Photographers: I’m just going to say it.

I’ve been silent for a few months.  Well, I was really busy in May and June – business was booming, and it was a good thing.  Now it is back to normal… so… not so booming….. ;)

While I have taken this time to sit back and observe, I marvel over and over with the salesman and saleswomen “photographers”.  There are questions I have that will never be answered but I can’t help but to ask them…. and I’m going to ask them.  Here.

If you sell to photographers, I get it.  It is a way of bringing in some extra money.  I sell a few small items as well.  It’s called supplemental income.  That is not what I am discussing here.     I’m discussing the salesperson in your face daily online.

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The “Relevant” Photographer

A “modern” photographer who has a photography work history of roughly two years and no longer takes photography clients, now doing nothing but selling to photographers – selling how to market, how to run a photography business, how to price, etc.

My Questions:  

How can you be a “modern day” photographer when you absolutely do not work in the trenches with other photographers selling photography to the general public?  You are selling “How to Do It” but you don’t do “IT” yourself.

How can you give advice to current MODERN photographers who are experiencing the changes in the market that you are not experiencing yourself?  

Rebutting the Rebuttal:

But you teach valid business information!  I know.  I get that and that may make you feel better about what you are doing… but that business information is nothing that can’t be found for free online or in Business or Marketing for Dummies books, and you are selling it for 1,000 times the price it can be purchased for elsewhere.   

 

You-Are-the-Blame Photographer

Many sellers-to-photographers seem to have a decorative marketing word.  “Million-Dollar”  “Inspire”  “Success”  “Thrive”.   Much of what they post is a passive aggressive attack on your lack of business.   The fact is, the Seller knows it (Why?  Because they have very little or no photography business themselves!).  The Seller is preying on your insecurities about your business.  They set you up for feeling like you have to purchase their product because it is that one magic button that is going to take your business “to the next level.”  It’s your fault you are not at that level because you haven’t purchased this item that will get you there.   “Look inside yourself, I’m still making money as a photographer, look at me in my uber cool videos in my trendy outfit… I’m a SUCCESS… and you could be too if you try harder and buy this!”  

Tactics.  These are sales tactics.

My Questions:  

Hey Seller, if you are so successful with your photography business, why are you selling to photographers?  

Why aren’t you spending 100% (or even 50%) of your time on actual real photography clients?  

Rebutting the Rebuttal:

Don’t tell me you are giving back (another buzz phrase), because frankly, that’s bullshit.  You are selling to photographers because you can’t get enough clients to pay your bills.  You don’t leave a successful business to teach everyone how to take your clientele.  And no, there are NOT enough clients to go around.  When is the last time you studied economics and the elementary concept of “supply and demand”?  

So because you can’t get enough clients to pay your bills, you are now selling the idea to these photographers that they need to work harder to get more clients, clients that you can’t get yourself.  Say what?

Pictures or it didn’t happen!

Where’s your proof of your success?   Let’s see it.  Where are your clients (and no, I’m not talking about your styled shoots or workshop images)?   Have you updated those blogs or anything in the past few years?

You can’t show your clients because they are commercial or under contract?    Then let’s see other proof such as your tax returns (and your EIN number can be left on safely, just take your address off – that’s no excuse).   Let’s see proof of your thriving business and we want to see what’s actual clients vs. selling to photographers.  Schedule C may suffice.

But that’s the Past!

I saw a photographer who was once huge in the money fairly locally post some of his old client orders.   They were five-figure orders.  I totally believe he had those orders.  I would never dispute that because that was what it was like years ago – that used to be normal.   The problem?  It’s not like that now.  The five-figure orders are few and far in between.  Showing your past success in order to sell to photographers?  When did that become okay?  Your past orders are no longer relevant.  Regular five-figure sales in this CURRENT market would be impressive, but that’s not happening.  If it were happening, you wouldn’t be selling to photographers, would you?  No way, cause the money would be in the photography clients, not the photographers!

Check out my past success.  Here is a purchase order that was paid out to me in 2010 (from the blog post here)

 

 prices-of-commercial-photography

 

 

 

You know what that purchase order and others like it mean today? NOTHING.   It means I had some major money coming in during those years.   This type of money is not the normal today…. CURRENT, MODERN DAY…. this money is no longer relevant.  We can’t live in the past, so stop using your past to sell your stuff.

 

What’s the Answer?

This is what I wrote recently on my personal blog.

Dear NEW PHOTOGRAPHERS,

I’m sorry for what the photography industry has become.  There was a time when the industry was booming in a way that you were truly paid  what you were worth.  I wish it were still the same.

While we cannot live in the past, please do not undervalue yourself.  You are talented and worth much more than what you charge these days.

Say it with me:

“I DESERVE TO MAKE A SALARY OF NOT JUST A PHOTOGRAPHER BUT WORTHY OF A SERIOUS BUSINESS OWNER”

Keep plugging away and make the world see how awesome you are!

 

Dear OLD PHOTOGRAPHERS,

(I apologize for calling you old – you know what I mean!)

I’m sorry for what the photography industry has become.  There was a time when the industry was booming in a way that you were truly paid  what you were worth.  I wish it were still the same.

While we cannot live in the past, please do not undervalue yourself no matter how bad it gets.  You are talented and worth much more than what you charge these days.

Say it with me:

“I DESERVE TO MAKE A SALARY OF NOT JUST A PHOTOGRAPHER BUT WORTHY OF A SERIOUS BUSINESS OWNER”

Keep plugging away and make the world see how awesome you are…

or……….

….find what makes you happy and will pay you what you are worth and what will fulfill you for your future (and guess what, it may not be photography anymore, and that is absolutely OKAY!!!!)

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Your’s Truly,

Jodie Otte – the Realist  ;)