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August 10, 2006
Twice A Month
When Is There Too Many?
The Idea: Ever feel like there's too much competition? Does it feel like you're competing with dozens of other photographers for even the smallest jobs? Then it's time to differentiate your business. Start looking for ways to separate your skills and your services, and connect with prospects and clients in a new and different way.
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A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
~Eudora Welty
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The newest community-based website to enter the market for photographers and artists is My Art Space.


Too Much Competition?

There's something to be said for being the best in your field. It can get bring in business all the time. And it will keep you profitable for years to come.

I hear from photographers all the time who are searching for a way to compete with the many other photographers in their niche. "What can I do to separate myself from the pack, and make good money doing what I love?"

Create a new "pack"! When you create a new pack, you're the instant leader.

While that may sound good in writing, how do you go about it in real life?

Let me share an example. A few years ago, I was sitting with a group of mom's at the private school my daughter attended. All were complaining about the quality of work from the average school photographer that took the children's photo year after year. They all had a deep desire to have something better - a higher quality product that they would be happy to purchase and display. We found a very lucrative niche.

We created a program that allowed us to go in and provide quality portraits of a child within their private school setting using the surrounding areas as our backdrop. We would spend 20-30 minutes with each child, and photograph him or her in unique settings all over the campus. Each child received a small keepsake photo album containing approximately 24 of the best images - this was theirs to keep as a part of the sitting. Of course they could order extras. Of course we had packages that contained a variety of photographs and sizes. And the best part was the multiple requests we had for family portraits, based off working with the children and providing quality portraits.
Keep in mind this works well with private schools, that don't have a huge population. Doing 30-40 children can keep you busy for a couple of weeks. The families understood the difference in this type of photography, and were willing to pay a lot more than standard school portrait prices. But they also received quality, and were happy to connect with a good, reputable photographer.

So, instead of sticking with the standard niches, try and create a new twist to an old way of doing business. What are you doing now? How can you give it a twist, and find a whole new market ready and willing to spend their money with you?

What's On Your Mind?
Q: What is online social networking?
A: Good question! When you're trying to market your business in your local community, you probably have used networking. You may belong to the local chamber of commerce, and attend their regular networking meetings. And you may belong to an organization such as Professional Photographers of America, and attend local chapter events as well as national events.
Both of these are social networking groups. You attend them to connect with other people. You may attend hoping to connect with prospects that will eventually turn into paying clients. Or you may attend hoping to gain mentors and peers in your quest for building a better business.
Online social networking is very similar. It's websites that allow you to communicate with people with common interests. You can network with people interested in your services, or interested in connecting with you to help build your businesses.
Some examples of top networking sites are MySpace, Ryze and LinkedIn.
Do you have a question? Let me know, and maybe your question will be in a future edition.
Wanna Try?
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