There is always a need for change in any business, and keeping up with the times. Complacency is never good, though it is still important to leave the foundation principles of doing business intact. In this context, I agree with the term adapt or die. The photography business is changing, sure. From the time I have been in the business, I have changed gear, software, website designs, rotated out a lot of photo content, changed my marketing plans, divided different bodies of work, become a writer and social networker, local business networker, continued my education, etc. A good part of what I do for this business strangely does not involve taking photos, lol. But with the expanding advertising and networking opportunities and medias out there, it’s necessary I keep up with it and do what I have to do to stay in business. I have upgraded and expanded equipment and updated software programs to better serve my customers and make my time spent more efficiently. That’s part of doing business. But there is a fine line between getting what you need to do the job, and buying yourself into the poor house or debt, which is counter productive. I am talking about the balance between getting the necessary goods but keeping your overhead manageable, not being a gadget junkie and buying every new thing that enters the consumer market. Changing habits and reaching new markets in different ways is good change.
Unfortunately, whether we’re talking about photojournalists, wedding photographers, portrait photographers, commercial photographers, etc. the economy has hurt the business and budgets of some clients. Plus we are dealing with more saturation in the market. There are still plenty of qualified photographers out there, and there are also some who got a camera for Christmas and one day grew a wild hair and decided to try to make easy money at this. Yeaaaaa……sure, go ahead, lol. We’ve discussed this before, that person will get a few clients based on low price, and are really not competition for the professionals that clients hire for their work and reputation. And will soon figure out there’s no easy way in, and probably either go broke or have a nervous breakdown and exit as quick as they went in…….unless they are really serious about it, and are willing to learn and better themselves.
So, how does the last paragraph relate to professional photographers? There’s an influx of people doing $50.00 headshots and $75.00 portrait sessions with a disc of photos, so yea, that’s becoming a trend. That doesn’t mean that professionals have to behave that way just because some Johnny come lately’s are doing it (and who really don’t know the business). That just isn’t smart adaptation. And the numbers don’t add up when you figure the cost of doing business, etc. Same with portrait mills doing cheap crap sessions to sell expensive print packages, and crank out numbers to make their money…..their clients and portrait photographers’ clients are often different clients, because the two businesses are not the same. I’m sure this speaks for many other professional Nashville photographers when I say that people come to me through referral and word of mouth, and for the personalized service they get…..and for the style of work I deliver. Sure, I work with my customers the best I can, but they also understand that I can’t give my services away just because a bunch of people on Craigslist are doing it. I guess it all depends, adapt to exactly what?