If you are in the business of selling your craft or building a viewership and increasing your reach with your photographs, this post is for you.
Today, the craft of photography is at risk (if not, already) of being commoditized – the act of taking a photograph requires the same level of skill required to breath. Everyone and anyone could pull out a device, press a button, apply a filter and make their photographs look awesome.
And the numbers don’t lie: 70 million photos are shared on Instagram everyday. On Snapchat, close to 9000 photos are shared every second. This infographics posits that more than 1 trillion photos will be taken in 2016. What does this mean to you?
The hard truth to most hobbyist and perhaps even to the aspiring professionals is this: Your pictures don’t matter. Your average pictures are not good enough. Your great ones aren’t significant. Your awesome pictures are just the norm. To rise to the top and be the best in class of what you do, be it developing your business or increasing your reach, you need more than producing awesome pictures day in day out.
As a student of business and a hobbyist photographer interested in sharing my photographs to a wider audience and further developing my craft, here’s my take on Marketing Tips for Photographers:
Develop your brand and niche
What does your photography stand for?
If you summarize the essence of what your photography means to you in a sentence, what would it be?
For me, this would be – “To draw out the beauty and soul of what I see through black and white images.”
How would your sentence read?
In marketing terms, the question reads “How do you position yourself amidst your competition?”
Build scarcity through the one and only you
Showcase only the best pictures you take. Apply the most critical judgement on your photographs before you publish. Curate, curate and curate!
In the highly commoditized photography trend, aim to achieve more with less. Remember, there is only one of you, so show the world what your unique lens see.
The last thing you want is for someone to regard your photograph as “Just another photograph”. Generate genuine demand by providing a limited supply of quality pictures.
Create the emotional connection and sell the story beyond the photograph
Don’t just take and publish photographs. Tell the story behind it. Share your thoughts, feelings and ideas behind it. Establish an emotional conduit between the photographer, the photograph and the audience.
Beyond the technicalities (exposure, composition, lighting etc), think about what is your subject and what is the story you want to tell, or what is the idea behind it. What do you want your audience to think, feel and do? Before publishing a picture, ask yourself “does this picture touch me at an emotional level?” If it doesn’t impact you personally at a meaningful level, don’t expect your audience to feel so.
The best photographs captures attention, places the audience to take pause, sometimes to admire, or to think, and perhaps to ask questions. More critically, the best photographs have the emotional impact in that it gets people to “feel” something.
Your role as a photographer is just to do that – get your audience to feel.
Develop your network, converse, communicate and connect
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. -African Proverb.
In today’s highly networked world, its paramount to build relationships with peers and people who are the best in your craft. Leverage this relationship to learn from your network, increase your reach and develop win-win strategies together. Your network becomes the roots and foundations of the tree, the results are the branches and the reach you desire.
Be human, converse and connect with your audience, as your photographs without them are just empty entities of digital pixels that are pending viewership and interpretation.
So here is my quick take on some marketing tips to help you in your journey as a photographer.
What do you practice and what works for you?