I’m seeing it again. There’s a lot of “the sky is falling” chatter going around amongst photographers about the state of our industry. I’ve written about this topic before here. Something happened yesterday that compelled me to write about it again.
Yesterday, one of Australia’s most talented and respected photographers closed the doors of their business. This sparked a whole new round of hand-wringing and worry from photographers online. It seems that a lot of photographers are feeling the same pressure.
In this blog post I’m going to talk a little about that – not the specific photographer, but the worry and pessimism – and a bit about how it relates to Katie being in Nepal right now.
First, let me say this. Everyone has a different definition of success. Family should always come before business.
Important personal and family reasons aside … I’ve written this for photographers who are struggling for business reasons. I feel compelled to offer some thoughts and words of encouragement to my fellow photographers – and anyone else who is part of an industry that has dramatically changed in the last few years.
THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE
If you’re a veteran photographer, a newcomer to the industry, or anywhere in between – and your business is struggling … please please please know these 12 things:
1. Everything has changed. The “good old days” of photography that we yearn for? They are never coming back.
2. Taking pretty photos and putting them on the internet is not special any more.
3. We can’t control advances in technology that make it easy for everyone to be a photographer.
4. We can’t control or change the general public’s usage and adoption of this technology.
5. The only thing we can control and change … is ourselves and our business.
6. We can’t press pause and stop the changes that are happening.
7. We can only change how we react and adapt to those changes.
8. Clients and consumers don’t care that we have bills to pay. No successful company markets from that position anyway.
9. It’s still possible to run a successful photography business – a thriving one – but only if we evolve and adapt.
10. It’s never going to be easy. The only constant … is change.
11. We all need to up our games. Everything we do needs to be better. Average will not cut it any more.
12. There are solutions to the problems and challenges that you’re facing in your business.
PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP
Unless you have personal/family reasons to do so … PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t give up until you have gotten help from someone who knows how to run a rockin’ kick-ass business. Someone who knows how to stand out in this insanely saturated market. And someone who can teach you how.
There are specific, practical and repeatable things that EVERY photographer can do to have the best shot at success.
But only if you’re willing, and your life circumstances allow you to:
– Do the hard work
– Keep pushing
– Keep striving
– Ask for help
– Stay curious “Surely there is a better way?”
– Keep believing that what you do matters
It will still be hard … but it’s not hopeless.
Please know that … from the bottom of my heart … it’s hard, but it is far from hopeless.
KATIE IN NEPAL
Katie (my wonderful wife) is in Nepal right now.
She’s using her photography to rescue little girls – some as young as 5 years old – from sex-trafficking … and to help prevent them from being taken or sold in the first place.
When Katie is away in Nepal I often don’t hear from her for days. Sometimes a week. That’s tough for us. We’re usually side-by-side 24/7, constantly sharing our thoughts and feelings with each other.
Yesterday I got a message from her.
26 precious girls arrived at the hostel, on a bus from one of the poorest areas of Nepal. An 18 hour bus ride. I saw one photo … and the condition of these girls – not from the bus ride, from their life – broke my heart into pieces.
But … these 26 girls are now safe.
Katie’s photography played a part in making that happen. Even just one girl is cause for celebration, but 26!
3 years ago … Katie was burned out and bed-ridden for 4 months after collapsing from exhaustion. I found her unconscious in the shower. I thank God every day that I was home that morning.
Her business did that to her. Katie came to hate photography because of what it did to her. It’s taken years for her to recover, and years for her love of photography to return.
On top of all that … Katie battles depression and also has a severe anxiety disorder.
Yet, there she is. In Nepal. Using the only weapon she has – her camera – to fight back against the horrible things that go on in this world.
Katie didn’t give up. We don’t want you to give up either.
The main reason we can do this world changing stuff is because we have accepted all of the things listed above … and our business is successful because of it.
This mindset is the foundation that our business is built on. A foundation that helps us run a rockin’ business which gives us the time and money to live a fun life, and to do what we can to change the world.
But the biggest reason Katie is Nepal right now is because she didn’t give up.
Here’s what we so desperately want you to know …
YOU CAN DO THIS
The world needs you.
The world needs your art. Your voice.
The world needs you to use your camera/talent/business/life to make it a better place.
Please don’t give up.
You can do this.