How is it even possible to survive as a photographer these days?
We are all among a massive sea of photographers, all vying for the same customers. Despite photography being so subjective, and in many ways an "art", the commoditization of the "art" is continuing at an alarming pace.
Whose to blame for this?
...it happens. Technology is a good thing, mostly. Heck...without it, odds are you wouldn't be here reading this because you maybe wouldn't have ever found yourself becoming a photographer. I know I can attest to that.
But as much as technology as helped create jobs and opportunity - it also has taken away jobs.
You see as technology has progressed, it has dramatically decreased the barrier to entry
which has drastically increased the level of competition
And of course, the byproduct of more competition is more downward price pressure which for some has created what I will call the great race to the bottom. You see, whenever you solely compete on price, no one is the winner. Collectively prices shift lower and lower until it's unsustainable and businesses shut doors and can't survive anymore...
BUT - you don't have to race to the bottom...
I am going to share with you how you can rather easily be distinctly different from your competition which in many ways is the only true way to separate yourself from your photography being a commodity and rather it being an art & service, that your clients will rave about.
First a question...
Do you know how HARD it is to really be different?
- Is your editing style really that different?
- You shoot natural light only? (you and 932,455 others...)
- Super wild off-camera flash user?
- Give great customer service?
...do you get it? All of those things are easily duplicated by others. But there is one thing that simply can't be duplicated...
You are truly the only thing that no one else will ever be...
So if you want to be different with your photography, you need to interject more of you into it.
These days are different...even the social media game is different than it was.
It's no longer good enough to just post your latest photos or blog link on Facebook and think people are going to be chomping at the bit to go see them...sadly they usually aren't.
Whether you know it or not, I can tell you what people do want is simply more of you. That is the way to use social media today. People want to relate to others. They feel connected when they do.
Focus on being less of a business and more of a person.
Business Fact - "people do business with people they know, like & trust."
It's your job to let people easily get to know, like and trust you.
So the question becomes - what can you do differently?
Here are some ideas:
- Ask questions on Facebook - this will make your page more interactive and more engaged & also let your own personality shine through.
- Respond to everyone - when people take the time to comment on a post, give them a reply & thank them for their comment!
- Instagram - Don't limit yourself to only post professional photos, post personal photos or simple insight too, this will let people relate to you easier & get to know you.
- Video on about page/homepage - Video is in people! It's simply the best way to give your fans/viewers a media rich experience which also lets them see you in a different light rather than only reading text. Don't have the budget for a videographer? No problem, use your smartphone and an external audio recorder/lapel mic ($30 or so). It'll go a long way to connecting with your audience. (Click here to see our "about us" video)
- Blog more - Blog often and expand the types of posts to include personal insight/thoughts & happenings. These are the posts that will let prospective clients get to know you vs. just posting your latest work.
- Don't write like a robot - whether it's on social media or a blog post, or even your website, write in a very conversational tone. Let that personality shine through!
Speaking of sharing insight, I hope you've found this post helpful, if so I'd love to hear from you. Today, only the strongest will survive, yet I am doing my very best to educate so that YOU can not only survive but thrive.
Remember, the true key to success
isn't mastering any one particular thing, it's the whole package.
Both Cole Joseph Photography & Cole's Classroom wouldn't be where they are at today if it wasn't for a tremendous amount of hard work and work ethic and killer customer service, but, I strongly feel that the one key difference between all those other wedding photographers and all the other photo blogs
online, is the person behind the camera and keyboard. :)
Let your personality shine through more & I have no doubt you will be rewarded!