What is YOUR market like?

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PenguinPhotoCo
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What is YOUR market like?
9 months ago

Every market is different...

Kirk's market is Austin texas...

On average, Austin has doubled its population every twenty years.

http://www.austintenantadvisors.com/blog/austin-population/

And that's great for him...but alas, many of us don't live in austin.

Or texas...the second fastest growing state in the entire country..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_growth_rate

My state, and the two neighboring states (i'm less than 10 miles from the borders), are all in the mid to low 40s on that list. All LOSING population.

So yep, my market is not his market.

18 of 50 states are gaining population faster than the average...great. Unless you're in one of the 32 that is below average.

Blanket statements (his or mine or anyones) are not universally valid.

Don't assume. You have to research your market.
That is not a negative statement so don't anyone read things into it.

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tcg550
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

But your market could be his market or any market for that matter.

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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

When living next to a leaking nuclear reactor most people's logical first thought (and well researched business strategy) is....to move.

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Austin based advertising and portrait photographer, and author of the book series, Minimalist Lighting, and the books: Commercial Photographers Handbook, Photographic Lighting Equipment, and, LED Lighting for Digital Photographers. www.kirktuck.com

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Biggs23
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

Every market is different...

Kirk's market is Austin texas...

On average, Austin has doubled its population every twenty years.

http://www.austintenantadvisors.com/blog/austin-population/

And that's great for him...but alas, many of us don't live in austin.

Or texas...the second fastest growing state in the entire country..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_growth_rate

My state, and the two neighboring states (i'm less than 10 miles from the borders), are all in the mid to low 40s on that list. All LOSING population.

So yep, my market is not his market.

18 of 50 states are gaining population faster than the average...great. Unless you're in one of the 32 that is below average.

I'm in one of the below average states and yet, miracle of miracles, I'm still succeeding!

That is not a negative statement so don't anyone read things into it.

Sure it is. You're, as usual, hard at work trying to counter the good information being provided by others.

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BrianYarvin
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

Penguin:

I've been reading (and sometimes responding) to your posts for some time now and I find myself asking a big question: what is your work like and how does it fit in with your market?

Kirk is well-known and we can see what he does, and me? I'm not so well-known, but you can buy my books in most bookstores or just check out my images or stories on the web. I haven't yet seen your work and therefore, can't understand your assessment of the market.

Professional photographers can thrive or not in every sort of place and much depends on what you're shooting and how. Please help me understand where you're coming from and share your work.

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DuaneV
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to Biggs23, 9 months ago

Im in a really bad state economy & population wise (Maine) and Im doing more business than ever.  Put out a good product, be a good businessman, be personable and you'll do just fine.  People tell me all the time that they came to me because they loved my photos and how creative & different they are.  After shooting with me they tell me how much fun they had because I wasn't a stiff, made them comfortable and made the experience really fun, more than they had hoped.  You provide a service that has customers saying that and you'll do fine in any business.

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FriscoRon
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to BrianYarvin, 9 months ago

BrianYarvin wrote:

Penguin:

I've been reading (and sometimes responding) to your posts for some time now and I find myself asking a big question: what is your work like and how does it fit in with your market?

Kirk is well-known and we can see what he does, and me? I'm not so well-known, but you can buy my books in most bookstores or just check out my images or stories on the web. I haven't yet seen your work and therefore, can't understand your assessment of the market.

Professional photographers can thrive or not in every sort of place and much depends on what you're shooting and how. Please help me understand where you're coming from and share your work.

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You can be enlightened by looking at his DpReview gallery, Brian.  I'll just leave it at that.

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Ron
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FriscoRon
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

Every market is different...

Illiniois is struggling.  High unemployment, one of the highest in the country.  While I feel bad for them, they're not my market.   There are always people, no matter how bad the economy is, that own businesses, run them, manage them, or whatever.  The Upper 20%.   They are my market.  No matter how bad any economy is, there is always an Upper 20%.  All I care about is how to market to them.

Last year was good.  This year is better.  Next year is looking sensational.

And so I forgot to do market research when I started.   Oops.

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BrianYarvin
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to FriscoRon, 9 months ago
You can be enlightened by looking at his DpReview gallery, Brian. I'll just leave it at that.

Ron:

While I get your point, I wanted to see his work in the way his market is seeing it. In fact, I still would like to see that.

http://www.brianyarvin.com

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PenguinPhotoCo
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In reply to tcg550, 9 months ago

That makes no sense

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to Kirk Tuck, 9 months ago

Yep, so easy to pick up and move a business.

It's darn near starting over.

And moving the kids, the wife needs a new job, grandma moved here for assistance in her old age...so she's gonna have to move to.

yep, hitch up the wagon and be better off in a month that we are now.

I'm sure it works like that.

No, not impossible, but I know what it takes when you're the new, unknown biz in town. It takes a while to build a clientele, wom only happens once you have customers to talk about you.

So there is a cost to moving besides the cost of moving itself.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Maine must be special?
In reply to DuaneV, 9 months ago

I know a couple of photogs in maine - they do well. Even in small towns.

Must be something special in Maine.

And I've met many a photog from teh minneapolis area - another anomoly area. Not sure now but 5 years ago you could sell a slideshow of senior pics there for hundreds of dollars. Just a low res slideshow. Here you can't give them away. (i know i've tried)

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PenguinPhotoCo
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Perhaps THAT is the difference?
In reply to BrianYarvin, 9 months ago

You and kirk write and sell books.

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RhysM
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

Yep, so easy to pick up and move a business.

It's darn near starting over.

And moving the kids, the wife needs a new job, grandma moved here for assistance in her old age...so she's gonna have to move to.

yep, hitch up the wagon and be better off in a month that we are now.

I'm sure it works like that.

