Guess what? The photography industry is changing. But I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.
In many ways, photography has changed because of our technology. Mobile, tablets, social media – its all played into the way we want our photography.
But another contributing factor is how we approach photography as a business – or lack there of as the case may be. There are only so many times a photographer can reduce their fees before they hit the $0 mark. And there are only so many days you can survive making the $0 mark.
How many of these traps have you fallen into this year with your own photography?
You haven’t valued it properly
Take a look at your current packages. Do you offer to shoot 1,000 images, edit it down to a file of 100 fully Photoshopped, edited images in perfect shape. And of course you hand over the large digital files so they can print to their hearts content. All for $50? Yes, I see that all the time. Let the excuses fly. “I can’t charge any more than that, no one would pay for it.” Or “Not in my area, we’re hurting around here.” But the truth of the matter is if you aren’t charging what you’re worth, if you don’t find the value in what you do and what you offer, neither will your customer.
They don’t know the value of it
Have you ever explained to your customers the value of your work? Do they know about your expertise? Do they understand your education, what makes you professional over every other photographer? Do they understand balance, color composition and posing? Have you pointed out mistakes in other work, and showcase what value you have in the art world? Some clients prefer to work with professionals. But you have to prove your expertise in order for them to want to pay for it. Otherwise they will move on to your competition, looking at things solely through price.
They are from a different time and place
No, I’m not talking about extraterrestrials here. What I mean is if you are a 40 something photographer expecting your 20 something clients to respect copyrights, you’re in for a world of shock. 20 somethings have grown up under different times. They expect different things, different rules. If they want a song, they copy it. If they want to watch a movie, they find it and watch it. If they want to read something, they find a way to do it for free. And if they want a photo, they copy it and use it. Yes, I know copyright issues are in place for a reason. But right now we are seeing a huge turn in the structure of a lot of industries, photography being one of them. If they don’t want to pay, they won’t pay. And they’ll find someone willing to give them what they want at the price they want. Which means we have to think of our business model in a different way that allows us to stay in business and give the customers what they truly want.
You’re giving it to them for free, why should they pay for it?
What do you do for your clients? Do you shoot their session, and head home to put all of the best work online for the world to see? You share it on your blog, on Facebook, you Tweet it, and share it on Instagram. And once they are online, the world can view them, share them, even “copy” them and put them into their own viewers for free. Why should they come back in and pay for an image when it already exists on their iPhones and iPads – it will be there forever. In order to get paid for what you do, you have to get paid first, share second. It’s the only way it will ever work in this technology-happy world.