Dealing with Competition
Let's talk about the competition so in some areas, depending on where you are in the country, competition's fierce, it doesn't matter if you're high school seniors. If you're going after weddings, everybody today is a photographer. All right, we can all agree to that. We've heard that statement over and over again on there's truth to it, cameras are being produced, canon nikon are making it easy for you to go pee for pro now you're a master photographer and you're often running to the races, right? But I don't compete with those people I'm not competing, and I highly encourage all of you not to compete at that level, because then you're competing on price. You will lose every day of the week if you compete on price, and I know it's hard when you're starting a business, you're you're thinking to yourself, oh my god, my competitors aire doing things for sixty nine dollars for, you know, forty nine, five times their price, it doesn't matter. You're looking for your client that sees the va...
lue of what you're offering let's talk whiting's for a second in my local market, we are one of the top five expensive photographers in our area we'll have client spent anywhere from eight to fifteen thousand dollars on a wedding this's in st louis blue collar america, I'm not in new york, I'm not in chicago, I'm not in l a where I can get twenty thousand dollars for a wedding. So for us in the midwest to be pulling down in those kinds of numbers, that means one thing I'm finding client who get what I do, they understand what we do. They see the value in what we do if I'm competing on price, those tend to be my worst clients by the way they drive me crazy, man, they pay you the least amount of money. I want the most amount of attention, right? Can we all agree that it's a nightmare? It never ends. Start find pushing away up away from that crowd and you'll find much more reward not only financially but justin in loving your job. It's much easier to work with those people but shooting burn, glory they're everywhere right shooting burners like I told you, when we started out, I've got studios right down the street for ninety nine dollars or less they will shoot your session, edit your pictures and hand you a cd. Holy cow that is insane! I don't understand how they're how they're even in business, I wouldn't even want to be a photographer uh, at that price point, how do you buy a new camera? How do you get insurance how do you plan for retirement you guys want to do it I don't want to be that old seventy two year old guy like I know that that no that's not what I want to do right I want to retire some day I want the finer things in life I want a nice car these are the things I want what we deserve to be paid for a skill so we have to get away from good enough right if you're working at the good enough level you're not gonna get them to spend money and start finding those clients that see the value in what the product or service you're offering we talked about my competitors in their rates but the thing is how are you going to compete that's the question all of you all of you have to be asking yourself how am I going to compete at this level the market or you could offer a better product of service are you gonna offer an experience I don't know if some of you how long have you got I haven't even asked how long have you been in photography as a pro two years old last fouryears lesson three three first year awesome for you two great great range okay so that being said how you buying all this new equipment you need where you getting that money from right how are you going to compete against the good enough what's gonna make you better than good enough he's gonna be your lighting style is gonna be your backdrops what are you going to do that's the question you have to ask yourself when you leave here right and I hope we all stay in touch after this when you leave here I want to know what you're going back to do what are you going to change in your business for me I use ofthe light cameras uh off like flash okay too off camera lighting thank you it's off camera yet don't know it's a whole new thing dude it's top secret I'm under n d a I should have said a word like what's a racist no I'm kidding so I take my light off camera to create a unique and distinctive look okay that's very very important because the average photographer doesn't know how to do that that scares them right? So taking flash what outdoors e t t l what does that all mean? It scares him I like that I want to take that off camera create and we'll do this tomorrow we're going to go up on the roof right? And we're going to create this dramatic boo sky on do something really cool up there just by taking that that flash off camera that's a simple thing you can do to give your portrait a distinctive look what about the way you edit the way you edit you see some of the pictures we have here we're not just color correcting and dropping them into our client's right and calling that an edit we're creating artistic edits were using textures were using hdr effects were doing things that our clients want that's so that when they look at my images and they go to my website they can say, wow, I've never seen anything like that before yes, bingo that's the response I want for my clients and every year I'm looking to innovate right? Because I do it year one I got ten people following me right now all of a sudden they're like oh sounds doing this we're going to do this oh sounds doing this we're going to do this they're not leapfrogging us they're just playing catch up with me you've got to start thinking about leapfrogging what's not being done that you khun due tomorrow to give yourself that competitive advantage. What about the products and carrie are you carrying acrylics our seniors love acrylics, maybe metal prints? What about albums? How many of you are actively selling albums to your clients? My high school seniors love albums that's our number one seller to the seniors albums so you've got to start offering that why? Because no one else is really offering albums to a senior, but at the end of the day, who cares what your competitors are doing all right, stop worrying so much about what your competitors are doing because the second you do that, you're constantly playing catchup instead, beat just being one hundred century for I do not look at other senior photographers, I could care less what they're doing. It doesn't matter to me. Okay, I find that to be horrible inspiration, by the way. Instead, what I do is I look to the commercial world, right? So I'll pick up your you're more likely to see me reading a copy of w magazine. Then you are to find me reading, maybe readings the wrong word, looking at pictures through ah magazine like w vanity fair things like that verse looking at images in a photography magazine or going to another photographer's website that's not where you should be looking for inspiration. Do you know why? Because that's not where our clients are going for inspiration. Do you think that seventeen year old is picking up a copy of, you know, pro photo mac that's? Not what they're doing right would be nice, I guess if they were but that's not what they're doing. Instead they're picking up thine, you know, teen vogue, vanity fair, w international magazines or great internationals push the limits of just posing and all sorts of different things. Great inspiration for us back home for the seniors, because what do the seniors want to look like? What they're seeing in the magazines? So that's, where I go for my inspiration?