The digital revolution has come to photography and only those who adapt to it will survive. Harsh, I understand. But we can't keep doing the same things and expect to continue to create the same kind of abundance we once did.
I spoke with a fellow photographer recently about the photography business in general, specifically those of us in landscape photography. He’s interested in how I continue to sell my images when many are struggling. Unless we adapt, unless we branch out, unless we show our images locally I don’t think the professional can continue to thrive online. Yes! There will always be exceptions, but generally landscape and nature photography will be challenged by many things unless we look for new ways to adapt. You know the old saying:
Adapt or die.
One of my favorite movies that stars Clint Eastwood is Heartbreak Ridge, because the movie so rich with quotes and one liners. I'm reminded of one particular quote that Gunnery Sergeant Highway says:
You adapt. You overcome. You improvise.
Unless we take this lesson and use it, Nature and landscape photography will not prosper online.
I believe that’s why I continue to prosper, because as I’ve ALWAYS maintained, I KNOW there are many local photographers who are better at the photography end of the business then I can ever hope to be. No matter what business you are in, there will always be someone a step ahead. I feel as if I’m productive at adapting. It’s true that my online business has faltered as every photographer I’ve spoken with has said. Where I excel, however, is in marketing my brand. Anyone who sees me, will ALWAYS recognize that I continually market my photography, from having logowear…
(I have spring and winter jackets with my business logo emblazoned on them. I also have tee shirts with my logo so that when I’m out in the summer shooting, people will recognize that I’m a professional.) …to showing my photography often. I think the only way a professional will succeed in today’s economic climate will be to adapt to the changing world.
Post cards are no longer a big seller. Not with the advent of digital:
Cell phones now have cameras.
So that negates the postcard business. It’s why postcards are a dying breed. It’s why you see fewer stores selling them. They understand that the postcard is no longer relevant in today’s digital world.
If postcards don’t work anymore, because everyone has a camera in their phone, then find another way to differentiate yourself. In other words, Take Gunnery Sergeant Highway's words and use them:
Adapt. Overcome. Improvise.
Maybe put your images on shirts and sell the shirts.
Maybe sell mobile phone cases with your photos.
Maybe sell business card cases with your photos.
The point is, if you want to prosper you can’t keep doing things the old way and expect the same result. You know that’s the meanings of insanity.
That’s the only way to survive in ANY business. If you can’t adapt, you will surely not prosper.
Unlike many businesses who have found success online, photography in my opinion is not going to survive as a business model online. Yes you will be able to create SOME abundance but only if as I said above you can differentiate yourself from everyone else who has a digital camera now. You must adapt.
As with Windows 95, when that OS appeared, it made it much easier for the general population to become familiar with technology. When Digital came to photography, I believe the same thing happened. As much as digital has helped the professional, I believe it has hindered us as well.
How has it hindered us?
–As with Windows 95, digital photography made it easier for the general population to grab a camera and start shooting. And software is able to manipulate any noticeable errors. As an example re-read my statement above pertaining to the postcard business.
Photographers must adapt to the changing environment. We must stay NOT just ONE step ahead but several steps ahead. What are you doing to keep ahead of the curve?
In the mean time:
Focus on what’s ahead of you.