In just a couple clicks, you can register your business with the state and set up a social media network for a nominal fee. How can you navigate and succeed in your market when everyone and your neighbor have started a photography business? How do you stay positive?
With the onset of digital photography, anyone can take a mediocre image with a consumer camera. There are photography shops popping up daily in your market. This normally upsets or annoys those that are full time professionals and count on this job to put food on the table. Instead of thinking negative, I've found the silver lining and the many positive aspects from working in a saturated market
Connect with those that are full time professionals in your area. In every region, there are a group of professionals you can reach out and connect with. Photography friends are the best. You will be a great source of leads and support for each other. You will also need someone in your field to identify with on certain issues. Maybe the most important thing you can do, is educate the newbie’s in your area about running a successful business. One thing most of us don’t understand when we start out is how much time and money it will take to run our business profitably. Be a friendly source for information. You could play a role in balancing prices for your market.
Competition is a good thing. When you see one of the peers in your market creating amazing images or offering outstanding service, you are motivated to up your game. In response, you invest in learning and sharpen your technical abilities and polish your business skills. I also believe your customer service and client relations will benefit. Your clients obviously have several options, but they have chosen you. Take the extra steps to show how much you value and appreciate them. Remember you are your only competition. Be the best you can be at every aspect of your job.
When more photographers came to my market, my clients started to value my studio more, their experience working with me, and the products I can offer them. Since I have a designated space for in-studio sales, I have more to offer in terms of product line and an experience, versus someone who is just shooting and burning. Clients can come to my studio and sample potential products for their home. Wedding and portrait photography is very personal. Create relationships with your clients. You need to provide them an experience when they are doing business with you. The experience will influence your clients to tell their friends, the relationship they create with you will ensure they become a repeat customer.
Finding Your Niche
Take a look around. What does everyone offer in your market? Are there any gaps? For example, almost everyone in my market offers family portraits; however there are only a few who market specifically towards seniors. I believe my local senior market has many opportunities and it just so happens to be a genre I love shooting. Seek out opportunities and discover what you are truly passionate about. Instead of being known for photographing everything, be known as the best photographer for a specific genre.
Set small goals for yourself that you can reach throughout the year. Know that every booked session and sale is an accomplishment towards your end goal. Your clients had several options to choose from and they chose you! It’s even greater satisfaction when those customers become repeat clients. When someone refers my studio, I take great honor and pride that someone spoke highly of our services. Take a few minutes every day to enjoy the positive things that happen in your business. Sometimes it is the little things that give you the boost to get through the day and help you realize the bigger picture.
Hello Fstoppers! My name is Lindsey Pantaleo and I am a wedding and senior photographer based out of Jefferson City, Missouri. I am so excited and honored to join the talented team of writers here at Fstoppers! This is my first post, looking forward to sharing many more. Learning, teaching, and sharing all things related to the photography industry are my passion. My belief is that we are stronger together than we are apart. I hope to bring a unique perspective to the Fstoppers community. I live in small town USA, and run a successful photography business. Having faith in my abilities and remaining positive has been the driving force of my career.