Wishing everyone that checks into The Image Makers Networking Facebook Page to see what has been posted a very prosperous 2017, wherever you may be in the world.
One thing for sure I feel is that being a Professional Photographer, that is a person who receives most of his income from the world of Photography is becoming harder for some these days, since many have called it a day, or they have taken on a second non-related paid job as a way of helping to pay the bills.
However as the innovation of digital photography continues to occupy the minds of many photographers and hobbyists, I feel you have much more Chinese manufacturers of photography equipment’s aiming their products at this market a lot more than they may have done in the past, especially the hobbyist.
With the likes of affordable companies like Godox mainly and Yongnuo and a few other companies, many hobbyist or enthusiast have become good enough to make some money from their cameras, Speedlite, as well as the new battery, operated location lights such as the game changing Godox AD600M, which has been rebranded into several badges around the world.
That being the case competition has become more interesting based on price sometimes over Quality and Brand Loyalty.
In fact, I have seen some newbies who know nothing about the world of photography ethic and respect for another photographer go out of their way to reach out to a client, providing they get the job instead.
In the UK, we see how the established retailers have been overtaken, by some of the discounted stores or retailers, all because when money is tight, Brand Loyalty Means Nothing.
That is why as Professional Photographers or Videographers, if we have seen this happening in our own market, like what we see happening with the big established retailers, then we also have to up our game, by giving our client base a reason to call us first instead of someone else.
All the Image Makers that I have seen, who I have respect for, from when I first met them, many have put their hands into their pockets and have invested in their own personal development to be the best Professional Image Maker they can be.
When I started in this game, most of all the Professional Photographers were using Medium Format Cameras, a Tripod, and a Big Hammer Gun, or Light.
Even a 35m cameras, were being used suggesting that you were a Professional Photographer, today all you need is a simple mobile phone, or a simple point and shoot camera.
So we can see how important it may be to start the new year with a blank page and be a little reflection on our business, including what we hope to achieve during the coming year, like achievable goals.
(1) Have we started to use video or slideshows as a marketing tool in our business?
(2) Have we thought about using a business promotional showreel or video presentations, telling people who we are and what we have to offer them?
(3) Have, we started to look at ourselves as a Brand, and how other people see us, as a Brand.
(4) Have we noticed or asked the question, why another Image Maker in our area, is getting the work and not we ourselves.
(5) Do we check in on Photographers we admire and see if we can learn something new from them?
(6) Have we looked at the standard of our Photography, and Packages we offer, and price list?
(7) Could we take on a Mentor as well as attending few workshops in the coming year?
(8) Networking more with better groups of like-minded Image Makers, who will help instead of taking all the time.
(9) Looking at the market we are in, perhaps we could do better in another market that respects us as a photographer, going up market from where you are may be an option?
(10) Looking at the housekeeping of our website and SEO, does it need to be made fresher, with new images or a new look?
(11) New equipment for our business, may be better served by renting it instead, to help with our cash flow.
(12) Looking at the invitation message or information to our clients, is it saying “call me” first.
(13) Looking at how we can market our business better or learn other skills that we do not have or we may be weak on.
(14) If your business can afford it, what about asking someone else to do your photography and video editing for you.
(15) More Photographers are bringing both Photography and Video to their clients, if they cannot do one skill, then they have teamed up with someone who has that skill.
(16) Looking for a reliable second shooter for a wedding is always a good idea, but making sure you have a contract between you or at least everyone knows their own lane they are operating in.
(17) Looking at our business contracts is becoming more and more important when dealing with a modern client base that has no shame in taking any Image Maker to court for something silly.
(18) Do we have policies for client conflicts and speedy resolution is very important in the times we are living in, sometimes it is more important to protect your good name in the marketplace than dealing with a client who is trying to get the better of you?
(19) If we do not have any legal support from any of the Professional Photography Association or business insurance, then we may want to make sure any personal insurances we may have for our home or car, that we have some type of legal helpline we can call for potential problem client just a thought.
(20) However, as Image Makers who provide a service to the public, we should all have at least a basic Professional Photography Insurance Policy to cover our equipment as well as Public Indemnity Insurence.
(21) One of the things we took on was a car breakdown recovery insurance policy; if our car broke down and it was not repairable, we got the use of another car for a few days. Having a car as an option to help you out when your car breaks down can be a blessing sometimes, trust me since we were in that situation not so long ago.
This list can be much longer, I am sure if you can think of anything I may have missed please comment.
Finally, some of you will know that I have a few health issues, even so, I would still love to network with those during the coming year who I have yet to meet, and perhaps some of us could do a meetup one day, even to do a Charity Portrait Projects with those in need. Just inbox me if you are up for it.
Have a blessed coming year, and may all your dreams and goals become a reality, being the best that we can be, for me is not just about being better than the next person or yesterday.
For me, it is about presenting saleable images to clients who are happy with the effort, service and work that we did for them, in producing images that tell a story or we have captured memories that will be part of a family or individual legacy or archive story for years to come.
I have always maintained this method of operation from the days of film, due to one of my first mentors in photography, Ron and Val Stillwell of Tek Marketing in Colchester, who would say how important it was to please your clients with Saleable Images.
PS.. Remember to please share your thoughts and images in this group - Remember one hand cannot clap on its own...