28 Sep, 2011 | Posted by: st

Trump the Competition

Money, money, money…

In the ‘marketing world’
the answer to “getting ahead” has always been to look around and see how your competitors are “making it.” And ask, “How are they surviving?”

But how do you find out who your competitors are in stock photography if some of them might be in another state, or Japan, or Bulgaria?

Here are two major methods to find your competitors and learn their secrets.

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Case Study: A Nature Photographer asks: “Who are my competitors, and how are they managing to survive in a ‘down economy?’”

#1 The ”CREDITS” method
Publishers of magazines and books usually print “credit lines” somewhere in the publication, usually right beside the photo, sometimes in a ‘credits block’ somewhere in the particular issue.

So the rule is to “Follow the trail.”
1.) Look through current issues of publications you’d like to sell your pictures to. When you see a photo(s) similar in style to those you usually make, focusing on subject matter you focus on, you’re looking at a competitor. Collect the names of such photographers from the ‘photo credits’ section of the magazines, trade publications, specialty publications, books, catalogs, textbooks, websites, news releases, blogs, Internet forums, social media, coffee table books, -anywhere where YOUR type of photo could appear. These photographers are your competitors.

This chore can be done in an upscale book store, dentist’s waiting room, barber shop, company reception room. (Not in a public library because those books are "old" and published in the last millennium. However, a young adult librarian at a town or university library could probably direct you to contemporary books and periodicals which could be useful. The reason for this will come out in a minute.)

Once you assemble a list, say a couple dozen, of possible competitor photographers, strip away any government agency photographers or chamber of commerce organizations, because their submissions would most probably be from federal or state public domain images. Many of those photos would likely have been supplied by ‘work for hire’ photographers, staff photographers at the agency, or “one shot” microstock part-time amateurs.

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