Mark, Marketing, Photos

Why You Should Give Up (Part One)

30 Mar ’11
0001_LeahAndMark_Model_Kendo

This is Part One. Click here for Part Two – Why You Should [Not] Give Up.

1. There’s too much competition.

One in four people in the United States is a photographer. One-half of the people on Facebook have a ‘Fan/Company Page’ for their photography business. We [Leah and Me] are creating a new crop of photographers, armed with our top secret marketing tactics, out into the marketplace. We’re helping to add to the already over-saturated photography market. Simply put – there’s too much competition.

How could you possibly think that you’ll just one day pick up a camera and find enough work to leave your day job? Or pay your bills? Or support your family? Apparently there isn’t enough work for photographers – and you can tell by just looking at how many ‘Professionals’ now offer ‘workshops’ – and also try to sell their books & dvds to all of the ‘beginning’ photographers out there. Some of these professionals seem to make MOST of their income from their workshops and not actual photography. How are YOU going to make it with just taking pictures?

Art School students spend $80k to get their photography degrees – and they’re struggling – do you really think you’ll do any better with what you remember from your high school photography class?

You should give up.

2. Your gear sucks.

“It’s not about the camera.” – RIIIIIIGHT. That’s why professionals use entry level cameras. Heck – we see them all running around with point-and-shoots because ‘in the end, what type of camera doesn’t matter’. OF COURSE it matters. There’s a difference between a $5k camera and the entry level body you got from your parents/spouse for your birthday. Not only do professionals use better cameras – they have better lenses! And Flashes! And studio lights! And assistants! And expensive websites!

Basically they have money to burn on expensive gear that you can’t possibly compete with. When you show up with your $30 flashes and Chinese triggers from ebay – you’re going to get laughed at. How embarrassing for you! You won’t have the matching Nikon or Canon name brand gear! You’ll have an entry level camera with the kit lens and that’s it. Why do you think you have any business being in the pit with the rest of us professionals? When we ask you what you’re shooting with – we already know – and when you say [insert entry level camera] – we’ll give you that already practiced, ‘It doesn’t matter what camera body you have anyway’.

Face it. Your. Gear. Sucks.

You should give up.

3. You have no idea how to market yourself or get clients.

Marketing is hard. You finally got your website up. You finally got your blog going with a few entries. You finally setup your facebook fan page. Oh – and you got your twitter account linked to your FB so you don’t have to post things twice. You’re set! People are flocking to your website! They’re booking you like crazy! um. Right? Of course not.

Oh – and they’re asking for discounts on your already low prices. They’re asking if you can just give them a few more hours at their wedding/party/event for free since you’ll already be there. They’re also just not booking you. All of your friends on facebook who ‘like’ your work – seem to be hiring someone else whenever they need photos. Or they at least want that discount called free. Just this once – come on! Can’t you give it to them for free?

How are you ever going to find clients that will pay you enough money to make a living?! How are you going to find clients that you don’t already know? Where are they all? Who knows. You don’t have any budget for advertising or marketing – you don’t have any sort of a budget. Remember? That’s why your gear sucks (see above).

Face it. Marketing is hard – and how are you supposed to learn marketing at the same time you’re supposed to learn photography! And Editing?! It’s impossible.

You should give up.

4. You have a day job that takes up all of your time.

You want to know who’s your competition? ME. US. We’re your competition. This is my full time job. I spend every waking moment thinking about Photography AND Marketing. I live and breath this stuff. While you’re at your desk/cubicle/counter I’m shooting. I’m photographing. In the freakin’ middle of the day! I’m taking those gigs that you can’t take because you work 40 hours a week for someone else. I’m out there at night during the middle of the week networking with people because hey – I can take a nap in the middle of the day anytime I want!

There is simply no way you can do this while you work 40 hours a week, take care of family commitments (what? you want to spend time with your kids? your wife?) – and then also have some kind of social life with friends.

You should give up.

5. Everything else you’ve tried has failed.

Okay. Look. You’ve had a lot of hobbies and interests. That’s what photography is for you. You’ve got to admit this to yourself. Photography is your hobby and you could never be a professional photographer. It’s too hard. Sure it was easy at first – you took some photos, posted them to facebook and got 6 ‘likes’ right away from your mom and friends. But trying to make this a business? That sounds too much like work. Hard work. And that’s when you usually quit – so let’s just remember all of those other times you quit. Or took a break. Or moved on to something else. Or just got distracted by shiny objects.

Photography isn’t a real job. It’s an interest of yours, like painting, or watching tv, or singing – you know, things that you could never make money doing – and that’s okay. Really. IT’S OKAY. There’s no need for you to feel bad – there are lots of reasons why you shouldn’t feel bad (see above).

You should give up.

6. Because you can’t possibly work harder than us.

I say this as a friend – honestly – when I say that I just want this more than you. I’m flat out going to work harder than you. Not only that – I’m going to sacrifice all of my other hobbies and interests – and even neglect my family for a little while. I’m going to take bigger risks. I’m going to read more, shoot more, practice more, and flat out MORE YOU. Yeah, I said it –

I’m going to MORE YOU. I’m just going to do everything MORE THAN YOU.

Not only am I going to work harder than you – I’m going to make all the right choices, and get all the lucky breaks. I know more people than you do, I know how to meet more people than you do, and people just plain like me (okay that last one isn’t really true – that’s why it’s LEAHandMark.com and not just “ANDMARK.com” – obviously).

Also (and I’m slipping this one in here) – you’re not nearly as crazy or ridiculous as we are. Who has up to 10 interns at one time? Who has a 100% money back guarantee on ALL of their weddings? Who’s the one that’s willing to take FOUR flights one state over just for an engagement session?!

You should give up.

Now. If you’re still here and you haven’t given up. Check back on Monday for Part Two – the rebuttal to all of these arrogant but realistic challenges that you’re up against.

The six reasons listed above are also reasons why You Should NOT Give Up.


 

 

Reasons. For. Giving. Up. Photography. Too. Much. Competition.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Laura Eliza 31 Mar ’11 at 12:34 am

    …I’m not sure if I should curl up in a ball and cry, or if I should grow an extra ounce of determination and fight through till Monday.

    Probably the latter. I never did know when to quit 😉

  • Reply Dave 31 Mar ’11 at 3:12 pm

    So obnoxious. And your entire portfolio is fairly unimpressive so I fail to see where the chip on your shoulder is coming from. No offense but photography is easy – you’re fooling yourself if you think pressing a button makes you an artist. IT DOESN’T.

    • Reply mark 31 Mar ’11 at 3:34 pm

      You should check back on Monday Dave! And thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Reply John 25 Apr ’11 at 4:30 pm

    This makes me want to leave work early and WORK! Great post.

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