Right now, there’s a well-known photographer running a launch for a Personal Branding Photography course. In one of the launch videos, they talk about how the photography market and industry has changed this past year.

They go on to talk about how long-standing photography businesses are finding their bookings are down this year compared to previous years.

They are basically saying that if you want to be profitable in photography, it’s going to be really difficult to continue in the traditional genres of weddings and portraits. That you need to switch to a new genre

And how the market just isn’t the same and that you need to change, get into a more lucrative genre.


I have a lot of respect for this photographer, and yes the photography market has changed.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a successful and profitable business. Whether it is as a wedding or portrait photographer, with a waitlist of clients.

You just need to up your game a little when it comes to marketing…

…and that is far easier than starting a whole new genre and brand from scratch.


What many photographers do not realise is that marketing and advertising in the photography industry is at a very basic level.

It is very unsophisticated.


Market Sophistication

Market Sophistication is a concept that was first introduced in 1966 when marketing legend Eugene Schwartz published his book Breakthrough Advertising.

This book is legendary in advertising and marketing circles and the concepts it talks about have been backed up by decades of research by legends of the advertising world including David Ogilvy.

This now out of print book is so valued that you would be lucky to get a copy for under £1,000 (yep, go check out Amazon).

Now you may think that because these concepts have proven by big advertising agencies that they are irrelevant to you as a photographer, a small business owner.

That would be a very grave mistake.


So what is Market Sophistication?

What does it mean to you as a photographer and how can you use it in your marketing?

There are 5 stages of market sophistication and for each one, you need to approach your marketing differently if you want to be successful.


1 – Hello, where is everybody?

This is when you first bring a product or service to market, there is no-one else like you and you just need to tell the world what you offer.

I sell wedding photography.

This is why when flash websites were first introduced it was easy to get clients through websites that just focused on your photography and large images.


2 – This is what it is

Your competition is catching up with you and competing for the same market.
Now you’ve got to show why you are a better choice than your competitors, enlarge your claim.

I’m the best wedding photographer in London

The marketing of many photographers is in these first two levels, however, the market itself has moved on.


3 – How do I do it?

The market is getting tired and jaded with all the claims and photos. Photos that inexperienced eyes find hard to differentiate between.

The same claims and photos that are being produced by a growing number of photographers. Photographers who are selling pretty much the same thing.


This is where you’ve got to think smart and move on from claims. Talk about the features of your service, a mechanism as it is referred to in marketing.

Show the features of why your service works so well. Why your photography business delivers exactly what your prospects are looking for. It’s a brand new way to satisfy the desire, the secret behind why what you offer works so well, is the best choice.

Creating a Signature Service is a great way to do this. This is why I teach my clients how to create one as a foundational part of their training.


4 – Time to bring out the big guns

As always, the competition will creep up and it’s time to step up your game again. Once again, you don’t stand out but there is still some hope.

The key is to know your competition and where they are lacking.

Then you can show why your competition is lacking and how you can beat them flat through your mechanism, Signature Service.

Highlight and amplify your features and give the market absolutely no reason to book any other photographer.

The Mac Vs PC was a classic example of this.


5 – Be Iconic

This is the final stage, where the market is really jaded and has heard it all before. People don’t care much about what you sell, they don’t respond to claims or mechanisms anymore.

It’s time to tap into identity and sell on how your photography business, brand, serves a certain type of people. Encourage people to buy into that exclusivity.

Again think Apple and the iPhone and Android. Many iPhone users wouldn’t dream of using an android phone and vice versa.


Where is your business in the Photography Market?

The good news for all those photographers struggling right now is that most photographers are marketing at levels 1 and 2. However, the market has moved on to level 3.


Step up your marketing, move to level 3 and leave most photographers behind. Then watch the market and evolve with it to the next level when the time comes.


If you have a passion for personal brand photography then jump on that course I mentioned at the beginning.

But don’t get it if you are just looking for the next magic bullet or a quick fix for your business. You won’t even be halfway through the course when you are looking for the next magic solution to create a prosperous photography business.

And so the pattern will repeat.


If you are looking for a quick fix for your photography business, it doesn’t matter how many courses you buy or tactics you try. You will always be struggling and looking for the next quick fix.

Instead, it’s time to get focused and dominate your photography market. Develop a strategy around you, your objectives and your business.

Stop jumping from tactic to tact. Looking for elusive quick fixes.

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