A businessman in snorkelling gear walks across a crosswalk.

How to stand out in a saturated photography industry

January 25, 2021

Ever felt like your photography work hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves? Have you been stuck trying to carve out your niche in a crowded market? Feeling underappreciated?

I get the frustration. It’s one of the most common things I hear when I’m mentoring photographers. It’s a tough gig. When anyone with a smartphone can take a half-decent portrait, you’ve got to find a way to separate yourself from the crowd.

Greg Samborski's photography is one-of-a-kind.

Sift through Google and you’ll find no shortage of advice on distinguishing yourself from the competition: learn to network. Specialize your offerings. Add video. Focus on your customer service.

It’s a good place to start. But there’s one thing that’ll separate you from 99% of photographers. And it’s also the one thing that’ll bring you the ideal clients you’ve been looking for.

Make sure your website captures the experience of your photoshoots

Go to your website right now. Have a look at the ‘Investments’ or ‘Pricing’ page.

(Don’t have one? That’s another conversation.)

Pay close attention to how many of your packages look like this:

Gold/Silver/Bronze Package ($500)

Now think about all of the work you put into each and every one of your photoshoots: the preparation, the attention to lighting, the location scouting, the creative prompts to get your clients to relax in front of the camera.

Think about how much VALUE you’re providing beyond the photos themselves — and yet, so few photographers think to write about the experience they’re offering clients.

Credit: Ooh Ooh Darling Photography

Think about it this way: you’re going out for a really nice dinner with your family. You’ve saved up all year for the occasion; it’s a once-a-year treat. But first, you’ve got to pick the restaurant. Are you obsessing over the list of ingredients in the meal (“ooh! This place gives you three extra pieces of romaine lettuce in the salad”), or are you looking for a place based on the atmosphere; on the way it’s going to make you feel?

We want the experience! We want the cozy nook where the music and people-watching is always good, or the fancy new joint downtown where the head chef just moved in from Copenhagen.

It’s the same with booking a photographer: clients want an experience they’ll remember — and you can’t expect them to assume what the experience will be like. You need to create a picture in their mind so vivid that all the other photographers’ packages no longer hold an appeal.

Read more: The biggest fix you can make to your photography portfolio

Credit: Marlboro Wang Photo
Start with what sets you apart

Each Business Accelerator session I run with photographers starts with this question:

What makes you different from other photographers?

I have yet to meet a photographer without an answer. Most will speak passionately about how they focus on capturing moments of connection instead of posed shots, or how they always take time to get to know their clients before the photoshoot.

But your customers don’t know that about you until you tell them. You’ve got to spell it out for them!

Billy Madison Writing GIF

By giving them that extra detail, you’re adding value to your offerings.

Packages that tell your story

We designed Focal’s Sessions to tell your story in a way clients love. Everything’s all in one place, so your customers don’t have to jump around between your Portfolio page, your FAQs, your Investments page, and your Booking page.

Focal's Sessions are designed to give your photoshoot packages the polish they deserve.

By packaging your work with Focal’s Sessions, customers can browse your offerings, read up on the photoshoot experience, get any important FAQ tidbits, and book you all from the same page. And our results show they do: photographers get 4x more website booking inquiries with Focal.

Our Sessions work because they’re designed with your clients in mind. Everything is presented up-front, so they’re ready to book without the need for a dozen emails back and forth.

And the clients who used to ghost you once they heard about your prices? You don’t have to deal with them anymore. Your time’s more valuable than that.

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