PhotoChat is a weekly conversation between Photography Pro’s and Amateurs that takes place on Thursdays at 1PM EST hosted by Prime Social Marketing. To follow the conversation or take part use #Photochat on Twitter.
This blog post covers my longer answers to the questions that are condensed then put into tweets for the Photochat.
Q1: Is competition a relevant concern for you as a photographer? If so, where does it come from?
I think in any professional practise competition is important, competition is a way to keep you on your toes and stop you from becoming complacent in your work and makes you want to develop your skills and work to attract customers away from your competition. For me as I am not earning money directly from photography there is no competition, except myself. It is good to know what photographers in my area are doing and what their prices are in case somebody asks me privately to do some work for them.
Q2: What’s the toughest type of competition to deal with? How about the most frustrating?
I would say that the toughest competition are the more established photographers, as people know their work and for most are the go to people when it comes to their photography needs. To compete against someone who is established will cost more in money and work to attract customers from them.
I think the most frustrating people are those that undercut the market price pulling down the price potential clients will expect. In a world where shops offer to beat a price of a competitor and where customers are looking for the best deal, people will sometimes take price before quality. Under cutting photographers are usually starting out wanting to get work by pricing themselves cheap. In the long run though these frustrating photographers will work themselves into a loss and then out of the market, while doing so they lower the price for everyone else.
Q3: To survive in a competitive market, what do you do to stand apart from others?
The best way to survive in a competitive market is to make yourself desirable. You can do this by showcasing the quality of your work and backing it up, meaning keep the work at the same level and higher. It can also be a good idea to make yourself available and searchable so people can find you. Also those with the best customer service will usually rise to the top even if they do cost a little more. I was once told a story by an old boss. He went to buy a winter jacket and entered a store, inside where 3 members of staff; one cleaning the floor while the other two were just talking, no body acknowledged him as he entered the store. In the store he was a only customer, eventually he found a jacket that he liked but not in his size, after several minutes of looking and picking up jackets no one had come to speak to him. He approached the two members of staff talking and asked if they had it in his size. He was asked if he checked the rack, with this he left the shop and crossed the street to a slightly more expensive shop. On entering the sole member of staff asked him how his day was, asked him what he was looking for and eventually sold him not just a jacket but gloves and scarf for more money than the jacket in the previous store. Service is important and even if your work is good you will slowly sink in the pool of competition.
Q4: How are your relations with the competition? Is it civil and open-minded or is it cutthroat?
I think being cut throat is not the best way to deal with all competition though I am a believer in treating kind with kind. In having civil relations with the competition could be a possibility of getting work from them. I know in my teaching there have been a few students who I have taught because of recommendations from other teachers who can’t take them on. This could also apply with photographers. A couple need a wedding photographer but the one they have chosen has already been booked for their date, but they recommended you as you are a great photographer as well.
Q5: What’s your best piece of advice for dealing with competition?
When it comes to your competition the best thing to know what they are doing but not to dwell to much on them. You need to know what the competition is doing because they may be ahead of the curve on a new fashion or ideas. If you are thinking too much about the competition you aren’t concentrating on yourself and your own work. To deal the completion you need to be concentrating on your work and keeping it at the highest level and working on ways you can keep ahead of the curve.
I would love to know what your opinions to the questions are. Do you agree or disagree with my answers? Either way you can let me know using the comment box below.
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