I hear 20 year professional photographers say it all the time.
“A few years ago, I was one of just a few photographers advertising in this magazine. Now the pages of photographers goes on for 30 pages. There’s no way I can compete with this many photographers out there. So I’m lowering my prices and doing what I can to survive.”
Being an expert at photography is a lot like being an expert at social media.
Over the last two years, everyone has been jumping on the social media bandwagon. They sign up for a Twitter account, sign up for a Facebook account, read a little, build up their accounts to a 3 figure friend level. And then they start thinking.
“Hmmm, I’m not making any money at (whatever it is they do); maybe I should see if I could make a hundred bucks or so selling a Facebook page setup to business people.”
I can go to any networking group in town and find someone who fits that description. In fact I just received an email from a lady who has been selling an MLM product for the last couple of years – she is now a social media expert and will design your Facebook page for you.
So the question really is “what does ‘expert’ mean?”
Because you can buy the camera, the lenses, the “professional” looking bag, and have a pile of gadgets. You can read several books about photography and get a pretty good idea of how to take a decent picture. You can be the shutterbug in your family, fire off a bunch of shots, and probably end up with one or two that are pretty good.
But having the stuff doesn’t make you the expert.
You have to walk the walk.
Being able to design a Facebook page that ends up with a few hundred friends is easy. Its having the nohow to design a great page that brings in the right people, that converts as many people as possible to paying clients that matters most.
Instead of firing off a hundred shots, hoping you’ll get one or two great ones, an expert has the ability to fire off a few shots, knowing they have a few great ones. Every time.
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And knowing you can rely on that photographer to give you expert results in every condition, no matter what the time of day, or what’s happening around you – that’s what changes a person from someone who loves it, to someone who is an expert at it. They don’t think; they do.
So how do you sell expertise? First, you have to be a true expert. Then question your potential clients. Make them curious about the so called expertise in the “cheap” photographers. Make them question whether they want to rely on someone who needs a few hundred shots to get a few good ones. Or whether they want to hire someone who gets great shots every time, no matter what the conditions.