Service Equals Quality

Remember the axoim that on the web, content is king?  While we all need to be cognizant of this, when your business is based on providing something – whether it be a product or a service, you simply must be pleasing your customers as well.

That axoim has held true here on the blog too.  Time and time again, people have told me not to worry about how often I publish posts, but rather to make sure that when I do post – the article provides good quality.  You don’t want to view lame photos and read articles that don’t have a lot of thought put into them.  So, when I get busy at work, or am otherwise unable to give this site the attention it needs, readership tends to understand that while I may be gone periodically – I always come back, and it’s almost always good content.

Today, I’d like to share two stores:

Story # 1 – Basil’s Italian Restaurant in Corbin, KY


Chef Richard

Our first story is the result of a recent training trip to that neck of the woods.  The clients I was training asked where I’ve been staying and where I’ve been eating.  When I first started this gig, I was hesitant to share that info – until I realized that they were politely suggesting that they had good ideas for where to eat and visit.  I started tuning in and have been getting recommendations across the country. Sometimes, in fact, I’ve attended a restaurant blindly.

This night was no exception.  I arrived at the place at 7:20, palette readily salivating for some good pasta.  I go in and the place, while nice, appears deserted.  I must admit I was disappointed because it came so highly recommended.  The place is a one-man shop, and he prides himself on his food from what they say.  The next thing I know this “one guy” – Chef Richard – comes out and apologizes but says they are closed.

I acknowledge my oversight at not arriving sooner or checking their hours (they close at 7 because it’s in a residential neighborhood).  I start to head out when he rattles off a few items (7 total) that he could whip up quick for me if interested.  I don’t want to be a bother because this guy must be tired after a long day.  We exchange a little dialogue, and the next thing I know, he is pulling me into the restaurant because he WANTS me to try their lasagne.

Only after being repeatedly assured that it’s not a problem, I take a seat in the otherwise almost empty place (there were a few people lingering at the bar).  I order a merlot, and nosh on some garlic bread until the lasagne arrives.  Oh.  My. God.  My mouth had died and gone to heaven!  You know that taste of Italian – when it’s good but almost instantly when the acidic nature of the tomatoes hits your throat?  It burns a little, right?  This had the taste without the acid.  It was amazing!

On top of that, Chef Richard and I ended up hugging briefly as I left 90 minutes later.  I felt like I had made a true new friend.  He genuinely wanted me to experience a wonderful and delicious meal, which I did!

The place was obviously closed, yet they went out of their way to provide both wonderful good food and stupendous service.  And one man basically did it all!


Story #2 – The Pink Slip, hotel restaurant in Nashville, TN


The Pink Slip
The Pink Slip

Our second story was at the Pink Slip in the well-esteemed Hotel Preston in Nashville.  I hear from the shuttle driver that their in house restaurant is available, so I decide to try it.  The velvet walls, female lounge lizard singer and guitarist try to evoke “jazz” but really only brings to mind “porn”.  Yet it’s been mentioned, so I ask for a menu… The bar-maid (ironically, named “Bar”bara), takes a beer or something out to another table, gets another pair of gals a drink and a menu, then finally comes back to me 5 minutes later with a menu.  I hear her rattle off some off-menu items to the gals and make a mental note to ask about the burger.  Another 5 minutes go by and she finally gets back to me.  Yeah, I can get the burger.

Do I want a beer?  Fat Tire draft please – been a long week.  A cursory nod, a beer is drawn and brought over.  She tunes into Modern Family on the TV (a repeat by the way) as it starts up.  Meanwhile the over-amped lounge lizard belts out some 90’s Madonna tunage.  Oddly, (during a commercial) she asks if I am ready – uh, yeah, I ordered the burger?  She nods and goes back to put the order in that I’d requested about ten minutes ago.  I sip the brew, and about half way through, while sipping and reviewing email, ask for a glass of water, figuring the food is just about ready.

