White Hot Story
We all have a story to tell – and Steve White of White Images is certainly worth hearing about.
Steve wanted to become a journalist and started out as a copy boy at the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1969.
Ita Buttrose was my boss, and I loved every minute of it.
It all began when I got offered a cadetship in photography and decided to grab the opportunity with both hands.
I worked in the photographic department and attended a 4 year TAFE course at the same time.
It was a steep learning curve and as you can imagine working for the Packer Empire, as well as a freelance photographer at channel 9, there never was a dull moment.”
Over the years Steve worked his way up to becoming an accomplished studio photographer and life offered him another challenge and opportunity.
I was doing all the product work for a white goods manufacturer (photographing fridges and washing machines), when the marketing manager asked if I could take pictures of horses”.
Well it is quite a different thing to take pictures of non-moving things to creatures that move really, really fast, adding to which I’d never even been on a racecourse before.
Well this fellow had just applied for the job as the marketing manager of the Australian Jockey Club, and wanted me to be their photographer, and as they say – the rest is history.
My mate has left since, but I’m still there enjoying every minute of it.
I love the races for the enjoyment of the photographing of the animals and the people there.
I also love the computer; I love the fact that it makes your photographic task a little bit easier, because you can do so much in post-production.
Because of my decade long experience, I know what it is that a camera needs to do. It was the film, the dark room, the printing and the developing the pictures myself that taught me all about photography.
I really think that the younger generation, who’ve only known digital photography, really do miss out on the understanding as to how photography really works. I realise that when I get questions like “why do you use flash in daylight?” that I realise that they have no concept of light ratios.
Now you take a digital camera out, take a thousand pictures and choose what you like and you take it to your next printing outlet. And then they are surprised that the pictures aren’t as good as they could be. This is because they have no concept of the elements that come into taking a picture; they have not had the experience.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in the photography business?
1. Keep learning new things. Photography is a constant learning process – digital photography has brought this on even more. If you don’t keep up with the changes you’ll get swallowed up.
2. Always give your clients what they want not what you want. Always make sure that the client has the opportunity to give feedback and input. After all, the piece is hanging on their wall. Once it goes off to the printer and framer I don’t see the picture again. I want the picture to be exactly what my clients want not what I want.
3. Don’t blame your tools for poor results; take responsibility for the result produced. I believe that this is why people still use professional photographers.
What significant changes have you seen take place in the profession over the years?
With the development of the smart phone, everyone has become a photographer. As a professional you have to ensure that your work is above and beyond the smart phone picture quality.
The biggest change however is the introduction of digital photography, which means I spend a lot more time on the computer to create the “perfect” picture for my clients. I am a perfectionist and I love it because I can control what it is the client gets. The flip side of this is that I spend a lot more time with post-production.
There were times when I used to say “I can’t believe how crap digital photography is” this was in the days when you still could compare a digital picture to a super chrome picture. After super chrome disappeared you started comparing digital with digital and now we are comparing apples with apples again.
When digital printing evolved I decided to move from in-house printing to Pixel Perfect and have never been happier. Colours including skin-tones and bright colours are always true to the original. The WYSIWYG theory of what I see on my monitor is what I get back in prints is 100% with Pixel Perfect.
I am very happy to say that in 10 years I’ve never had a complaint from my clients. Never once have clients wanted me to reprint my work.
My contacts at Pixel Perfect are Jo, Kate and Steve. They are great, their customer service is fantastic and they are very accommodating.
If there is a problem with a job from my end, they call me immediately, if there is no problem I just get the prints back. I’ve never been disappointed with their service; to me it is second to none. They are genuinely nice people. I don’t know what they’re like with others but with me they’re just fantastic.
I use Pixel Perfect because they are good, reliable and they produce the quality prints I want. They’re easy to deal with. I send my files to Pixel Perfect, I know it’s going to come back from the framer and all I have to do is pack it up for the client and it’s going to be done right.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Pixel Perfect to anyone wanting a high quality printing service from postcards to murals.
Steve White, White Image, Australia