by Tom Lee Published 01/05/2001
How do the paying public perceive your business? More importantly, why are less people employing photographers (You) to take their precious portraits and wedding pictures?
Part of the answer lies in the rapid advance of camera and computer technology, and the drop in cost of consumer products. It is no longer acceptable to expect business to come your way just because you have "a good camera". Manufacturers who sell digital products constantly bombard the consumer with advertising telling them they can cut the cost of photography by using digital cameras and storing them on computer. No longer the additional expense and time of having the films developed, and we can even print them on home based inkjet printers at a fraction of the cost a "real photographer" will charge them. These are even the same manufacturers that sell film, chemicals and paper products. So aren't they shooting themselves in the foot?
These people thrive in both markets because they have adapted and diversified their business to fill niches within the same arena. Whilst at first they appear to be competing against themselves, they have simply provided the public with another product, to replace sales of goods which are declining and will eventually die out. It may not be commonly known but when you send your films to the processing lab, they may in fact be scanned first and then printed on a high end digital printer!
Many photographers find themselves struggling in this new market place. They may or may not want to be part of the digital revolution, but like it or not, the general public have embraced it. In order to take business away from the "friend with a good camera and a computer", we have to offer the prospective customer something which Joe Public cannot, effectively finding our niche. Our job is to convince the customer that we can produce work that far exceeds the home produced A4 inkjet enlargement, whether the image has been taken by electronic capture or by traditional film.
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