
It’s been a short year that we’ve been open. We’ve experienced a lot and learned a lot. We feel very connected to many of you. I’ve often wondered where exactly that connection comes from. My best guess is that it’s easy for us to bond when we are working shoulder to shoulder – trying to get your newborn, toddler, high school senior, or family to look perfect.