I simply love Zack Arias’s Ask Me Anything About Photography Tumblr blog. If you haven’t checked it out before, it’s chock full of photographic wisdom from the One Light Man himself. The premise of this site is that anyone can drop a question related to photography in Zack’s virtual mail bag and if the question is good, he’ll post it up along with his advice on it. His advice are often funny and almost always practical.
Recently, a reader asked a question that I’m sure many of us are all too familiar with:
I’ve been having a hard time getting my business off the ground. I’m finding with the economy the way it is no one wants to spend the money on a professional photographer in my area and worse yet they think that their Iphone with Instagram takes great pictures and so don’t see the need for professional photo’s. Have you encountered problems like this and how have you overcome them?
Zack, ever the realist, didn’t sugar coat it and told it like it is. Here is the first excerpt from his answer:
As you are getting started as a professional photographer you have an amazing amount of hurdles to cross. Think of starting to climb a mountain. In the pouring rain. Straight up. And it’s cold out. The rain is starting to freeze. You’re going to have a very hard time finding your traction at first…
You’ve got 100 other photographers breathing down your neck trying to get past you. You, yourself, are part of the 100 photographers breathing down someone else’s neck. They’re underselling you just trying to find a hold on the rock face…
You know that somewhere beyond the line of fog above you there is a solid ridge to find some rest on. It’s not enough to build a house on but enough to catch your breath and get to climbing the next phase…”
Quite the gut check, right? So once you get past that, Zack has five important tips that can be applied to your business. You can read about these tips along with the rest of his advice in his post.
I do agree that as much as we can get frustrated with finding clients, it does come down to who and where we are targeting our clientele base. As Zack said, your clients are “probably in a different zip code than you are. You’re going to run the tires off your car for awhile.”
But that is where research is key. Know where your clients are and don’t just expect or wait for them to come to you. One of the best advice that I got about the photography business is that it’s “25% photography, 75% business/marketing.”
Without consistent marketing and networking with clients (and not just with other photographers), your photography business will stall or worse, crumble.
So readers, what are some of your nuggets of wisdom in regards to those starting out in the photography business?
Thanks to Zack Arias for the awesome post!