This week, I spent a rainy Tuesday night attending an event sponsored by the Professional Photographers Association.
There were hundreds of photographers and vendors in the room, ready and waiting for some brand new industry A-Ha’s.
From the stage, master photographer Allison Rodgers from Olive Branch, Mississippi, made a simple statement:
“You’ll never reach your dream by selling individual images to people.”
She let us think about it for a minute before she started giggling.
“If you are shooting, shooting, shooting all week and posting online galleries for people to order from, stop it now. You are going nowhere fast. Trust me, I’ve been there.”
It was clear a shift in thinking was about to happen for us.
She offered 5 important things to focus on to increase our chances for success –
1. What’s my niche?
There were 200 photographers in the workshop alone, and most of them lived within 100 miles of me. I know what makes me unique, but do the client’s know? How will I stand out to them?
2. Define what the hell I’m selling.
So if we”re not selling individual images, what are we selling? It involves products vs photos. It means focusing on the whole experience, not just the features and benefits of the equipment or the prints. It means figuring out what promise we are making to the clients, and delivering on that promise daily.
3. Have a vision.
Not just some good thoughts, or a wish list. A 3-5 year plan, complete with major goals and benchmarks. She reminded us that a client’s life cycle is not linear. If we do it right, they will come back and tell others to come as well.
4. Find your Driving Force.
With a lot of hard work to do, it’s important to define the passion behind the work, so that when it gets hard, we don’t give up and go home. We figure it out.
5. Plan the work.
She said that the year she created a calendar to manage the studio work was the year they became profitable and got some of their life back. That means planning, scheduling, and saying no to work that doesn’t move us closer to our dream.
So fellow dreamers – here are the questions to ponder:
- What’s my vision for my business?
- How would I describe myself to stand out from the rest?
- Can I embrace the idea of selling an experience, and not a ‘thing?’
- What is it that drives me to keep going, even when I’m getting my ass kicked?
- Am I willing to say “no” to work that doesn’t move me towards my dream?
Don’t think too much, just write.
Let us know what happens.
Until next photo,
Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work.