The first rule of holes: When you're in one, stop digging!
Shortly after posting one of my favorite tweets recently, I started thinking about it. I've met so many photographers in my career who define a problem and then make it worse by reacting to it. Often, they're not even problems, just simple bumps in the road.
Here's a prime example, when business is slow we all do the same thing - we question our abilities. We question the path we're on. We start to question some of our most important beliefs. Over and over again I've seen photographers drop their prices because their competitors were lower than they were. Business was slow, so what else could it be?
It's not a pricing game with your market but an added value and education game.
Added Value: Stop discounting and look for things you can do to add value to what you offer your clients. It could be anything from framed images to special albums to extended coverage at a wedding for example. Just discounting makes your services a commodity item.
Education: It's up to you to help your target audience understand why your skill set is special. It's also up to you to get them to understand the value of the finished product. A wedding album isn't just a book of pictures, but the first family heirloom of a brand new family. A family portrait isn't a big print but a tangible memory to hand down to future generations.
Then there's the issue of how you show your work. It's not about how many images you share in your gallery, but the quality of each photograph. Don't dig a deeper hole by showing average images, thinking that if you show hundreds of images you'll get more attention from your target audience. Instead, only show "wow" prints - images that are so good you get the job showing just one of them! Ten "wow" prints will beat hundreds of mediocre shots any day of the week.
Most important of all, use your network. Talk with friends and associates in your inner circle and just like the image on top, get a little help. So often we exaggerate the challenges we face and need a different perspective from a friend to find our way out. Don't be afraid to ask for help!
I want to wrap it up with one more favorite quote:
Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success.
They quit on the one yard line.
They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.