No, not impossible, but I know what it takes when you're the new, unknown biz in town. It takes a while to build a clientele, wom only happens once you have customers to talk about you.

So there is a cost to moving besides the cost of moving itself.

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Don't seek advice from someone who is not where you want to be - CJ Lewis
My opinions are my own and not those of DPR or its administration. They carry no 'special' value

Don't take this the wrong way but you spend an obscene amount of time starting and responding to threads on dpreview.

Why don't you do something more constructive with your time?

So you can't move your family; but you have options:

  • You could change careers entirely and get some money for all your gear.
  • You could transition between careers over a period.
  • You could offer commercial on-location photography and travel where ever the work is.
  • You could supplement your income with stock photography.
  • You could do product photography via customers shipping products to your studio rather than going to them.
  • You could get into teaching photography/image editing
  • You could get into video production.
  • Publish books on photography and all the experience you've got of the industry.

In short anything has got a better chance of success than spending an inordinate number of hours on here spreading negativity.

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PenguinPhotoCo
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No Answers, huh?
In reply to FriscoRon, 9 months ago

I can tell you about my market - and I have.

NOBODY is posting about THEIR market. Why not?
You probably have no idea what your market is like.

When the upper 20% is 500 people there is a limit to the market.

OK, 500 I"m not sure of. But I'm sure Kirk has more people in his zip code than I do in my entire county.

I am pulling customers from three states (for senior pictures), 12 high schools (in 3 states), 5 counties (for weddings).

YOU market to that broad and area - it's not inexpensive.

I am appealing to the widest possible audience in an effort to get as many customers as possible - my avg senior sale is $950. Last year I had sales from $160 (hs girl, the only member of her household with a job) to $1800 and they came back for pics of all the kids 2 weeks later spending $900 more.
Wedding from $400 to $3800 this year. Booked one last week for $2950. When the busiest venues here for weddings are under $40/plate (including food, booze, centerpieces, cake) that is a big chunk of change out of their budget. And my avg sale is above the nat avg.

There are 'rich' people here - but the 'market' that caters to them is small...only 1 'fancy' restaurant, no luxury car dealers, no national chain restaurants other than fast food and 2 applebees in the entire 400sq mile county. Even old navy closed up shop after only a year.

Competition...there are 5 main street studios in the county. the 'biggest' avgs $300 a senior, does paper proofs and didn't have a website till last year.
the second biggest got a job teaching at a charter school. He's given up his schools and sports leagues. Still does studio work.
Another, the high end senoir guy, closed his studio and moved it to his house. He's since expanded to family, babie and weddings - which he told me he detested doing weddings.
Another fired his mother. Well, she went from full time to part time and now has a FT job outside the studio. it's rough when you have to let your mom go (she'd been there 30 years..workd with the previous owner).

My specific town has 4500 residents and is a 'bedroom' community - no industry, no apartment complexes, one office building. It's very family friendly and few if any single people being the point.
the local pizza restaurant has an area for folks to advertise their local businesses - there are SEVEN wedding photographers with ads there. IN a town with practically no wedding business and certainly not enough to support 7 businesses.

So now- care to share?

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photoreddi
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Re: What is YOUR market like?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

Yep, so easy to pick up and move a business.

It's darn near starting over.

And moving the kids, the wife needs a new job, grandma moved here for assistance in her old age...so she's gonna have to move to.

yep, hitch up the wagon and be better off in a month that we are now.

I'm sure it works like that.

No, not impossible, but I know what it takes when you're the new, unknown biz in town. It takes a while to build a clientele, wom only happens once you have customers to talk about you.

But you've considered all of this before, even getting to the point of suggesting it to your wife. She, however, apparently holds the family's veto power.

Moving isn't an option (talk to my wife...)

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51857421

.

So there is a cost to moving besides the cost of moving itself.

What an odd question to ask. Most people might have wondered if there was an upside to moving that would outweigh the downside (ie, the cost of moving). But most people don't have such a negative, pessimistic attitude.

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BrianYarvin
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Re: Perhaps THAT is the difference?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

You and kirk write and sell books.

Penguin:

Indeed we - and thousands of others - do too. I can't speak for Kirk, but for me, books are an important part of my market. Put another way, my books aren't about what I do, they ARE what I do. Defining your market means more than knowing the neighborhood you live in. What if there's something in your town that people in other parts of the country might be interested in? That's your market too.

What books and magazines are your potential clients reading? How does the photography in them influence their purchasing habits? Is your photography in those publications? And if not, why not?

And consider ... if you are shooting weddings, does the work you present to brides live up to the quality standards that are set by the magazines she reads? And your seniors? Are they looking as good in their photos as the TV and movie stars who's photos hang in their bedrooms? They're bombarded with great photography! That's your competition!

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FriscoRon
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Re: No Answers, huh?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

I don't really have time to break it all down for you, and I don't need to.  I have plenty of people to market to.  Maybe if you spent less time on DPR complaining about how bad things are, or how great things are, I never know depending on the day -- then maybe you'd have more time to focus on your business and build it up.

Instead of wasting time giving you useless data just so you can counter with your useless points, I'm working my biz.

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Ron
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Re: No Answers, huh?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago

Here's detailed (very detailed) information about my home market. I live in West Lake Hills, Texas which is just West of Downtown Austin. Feel free to browse through the info. I use it every day to make business decisions

http://www.city-data.com/city/West-Lake-Hills-Texas.html

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BrianYarvin
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Re: No Answers, huh?
In reply to PenguinPhotoCo, 9 months ago
So now- care to share?

Penguin:

The rest of us have done plenty of sharing and now we're waiting for you. I don't need to know about the placemats at your local pizza shop, instead, I think that you need to show us your work - the work you do for clients. There seem to be many people here who want to care and want to help.

Care to share?

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