At my day job, I sit in my office turning out invoices, statements, work on payroll, create spreadsheets, etc. I love working alone. I have quite a nice office. It’s roomy, it’s fairly secluded, but it’s surrounded by glass panels that are mostly open. While I quietly work, I hear and see everything that goes on. I’m just that person who takes it all in and contemplates or I giggle to myself because people are funny creatures, and I really like the people I work with – they are quite the characters.
My mind never stops working. I have been diagnosed with ADD (or ADHD depending who you talk to). You would never notice on the outside – I am not hyper… but my brain sure is. I cannot turn it off. I’m constantly taking in everything around me and analyzing or filing it into boxes in order to understand it all.
I observe the photography industry. Lately, however, one little thing has been glaring at me….
I honestly cannot believe how many photographers are teaching and telling other photographers to put their heads in the sand.
“Don’t worry yourself over what others are doing. Worry about yourself.”
Are you kidding me? Ask Coca Cola if they think about their competition. ABSOLUTELY they do. If their competition just purchased some major ad space during the Superbowl, you better believe it will come up in the conference room later that week.
I do, however, agree with this ——- Do not become obsessed with your competition, but it is important to be observant because that is part of basic business management. When did we all attach so many emotions to photography and veer completely the other direction away from actual business?
You also need to be aware of industry and purchasing trends around you. Do you think Vera Wang and her business consultants haven’t watched fashion trends and purchasing trends? Maybe that’s why she “sold out” a bit to Kohl’s, lower end, since the current buying trend all around us (look around!!!) is “good enough for cheap.” This trend has hit hard ever since the economy tanked in 2008/2009, and it has not come back.
So you don’t think “good enough for cheap” is the current trend in the marketplace? The new buzz (or what you trendy people would say is “relevant) in education to fill much needed positions in Corporate World —— SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT. Read up on it. There’s a reason it’s the big thing right now. If you don’t want to research it, it’s basically, in a nutshell “Make all the things!!!! ……in mass and for as cheap as we can!!!”
No, these big businesses just put their head in the sand, right?
“They aren’t your clients.”
Of course they aren’t. They WERE our clients, but a good portion of them are no longer our clients because they can get good enough for cheap elsewhere. However, this phrase “They aren’t your clients” is a passive aggressive phrase meaning “If your business isn’t doing that well, this is my way of showing you that I am better than you [but I will never admit publicly that my business is suffering too so people can still think I’m amazing], and while I’m at it, I’m also going to put you down for worrying or concerning yourself with your financial future because again, I’m better than you, and my lack of needing to worry means that there’s something wrong with YOU. I’m still great, and adorbs…see this amazing styled shoot I did [for free, but I will conveniently leave that part out]?”
“There’s enough business for everyone.”
HAHAHAHAHA. I was told years ago by my photographer peers that exact phrase. Over and over and over again, they would say to ignore the decline in the industry, you are imagining it. Beautiful portraits will always be in high demand. I was berated and belittled for concerning myself with economics and actual business subjects. Guess what? Those photographers who told me that back then? ARE OUT OF BUSINESS TODAY. Those who insist that the current state of the industry has not affected them are frankly, lying. It has affected all of us, all to different degrees. If you are very new and have low prices (and are not a volume photographer), you are busy as ever, I am sure, and you most likely do not relate with this article. That’s fine too. Take this little piece of information, and store it in the back of your head, you will need it one day. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Do not put your head in the sand.
What can we do? I’m making some changes with my business and will be sharing them with you here on this site – whether they succeed or fail, I will share for educational purposes………Now is the time to make changes. It’s slow season. The holiday rush ended, and we are gearing up to begin again in Spring. This is the perfect time to start looking around at current buying trends in different markets and consider how you will evolve this year to remain successful.
If you want to put your head in the sand, by all means, that is your choice. Be my guest. I refuse to bury my head…. I’m not a fan of sand in my teeth.
….. and don’t forget – it’s time to gather up all those receipts….. try out the affordable tax spreadsheet that I was told by another photographer it was too cheap, and how dare I price it so cheap because her products cost so much more – hey, I like my fellow photographers, I’m not trying to rob them!
(Sorry, didn’t have a picture of an ostrich – this is an emu I photographed while teaching photography in Australia years ago.)