The Global Landscape In Commercial Photography – Revisited!

by William Lulow

Today, many people are upset about lost jobs, the changing economy and the internet age in general. They are upset about how everyone uses smart phones today instead of actually talking to each other. They complain about how the internet has re-shaped their world into a “DIY” (Do It Yourself) environment.

This kind of complaining has led to increasing frustration in the workplace in general, not just in commercial photography. Demagogues love to use this kind of thing to promote their agendas! But, enough about politics! What do we do in the field of photography to stay up to date in the global, connected world?

For my money, I saw the internet age coming way before it actually arrived. I got my first computer in 1983 basically to handle my growing mailing list. From then on, I made sure I was up to date with much of the new software that was being designed and produced for our industry. During various photo expos, I would sit myself down in the Adobe booth (or any other manufacturer that piqued my interest) until I felt that I had learned the new software well enough to use it in my daily workflow. I learned about SEO from a very savvy internet entrepreneur named Jarom Adair http://www.imfbo.com  

Jarom taught me quite a few things about key words, where to put them, how to edit them and a little bit about the workings of search engines in general. Today, if you bother to Google photographers in Westchester, NY, I am now on page one. And, I have done it without spending a huge sum of money! I have seen the increase in the number of queries about my work over the last several months.

My point to all this is that whatever business you find yourself, you need to make a very strong effort to stay on top of changes that are going on in the world at large. Expecting things to run the same way they have for the last 50 years just doesn’t cut it anymore! And those people who are slow to adopt new techniques, technologies or business models will soon find themselves out of business entirely! These days, a photographer can be almost anywhere and get to locations where he or she is needed quickly. Jobs can be delivered on the internet as well through companies like DROPBOX (http://www.dropbox.com ). So, the need for big studios is just not there anymore! If you have a shoot that requires lots of space, there are plenty of studios for rent.

Another thing that has been changing rapidly as part of the delivery system, is the move away from DVDs in favor of flash drives. USB drives are quite a bit faster at displaying images and, of course are quite a bit smaller.

I have seen the number of out-of-town clients that utilize my services grow steadily over the last several years. People need something photographed in the New York area and I get a call because of my Google ranking and website! I have been able to adjust to the new landscape in our business over the years. It didn’t happen overnight. I had to put in many long hours at the computer figuring the whole thing out for myself. And, my billings went down during my “adjustment period.”

The moral here is that we must keep up with change and embrace it. Wishing that things were back the way they were is futile and counterproductive! This doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot film! But it does mean that you have to use film a whole lot more differently than you used to!

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Connectivity has become of paramount importance for almost any business model these days. I remember when I used to beep in to my telephone machine for any messages. Now, all my business is done on my cell phone, as is the case with most of us these days. Clients can reach me wherever and whenever they need to! I can even edit my website via my smartphone! Google has actually learned that roughly 70% of the population perform internet searches using their smartphones! The changes brought about by rapidly improving technologies has actually been good for my business. If you take the trouble to learn about and use them, they should help you as well.