I keep hearing about how the photography industry has changed so much in the past few years. Apparently, it’s dying and near impossible to make a living at this type of work anymore. However, I’m having a hard time believing that, mostly because I’m doing better than I ever have before during my 15-year career.
Am I rich? No. Is this still a very tough business that lacks the same job security and long-term financial benefits of other jobs? Absolutely. Is it a constant struggle to find new clients and build new income streams? In the words of now-former Alaskan, “You betcha.”
The absolute truth is that the photo industry is no different from any other type of business. Every single industry has changed drastically in the past few years, and while the current trends in technology and the world of internet commerce have caused a certain amount of obsolescence with some industries, an equal number of industries have greatly benefited from these advancements, photography included.
The key is finding ways to adapt to these changes. More importantly, it means adapting to the changes in your customers’ expectations, whether they’re commercial clients or the regular buying public. Again, this is a challenge that every industry faces, and those who come up with creative solutions to these expectations without sacrificing their bottom line are the ones who succeed.
On ASMP’s Strictly Business Blog, one photographer recently explored a possible comparison between his photography business and the methods Southwest Airlines is using to build and retain its customer base. Note that much of it revolves more around customer perception and making your customers believe that they’re getting a great deal or great service.
This is by no means a new concept. It’s been used for years in the world of business, but maybe it’s something you should start thinking about in your own photography model. Small things that are easy and cost-effective for you may go a long way towards customer and client satisfaction, which is the best way to get hired again or referred to others.
Success comes to those who come up with creative ways to adapt to whatever changes come their way. Don’t be the one who just sits around and complains about how bad the industry has gotten. Instead, get off your butt and be the one who makes these changes work for you.
You’re in charge of your own success, so take it where you want to go.
And if you’re still not convinced that it’s such a great time to be a photographer, you might want to read this post.
Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.
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