I would like to, at LEAST once a week, give a peek into the photography industry and what it has become. I will try to keep the segments as short as possible, so if you feel that thoughts have been left off, no worries, there will be more.
I understand there are new photographers with stars in their eyes, and this is not meant at all to deter them from following something they love. The only thing I caution is that they do not put all their stock into “making it with the big bucks.”
There are so many photographers, well known and not-so-well-known who have gone out of business. Every single week, I get messages from long time photography peers who have decided it’s not worth the fight anymore. This is what happens when an industry becomes oversaturated. This is not the result of just one thing. This is the result, in my opinion, of…. (and this was part of a recent economics paper I researched and turned in, in one of my college classes).
- a downturned economy where everyone is looking to make a quick buck
- advances in technology which has caused DSLR cameras to be in the hands of anyone
- the need for McDonalds drive-through instant gratification
- social media explosion where everyone is bombarded with imagery every day (desensitizing and blurring the line between good/bad photography)
The answer is not workshops. The answer is not acquiring a business coach (the newest trend in photographers quitting photography because there is not much money left in it to make a quick buck off of others who seek a nonexistent dream). The answer is not lowering your prices (you may gain a few clients quickly, but over the long-term, you get nowhere as you will be known as the cheap photographer).
Beware: I would venture to say 90 percent of the photographers from several years ago who were maintaining full time businesses are now no longer taking cold call clients. They are either out of business or they are now teaching photographers through workshops and through business coaching. My question is, how do they feel qualified to teach BUSINESS when their businesses are no longer pulling in cold call clients (I’m not talking about technique – teaching technique is a totally different situation than teaching business). How can they teach new photographers how to market and how to run businesses photographing clients, when they are not doing so themselves and have chosen to abandon photographing clients in order to teach because there was no money left in it or they couldn’t pay their bills on it? Think about it. Why learn from someone who is a lot of talk, but they are not walking the walk. The walk has changed from what it was 10 years ago. Their marketing schemes may have worked 10 years ago, but they are obviously not working now, if they are no longer taking cold call clients but only teaching. What’s left? The 10 percent are left still with nose to the grindstone, staying afloat – some in a bubble that has not burst in their area and others maintaining.
So what’s the answer? In my opinion, the answer is to find balance. Keep your eggs in several baskets. I don’t care how pretty your eggs look stacked up together, if the basket falls off the table, you will have no eggs left. Remember, your happiness and your family’s happiness is more important than anything else – find your balance. I’m going to share my balance, and what I have found to help me maintain balance… join me if you wish on this journey…… I only wish everyone balance and happiness.