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You Can Have It Your Way, As Long As It Doesn’t Violate This Rule

Fast, Cheap, and/or Good

The triumvirate of creative work

As a creative person who works with customers, both individuals and corporations, I have to provide detailed estimates for almost every job I do. And especially now, with the ubiquity of digital images on the web, all the great tools available to consumers. Since everyone has a digital camera and thinks good photography is easy, I have to explain something about any creative process to new clients.

Years of experience creating great work make my job SEEM easy, even when you watch me do it. I talked about this recently here.

The truth is, like the businesses I work for, I run a business. And there’s a rule to creating work. It can be fast, it can be cheap, and it can be good. But, it is impossible to have all three and for me to be able to do this as a business. And keep my sanity.

If I create something fast and good, it won’t be cheap. I’ll then have to push other projects I’m working on back to accommodate you. Time is far more valuable than even money. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.

If I create something cheap and good, it won’t be fast. It will get done in my spare time between other projects. And as a business, I often bias my work toward those that create the most profit. But as a creative, something that really fires me up creatively will get some extra priority, even if I have to take time out from other things I love, like mountain biking.

If I create something cheap and fast, it won’t be good. These are the types of jobs I usually pass on. They don’t require my level of talent, and I have done a lot to eliminate the types of clients who want this kind of work. There are plenty of GWCs (Guys With a Camera) out there who can do this. If you work with me, you don’t have this low level of work, anyway. You expect quality.

If in doubt, check the image above. When commissioning creative work, you can have any two but not all three. Good is always on your mind, so you now only have to decide how fast you want it done.


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