The water empties, and the beer disappears.  Finally, the food comes, and while it’s not great, it’s not inedible.  I scarf it down because the atmosphere is starting to give me a headache. Within 10 minutes I am done, and wait to get a check.  Modern Family is almost over though, so I wait some more – I don’t want to interrupt, but will definitely make a note if she looks over.  Finally, she looks over and I quickly ask for the receipt.  She walks over and asks if I want some dessert – no thanks just a check please.

The bar was clearly open for business, had the grill on, yet I never felt less welcome in an establishment.  The burger was on par with McDonalds – you could tell it was pre-made then heated and slapped on a bun before being tossed out to the side of the customer.

This place was almost like they were going out of their way to send the message that they had something more important to attend to than a customer – a repeat TV show.


Which would you rather visit?  Now granted, the food at the latter was not worth writing about, but the service sure was!  Where content is king online, service is king in restaurants!

How does this relate to photography?  Simple.  You are only as good as you make your clients feel.  There is so much competition out there these days – I can get good photographs from anyone.  If you make me feel special though, you will stand out above the crowd.  If you seem genuinely interested in me, it makes me feel special (even though I know I’m just another Joe…), and that can make you stand out.  It takes dedication, passion and a lot of work, but the amount of passion you put into your work is directly proportional to your success.

But when you deliver just average photos, and seem bothered that the person is preventing you from working a larger gig (or table) and otherwise just not interested in even getting to know you, that can be bad for business.  You may get a reputation as an ass.  Which will kill the business first – your average photos or your poor attitude?  While content may be king online, attitude is everything in small business.

Most photo gigs are small business.  Remember the moral of the story here when you get a customer.  Big or small, single or simple order, treat everyone special and you will succeed.  Otherwise, you are doomed to fail.


Floral Wall Decoration

It’s kind of an unusual week here at the blog.  First off, I’ve been traveling all week.  First was a work trip, now a bit of personal time spent in upstate NY.  Combine that with the launch of the latest eBook from the folks at Craft and Vision (which I touted here on the blog Wed., supplanting the regular “Wordless Wednesday”).  Now, having done all that, I am playing around with one of the secrets tipped off in said eBook – the photo app called Camera+.  It’s a cool little app and makes your pictures pop quite a bit over the standard camera app.

I figured it’d be better to mention this now though over later, because apparently the price for the app is going to go up, and it can be had now for typical App Store rate of 99 cents!  Al Smith, author of EyePhoto, mentioned a few neat tricks to using the app and I am finding even more as I play around with it.  Here’s some sample shots I took with my mobile and processed straight through the app itself:

Coffee Swirls

Coffee Swirls

I took this shot at the hotel after downloading the app.  It was my first shot, and yes, was way over-processed, but I quickly figured out how to dial things in.

Floral Wall Decoration

Floral Wall Decoration

With the strong shadows from the wall and the intricate detail of the floral piece, this kind of shot was made for dramatic processing, and Camera+ is ideal here for a dramatic shot on the go!  Processed using the Clarity option 2x in Camera+

Contemporary/Modern Chair

Contemporary/Modern Chair

My folks got a new chair, and it just struck me as an interesting piece for the shape and angles.  Nothing extraordinary on the processing, except that I was able to add brightness to the seat area which was not in the original shot using the Shadow option.  (It’s a pretty comfy chair too!)

Southern Tier Expressway

Southern Tier Expressway

 I used to drive this road before it was an Interstate back and forth between home and college, so became very familiar with the Southern Tier Expressway.  I’d seen a sign earlier, and had a bit of nostalgia, so promised myself if I happened to see another one and the light was decent enough, I’d pull over and try a shot using Camera+.  The sun just happened to be setting as I rounded a corner on the new “Interstate” and I saw this.  Processed using the Clarity button 2x  in Camera+.

If you’ve not bought the eBook yet, it’s available over at Craft and Vision for only $4 through Sunday ($5 after that).  Make sure you use the discount code: EYEPHONE4.  Then, with the buck you saved on the eBook, hop over to the App Store and get Camera+  I did and am totally geeked about mobile phone photography now!  Probably more mobile phone photography coming up this weekend too! 🙂