Time for a little honesty. In your mind, answer the following yes or no questions:
1. On Facebook, I follow local photographers. I know what they are shooting and what clients of mine are following them.
2. I compare my work to those of the local photographers I follow and it worries me if I see someone shooting a little better than me.
3. I know exactly what other photographers in my area are charging and the products they offer.
4. I am scared to network with other photographers in my area. I don’t want to give away any secrets of what may be working for me.
5. it’s been over a year since I have physically taken a workshop or class that focuses on improving my photography or business.
If you are truly honest with yourself, you will have answered “yes” at some point to all of the questions during your photography career, no matter how long or short it has been. I know I have.
So I’m going to give you a little advice that was given to me: Knock it off. Every photographer comes from a different background. Styles are different, business needs are different, and we all came into photography through our own paths. It is your personal path and journey needs to be your focus.
So let’s take a look at these questions, and get you re-focused on your path.
In this world of social media, Facebook can either be our best friend or worst enemy. It’s a great place to showplace our work; but there can be some dangers too. I have a friend who is a very talented photographer. However, she was constantly on Facebook looking to see what other photographers in her area were doing. She would get upset if she saw a client portrait on another photographer’s page, someone who had a stronger image than hers or if the work was so shabby, it truly was bringing the photography industry down. If you find yourself doing the same thing, remove yourself from those pages. The only photography pages I “like” are those photographers who truly inspire me. This allows me to stay positive and inspired through the world of social media.
When I started my business many years ago, I determined my pricing compared to what other photographers in the area were charging. I did not understand that each business must develop their pricing based on the Cost of goods and Cost of Operations. I also did not include my time that I spent shooting, editing and processing images. Thank goodness I had someone take me by the hand and teach me how to work my numbers so that I was making a profit. These days, cost of goods is a very important factor as many photographers tend to just shoot and burn images to a disc. I run a product based studio so my needs are very different from those photographers.
By the way, do you know how I know that many photographers in my area are shoot and burn? Potential clients tell me when they call for information. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to tell someone that I am not they photographer they are looking for based on their needs and budget. I’m okay with that. We’ve heard it over and over again that not everyone can be our client.
One of my dearest friends is a photographer. We get together all the time to chat and talk shop. We’ve had some wonderful brainstorming sessions that end in great ideas and true respect for each other. You don’t have to be best friends and share all your secrets, especially pricing; but it is nice to be able to refer a potential client to someone if they are looking for something specific that you don’t offer. Trading second shooter positions is also a benefit. I truly believe that what goes around comes around. If you are kind and respect other photographers, they will do the same of you.
Webinars and other online classes are wonderful in this day and age. We have access to training that we never had even as short as 10 years ago. I encourage all of you to continue using that as a source of learning.
However, there truly is nothing better than attending a workshop or class in person. You can ask questions immediately and the learning you pick up from others in the class is incredible. Talk about some true bonding. I always feel re-energized after a class or workshop and jump right into making changes in my business.
I’ve talked before about setting educational goals. This truly allows you to focus on the photography and business needs of your company.
When you are focused on your business and the path you want it to take, you don’t have time to worry about what other photographers are or are not doing. By doing this, it opens up a new world of ideas and growth.
Until next time,