Frederick Van Johnson, host of the popular podcast TWIP and I recently had a great conversation about drones and how diversification can help photographers stay on top in an ever changing industry.
Drone photography is becoming increasingly popular. There’s a good chance that you’ve seen a session with drone shots incorporated into it and thought, “I need one of those”. While the temptation to create images that have never been done before is strong, Frederick recommends that you start with the end in mind. Ask yourself if it’s a business or a hobby. If your desire to have a drone is purely self serving and for fun, that’s fine but if you think you’re going to incorporate it into your business or create a new business with it, you must give careful consideration to the end, at the beginning. Very often, creatives find ourselves with a new piece of equipment, trying to figure out how to make it work in our business when we should be doing the opposite. Take a look at your business now and ask yourself, “If I get this, what will I be able to do?”. You have to have a vision and know what you’re going to do before you make a big purchase. It’s also important to know the market and not make assumptions about the demand. If you think that golf courses are going to jump at the chance to have drone shots of their course, call and talk to someone to make sure that’s the case.
To hear about Nate and Frederick’s personal experiences with drones listen to the full call and check out TWIP’s extensive library of podcasts that cover the topic.
It used to be that the end result and product from a photo session was the print. Today, this isn’t necessarily the case. The end has become technology; tablets, phones, computers. The industry has changed and clients want images for social media. Instead of treating that like a negative, embrace it. It’s ok! Use social media to your advantage. Offer packages that begin with it. Offer clients StickyAlbums. Sell social media images as a marketing hook.
Mini sessions are a great place to start with this approach. You can use social media images as part of the branding for mini sessions. They’re a trip wire-something irresistible that draws people in and gives you the opportunity to show them other things that they have to have. The business of just taking pictures is gone but the business of providing people with an experience is just beginning. Mini sessions are a great way to give people a taste of the experience. Your goal going into them is to provide such great service that people come back for boutique sessions where you can sell them albums and artwork.
Now is also a good time to break into new areas. Look at what the market is asking for and give them that. Add multimedia. Add cinemagraphs. Head shots can lead to other types of business. Offer additional services to the clients you already have. Think outside of the box and don’t be afraid to try new things.