Archive for August, 2012
I found this article interesting. And wanted to find out what your opinion is about this matter. Now more than ever before with the advancement of technology and cheaper photographic equipments, many hobbist and amateur photographers are taking their services to the next level. With the economic slow down-to the average joe price can be king and amateurs don't mind getting paid less as long as they get the job.
Read this excerpt:
My little Panasonic point-and-shoot will take hundreds and hundreds of photos one after another on a single memory card, and it rivals the quality of my Nikon SLRs! That is an amateur photographer’s dream, but unfortunately it is not as beneficial for the pros. Suddenly, the playing field is level for everyone. Technology has not yet put pros out of business, but it is setting the stage — even our mobile phones have cameras!
Photography is a numbers game, in that only a certain number of your shots will be professional quality. The more shots you take, the more professional quality shots you will get. This means that any moron with a good camera can shoot and shoot and shoot, and eventually get a prizewinner. He may receive an honorable mention in a photo contest, or sell a photo for use in a brochure, then thinks he has the right to call himself a “professional photographer.”…More at Reality Check: Professional Photography Is Going Away
Is this a concern for you or not? Are you exploring strategies to move your business to the next level? What are other opportunities you have considered? Have you checked what other successful professional photographers are doing differently today?
Here’s a short list of what other professional photographers are doing:
I think Stephanie Padovani nail it in her article: “Is Social Media a Waste of Time?”
One of the biggest questions we get from wedding photographers is, “Is social media a waste of time for my business?” And the way many photographers do it, the answer would be yes.
In the over-hyped social media world, it’s often suggested that all you have to do is set up a Facebook page, Twitter or Pinterest account, post a few things and your business will “go viral.” It isn’t that simple or that easy. Social media was created to facilitate social activity, not business. That means the rules of engagement are different.
Frankly, I am not a huge fan of social media. Sometimes I let weeks go by without updating my Facebook status. (Oh, the horror!) My husband is the “social media butterfly” in the family. He dragged me onto Facebook and Twitter, kicking and screaming. But do I use social media marketing for my photography business? Absolutely. But I refuse to waste time on activities that don’t get results. When I’m doing something on social media for our business, I’m a woman on a mission.
If you want to use social media to connect with your real-life and online friends, spend as much time as you like talking about what you ate for lunch, posting kitten videos and playing Farmville. But if you want to use it to market your business successfully, you need to focus on the following actions.
1. Spend Time on Specific Results-Driven Activities
2. Participate Consistently
3. Measure Your Results
4. Conquer One Social Site at a Time…More at Is Social Media a Waste of Time?
I think there are a couple of things I would personally add to this list that would help you as a photographer to really take advantage of the power of social media. Here's my current top 3 for now.
1. Your Profile / About Text, be sure to construct this carefully to really target the customers you want, I've seen so many photographers use something like: I'm a photographer, Photographer,mum, wife & shoe lover, I'm a wedding photographer, a million other photographers have something like that, if you really want someone to follow-you really need to say what you can do for your customers, write it as if you are talking to them.
2. Provide your website, where you feature your work. Yes, some photographers forget this.
3. Stephanie's no. 2 – participate consistently doesn't really tell you how, here's one way to do it. Follow the big magazines in your industry, if you are a wedding photographer, follow several wedding magazines, retweet, comment on what they are talking about, give good advice in those conversations, this will give you a good exposure to their list of followers.
For those of you that have heard of Ira Glass and have seen his videos and listened to his radio show “This American Life” know that he’s a very insightful person with a lot to offer. I’ve been the type of person to search for inspiration in all things and in all mediums and try to apply it to my own medium which is photography. A few years back, Ira Glass did a series of videos about story telling in broadcasting and it’s meant for people who are getting started in the broadcasting industry, but I found it profoundly inspirational for myself in relation to Photography. I wanted to share my thoughts with you about how I applied his theories of storytelling in broadcasting to Storytelling in Photography. You can find the videos on YouTube Here: Ira Glass on YouTube or click here to see on this page. I suggest you take a look and see if it was as inspirational for you as it was for me.
In the first part of the video, Ira Talks about the building blocks of a Story:
1. The anecdote or sequence of actions. It’s the story in its purest form. It’s literally the sequence of events one step at a time.
2. The moment of reflection. Why are you telling the story. Why should the person/viewer be listening/looking.
I was reflecting on these building blocks and how we could apply them to photography. I’ve always admired the narrative qualities in the works of Keith Carter, Duane Michals, and Josef Koudelka. They use some of the same techniques that Ira Glass talks about just in a much more subtle way.
Ira talks about raising questions in your stories as well as the need to have both the anecdotal side of the story as well as the moment of reflection working together in order for the whole piece to be larger than the sum of its parts. This is the way I see it as well for photography. Having a great individual images that tie into each other can be used to create a body of work, such as the works of Keith Carter, and Josef Koudelka, that tells a story about a particular place or time, and gives you the reason why that work is important. Presenting the work as a whole makes it more important then if you just saw individually great images. You could also be more specific and sequential such as Duane Michals which uses a series of images to tell a story about a specific subject. By presenting the images in sequence he strengthens the series itself. He also makes each of the images more important as you compare them to the others to try to find the story. I always wondered why I cold look at a Duane Michals book and not put it down for hours. I got caught up in his world and I found it fascinating to find little bits and pieces of a story that I may have missed in previous viewing, or depending on my mood or where my mind was, the sequences meant different things to me.
Many great wedding photographers and photo journalists use these techniques also. They may raise visual questions throughout an event and answer them visually. You may have heard of these techniques as “Tying” elements. It could be as subtle as a color that repeats itself throughout a wedding album or more complex such as a certain logo that appears in all your documentary images about a “down on their luck family”. Having “Tying” elements in your work can be a technique you use to raise your photography to the next level. Using these ideas will give your body of work more relevance if done properly. Also consider using this technique in your portfolio. Some of the strongest portfolios that I’ve seen use these techniques to showcase a body of work as a whole giving the portfolio a much stronger impact then just the individual images on their own. In my experience a softer hand when using these techniques works best to avoid being “campy” unless that’s what you’re going for.
What do you think of these techniques and how have you used them successfully in your own work? We’d love to see it, so please leave a comment below or contact us and give us links to your work. Lets share with the community how you’ve been successful or where you may need some help.
Editor in Chief
Sometimes, we are just so frustrated about how things are going for us, and we don’t really know how to move forward, our contributing editor Tony Luna’s interview at the Candid Frame touched on how you can change your mindset and renew yourself and move forward.
One key point that he brought up that really hit me is this:
There are certain things that are inextricably the same, and that is you have to get back to your core values, you always have to get back to your core values whatever kind of business you are involved in. Specially in an industry where you are dealing as a creative entrepreneur, you have to really pay attention to the fact that it all starts with play, it all starts with the ability to kinda step outside of yourself and just explore and discover and find what it is that really thrills you, and frankly, something that when you are doing it you get so involved that you are lost and that’s that point…..
Listen to the interview and be inspired today. Here is the link to the page.
About Tony Luna
Washington Post reports as of June 30th, 2012, the iPad sold 84 million units since it’s debut in 2010.
Have you ever seen any success like this in the last few years, in fact, in the last few decades? From a business’ point of view have you made plans so that your business can be part of this rush?