How perfect is FotoFly? Not really.

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.

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6 thoughts on “How perfect is FotoFly? Not really.”

  1. I think Fotofly is amazing. Truly…I’ve tried to determine what exactly it is and the best I can come up with is that you truly try and connect with people and give them what they want. You use facebook…that’s where everyone is. You have a modern studio….what everyone prefers. You give people a disk with their images…in this day and age, people want that. I read a recent blog post from another photographer that left me almost laughing at how wrong they had it. I frequently read a lot of photo blogs and can’t believe the amount of photographers who just don’t seem to get it. Yes of course they all want their work printed high quality and sure there is so much work done behind the scenes and deserve to have some type of profit, but charging a bazillion dollars for 5 images isn’t going to cut it for most of us average joes. Fotofly not perfect? Well, no one is, but the important part is you try to be. Thanks Fotofly!

  2. When I had my twins I promised myself I wouldn’t let two kids stop me from going anywhere, trying new things and having adventures. Our session at FotoFly proved to be quite the adventure! There were good points, there were bad points. All the good points came from your staff and photographers, helping me and my boys feel at our ease (no small task with these boys, as they found out! I think the family in the shoot after us had a stray toddler in some of their pictures!) All the bad points came from me, I’m afraid! Between one of the twins trying to escape by any means, and the other being just fine, up until someone looks at him wrong, and me klutzing out (I’ll have a bruise on my knee for a while and a great story to tell about how klutzy I am! :) ) I am nothing short of amazed at how the pictures turned out! I really felt when I went in that I wasn’t giving you much to work with, but wow! I love them all! No really, I do. And I knew before we came that we’d be coming back, even if it is a bit of a drive. Why? Because I have been disappointed too many times. My wedding pictures sucked and there were no bridals, my husband won’t go near a camera unless he’s doing something amazing like canyoneering or kiteboarding, so no family pictures. And then throw in the research I’ve done into other studios. Cheesy, tacky and just flat out bad! I’d given up on going to any studio ever! Until I came across you on Facebook (It was that picture of the baby in the purple tutu being tossed in the air with that wonderful expression on her face!) I was sold. You became the only studio I’ll go to. Perfect? That doesn’t really matter. You take amazing pictures. Pictures with personality and life, pictures I actually want on my walls in my home. When I left the studio wiped out from chasing my twins I may have said nothing more than it was “good” or “ok” but the more I look at the pictures, the more I think “That was amazing!” Thank you!

  3. Yes, there’s always room for improvement but you’re about as close to perfect as they come. I’m kinda glad you aren’t 100 percent perfect or you’d be translated and then where would we go for family photos?

  4. You are honestly truly the closest thing to perfect that the photography world has right now. Your attention to detail and the quality of your photographs are second only to the way you treat your customers from the minute they walk in the door.

    Keep it up FotoFly!

  5. I had my daughter’s 8 year old birthday pictures taken by you. She would not cooperate and I was feeling very frustrated with her. I will admit that when I saw the photos, I didn’t really care for more than 1 or 2 of them. This is because of what I had imagined – a fluffy little pink girl, posing and smiling and cooperatiing. My daughter is a true tom boy who wasn’t happy wearing a dress. She would rather be running around and playing than posing for a picture. She likes to argue and do exactly the opposite of what is expected of her. That is exactly what we got in these pictures. Now when I look at them, I look at them with fondness because here is my little spit fire running the show and doing what SHE wants to be doing rather than what anyone else wants her to do. They capture the essence of Mia and now I love them.

  6. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info especially the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this specific information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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