The meme “everyone is a photographer” is on the mouth of many so-called professional photographers. Too many times I have heard that the market is not good as “everyone is a photographer”. To all them I generally say: Get over it!.
Nowadays everyone has an oven, but I don’t hear cooks complaining that people don’t eat at restaurants because everyone is a cook. The fact that everyone is a photographer is not true, the only true statement is that everyone has a camera, but the two things are not the same.
Everyone is a photographer or everyone has a camera?
Saying that everyone is a photographer implies that everyone has the technical and psychological know how to take amazing photographs. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but it takes time and energy and a lot of experience to know how to handle a camera. It takes even longer to be able to master the camera while directing a subject. It takes even more experience to feel confident enough to master the technicalities, directing a subject and capturing the right moment at the same time.
Isn’t it then that the issue moves from “everyone is a photographer” to “everyone has a camera“? Then the comparison camera/oven with photographer/cook is more than ever correct. I bet my over can be use to bake the most amazing dishes in the world, but it does not mean I know how to use it properly.
So, how can your tell the difference between an experienced photographer and someone with a camera which is “good enough”?
One great photo is a lucky chance, not everyone is a photographer
When I evaluate a photographer, I like to look at her body of work. It means that while it takes a lucky chance to capture a single beautiful photograph, it takes much more to develop a proper portfolio. Saying that everyone is a photographer means that everyone who got one dish right is a cook. It takes much more than that to be lucky enough to capture a few shoots.
I will go deeper in destroying the idea that everyone with a camera equals everyone is a photographer. I don’t only ask to see a photographer’s body of work, but also a coverage of a single subject. This is particularly important when I look at wedding photographers; it is easy to compose a good portfolio from many different weddings. What makes the difference is to see the entire coverage of a wedding. That will show that not everyone is a photographer and that the devil is in the details.
Stop being a moaner!
Truth is that saying that everyone is a photographer is a story to cover up failures. If you don’t get enough clients, stop blaming the GWC (Guys With Cameras) and start looking at what you are or are not doing. Do you have a clearly defined target market? Do you have a product-market fit? Are you serving your ideal clients at best as you can? If everyone is a photographer and your market is shrinking, it means that you are not selling your experience or you are massively undervaluing yourself.
Stop moaning and roll up your sleeves. Work won’t come to you, it is you that needs to work hard to get the next client in. If you are in league with everyone who has a camera, maybe it is time for you to step up your game and find other niches of photography.
The reality is that the life for a working photographer is not simple, but it becomes much harder if you complain that everyone is a photographer. It becomes more challenging because you devalue yourself, you focus on what you don’t have and you compare yourself with whom a professional is not.
Actionable lists to move on
Do you want to stop thinking that everyone is a photographer and move on? We have a short, actionable list of tasks you can do to make it happen:
- Define your ideal client
- Prepare your product with a good product-market fit
- Make sure you reach your ideal clients
These are all things that a guy with a camera does not do; and if you don’t know how to action one or more of these points, it might be better to go back to the learning table: photography is a challenging business. If you want avoid getting stuck (and blaming the fact that everyone is a photographer) you need to be a professional, you need to embrace business as much as you embrace photography.
…and yes, we can teach you all about marketing, business and photography, and you can get in touch at any time!