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perfectionism - bane or boon?

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  • perfectionism - bane or boon?

    vikki and jeanie have both referred to being perfectionists in recent posts, and i have wanted to ask others about this for a while, both, are you one? does it help or hinder your work as a restorer?

    By and large, i think i would prefer not to be. i think it decreases the likelihood of my ever being commercially successful as a restorer. the end product is better, i'm sure, but it takes me so long can't expect anyone to pay me for that kind of time. help me help me somebody help me, im zoomed in to 1600 and i can't stop cloning.

    someone had a post yesterday, maybe more than one, about how much is enough (restoring) and knowing when to quit.

    maybe as i climb every learning curve this will all level out, and get reasonable. i also wonder if this is a girl thing - how bout it, guys?

    i have started this thread in the forum that prompted the thought, but if it better belongs elsewhere, please move it - love to feel myself flying through cyberspace.

  • #2
    I would have to agree with you.

    I'm having fits with the "Before the storm" challenge because I want everything "just right." to the point where I'm moving pixels around like a shepherd moves his sheep.
    (I fussed for hours on the Brother and sister challenge using that technique)

    My roommate find it extremely hilarious as she hears curses and mutters and all sorts of foul language with hate thick enough to chase the cats out of the room.

    Of course, the dog stays there and just wags it's tail in anticipation for a snack, but I digress....

    You're right, though being too much of a perfectionist can slow down your work and output, but would it also help with repeate business as you get faster in your techniques?


    <tosses two pennies with a nervous tic in his right eye>


    • #3
      Carried to the extreme anything becomes a bane rather than a boon, I tend to look at prefectionism in the context of the individual photo before me. In some instances trying to produce a pristine result is not only impossible at this time and with this technology - it is undesirable as too much of the restorers own interpretation of "what it should look like" can overshadow and color the end result leaving a photo which is less a restoration than an idealized view of what it "should" look like. "Should" and "actually does" being frequently at opposite ends of the reality scale. I suppose I think that perfectionism is a "must" to do this work correctly,anything less means to me sloppy work,however the perfectionism must be tempered with insight and feeling along with a firm personal belief and understanding of what one is trying to accomplish with a given photo. Tom


      • #4
        Well, I just posted almost the exact same question over in Work/Jobs. Might as well combine them. How do we do that Doug?



        • #5
          now there's a moniker if i ever heard one: pixel shepherd. herd them pixels. git along little pixels. tom, you should be able to do something with that.

          I suppose I think that perfectionism is a "must" to do this work correctly,anything less means to me sloppy work,however the perfectionism must be tempered with insight and feeling along with a firm personal belief and understanding of what one is trying to accomplish with a given photo
          tom, that was bracing. thanks


          • #6
            I usually quote someone what I think is a minor restoration only to find I've slaved over it for hours picking away at each out of place pixel. What's even more aggriavating is being such a picky perfectionist and then after all that time spent eradicating the smallest blemish, you finally print it out and see something you missed. It seems no matter how hard or long I work, it will never be done. I usually have to say, is it detrimental to the whole picture or is it only noticable by me and if it's only me who sees it then I quit. Or you give it to someone else to go the once over and they see something totally different. I guess we have to accept that we are not Gods and perfect is really unatainable but frustrating none the less.


            • #7
              That's a tough thing to ponder. "Perfect" in this line of work could mean something very different from one individual to another. For instance, one might choose to leave an old beat-up photo with some marks of time, where another person might want it to look like it was picked up at the photo finisher's this morning. I haven't done a lot of this work, but the more I get into it, the more I think I would belong to the school of "enough is enough". So being a perfectionist in my case, would probably not take a lot of extra time because I would try to preserve some of the "old" look, although I have tried to do just the opposite in the past.



              • #8
                Well as a perfectionist myself I think that's why I get frustrated as I do tend to follow what Ed had said in that I try to make it look like it was just taken.

                Maybe I'm just a neat freak...LOL.

                Well I am going to start trimming back my perfectionism a bit as it is getting out of hand in that I"m spending way too much time versus the amount of money received on pictures.

                My husband says it looks okay...but then he might just be biased...LOL.

                Really though I am going to try and be a bit less picky.


                • #9
                  I was just reading through some old threads and found this one. I too am one of those people who can get sucked in to trying to fix every little flaw. That's not such a bad thing when the photo has a reasonable amount of damage, but it can get way out of control when the photo is really wrecked...

