Basic Photo Economics & Survival. Don’t Whine, Be Creative:

It seems that lately there’s been an abundance of gloom when it comes to business talk. Some think paid photography is going to be a thing of the past in years soon to come. I say that no matter what business you’re in, supply and demand dictate your market. That’s the most basic principal of economics. Some of the best innovation can come from the competition of slower economic times.

Some say Photography won’t stay profitable because everyone’s a photographer now that there’s digital. I say guess what? In 1966 anyone could buy a great camera. The fact that lots of people have great digital cameras has little to do with whether you can sell photography. Consumers who were lousy with film in 1966, are generally lousy now with their 15 megapixel digital cameras. As to so called weekend warriors. They either become real pro’s, or learn that making a business profitable is harder than they thought and bag out.

Is your supply of paying customers down? Time to increase demand for your work. Analyze what you have vs what people want in the market you’re trying to target. Is your service and quality so good that everyone wants you, or are you just another scruffy guy with five o clock shadow, holding a camera? Pro photography is usually much more about business and relationships than taking pictures. The reason a pro wildlife photographer can sell his picture of a deer is not because it’s never been taken before. It’s because he knows how to make a demand for his work.

The bottom line. Photographers who sit around and whine about slow times instead of innovating and doing something about it will defiantly be the ones going out of business. If your photo’s are no better than a snapshot, if your service is as bad as a box store, if you don’t know how to sell yourself, then you’ll never make it, whether you have expanding or a recessing economy. Remember that no matter how little money people have, there are always trying to get a little extra to spend on something beyond basic needs. Even in the great depression of the 1930’s.

The final question is this. Are you offering a product or service so great that consumers really REALLY want it? You should be. Stand out in the crowd and be remarkable. Go the extra mile. I could talk for a long time about how you might do this, but for now let’s hear your thoughts and brainstorms in the comments. What are you doing to stand out like a hairless bear on a pink motorcycle?

Gavin Seim

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