"Much of my design background has been very beneficial in the portrait world," explains Quance, who opened Quance Design & Photography in Cypress, Texas, in 1999. "With the new digital press products many of the labs offer, we have been able to use the new technology to the benefit of our business. We are able to custom design professional products many photographers are only able to use as templates."
But Quance didn't stop at what she knew. She pushes her art and her business to new highs every day.
Focusing on the Client
While she started out photographing children and families, Quance says that her specialty since 2006 has been shooting senior portraits. You can hear her passion each time she talks about capturing seniors' images.
"Senior year is such a 'right of passage' in the heart of American teens and their families. So to me, photographing that time is such an honor and privilege," she says. "I really enjoy taking a shy, quiet teenage boy or girl and giving them an experience that makes them feel beautiful, handsome and valid. We really try to make every senior session fun. It's their time in the spotlight. We have a blast!"
Quance focuses on the complete satisfaction of her clients to the point where they feel the need to spread the good word about her studio. And that is what she considers to be one of her biggest accomplishments as a photographer. Judging by her studio's booking success, it's effective, too!
"We spend very little on advertising; most of our business is brought about by word of mouth," Quance notes. "We typically book three to six weeks out; and during our busiest months, we can book up as much as eight weeks out."
In addition, Quance believes that earning her Master of Photography degree from PPA was a big accomplishment because it requires earning print merits in competition. Aiming for that credential drove her level of photography to a "new high," as she says, which can only help a photographer's business.
"Competition requires you to consider the elements that set a 'professional photographer' above the average consumer with a camera," Quance adds.
Not only has the process of earning her degree helped her artistically, Quance also believes that it has helped her business significantly: "Degrees give us credibility in both the profession and to our clients. PPA is a respected organization, and a degree from PPA gives a deep, personal sense of satisfaction. I'm proud to display my awards and degrees in my studio.
"Plus, those degrees often become conversation pieces to my clients. I believe it gives my business credibility and my clients a sense of security, knowing the photographer they have chosen takes pride in striving to be one of the best within an organization that sets the standards in its field. It also gives some history to my craft and lets my clients know I didn't just pull out a camera and start shooting. I know what I'm doing, have educated myself, paid my dues and have been working at it for years."
Not Without PPA
Both thinking back and looking ahead, Quance says that she can't imagine being a photographer without having PPA as an anchor.
"PPA is like a big family! I feel sad for those photographers who either haven't discovered this association yet or who feel the need to be an island unto themselves," she says. "My imagery has grown leaps and bounds due the massive array of education and degree programs provided through PPA. There is always a new bar I can set for myself via benchmarks first set through PPA. As a goal setter, I love that!"
Teri Quance is currently the Chairmen of the Board for Professional Photographers Guild of Houston. She also won the Sliver Photographer of the Year award from PPA in 2009. Read more about her here.
All images Â© Teri Quance