There are a lot of photographers popping up around these parts lately.
Actually, if you google “Kamloops Photographers”, about 35 pop up right away.
In a recent article in Kamloops Business mag about myself and three other Kamloopsian photographers (Lisa DiGeso, Kelly Funk and Tyler Meade), Funk commented on the influx of photographers into the business these days.
He is shooting fewer weddings these days, mostly due to what he considers to be a glut of photographers in the market who are willing to undercut one another.
Clients often mistake gear for talent, he says, and professional photography equipment is now relatively inexpensive.
The influx of what Funk calls “average photography” has created a saturated market. “It makes for a very difficult time for everybody…it’s watered down the professional market. Whenever you don’t need a degree to do something, people searching for something to do will try it. And there’s not much you can do about it.”
I see what he’s saying, but I wholeheartedly disagree with him on this point. I’ll get to that later, but the sad reality is that he’s not the only photographer I know in this town who feels annoyed about the abundance of us or even pissed off that the quality of photos that some people are offering and calling professional are, in their opinions, crap.
I even know photographers – people whom I consider friends –who are unwilling to tell each other about any aspects of their business practices or to help out other photographers with technical aspects of shooting because they are so afraid it might lose them business by making someone else a better photographer. Fear seems to be a huge factor in the business practices of many photographers in this town and it makes me want to yank my hair out at the roots.
Photography is 100% subjective (ie. The reaction to it is personal, emotional and completely individual). 10 people can look at the same photo and they will have 10 completely different reactions. Some will love it, others will hate it. It may cause someone to laugh and someone else to cry.
Technical quality of photography aside, photography is about emotion, reaction, feeling. Everyone in the world is unique – even identical twins have unique characteristics – so why, in a city of over 100, 000 people, should only a handful of photographers be available? Why, when every photographer is capable of showing different sides of people, different emotions, different aspects and angles of a moment, should other photographers feel threatened or put out by new photographers (and old) flooding the market?
My clients hire me because they like my work. It doesn’t matter how much more or less I charge than other photographers in town. If someone loves my work, they will hire me. It’s that simple.
Do I lose potential clients because other photographers out there charge less than I do and are more affordable? Of course! Do I lose potential clients because they see other photos by other photographers that they like more? Hell yes! Do I lose potential clients to other photographers whose work I don’t like? All the time!
The truth of the matter is that the only person a photographer has to compete against is his or herself. When I sit down and revamp my business plan each year, I don’t waste time on worrying about what other photographers are doing or how many new ones are now in town. I don’t get disgruntled if some new photographer is undercutting my prices by hundreds of dollars (although I do wonder how long they will last after they have to work themselves into the ground at those low prices just to eek out a living). I don’t concern myself if some other photographer who takes photos that I don’t like has done sessions with my past clients. What will this accomplish? How will this change anything to do with my business or my personal growth?
Instead, I focus on what I did well the previous year and what areas I need to improve on. My entire focus is based on how I can improve my business and connections in the community, both personally and professionally, and what I can do to give my clients the best experience possible. I compete against myself and I use my screw ups and YES! moments to improve all the time.
And guess what? Business is good!
I’m also always ready and willing to help new photographers find their bearings – whether it be with my knowledge about what not to do when starting a photography business or offering them help with technical aspects of shooting. I purposely limit the types of photography I offer (boudoir, families and weddings) so I can truly specialize in them and I constantly refer potential clients to other photographers I know in the community if I don’t offer the type of photography they are looking for.
I do this because I believe that building a professional community of peers and working with them to help all of us increase our bottom line is infinitely preferable to the every man for himself attitude that seems to prevail.
Wouldn’t it be epic if every photographer had the same attitude as I do and we all started to work together and boost each other up and help each other out? Imagine what sort of amazeballs in awesomesauce kind of relationships we could foster!
So, while I’m at it and because I think they are fanfriggintastic, here are some of my favourite established photographers from around town and some new ones who are just getting started and are already sooooooo awesome in such a short time! Check them out. Let them know if you love what you see. Hire them!!!!
And, because a post is always better with a wee pic, here’s a shot of Ross & Jodi’s wedding out at Talking Rock! I like to call this one Taking A Leap of Faith!
Have a good day my friends. I wish you all enough…