What does this have to do with photography? Bear with me…
As I was saying, they are building a new gas station – across the road of an already existing BP. It makes you wonder: Who picked that spot? Wouldn’t they be more successful a little bit up the road, away from the already established competition?
This is more or less the thought process of upcoming photographers I hear during my workshops and read online. Sentiments like “there are already so many others who do the same” and “it’s nearly impossible to get into it”.
Maybe it’s simply a very good spot, and those who drive up the busy 4 lane road don’t want to turn around to stop at the existing BP, but instead will use the new station. Many will make their decision based on convenience, not product offering or price. It’s just a really good spot.
For photographers, we should stop thinking in “competition” terms, and perhaps spend more time to look for “the perfect spot”. We compare our work with others, pixel peep, talk about our style and niche, offering services under price, just to get the foot into the water. Maybe we’re not in the right spot.
Sure, if you’re Jeremy Cowart or Joe McNally, you created your own spot, and people will find you. This however requires 3 not quite so simple steps: Luck, exceptional talent, and many years of hard work. For the mere mortals, we might (eventually) get there, but in the meantime we have to invest a bit of time in finding “our perfect spot”. And even if we would produce the worlds best work ever, as long as people don’t see it, nobody is going to buy or appreciate it.
So perhaps the answer is to talk to the local restaurant and ask, if we can hang a few of your images on their walls, or the local community hall. Maybe we should take our book instead of our camera with us everywhere we go. We should spend time with the local business association instead of the camera club, we should post images on Social networks that attract possible customers instead of trying so hard to impress other photographers. The list is long and goes on.
Long story short, it might be a good idea to build a gas station across the road, if it is a really good spot.
PS: Just a few thoughts on an ordinary Tuesday morning, preparing for an upcoming new workshop. All the thoughts above only apply if you plan to pursue photography as a paying job. If you shoot for pure enjoyment, you wouldn’t worry about any of this, and simply continue to do what you love.