How to Stand Out in an Oversaturated Industry
Stop comparing yourself to the hundreds of talented creators in your city. Easier said than done, right? If you’re reading this, you’re likely like me… still a little hesitant as to whether you can succeed at the things you’re passionate about. And success, woah… that word in itself has a whole bunch of different meanings. Reflecting back to a podcast called Munchin’ With Moguls, one of my favourite photographers India Earl had some great sentiments on the matter.
"The industry may be oversaturated, but it isn’t oversaturated with hustlers and go-getters, and most importantly, it’s not oversaturated with you."
What makes you valuable is who you are and your ability relate to people. This only works if you’re open with your personality and share that with your clients. You may think personality is secondary to how your portfolio looks or your pricing plans, etc. but the willingness for people to hire you actually does weight heavily on your likeability. Personally, I don’t care if you’re the most talented content creator in the entire world -- If you’re mean, I don’t want your energy in the room at my wedding, and I don’t want you representing my company brand.
In the world of photography and content creation, the experience you provide plays a big part. People want photoshoots to be fun, comfortable and relaxed, because NEWS FLASH… not everyone you work with is going to be a perfectly posed model. Some of the best photos I’ve taken, and most intimate moments I’ve witnessed were with real, quirky, awkward people who were “completely unaware of what they should be doing with their hands.” I believe that a firm test in your skill, is working with these clients and making them enjoy the experience.
It’s a win-win for both parties when you can make the “photo session” a “dance filled hangout.” Put on some tunes, tell some bad puns and share some conversation prior to when the camera even comes out.
If you take time to get to know your clients, their story and their interests, they will notice.
Maintaining a get-it girl attitude was also brought up on this podcast and I think it’s SO IMPORTANT. While at first, you’re probably going to be battling insecurities and this may be “better said than done” but putting your pride (and sass) aside, to really encourage those around you is crucial to your success. I love learning from mentors and I feel really valued when they share what might be viewed as “industry secrets” with me. But imagine if we could make everyone feel that value, and if we weren’t so insecure about our competition. It’s a natural reaction to want to conceal your best location spots or editing techniques with a fear that someone might copy you pixel for pixel but the truth is… who cares if they do? Their work will never be the same and their authenticity will eventually come to light. Keep your blinders up and keep creating.
"Your Chapter 3 is not comparable to their Chapter 11. It’s a completely different book."
WHAT A ONE LINER, right!? I’ll leave you with the sentiment that nothing I’m preaching in this blog will happen instantly, and it’ll be something you have to remind yourself often. I catch myself all the time with judgemental thoughts or insecure sass, but then I catch myself before it exits my mind and I transition it into something positive. “Wow they took a photo in the exact same location… but i’ve never seen that space work well on a rainy day, good work!” or “That was supposed to be my model... I’m really happy that her work has grown so much since I first met her.”
Try to turn your judgement into flattery. You’re killing it and trust me, people are noticing. Focus on your own thing, be proud of those around you and be humble in your convictions. Once you’ve got all of that? Well, get it girl.