For the last few years as I practiced photography on a more full time basis it allowed me to explore different aspects of the job. And I experienced my strengths and weaknesses in a real world environment. One of the key takeaways from this experience is that I'm not very good at marketing myself. I think I take good photos. Many people I've spoken to agree with that assessment. And yet that's just not enough in this day and age.
Nowadays everyone has a camera, whether it's a DSLR, iPad, or phone. There are easy to use creative software programs available everywhere. And everyone fancies themselves an artist. And I'm not saying they aren't. I'm saying it's hard to compete in this new world and it's not enough to just be a good photographer. You have to also be a great marketer. Most of the photographers selling photos these days are able to establish and maintain an audience that buys into their story. And good for them. It's just not something I was able to do.
So now what? Well, I did think about giving up for a while, but that just didn't seem like the right answer. Luckily fate intervened and I was connected with someone running a real estate photography service that is an outstanding marketer of her service and also appreciates the keen eye I bring to the table. I've now redirected my focus almost solely to interior photography as my primary means of income and life is good. Sure it's not as much money (on paper) as working for myself, but the schedule is flexible and I have someone filling in for my marketing weakness which allows me to actually get jobs instead of sitting and waiting for the phone to ring or sale notification to arrive via email.
Does this mean I'm giving up on cars, nature, travel and all the other photography I've pursued in the past? Absolutely not! I still pursue those in my spare time and it provides a great creative outlet when I get bored with my day job. In fact there's a car cruise, Draggin' Main in Paxton, Illinois coming up March 26th that I'll be helping shoot for the local newspaper. Last year one of my photos from that event was published on the front page so I'm hoping to make it two years in a row.
So I guess my long winded point is that what I originally though 2 years ago would be a cut & dry, simple business plan turned out to involve more exploration and real world experience. Don't be discouraged if you're first, or second, or third business plan fails. Just pick up the pieces, learn from the experience and move on. Photography is a great passion of mine and I'm happy to be able to call it a profession as well.