What is YOUR market like?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: I answer your questions.
In reply to BrianYarvin, 6 months ago

BrianYarvin wrote:

and if every one of those book buyers had to come, physically to you in NJ, what affect do you think that would have on sales?
Ok, if someone bought 100 books you could go to them. How far would you be willing to go for the profit on 100 books?

Penguin:

I have to travel to create the books, but once they're sent off to the publisher (no easy task in itself, check out that delivery thread for more), my traveling is pretty much done. Most of my books are sold in chain stores, retail websites and book clubs. There's no need to go to any of them. Stock photo sales are the same way. Even if they're done half way around the world, I stay home.

You don't have to travel to sell books. Your market is worldwide. Potentially billions of people. My market is limited by how far people will travel to get to me (or me to them)

My point, which you apparently missed, was if you had to sell your books with the same condition - you had to hand over each and every sold issue in person - your market wouldn't be billions any longer, but a circle an hour or two around your physical location.

See, I do portraiture. I can't do that over the net (ok sally, get really close to your webscam and smile!) or use fedex (just send yourselves over here by fedex for your eSession, ok?).

This is the part of your career that I don't get. After you did all that market research, you came up with a specialty that's limited to your small area and very possibly shrinking. When I moved into my area twelve years ago, I had to do market research and choose a specialty too. I deliberately chose something with a national audience (it turned out to be global, but I didn't yet know it) based on the data I collected.

I have a portrait and wedding studio. That is my business. Of course I could change my business...and if so then the world of possibilities opens up. Usually people choose a business based on what they like to do as much as anything else. Most I know that do it for the money (or go to college to a get a degree to get a 'good job' but don't have much interest in it) don't end up happy long term.

If - as you say - people line up at gun shops in your area - why aren't you shooting for the hunting industry instead? People in my town make the seven hour drive to your area for just that reason. (they also go for whitewater, mountain biking, backpacking and antiques - it's a pretty vibrant rural place)

I don't hunt. Went hunting once, last fall, for 5 hours. Total in my life and that was only because my son is interested. I'm into competitive shooting. And it's 99% men...and men don't buy pictures.
I have had some images published in national magazines...it pays crap.

I probably just have to accept that the business is as large as it's likely to get.

It sounds like it and I feel for you. However, should you ever wish to change specialties - and this is one of the great things about a photography career - I invite you to ask questions on this very board which you yourself moderate. I for one am here for you.

I stated with just weddings. Not enough business so added seniors..again, not enough, so I added sports leagues. Tried adding baby/family but can't get more than a handful of customers combined.
I've not tried church directories, dance schools but have done some proms and first communions.
Get the odd call for all sorts of other things - reunions, headshots, grand openings, grip and grin events, anniversaries, sweet 16s, pet photos, car photos, product shots, restorations, etc.
I lived in the city and it suburbs for years and then moved here in the late 90s...went from being a parts guy/mechanic in a motorcycle dealership with 50 employes...to one where there was me, the owner and his mom did the books.
That is a pretty good example of how much, um, slower paced, the lifestyle is here.
Had a night out with my 'city photog' friends and they attend PUG meets (pictage user group) and other meetings of a similar nature. At one 'workshop' there were 36 photogs there, 2 guys, 34 women. He said maybe 5 of them were over the age of 30/35.  The PUG groups are more than half 'momma-razzi' as he calls them.

He chatted with one - she was complaining how busy she was...doing 40 weddings a year. $1700 each, and that includes 5 meetings to help plan the wedding, pick vendors, time the day, etc. He asked her if she's selling herself as a wedding planner/coordinator and she said, no, she just LOVES weddings! But it's soooo much work she was saying. He asked if she had insurance for planning and she looked at him and said "What do I need insurance for?" along with a dirty look..the same look about 1/2 the other women gave him and then nobody spoke to him the rest of the day.

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