In a time when just about everyone has a smart device with a camera, more people than ever are giving photography career options a shot. With an influx of individual photographers out there, those who really want to make money off their work must have a unique selling proposition that draws attention and makes them stand out.
To set yourself apart from the crowd and find success as a photographer, consider the following nuggets of marketing advice.
Make It All About Your Strengths
A unique selling proposition should always revolve around what makes you “better” than the competition, no matter how big or small the advantage is. If the average photographer takes X amount of time to complete a certain task and your strength is doing that same task efficiently in half the time, there’s the foundation for your unique selling proposition.
If you need an idea, consider how Domino’s Pizza got its explosive start. Instead of a crazy topping or special ingredient, their original selling proposition was promising that your pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or else it was free.
Do you have a knack for photographing pets or have time for free pre-event photo shoots? Figure out what you’re good or can offer and go with it.
Find Your Target Audience
No matter how versatile you are as a photographer, you’re more likely to find financial success if you focus on a particular area. For example, there are photographers out there who have mastered the art of capturing food and know there are plenty of websites and magazines willing to pay good money for their work. Because of their specialty, their unique selling proposition will tend to be different than someone who photographs, say, boats or lawn gnomes.
Once you narrow down who would be most likely to like your work, build a unique selling proposition around what they want and why you’re the one they need. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask what they’d love to hear to be convinced that you cater specifically to them and have something different when compared to the competition.
Develop An Elevator Pitch
You may be in trouble if you can’t express why your photography is worth checking out without reading off a paper or going into a lengthy, robotic monologue. You can’t have a strong selling proposition without an elevator pitch— a concise explanation of why your talent and work will make their life better and/or solve their problems. While there’s no exact length it needs to be, shoot for trying to capture a consumer’s attention in as much time as the average length of a TV commercial.
In other words, less than a minute. If this sounds like a daunting task, even if you’re confident in your work, then perhaps you need to either do more research on who your target demographic is or go back to analyzing your strengths. Having an idea of who your ideal customer is, along with a lively, condensed pitch you developed just for them, is a key part of any unique selling proposition.
Inject Your Personality
The challenge big companies have is coming up with an image that encapsulates the entire strategy. One advantage you have as an individual photographer is being able to wield your personality in order to sell your work. There’s no better way to flaunt your skills, experience, and character traits than by adding a touch of yourself.
If you’re confident in your abilities or always know how to make a good impression with humor, stamp that bit of yourself into your unique selling proposition. It’s hard for competitors to go up against a personality that resonates with people, especially when talking about fashion photography and other areas where you’re expected to interact with models.
Marketing your photography is just as much about marketing yourself. See how the students develop and explore their individual strengths in the NYFA BFA photography program.