PHOTOGRAPHERS – DIVERSIFY OR DIE! – Photographers Blog 2021.
Photography has provided me with a fabulous career and opportunities over the years, apart from one major deviation into becoming a Creative Director in a leading agency and this lasted for around 8 years. It provided a sense of security up until 2008 when the chance of crashing and burning into debt with the recession. This pushed me back into the photography career I have right now.
One important factor I learned then and reiterating now, is the time occurs when you as a photographer have to learn to adapt or die in the profession. Below is my thought on how you can achieve this to manage the current situation without throwing in the towel and losing your opportunity to work later in the year as a photographer.
My diversifications over this last year have been Video Directing, Editing, Compositing, Lifestyle and People Photography and soon Podcasting and Youtube. Mostly i have added real people and celebrity Portraits and Interviews (coming soon )
The wedding industry is a great sector to introduce your style into after all fashion work is all about people wearing clothes and wedding dresses still need photography and it pays well. Do you want to continue as a photographer or find an engineering job?
1. Use the time right now to expand into multiple niches
The easiest option as a photographer is to continue ahead on the weedy path and focus on your main specialisation and industry and not really looking into diversifying. However, as we all know, the market has many various routes to it with mainstream photographers taking a hit with social media growth and the change towards how and where photographers are being booked and paid. This change has punished the traditional agency photographers and bein fair, massively affecting me. Niching down into sub-genres of photography is right now more important than most other ways. Adapting to another style is important and being good at them even more so. Therefore, expanding into at least two or three primary industries can help you diversify and work with a wide range of clients, which helps your business and keeps things fresh and exciting. Lifestyle, People, Interiors, Travel and Food without even mentioning Weddings. This will be a booming industry very soon.
2. A new style of visual creative and application.
Present your new style in additional galleries, and if it looks slightly out of place within your brand, you can test this out and the response but hiding it under “personal work ” This is also important when working with different clients. At one point in time, one style was most important, but there is a little more flexibility nowadays. It would help if you found your storytelling style within your new work to be visually recognisable. This is the key, so the message is correct throughout your career. Fashion for me has been my main domain, but people and lifestyle is my looser brand identity. However, the style is similar and stands together side by side.
3. Grow your presence and content on social media
For a few years now, social media has been the best way to get seen online; however, it has also been a problem for mainstream photographers, losing footfall to photographers with more significant accounts online. Agencies are looking for an easy sell both for clients and to the masses. Social media has more traction than traditional advertising collateral.
Instagram has been the obvious choice for sharing beautiful content however with Facebook taking control it has become a large sales platform and in doing this it has decided to cut out the certain account which doesn’t fit their advertising requirements,
I think a photographer must focus on a few social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and even TikTok. It takes time and dedication, but they do help you get noticed. In the past, you could call an agency for a meeting and portfolio view, but now it’s all online. Get your message consistent and then get yourself out there posting the relevant categories and hashtags which you are not diversifying into and changing your key hashtags for each post.
4. Video is king Learn to be your own producer!
Video could seem a tricky diversification; however, professional videography is a job in its own right. As more and more creative fusion happens, it has become obvious a photographer would have the skills to shoot video and edit this. Yes, there is a substantial learning curve. It has been a major diversification that I have embraced. I now get regular bookings with clients shooting the stills, directing and capturing online and offline video content with my team.
Brands now need content and these needs have shifted much more to include a video for social media and mobile marketing. While the need for photography remains, adding video to your creative offering, gives you an edge over your competition in turn allowing you to become a much more attractive option.
5. Photography workshops & education
I have also looked to diversify and add another option into what I can offer are workshops and masterclasses or even retreats. I am right now in the process of adding www.jamesnadereducation.com and www.photographyretreats.com to the services I offer. It appears many photographers are already embracing this option and doing it well, however, for me, it seems that it is better coming from an experience from working with clients, lighting abilities for clients and problem solving on location with a team. No matter how you look at it, workshops or masterclasses are a great way of diversifying as a photographer. It expands your ability and conversation with a new audience who are willing to listen.
6. Host Podcasts & YouTube
Podcasts have risen greatly in popularity. I had thought it was dead in the water, but its popularity has surged As a photographer with the lockdown. Right now we are in the process of setting up a regular podcast, and when used in combination with YouTube you have an influential new audience to engage with and with success, this could land lucrative jobs and deals.
It is really a crucial time for diversification in photography, and I would use the downtime to update and refresh your complete attitude and awareness. Learn more, seek more, try more and do more to develop a new niche. If you don’t adapt, no doubt many will die and the photographers who do make a change or add services in as a complementary style will thrive when this world gets back up and running.