Monday, November 28, 2011

It's 5 am

It's 5 am and I can't sleep. I want too, but I can't.

I keep thinking about my industry, about all of the changes that are coming, and how to stop them.

My name is Brent, and I am a Professional Photographer

I don't usually sit up at night and worry (at least, no more that any other small business owner). But tonight is different. I have had 3 events in as many days that brought me to this sleepless night, and they all revolve around the industry, the de-valuation of what we do, and the emergence of the "faux-tographer."

  1. Black Friday, we had a boy in for his senior portraits. His dad was worked up about the cost of everything and was giving the assistant a hard time while she was collecting the sitting fee. I told her I would talk to dad (I wasn't shooting the appointment) and Dad was pretty adversarial from the start. I answered all his questions and over AN HOUR I won dad over to seeing that portraits are not paper and that custom artwork is very valuable when done well. By the time his sone was finished, dad was not only happy, but excited to see the results.

  2. Yesterday, I was volunteering my studios time at the downtown Christmas walk doing pictures with Rudolph. The girl in the costume was awesome- a 17 year old, volunteering her time and spending her Saturday night in a hot, itchy, reindeer costume hugging little kids. During some down time, I was chatting with her and the topic moved around to her senior portraits (our specialty). She said a "family friend" was a photographer and spent a day with her at 3 locations and gave her a disk with over 100 images for $150. I said, "if you like them, that's great"- but, she didn't. She sent me a link on Facebook - they are not good.

  3. Tonight, I was on a Facebook group for professionals helping out an aquaintence with (what I thought was) a technical problem. It turned it to be a stunning lack of basic photographic education.

It isn't that I am afraid of change, or competition, or being left behind.
I'm afraid of dilution - of over-saturation - of needing to work even harder to educate my clients on why they need a professional.

There is that word again. Professional.
Meaning I do this for a living. Everyday.
It feeds my family, pays my bills, provides my health Insurence and pays my employees.
It is not my hobby, my weekend job or my "passion" - it is my craft. It is my business.

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