It’s easy to lament the rapid evolution of the photography industry. It’s a fact – the industry morphs quickly as droves of hobbyists enter the market. Meanwhile, technology constantly changes the accessibility of equipment, and iPhone photos inundate Facebook on a wedding day, mere moments after the event occurs.
But it’s important to remember that in evolution lies opportunity. There’s a silver—maybe even golden—lining for businesses that are willing to step up and respond.
So to encourage you to not settle for what worked a few years ago, but instead step up to the plate with new ideas, here are three companies who are doing just that: innovating. They came out of nowhere, changed the rules, and thrived against all the odds. Here are three lessons you can learn from them.
1. Amazon.com: Innovate in a Changing Market
In the mid 1990s, everyone said that e-publishing would kill books as we knew them. Amazon found a way to keep publishing alive by delivering books to your door. In 1995, it sold its first book, titled Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, and then quickly expanded to offer boatloads of products – products that they sell today to consumers around the world.
One of Amazon’s innovations is a single fee for unlimited shipping; another is rapid delivery times, even promising same-day delivery in some cities. Amazon turned the slow publishing industry into a fast-paced, at-your-fingertips model.
What Photographers Can Learn from Amazon:
As technology develops, photographers will make their clients happiest by embracing consumers’ desire to have their images quickly AND in a format that is easy to share. In addition to how quickly you deliver images after a wedding, examine all aspects of your business, from your pricing structure to your product offerings. Imagine what could make the overall experience better for your clients. These innovations within your company will point the way to a new success.
2. BuzzFeed.com: The Importance of Sharing
In 2006, before Facebook opened to the public and when Twitter wasn’t yet born, BuzzFeed realized that sharing was about to become big. If a story, image or video is going viral, it’s on BuzzFeed. They don’t feature traditional news; they track what’s “buzzing” in the social world and share it, while encouraging readers to rate and comment. It’s simple – they get you involved in current conversations. And something simple, like unapologetically sharing trending topics, turns the traditional news model upside-down. BuzzFeed harnesses the inherent value of participation, enabling readers to post tags on stories which then become searchable categories for future users. Sharing begets sharing – and that means a growing audience for BuzzFeed!
What Photographers Can Learn From BuzzFeed:
Socialbakers recently did a study of social sharing and found that 77 percent of shares are photos. Having an image-driven business gives professional photographers an advantage: people will want to share your images. Because sharing is a key component of generating social engagement, make your images easy to share, whether that’s on your website, a client proofing gallery, or in your social networks. If you prefer, watermark your images to ensure that every share is also a free advertisement for your business!
3. Toms: Stand Out by Doing Good
Toms started in 2006 as a way of introducing an ancient Argentine shoe to North America and helping the children of Argentina at the same time. The model was simply to donate a pair of shoes to a child in a developing nation for every pair of shoes that Toms sold. The section titled “Evolving Our Giving” on the Toms site showcases the company’s commitment to social responsibility, and is an example of how having an altruistic company cause can attract customers. More important, it’s an example of how companies can make doing good a core competency.
What Photographers Can Learn from Toms:
Use your talent to give back to causes that you care about! And when you do, don’t be shy about it. Consumers are compelled to engage with companies that do good – companies that stand for more than just generating profits. Remember, consumers are captivated by stories. And when they personally connect with a story, they’ll feel inspired to do business with a particular company. When clients connect with your values and the story you’re telling about your brand, they’re more likely to tell others about you. And that helps make companies like yours (and Toms) stand out in a crowded marketplace!
What’s unique about you as a wedding photographer is that you have the opportunity to outsource your wedding photography editing post processing needs! That means that you have more time to work on your business to make it stand out from the rest of the photographers in the industry.
Innovating, focusing on shareability, and aligning your business with a larger cause are three windows of opportunity. You have the chance to continue redesigning your business to evolve with the changing times. The question is simply, will you step up?
To learn more about what ShootDotEdit can do for you and your wedding photography business, download our free guide.