Back when I was a teacher and I had kids tattling to me about their classmates I used to say, “Just worry about yourself.” While I don’t hear photographers tattling on each other, I do see a lot of photographers concerned about what their peers are doing in the same industry.
Sometimes we worry so much about our competition that we forget ourselves. Some photographers who have been around awhile worry about what they call, “the craigslist photographer” and some photographers are “the craigslist photographer.” It’s important whether you’re on either end of the spectrum to just worry about yourself.
I was the craigslist photographer and I’m not ashamed. I offered free sessions to build my portfolio and I met some wonderful clients who have since come back and done annual sessions with me as my business grew. I also met some clients who weren’t my style and probably won’t be photographing with me again. And that’s okay, they’ll probably find another photographer who is a better match for what they’re looking for. Without being able to practice what I love and build my portfolio I wouldn’t be able to be here. No matter what level or style of photography someone is at I have a great respect for anyone who is doing honest, hard work to try and follow their dreams. My philosophy is that we only live once in this world. I never want to get to the end of my life and say I didn’t try and I don’t want anyone else to either.
I feel there’s room for everyone in the photography industry. There’s room for celebrity photographers who work exclusively with high end clients, there’s room for the established long time photographers, there’s room for the travel photographers, and heck there’s even room for places like Kiddie Kandids and Sears photographers. There’s room for photographers of low budgets, middle budgets, and high budgets because photography is a luxury item. It’s not something people need to have, it’s something they want. As business owners, no matter where you are in the spectrum we need to focus on ourselves. The best way to improve your business is to just worry about you!
With photography being a luxury item I feel that everyone is a potential customer and there’s going to be a photographer for everybody. Photography is a fine art form and one of the things even we photographers forget is that not everybody likes every style of art either. When people purchase paintings or sculptures from artists they chose artists who they feel fit with their own personality and I think the same about photography.
If we can put those anxieties aside from both ends of the spectrum we’ll all be bettering our own businesses and opportunities for success. If we stop viewing each other as competition we’ll be viewing each other as artists instead. We’ll then be able to just worry about ourselves and being our own photographer marketing to the type of clientele who will want us to create custom fine art photography for them.
There’s room for everybody, let’s focus on ourselves and stop worrying about those around us. I think it’s important to let our peers inspire us instead of let them bring us down.
If you’re interested in improving your photographic skill and learning about the art behind photography join The Art of Photography Class! Make sure you join the weekly newsletter and as always – if you have a question about photography please ask me!