Six words that change the game. If you’re trying to make a buck with portrait photography, it’s tough out there. There is competition—a lot of it. Every one of your clients or prospects has an uncle, a friend, or a friend of a friend who is a photographer, probably new to the industry, willing to work for free or less than free.
How do you compete?
Do you lower your prices? Give more away than you already give away? Add another 8×10 to your cheapest package? Triple your fees? Do you make your work different? Black and white? Make it look like a painting? HDR? Spend even more time retouching? How about specializing in a demographic? Only photograph newborn babies with those cute crocheted hats? Families at the beach? Kids on sofas in a lilac field with blown out highlights? Maybe.
You might try all of those. Maybe you already have. Maybe your photography dream is starting to fade. You’ve tried it all and the numbers are not adding up. The competition is killing you. Maybe the way to compete is not to compete. Maybe the way to live your photography dream is to build a better you, a deeper you, a more authentic you.
You are the most important part of your business. Not your work, amazing as it is. Not your fees, cheap or expensive as they are. Not your supply of crocheted hats, even with all those cute colors.
People are attracted to passion. People are attracted to authentic voices. People are attracted to meaning. It’s what is missing in our lives. We might have thousands of Facebook friends, but does what they’re having for lunch add meaning to our lives? Because of your authentic photography voice, your clients will feel more authentic. They will have meaning. They will experience passion.
Your clients will pay good money to have this experience. Not only that, they will thank you. You are the only you who can create that experience. Your competition cannot be you. They cannot do what you do. They cannot do your what from your why.
So, where do you start? How do you compete by not competing? How do you create a deeper you? How do you become an authentic voice that attracts your right clients? I wish it was easy. I wish I had a three step, any idiot can do this, $49 ebook that solved all your challenges. I don’t. Neither does anyone else. What I do have are six words that will point you in the direction of your true north. Here are the first 3:
Life is short.
You’re going to be dead soon. Probably not today, hopefully not tomorrow, and most likely you have lots of years left. But we don’t know. We just don’t know.
If you’re young, maybe fresh out of photography school, if you never fixed a cassette with a pencil, this is hard for you to grasp. I know. If you’re older, like me, if you remember your first 8 track (Toys In The Attic), if you know all four members of Led Zeppelin, this is a bit easier. You get it. You, like me, are on the back nine. We can’t see the last hole but we know it’s there.
As soon as you truly experience life is short, you have the gas for your journey. Your voice gets real. Your work gets better. You become a magnet. Here are the next 3:
What’s Your Legacy?
If the Life Is Short is the gas, What’s Your Legacy is the goal. It’s where you want to end up. How will people remember you? What will they say at your funeral?
All of us want to be more than an economic entity. What do you want? What was your work? How did you serve? What did you create? What memories did you leave? What did you do for fun? How much did you love? How much did you fear? What is the complete picture of your legacy?
I have some more bad news. This doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing worthwhile does. Like a grandmother that lives out of town, maybe across the states, you’ll need to visit and then revisit. Once is not enough. It takes time. It takes effort. It’s hard to make the trip. Gas is expensive. It’s easier to stay home and be comfortable. Sit on the couch and check out what your friends had for lunch.
Do what everybody else does. Compete. It’s the American way.
Don’t do it. Make the trip. Your grandmother is worth it. So are you. So are we. We need your best work. We need the best you. The real you. The one with the legacy.
How can you not compete?
About the Author:
Michael Adams (michaeladams dot net) has been a portrait photographer for 25 years. With the growing need for DSLR education and photography business education, he started mamarazziworkshops dot com and beaphotographer dot biz recently.
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