Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Times They Are a Changin!

D'uh! If you didn't know that, I hope it's warm and comfy under that rock you've been living under.

Sarcasm aside, this is a follow-on to my last update, Hybrid Cameras, Hybrid Photographers.

There were some helpful comments to my last update. BTW, I recommend going back and taking a quick look at the comments to PGS updates. They aren't all about patting Jimmy on the back for a good update. (Although, being a creature of ego, I enjoy and appreciate those comments!) Other comments to PGS updates often contain some very helpful information.

A comment of interest, posted to my last update, was submitted by PGS reader, "KS."

In his comment--yeah, I happen to know that KS is a he--he advises:

To me, it almost seems that a photographer, web designer, re-toucher or other artistic talents should form loose associations with others.

Alliances with others who have related specialties is a great idea! Obvious alliances with, say, makeup artists, seem natural. After all, makeup artists and models have much contact with each other, just like photographers and models do. Perhaps many of you have already entered into informal partnerships with makeup artists?

Less obvious alliances, as KS mentioned, might include strategically allying yourself with re-touchers and web designers. As KS comments, In essence, you and your friends are virtual companies. For a specific project, you work together. When the project is over, you disband. The key is to get buy-in early from all the different talents on the costs so that responsibilities can be assigned and budgets can be adhered to.

In other words, people who, traditionally, offered stand-alone services band together on a project-by-project basis to offer a "total package" service that benefits both the client and each member of the alliance.

KS, in his last paragraph, writes:

I believe that it is hard or difficult for any one individual to do all things well. Thus, I think it is better to approach the marketplace as a collection of talented individuals who can fully address any need.

D.L. Wood, another commenter, mentions that he recalls a similar discussion (to my update) in an interview with Chase Jarvis, in the December, 2009, issue of Digital Photo Pro. Immediately, I searched for the interview and read it.

The Jarvis interview is a good read and I recommend it to everyone. CLICK HERE to read Jarvis' DPP interview.

In his comment, Wood quoted Jarvis. It's a good quote that speaks directly to this "times they are a changin" discussion.

Unfortunately, most of what’s going on right now is a fear-based response in the photography industry. You know the adage, anybody with a D-SLR is a "professional," and for those photographers that are really thinking in those terms, if that’s your vision, then you need to become either a better photographer or a better businessperson. You shouldn’t be threatened by a kid with an EOS Rebel. You really have to be able to differentiate yourself. I hope that this fear-based response goes to something more positive because I think it’s the most exciting time in history to be a photographer. There are more images being used now than ever before!

I should note that, while I agree with Jarvis' assessment that it's an exciting time for photography, and that more images are being used now than ever before, his observation is a two-edged sword: It still rankles me that so many of those images are being purchased for pittance if not licensed for free! As mentioned in my previous update, how does anyone, Chase Jarvis or anyone else, compete with free? Perhaps Chase will provide his customary words-of-wisdom on the subject of "free" in some future interview?

The pretty girl at the top is Naomi from a couple of years ago. I've posted this pic before--it was shot at a location house in the San Fernando Valley--but, if truth be known, I never get tired of beholding Naomi's perfectly-constructed derriere.


Lou said...

Good series of posts, Jimmy.

In regards to the Jarvis interview, and the whole "How do you compete with 'free'?" question, Chase has definitely stated in previous videos and presentations that--as you hit on--you have to differentiate yourself.

Probably one of the best pieces I've ever read that expounds on this heavily is David duChemin's book "Visionmongers"--required reading as far as I'm concerned if you want to start a career in photography (as I haven't quite gotten that far, it's kind of weaksauce for me to say that, but it's true!). I'm too lazy to walk upstairs and page through to find quotes, but it definitely does a good job of hammering home what you need to do to separate yourself and help build your own brand with it's accurate worth.

He also talks about how exciting it is to be a photographer in this time, the fear-based nature of the industry and it's pros, and also that you need to reach out to other creative pros to help build your brand--designers, programmers, accountants, etc.

Every time I sat down and read a portion of that book, I wanted to get up immediately and do something--anything--productive. Redesign my site, logo, shoot something new, whatever. I definitely suggest it to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

Alex said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. I think I'll go buy it this afternoon and give it a read. I could certainly use some help in establishing brand recognition that will promote my business above the amateurs.