Photographers, what have YOU done today to advance your business?
How serious are you about succeeding as a photographer in your business, whether part-time or full-time? I know, I know, we are all serious about photography. After all, we all have a passion for photography. So there’s that. But really, how serious are you, and what are you doing to advance your photography career?
A while back I did a presentation to a group of photographers, and as usual, there are distractions that you as the presenter have to overcome and work against. Distractions can be as crazy as competing on the floor of a photo trade-show and trying to get and keep people’s attention. But for a presenter, there are always some kind of distraction that you have to overcome and keep the audience engaged. This evening though, there were people playing pool in the background at this venue. Not noisy or disrespectful or obnoxious at all, but I had to wonder why they were there – the photography group invites various photographers to speak there once a month, and you’d think that regardless of the topic, everyone would be attentive.
My presentation about photographic lighting on location, deviated momentarily towards a more immediate topic – competition in the photography industry.
Remaining competitive in the photography industry
No matter where you are, it is highly competitive as a photographer. But there is the industry machine that wants to sell you the dream that you too can make it, if:
– you just believe in yourself, and
– you just stand out above everyone else, and
– just differentiate yourself, and that
– others can copy you, but only you can be you.
And so on. You’ve all heard this. Sure, this is inspiring, but the hard real-world truth is different. It is very tough creating a sustainable photography business.
My message to those who were listening (and trying to get the attention of those who weren’t), is that you have to get your shit together!
You have to get your shit together, because your competition is better equipped than you are, is more talented than you are, is more driven than you are, more eager to learn than you are, and is more eager to succeed than you are.
Yup, that aphorism “there is always someone better than you”, is true. But it isn’t a deflating disheartening comment … it just means you have to work harder, and put more into it. Because when you slack, your competition isn’t.
You have to get your portfolio together. You have to make your website more attractive and user-friendly. You have to create better images. You have to meet with new people. You have to find new ways of marketing yourself. You have to get your work in front of a new audience. You have to connect with new people. The list goes on. You have to work harder, and you have to get your shit together.
And if I sounded aggravated at the presentation, it was in some measure me being aggravated with myself. I too need to work harder. You know, fewer cat videos on Facebook. Fewer distractions.
What have you done today to advance your photography / business?
A few years back, one of the more successful wedding photographers here in New Jersey, told me that he had a plan – and it seemed to have worked out very well for him – his plan was straight-forward: do one thing every day for your business.
Just one thing. No, not pick out a new font color, or some other thing which makes you feel like you’re busy, but essentially accomplishes nothing. Checking out your competitors’ Facebook pages doesn’t count either. It needs to be something that adds to your business, and brings your business to the attention of more potential clients.
You need to do one thing every day. To me this just sounds like a common sense thing that will steadily lead you to being more successful. You do one thing every day specifically to promote your business, and it will all add up in the end. One thing, every day.
So what have you done today to advance your photography career / business?
- What’s holding you back?
- Critique – photographers’ websites
- A passion for photography
- Paying for Facebook likes
19 Comments, Add Your Own
I put together some new packaging materials for my clients as I strive to move into being more and more custom with more individualized attention.
2andrew bott says
Very insightful as always.
3Jennifer Lynch says
Always really good advice. Thanks for kicking our lazy butts! Today I gave Facebook more money to ‘boost’ my post looking for senior portrait models from the class of 2015. But, more important than that, I read Tangents!
Reduced facebook-activities to 15 min/day ;-)
Didn’t do a thing. Nothing to do. I boosted one of my posts last month on facebook and it reached 1400 people and NOT ONE inquiry on my work. Really humbling. Not wasting money like that anymore.
6Erik Skagen says
So true, and not just photography, this applies to any business if you wish to grow and prosper.
The last few days I’ve tried to become more active on facebook, especially engaging the audience. Trying to achieve more consistency there as well as across the board with the various websites and social places. In the middle of redoing my website. It is difficult when you have those menial distractions like social networking, news, tv, or whatever. Even more so trying to manage a (large) family and provide for them (when the day job is slow) while building a photography business. Too many distractions! I love watching Z Arias’ video on “Signal and Noise”. Very inspirational and so true. Filtering out all that noise can be sooooo difficult. The more time that passes by the more I realize that the lack of funds is less of a hindrance than a lack of effort. Thanks for the post Neil!
8John Botha says
Evaluated what I thought I was “doing something” towards my photography business was in actual fact mindless dribble and time wasting.
Thankyou Neil…..exactly what I needed….a kick up the ass!
I appreciate this article Mr. Neil!
10Yan Wang says
I really like your photos. Have kept eyes on your blog and facebook for a long time.
“Do one thing every day for your business.” is really a good one. I really need to act like that.
Thank you Neil!
11Jason R says
Today I made a list of all the things I can do to improve my business. I want to update my albums to show potential couples, I also want to improve my packaging, I then went on to revamp my brochures and business cards, I’ve had a guy make me a new logo and I’ve just finished taking my pc apart to give it a good clean, find out what make of ram (buying more) and did a few (ok a lot) of posts on Facebook.
12Neil vN says
(Found somewhere on the internet. I don’t know who to ascribe this to.)
I guess it can be sometimes difficult to know what to do, can’t it be counter productive to force himself doing something everyday ?
14Neil vN says
Why would it be counter-productive?
I would not know what to do every single day, if I force myself to do so, I think I’d lose some creativity. But if I don’t do I’ll lose some business so you are right :).
Great post! Thank you…the whole time I was reading the post, Janet Jackson’s “What have you done for me lately” was playing in my head.
17Frank Palmeri says
Neil, I do my post-processing at various coffee shops. People see me working on my Wacom tablet and ask what I’m doing. A great way to strike up a face-to-face conversation with someone (unlike Facebook) who just might end up being my next client.
What I did today? I came to tangents. I’m not going to improve in a vacuum; regularly visiting sites like yours and learning new things are all going to contribute to getting better results which will give me the confidence to start seeking a bigger share of the market.
Today, I`ve finally found photographer, who I can assist ! One of the best in my city. BIG step forward for me !