by Wendy Newman Published 01/10/2011
Has your business been severely affected by the economy?
Are you finding that clients just aren’t spending what they used to and are demanding digital files?
Do you suspect that clients are infringing your copyright?
Are there photographers popping up like weeds in a market you’ve carefully cultivated over the years? 124
These things can put a lot of stress on a studio owner and wreak havoc on the psyche. I have been experiencing all of that and more, progressively over the last three years. Now, I’m an educated woman who graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in marketing and economics, have excelled at sales in the corporate world, and I am a Master/Craftsman photographer…this just shouldn’t be happening. However, over the last few years, despite becoming a better and more well-known photographer, my business has steadily declined to the point of questioning whether or not to continue in this business that I love. If you have been feeling the same way, I’m here to assure you that you’re not alone, you’re not a failure, and there are things you can do to start bringing back your business.
I live in one of the hardest hit areas in the United States in regards to the current economic state and what feels like a never-ending recession. When you see businesses closing left and right, multiple foreclosures occurring on the same block, and people losing their jobs, it’s no wonder photography isn’t in the forefront of people’s minds nor on the top of their ‘to buy’ list.
This decline in demand for photography is only compounded by the increasing number of ‘photographers’ entering the market. With such low barriers to entry into the photographic industry, literally anyone can almost instantly be in business. In my area we literally have high school students creating websites and taking out advertisements promoting their photography services. Of course those of us who have been in business fulltime, for even as little as three or five years, know it’s not that simple.
Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a degree in economics to surmise what our industry is going through. By looking at a basic economic concept called supply and demand, we can see the effects of pressures both on decreasing demand for photographic services and the increasing supply of people offering those services. Ideally photographers would prefer the opposite scenario. In these conditions the photographer would have more control, they could be more selective of the jobs they accepted, charge higher prices, and decide what they wanted to offer in the way of products and services, and still maintain a healthy business. Conversely, in today’s market (generally speaking), the photographer who refuses to listen to consumer demands will see a decline in volume and sales, simply because the consumer has so many other options available to them.
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