“If I walk into a situation where I need a particular lens, I want to make sure I have that lens," says Feinknopf."I never want to say, ‘If I only had a 110mm lens with me, I could have gotten the shot.'"
Even when he has the right equipment and he's designed the shot in his head, his work has only begun."A lot of times, it takes longer to prepare a space than it does to actually shoot it," he says."Sometimes I feel we are more moving men than photographers, but it's all a means to an end."
For example, when they shot the University of Missouri's new arena (by 360 Architecture) a few weeks ago (below), they were doing everything from moving scores tables and basketball nets to peeling down little pieces of paper that had been left taped up. He takes great care in removing anything that looks like a prop.
“I'm shooting in the architectural mode, not in the Better Homes and Gardens mode," he says,"so all extraneous elements need to go.
Through The Roof
If the bedrock for a successful business is loving what you do, that may be the most significant factor in Feinknopf's acclaim.
“When I first got into photography back in 1985, what I loved about it was that it was an excuse to stop and smell the roses, to look at the environment around you and appreciate it," says Feinknopf.
Spending his first two years after college in New York City, then three and a half in Ohio turned out to be an invaluable experience.
“I realized then that I didn't want to run a business as an anonymous commercial photographer, who spent his time focusing on nickels, dimes, and pennies. Sometimes knowing what you don't want is just as important as knowing what you do want," says Feinknopf.
Utilizing aggressive marketing skills, he laid the foundation of his business on the elements of quality and service.
“My business philosophy is ‘if you build it they will come.' If I put my focus on quality and service and go out there and create the best product I can, people will seek me out for that product," says Feinknopf.
Aside from providing a quality product, Feinknopf knows that building an easy working relationship with clients strengthens any business. Fortunately, it comes naturally.
Architect for Acock Associates, Judy Doll, finds that not only is he flexible and easy to talk to,"he has an ease about him, which instills confidence in the client and the architect."
A former photographer, Doll also has tremendous appreciation for his artistry."The image of the staircase (cover) reminds you of an O'Keeffe painting, she observes. "You almost don't know what it is at first."
Feinknopf shot this image for a realtor looking to sell his $8.5-million private residence. As soon as he saw that exquisite staircase, he thought,"I just had to capture it."