Think the photography market is over saturated? Try being a musician. Or a writer. Or a Chef.
The generic advice is to just be different.
It’s not about being completely different. It’s about being different enough AND finding your audience.
Different work, different personality, different people. You have to make, be, and find those things. We have a nearly infinite number of options – so much music to listen to, so much good stuff to read, so many amazing chefs making great food, but somehow there are people finding success admidst so much competition. Then there are photographers like you and me. The ones that never picked up a DSLR until about 3 years ago. We’re the ones who would have never learned photography if it hadn’t become so accessible to everyone. And now many of us complain there are too many photographers out there. The market is saturated. Everyone just wants a cheap $50 photographer off of Craigslist. Or a $500 shooter for their wedding.
Make different work. Find your audience. Make more work.
Weddings | Portraits | Photobooths
If you’ve been following us for a while then you know about our three principles:
- Be Different
- Do Things That Matter
- Show Everyone
That first one – Be Different – is always tricky. It’s so simple and obvious and… dumb. Yet it’s probably the most difficult of the three items to accomplish. Be Different.
Okay. Great. How?…
For a long time my main answer was “look at what everyone else isn’t doing – and if you can make that work for you, then you’ll be the only one doing it.” And that’s worked for us for these past three years. It was… honestly very easy. Sure - there were many times when other photographers would let us know that we were… crazy (to put it nicely)… and that’s okay. That’s actually great. It’s one of those things we look for to tell us we’re on the right track.
A few months ago I came across this post by Seth Godin where he list several Reasons.
- The reason they teach biology before they teach chemistry in high school is that biology was invented first. Even though you need chemistry to do biology, but not vice versa.
- The reason that you have a water bubbler in your office is that it used to be difficult to filter water effectively.
- The reason the typewriter keyboard is in a weird order is that original typewriters jammed, and they needed to rearrange the letters to keep common letters far apart.
- The reason we don’t have school in the summer is so our kids can help with farmwork. Or because it’s too hot and there’s no air conditioning…
There are many things that we as photographers only do because we see other photographers doing it; without much question.
Off the top of my head…
- Post blog entries showing 30-100 photos showcasing the last wedding we photographed
- Post blog entries showing photos from the last family/newborn/children/headshot session we shot
- (repeat those two until we all fall asleep)
- Setup ‘Styled’ shoots so that hopefully some blog/magazine accepts it and post our photos
- ‘Giveaway’ a free portrait session to the winners of some pointless contest
So now… along with looking at what others aren’t doing and figuring out how we can do those things – we’re looking at why we do what we do, in the way that we do it – and can we stop? (and by ‘we’ I mean Me and everyone here at LeahAndMark.com)
- Can we stop posting ‘…photos from Joe & Jane’s Amazing Mountain/Beach/Farm Wedding!”?
- Can we stop posting “…photos from my latest portrait session of the cutest kids in the world!”?
- Can we stop posting “…my latest styled shoot inspired by the latest movie/trend/pinterest board I saw!”?
Just like with photography – it’s not what we do but how we do it – and too many of us photographers only do the same things in the same way that we see everyone else doing it. It’s a difficult habit to break – but we’re just going to have to be as creative as we always claimed we were.
We Photograph Weddings and We’d Love to Be Your Photographer.