Recently, I was talking to a new friend, Sammie, who is also a photographer in my area. We are both very excited about getting to work together in the near future. She had expressed to me how she had gotten the cold shoulder from a few other local photographers that she had approached. That made me sad. There's no reason for that kind of behavior, either. There's enough business in this area for everyone. We're not fighting over clients. Are we going to advertise for local photographers in our area ? No, probably not. We can still be friendly & supportive and form great relationships. Invest in your peers. It will pay off ten fold.
I get asked all the time from other up & comers about marketing. That's really what this blog is all about. If you are a newer photographer & you are banking your business by sitting behind a computer and marketing for yourself at home, you are going to feel like you're fighting for a client. Internet marketing is a great way to show off your work to prospective clients, socialize and help get your name out there. There's so much more to it. If you truly want to be successful you have to be willing to put in the work. I always say that you have to put your heart & your feet into marketing. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars, and you don't have to spend tons of time away from home. You do have to put yourself out there. You do have to dust off the shoe leather express and meet people. Join your chamber of commerce, a moms hang-out club, hit your main street. You have to sell yourself, not just your work. You can't do that sitting behind a computer 100% of the time or you will fail.You will feel that you are fighting for every session. You will be the photographer who complains in your Facebook photography groups that you can't book a session because the market is so saturated & it's so unfair. Bleh. I'm so tired of hearing that. It's so untrue.
There's plenty of business for all of us. Photography has trends just like any other business. Mall studios were all the rage for about two and a half decades. Most of those studios have closed their doors and only a few remain. The independant photographer has prevailed. We have filled that void. I'm in Chicagoland. There's over a million people in Chicagoland. That's alot of potential clients. Even if you are in a far out suburb like I am (we have alot of farms out here, people!) we have a plethora of potential clients. There's no need to feel we're fighting for business. Some of the most successfull photographers I know have their studios in very small towns outside of Chicago. There's people everywhere. You can't just take pictures and expect to run a business. That's 20% of what we do. You have to market yourself. You have to get out from behind those iMac's & meet people. If you're not willing to put in the effort, you are going to struggle.
I love teaching grass roots marketing. It's something I've done in one capacity or another within the photographic industry for over 15 years. I can honestly say it's something that I'm passionate about. I wish we would stop snubbing our peers & invest in them. Kindness matters.