                  My main problem is that I always feel that if I don't fix every little thing, the client will be disappointed in the work. Or that they will think that I don't really know what I'm doing after all...

                  Usually, I charge by the job, not by the hour, so I'm really only hurting myself.

                  I wonder if there are any people that are new here to RP that might have some wise words to add to this post?


                  • #10

                    I try to do my best with each assignment and not worry about every little nic and scratch. I believe everyone will see something different no matter how much time is spent on a project. But, to look back at my work and decide to rework it is one of my ways to learns.

                    I believe no matter how much a person may feel their work is perfect, someone can always find fault. It always comes down to a matter of opinion.


                    • #11
                      No, it's not a girl thing. I have been a perfectionist since I started at age 4 or 5. I actually remember a certain drawing I worked on back then. I did not think of it in those terms though, as I just wanted it to look right. I am a dirty perfectionest, I know quite well that nothing I have ever done was even near perfect, so I accept that.
                      My main atribute is probably my attention to detail. I had at five and still do. It also carried over into other jobs I've had, i.e. Draftsman, Engineering Tech, Mechanic, Printer Tech, and on. The challenges are very demanding as most things I do that depend on hand eye coordination and seeing, I come out pretty high up, but one these, hey, I don't even want to try them all. There's just too much talent here.
                      I do get bogged down with time because of it. I just finished a Portrait that I had started before I got the Graphire for xmas last. Finally I just said, tonite it's done, no matter what happens. You can see it in my the gallery, and it is not as good as I wanted.........tough.


                      • #12
                        I'm a perfectionist and I do feel it hinders my business. I spend way too much time on each job. I have to learn when enough is enough. I don't like giving my clients photos unless I'm happy with them but to be realistic I'm hardly ever completely happy with some jobs. One of the hardest things I've done lately is doing only what the customer requested. I had a job where the customer only wanted the photo brighteded up she didn't want any restoration done and believe me there was plenty to restore. I wasn't happy with the end result after adjusting the levels, curves brightness/contrast and hue/saturation. I could still see all the imperfections but I had to do what the customer requested. When I handed her the photo she was delighted. I commented that I could have done a restoration for just a little more but she said she loved it the way it was, imperfections and all. That made me realize that even though I can see a photos faults maybe I'm over analysing and being too critical at times.So now I'm trying to get other people to look at the photo and tell me what they see and if they say it's good then I try to stop fussing over the photo, it's hard but I'm trying.


                        • #13
                          You're right Sanda, we have to give the customer what s/he wants regardless of what we think is "correct". A while back I did a restoration for an old lady, and went to endless trouble trying to restore the really nice sepia tones from the original. When I showed it to the old dear, she said she'd only wanted it restored to look like a "new" black and white photo. I went back to my pre-sepia image, and printed that. In spite of Epson's difficulty with printing B/W images she was as happy as a young girl with what I'd produced.

                          I think often we remove things from a photo, in trying to make it "artistically correct" only to find it is relevant to the customer. Here, I think of Steve Gibson's challenge in which some members removed the folks in the background. I'm sure those folks in the background have some sentimental value to Steve's Mom...

                          I agree with Greg. Perfectionism is not a "girl thing" at all.


                          • #14
                            As there are fine lines sometimes between insanity and brilliance, courage and stupidity, so can be the distinction between excellence and perfection.

                            Striving for excellence is a good thing. Striving for perfection is a waste of time.

                            As I posted in another thread, I go with the mantra:
                            "Know when good enough is good enough."

                            It also helps, as in BigAl's example, to understand what a customer really wants. Diving that consistently and accurately would be an another interesting topic conversation.

                            Chalk one up for the boy's club on this one.



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DannyRaphael

                              As I posted in another thread, I go with the mantra:
                              "Know when good enough is good enough."

                              Chalk one up for the boy's club on this one.


                              My step-dad is a member of the boy's club too. And for him, "good enough" is also a mantra. He happens to be the guy who "fixed" the drivers side mirror on my van by clenching a pair of vice grips on it to keep it from moving and who's idea of a great fix for his broken windshield wiper is a string that he can pull back and forth from inside his truck...

                              I'm not sure that "knowing when good enough is good enough" has the same meaning for everyone.

                              Maybe half a chalk mark for the boy's club...?


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