Differentiating your photography business, part 1: Why the old ways no longer work

Written on April 26, 2011 by in Business savvy, For photographers only

This post is the second in a series sharing my thoughts about the state of the wedding and portrait photography industry and how we can all work together to make it better.

The key to standing out in a crowded marketplace, like the wedding and portrait photography industry, is being different. We’ve all heard this, but how do we do it? Over the next two days, I’ll talk about what doesn’t work. Then on Thursday I will introduce my new Art Aligned framework, which helps you to differentiate your art and your business, authentically and timelessly.

Once upon a time, the very best photographers set themselves apart through their technical skills, experience, salesmanship and customer rapport. These are all still important, but they are no longer enough. Why?

  • Cameras are making it too easy to get consistent, usable results with minimal technical know-how.
  • Just like when employers hire employees, clients will often hire a younger, fresher and cheaper option than someone who is 10 times as experienced.
  • Although people still hire people they like, they won’t hire you if they can find someone else whose work looks almost exactly the same for one-quarter of the price.

You also can’t rely on shortcuts to set yourself apart. The days of creating a profitable wedding or portrait photography business by utilizing the posing strategies, actions or marketing templates of well-known photographers or “rock stars” are already at an end in large markets and will fizzle out in smaller markets over the next few months and years. I’m not saying that some of these products aren’t valuable, but you can’t base your business on them or use them to fast-track your way to success. Too many other photographers are trying to do the same thing with the same tools. The result: Further sameness and industry commoditization.

Both images courtesy of MommyandMePhotography.com

So, what does work? In order to create a successful business model in these competitive times, you must use the only strength you have left: your individuality. No one can out-you you. Just as you can’t be a better version of Jasmine Star than Jasmine herself, she also can’t be a better version of you. This is your greatest strength and what you must hone to your greatest advantage.

When clients see you as an artist with a unique vision, one they can’t get from anyone else, they will pay for that vision. Until then, you will continue strategizing and networking and flogging your heart out with little success.

Good luck with that,
Kate

 

 

P.S. If you’re ready to try something new, check back Thursday for my post explaining the Art Aligned framework. Tomorrow I will discuss the prevailing view of branding and its inherent dangers.

This post is the second in a series about the wedding and portrait photography industry, and how to create a successful photography business. You may also be interested in:

  1. State of the industry: Portrait and wedding photography
  2. Differentiating your business, part 1: Why the old ways no longer work
  3. Differentiating your business, part 2: It’s about more than branding
  4. A new framework for business success
  5. How to differentiate authentically + consciously

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

3 Comments

  1. […] Differentiating your business, part 1: Why the old ways no longer work […]

  2. […] Differentiating your business, part 1: Why the old ways no longer work […]

  3. […] Differentiating your business, part 1: Why the old ways no longer work […]


Trackback URL
http://artaligned.com/differentiating-your-business-part-1-why-the-old-ways-no-longer-work/trackback/

Provocative philosophies on passion and profit, plus my latest mentoring and workshop offerings for visual arts and photographers.

The Inspired Way
Need a little inspiration to find your ideal life? Check out a new, free guide by 22 creative women (including me):