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Fine-tuning Your Focus

Intro by Skip Cohen

One of the highlights I’ve enjoyed through the pandemic is Bev Walden’s Tuesday Tidbits emails. Each one has hit home and gotten me to think differently about some aspects of my business, as well as yours.

If you’ve followed Bev and Tim Walden for even the shortest amount of time, then you know their Relationship Black and White Fine Art Portraiture represents some of the finest portraits in the industry.

Each image is stunning and represents their ability to be leaders in the art community. They create images that exceed customer expectations every time.

So, to Bev’s point this morning – don’t be afraid to separate yourself from your competition. And as my friend Terry Clark has said over the years, “Look at what’s being done in your community, then do something different!”

By Beverly Walden

“Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”   ~Gary W. Keller

We didn’t know what we were doing on that day we determined to start something totally new for our studio…Relationship Black and White Fine art Portraiture. In fact, it didn’t have a name for at least two years.

We were Desperate. Broke. Failing. And willing to take a risk. After all, what did we have to lose?

The coming together of digital cameras flooding the market that made it easier for the consumer to take photos plus scanners put into major chain stores that could copy a professional photographer’s work was a frightening thought. Studios would go out of business left and right in this scenario.

(And this was before cell phones with their cameras…a later “blow” to the professional photographer!)

Many called it the “perfect storm.”

During this time, we made a scary decision. But it turned our business around.

In a world that was just starting to enjoy color photography, we decided to go back to black and white photography, printed in our darkroom by hand, one by one, signed and numbered…a true piece of art.

And no more camera smiles! We wanted to tell people’s stories, dig deeper and become more thoughtful. A trip to our studio would be an experience!

  • People would wear all black, plain clothing.
  • We would crop into people’s heads or put them into deep shadow!
  • We would include parents in every image with their children to show their “relationship” with snuggles, hugs and kisses and many times, close their eyes!

Unheard of? YES! Successful? VERY!

We became artists that day, not simply photographers.

We believed there would be enough clients with a desire for fine art portraiture and who were willing to make an investment to keep our business alive. And we believed they wouldn’t take our work to be copied at a chain store. After all, you wouldn’t buy a Picasso and then take it to get scanned:-)

We weren’t looking for thousands…we were looking for those few who loved what we did and would pay what it took to get it; would travel great distances to come to us and would remain loyal clients who would return again and again. And they did.

We lost a few clients…yes. But we gained far more.

It was the right decision.