Ansel Adams said that when we are developing an image in the darkroom, we need to go one step beyond perfect in order to know that a picture looks right. How else would we know whether an image is sufficiently contrasty, light, or dark if we don’t go past the ideal? In this day and age with tools like Lightroom and Aperture, that’s less of an issue. But in the days of the darkroom, it was often quite tempting to stop well before an image was fully refined.
If it’s an error not so frequently made with image processing (in fact, I’d hazard a guess and say most pictures are overtoned), it’s still commonplace for wedding businesses. There is so much fear out there, it’s palpable. Who doesn’t constantly think about how many bookings they have? What their billings are like? The trick is not to stop at the first sign of success. It’s tempting to do so, but it’s premature. By nature, people find something that works and fall into that pattern of behavior. But success is truly about understanding process, and that means to build on it, you need to play with it and push your limits.
So go past perfect and let the fear take a backseat. I don’t mean throw caution to the wind and go for broke literally. But know that most risks aren’t really that risky. In fact, the key is to focus on the ones that are likely to bring in a lot but cost a little. By loosening the reigns on what works, you’ll learn infinitely more. Try posting something on the blog that you like but you’re afraid other people won’t. Use different pricing models. Try varying your your meetings. Test out ideas you’ve been wanting to try. And do it all quickly. The market waits for no one, so going for perfection will defeat the purpose.
The truth of the matter is that no one knows how people will react to the things we do. It’s all just guesswork until we actually make it happen. How much is there really to lose? A couple failures won’t cost us that much, but each new success will open up a world of opportunity.
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