What Trends Did we See in 2013?

Every year, we spend the month of November and December, reviewing the year to determine what worked and what didn’t.  We examine our financial goals in the hopes of liking what we see and we outline the plans for 2014.  Our aim is to review all of this and more with each photographer so that we can set accurate expectations for 2014.

Part of that process means taking a close look at what we noticed while we were out there showing the books, presenting estimates and doing our agent thing.  When we present our plans to our photographers, we include this information to them in three parts:

1)  Was 2013 a good year for advertising photographers in general?

2)   What made a difference in our group this year?

3)  What trends are we seeing?

If you missed it, we have already shared our insights to question #1 and insights to question #2.   Today, we are sharing how we answered question #3.

WHAT TRENDS DID WE SEE IN 2013?

1)  Art Producers are Becoming Content Producers

Remember when the art buyer was just an art buyer?  They would research photographers, estimate projects and buy stock?  Well, now they are evolving into Content Producers where they are expected to not only do everything that an art buyer did, but they need to know how to source all sorts of things for all sorts of medias.  They need to be resourceful, nimble and ready to tackle any media challenge, not just photography.  So what does that mean for us?  It means we no longer have their full attention so we need to be that much more inspiring with our work, professional about how we run our business and smart about how we market.

2)  Account Executives are Becoming More Part of the Process

I was surprised this year how many account people connected with me directly with budget and estimate related questions.  I was equally surprised by how many of them did not fully understand the process or were aware of how the estimating part of the job is handled.  I found myself answering emails about basic photography production questions that clearly were client driven and they made me see that there is a clear need for art producers and account executives to work closer together and educate each other on the nuiances of their roles.  This is a topic that will be addressed fully in our January 2014 Community Table Chicago and one that I would like to explore more on our blog.

3) Social Media

Photographers are becoming better and better at using social media for their marketing needs.  Many have “found their own voice” and have learned the power of sharing both their work life and personal life via social media in the hopes that their target market will get to know them better.  Photo Shelter published their annual photo survey and shared that 63% of photo buyers surveyed have found photographers via Instagram.  What a wonderfully passive way to share new work, showcase your personality and stay connected.

4) A Photographer’s Still Voice Matters 

People who search for photographers want to hear from the photographers.  Whether it be through a meeting, an email, social media, blog posts, etc, they enjoy the idea of that personal connected feeling.  I may sound  like a broken record, but the effects you will have on your own business by being present and engaged in your own marketing will be exponential.   To be clear, of the photographers that are not out there as much on their own, we are not hearing from the clients, “Where is John Smith?  Why aren’t we hearing from him.”  Instead, what we are noticing is that it is the photographers that ARE out there that are getting the calls.  So, it is more that people are noticing when you are present, not when you are absent.

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