A lot of people tell me that I’m way ahead of things since I got into video/motion over ten years ago. Most still photographers weren’t even thinking about video ten years ago. Neither was I. Nor did I have a crystal ball. But I am a visual communicator and that means that I am always looking for the best way to communicate the message or tell the story. And twelve years ago, it became possible and affordable for me to deliver the message with another medium. Not instead of still photography but in addition to it.
My desire to explore video and motion at the time, wasn’t coming from a “tool” point of view. It was coming from a cultural one. When I think about it, I wasn’t fascinated by the technology – I was fascinated by what people were doing with the technology. Fast forward a decade later and I’m just wowed by where all this has gone. Our culture has changed dramatically in the last ten years because of technology. And while that is still “fascinating” and like creative adrenalin, it’s also a game changer in how it has affected the business of photography.
Don’t get me wrong and think that my message is to tell you to get into video or multimedia so as not to become a photo”saur” and become extinct. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that the cultural psyche has changed. Take notice and adapt. That doesn’t just mean, change the subject matter you shoot or how you shoot it to stay “fresh”. And it doesn’t mean to buy a video camera or a hybrid and start shooting motion. Those are probably good ideas but probably not going to be what keeps you in business.
The old days aren’t coming back. The ways of doing business have changed. Technology is democratizing when it’s placed in everyone’s hands. Understand that. Know that your clients understand that. So, think past the tool and technique and focus more on who you are and what you can bring to your customers to stay relevant. Some thoughts to ponder:
• Who are you? (why do your customers come to you and not your competition?)
• What services do you offer your client? If you don’t offer video and your client needs to look elsewhere – you’ve lost an opportunity.
• Are you still a one-man band? I don’t mean you need a large staff but have you considered setting up a virtual company when you need it with editors, sound people etc.?
• Do you continue to learn?
• Are you still using a dated business model ? Consider different licensing strategies for new media.
• Do you utilize social media?
• Are you noticing who’s “coming up” – the new talent? Do you try to see them through your customer’s eyes.
• Are you interested in other things besides photography?
• Are you willing to take risks? Creatively and otherwise.
• Ask yourself the question – how would I have approached this if I was just starting out?
• Think of solutions – then look at those decisions at a total 180.
Learn. Grow. Adapt.
Don’t become a photo”saur” and become extinct.