Haha, well I hope you're not taking offense at anything I said, because that would be quite unfounded. I certainly never condoned doing a half ass job. My point, which you might have missed, is that RE photography doesn't quite belong in the Louvre. You seem like a fairly aggressive salesman with a relatively high opinion of your work, so I'm sure that helps you market yourself to a degree.
The last time I was in the Louvre I saw mostly paintings - not so many photos. I agree that most RE photos will never make their way to a fine art gallery - but that is irrelevant. They are different genres and I honestly cannot understand fine art photography at all. That profession is more connections + drugs + self marketing and I'll never understand it. The important thing is RE photography is extremely difficult to get right. It is similar in difficulty to most other genres.
I do have a high opinion of my work. Any professional photographer needs this or he/she shouldn't be in business. That being said, do I believe I am the best architectural photographer out there? - No. There are numerous others who are better, but with each job I work to improve myself to reach their level.
However, the key to your work, your leg up...is that you used your wife's connections...which is not a bad thing either.
Not sure how this is relevant to the conversation. This discussion is not about how I obtain my business. It is about how I complete the jobs I have.
Another key, is that you live in probably the wealthiest place in the country, so it's not as hard to imagine being able to charge a lot of money to do your work.
Not true and not relevant. I live near Seattle, which is above average but far from the wealthiest. There are numerous areas in California, New England, and the Atlantic coast that are higher. Several neighborhoods in S Florida are pricier than the worst here.
In addition, the point I was making is it doesn't matter what you charge for your work - you are a professional and owe the sellers your best work. If you do not feel it is worth the effort for the pay, then don't take the job. For the sellers, regardless of their economic profile, this is a huge transaction. You are being hired to drive more traffic to their home - which will increase the odds of sale and the realized sales price. I have photographed mobile homes and I have photographed waterfront mansions. My properties have ranged from $30k to $12M. In all of them I did the best work possible because I chose to do that job and I owed the sellers my full attention.
So, no, my work is unlikely to be regarded as a new breakthrough in photography that will hang on millions of homes throughout the world, but it is extremely important to the sellers who depend on me to help sell their home. Every RE photographer owes their clients respect and professionalism.