skip to Main Content

Canon 1Ds Mk III, 1/100 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 40mm

I’m reading a new book by Tom Peters called “The Little Big Things“, and so far it’s making me think – long and hard about how I pursue Excellence. I often wonder why I obsess over seemingly small details in my work.

Sometimes it’s the framing of a composition and the constant adjustment of my tripod or ball head. There’s this uncomfortable gut feeling that immediately goes away when I know I have it right. I know I can crop or adjust the horizon line afterwards in Lightroom, but why when I know perfectly well what’s wrong?

Sometimes this pursuit keeps me from getting a good night sleep, and I just can’t stop thinking about a different adjustment or interpretation of a print I made the night before. Working late I sometimes grow tired and decide better to leave it for the next day. But somehow it stays in the back of my mind, working to find a solution to what I couldn’t see before. I know it can be better, and until I get there, something just eats away at me.

I’ve taught many workshops, and I’m fairly confident I know the material in my sleep, yet I can’t stop reviewing my notes and doing as much research as I can so that I can be as prepared as possible. What does it matter if I just taught the same workshop a week ago, I always feel I can do a better job in the future.

I’ve often taken frames apart and re-printed an image because I know the “performance” is better, due to practice and hard work. Perhaps no one would notice, especially if I’m exhibiting a print for the first time. But if I know it’s not as Excellent as I can make it, I can’t sell it – simple as that.

Doing the best work I can, and making it as Excellent as I can has always been a paramount motivator for me, and not a day goes by without me being grateful for that. Difficult, challenging, laborious, demanding, and many times frustrating are all aspects of my daily life as a photographer, but striving for Excellence gets me up every single day before sunrise without fail.

Are you pursuing Excellence of some kind in your daily life?


Experience your work in the real world. The Printmaker Masterclass is live and growing! Learn more here.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. robert, glad to hear you’re loving “The Little BIG Things.” and love that you’re using a capital E on Excellence! (I like your photos, too.)


    1. Thanks for stopping by Erik – appreciate the generous feedback…I never would think of using “Excellent” without the capital E after reading the book – it makes all the difference.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

×Close search