It seems like everyone has a camera these days. And with such a wealth of information on the internet, learning how to use it has never been easier! It’s a double-edged sword, because while we have droves of information and know-how at our very fingertips, this also means that an industry that used to require specialized, costly education is now accessible to almost anyone who’s willing to put in the time and effort to learn. The minimal barriers into the industry mean that photography is a very saturated field to work in. You want to stand out in the photography business, but how do you get noticed? What’s the trick to standing out in a saturated market?
**Before I go further, I want to note that this post is in no way intended to launch a debate about who should or should not consider themselves a professional photographer. We believe strongly that there is room at the table for anyone who is willing to learn, grow and master their skills, no matter where you started from or how long ago.
If you want to stand out in a sea of photographers, you must think beyond creating amazing images. Because you aren’t the only one able to take knock-it-out-of-the-park photos anymore. You’ve probably noticed by now that there are a LOT of photographers who do good work. If you want to be the one to get hired, good images don’t cut it. You’ve got to find another way to stand apart from the crowd.
Have you noticed that there are some photographers out there just killing it? You look at their images, and yes, they are good. But, so are you. They are booked solid and you aren’t. Why?
The #1 Key
Once you understand this crucial key in the buying process, everything changes…
People buy based on how they feel. If you want to get hired in a saturated market, begin to evaluate what you are doing to gain the trust of your potential clients. What does your customer experience communicate to them? When they look at your website, can they trust the result they will get if they invest with you?
A Positive Customer Experience = Trust
Everything about your client (and potential client) interactions should be positive. From giving them your investment information and the booking process, to the interaction and feedback on the actual shoot and the delivery of their final product. Custom photography is an investment, and unless you’re working with models, the majority of your clients are less than 100% comfortable in front of the camera. They will be relying on you to give them a positive experience from the get-go.
Creating a positive experience for your clients should include a lot of positive language, whether you are booking the session or giving instruction on posing and styling. Take the instances below, for example:
Instead of: “I can’t do October 23rd, 24th, 27th or 30th.”
Try: “I have sessions available on October 22nd, 25th, or 26th.”
Instead of: “It’s best not to wear perfectly matched outfits or colors, and stay away from shades of neon.”
Try: “Instead of getting stuck on matching, try to think of colors and patterns fit nicely together. Neutral shades and muted tones photograph beautifully for a timeless look.”
Instead of: “Ok, I don’t like that pose, let’s change your position.”
Try: “Great job! Let’s try bringing your arm down now, and wrapping it around his waist, then give him a little squeeze as you lean into him. Yes! Perfect!”
Notice how these statements communicate to the client what you want them to do, instead of telling them what not to do. The psychology is pretty simple: people feel more confident (in themselves AND in you) when they know what to do, versus only telling them what you don’t want.
Creating a positive experience should be key across every client interaction. The verbal communication is only one part! Think also about how you can create a positive experience by going above and beyond to serve you clients. Begin to stand out in the photography business by over-delivering in every area you can.
Consistency in your Brand = Trust
You will gain the trust of your potential clients simply by having a consistent, cohesive brand. What does that mean? Simply put, your clients should be able to view your work and your website, and know without a shadow of a doubt what they can expect from you. When they know what to expect, and can see that you deliver consistent results, you earn their trust. Finding your unique style and being true to you is the first step to building a cohesive brand and gaining the trust of potential clients.
By creating a sense of unity across your images and your final results for your clients, you build in them an inherent trust of what type of product you produce. Clients won’t have to wonder what they will get from you, or whether or not they will like it. You will stand out in the photography business because you have earned their trust through your consistency.
Standing out in today’s saturated photography market isn’t as difficult as it may first seem, as long as you understand how to gain the trust of your clients. By going above and beyond to show them you’re worth your salt, you can make a big impression!