Do you feel overwhelmed when thinking about the saturated photography market? It can be intimidating! Here are our tips for standing out and overcoming the doubt.
So I think we’ve all been there. You decide that you want to become a photographer and then you start to notice that EVERYONE and their grandma is a photographer, and charging 50% less than you charge. Yikes. Let’s face it, we don’t need a degree or to invest $100,000 into our business (which in many cases will scare someone off). If you have a camera and some guts, you can start a business overnight. So how do you keep from getting discouraged when you see the endless advertising from local photographers? Let’s cover what you can do to stay positive and stand out in a saturated photography market.
Get ready to work.
I’m going to be 150% honest with you all. I see a TON of photographers come and go who aren’t willing to put in the work. The number one way to set yourself apart, is with your work ethic. You’re going to have to hustle your butt off because no one else is going to do it for you. Having your own photography business is roughly 20% taking photos and the rest about editing marketing, advertising, more editing, networking, collaborating, and connecting. Don’t expect it to be easy, because if it were, you’d see a LOT more photographers making it big in the industry.
That’s the thing, every new obstacle you face is something that will cause someone else to stop. So you just need to KEEP GOING. ALWAYS.
Just take a moment to reflect…out of the X number of photographers in your area, how many are REALLY successful? I’d guess a handful. So really dive deep and ask if you’re willing to work hard and overcome some hurdles, because they will come. Is the answer yes?! Then you’re already on your way! I’m not writing this to be harsh. I want YOU to succeed. I also want you to be honest with yourself and know that this isn’t going to be an overnight project.
You CAN do this…so let’s get started on how…
Most of us started off doing free or heavily discounted sessions. It’s up to you to work your way out of that price bracket. Sure, there are ALWAYS people looking for the next deal, like 100 photos for $50. What you’ll realize is that there’s also a market for much higher pricing, and higher quality work. The simple fact is that as you continue to improve your skill, you’ll continue to work your way up the pricing latter. After three years of working hard, you won’t be charging those entry level prices. Just as you move up, other photographers will just be getting started…and THAT’S OK. That won’t be your market anymore. Don’t get discouraged! Those photographers you see charging $500/session didn’t come to that figure overnight! Keep in mind that ONE $500/session makes up for 10 of those $50/sessions.
Understand that there IS room for you in a saturated photography market.
So I was reading about the fundamentals of success and in a few studies, it was said that only 3/100 people are willing to go above and beyond what is expected of them in order to be successful. THREE. Sometimes you just need to put your blinders on, put your head down, and WORK. Don’t worry about what other photographers are doing.
Something I try to do every single day is at least ONE task that will take my business in a positive direction. This may be as simple as posting on social media, or just taking my camera out with the intention of getting one beautiful photo. It could be as big a committing to building a website, or social media page. If you are doing something that is fueled by passion, it’s difficult to lose momentum when you are doing something because you love it. Sure, you’ll get discouraged at times, like we all do, and that’s NORMAL. Just remember your why! Your “why,” is why you do what you do. Is it because you want to share your gift to make others happy? Is it because you want to capture moments of love that will last generations? If you keep that reason in mind, it simply doesn’t matter what other photographers are doing!
Connecting with others is key.
I think we initially look at other photographers as competitors. They may be, but collaborating will most likely bring MORE business rather than less. You can team up with local photographers and discuss marketing or technique. It’s always nice to connect with others that “get you.” In fact, that’s what Cole’s Classroom is all about. It’s a testament that a community of photographers is much more powerful together!
Step up your service.
We can all agree that there are a TON of technically great photographers. Once you get the basics down, how do you start getting more clients? Here’s the thing, you absolutely need to blow your clients away in terms of customer service. You don’t need to offer more for less, you need to offer your service.
Here are some quick tips for improving your customer service:
- Be quick, clear and detailed in your communication with your clients!
- Set expectations BEFORE a session.
- Under promise and over deliver! This means if you say you’ll have their gallery done in three weeks, send it in one! You can even throw in a few more photos then you originally promised.
- Send a personalized thank you after a session!
- Treat your clients as if they were your friends!
This one is pretty simple, offer something that others aren’t offering. I think a lot of us get caught up in copying other photographers that we admire, which is fine, except you need to define what YOU do best. You need to go deeper and really decide what style and type of photography suit your personality. Don’t do weddings if you don’t LIKE doing weddings! Do what you LOVE, because in reality, you’re selling that love through your photography. This doesn’t mean you should refuse other work!! For example, I specialize in children and families. That is what I love and what I want to do more of, so that’s what I put on my website! I still take other jobs, like commercial work and corporate headshot projects, as those help pay the bills. What I mean is that if you REALLY focus on what you love, and the money will come.
Give 200% to the clients you DO have.
The conclusion is this, give your absolute best to the clients you do get, and the momentum will grow. Even if those are $50 sessions! Word of mouth is your absolute best form of marketing, and typically costs the least. So give your talent, your time, your heart and your love and the rest will come with some patience! One of the best places to improve your photography is in our Facebook community, Cole’s Classmates – Photo School. It’s a supportive place where you can ask all of your questions and get answers without judgment! See you there!