Yesterday I was working from one of my favorite coffee shops here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. As much as I love wearing my noise canceling headphones, I have to admit that I'm a bit of an eaves droppper!
I always hear the most interesting conversations that way, and this time was no exception. People were talking about family problems, school finals, new jobs…
But then almost out of nowhere I overhear a girl saying that she wants to get started in boudoir photography!
What a small world right?
I knew at that moment that I had to interrupt her and introduce myself. It turns out that the two women at the table were an art teacher at the college across the street and a photography student. They were both was just delighted to chat with me and get my card when I told them that I have an entire blog about boudoir, since it's such a small niche.
As she starts her own boudoir business, I hope she does check out Boudie Shorts (hey, maybe she's even reading this right now!), and joins the conversation on my Facebook page.
But I know what you must be thinking:
“If she's starting a boudoir business in the same small city as you, isn't she the competition? Why would you help her?”
This is BY FAR the biggest thing people are getting wrong about their competitors. If you isolate yourself instead of working together, you're only hurting your own business!
The truth is, yes, you do want people in your city to come to you for their boudoir needs, but not every boudoir photographer is the right match for every model or client.
My business and the business that art student builds are going to be different.
- She might have lower or higher prices.
- She will have her own signature photography style.
- Her studio will look different than mine, or she might shoot primarily in hotels.
- We'll have different packages, as well as our own unique products and add ons.
- She'll probably use a different make up artist and hair stylist.
- Our personalities are different.
- She might offer other kinds of photography as well, while I do primarily boudoir.
I could keep going, but you get the point. Her photography business is going to be very different than my own. Not better or worse – just different.
That doesn't mean that I'm going to send clients to her instead of booking them myself, but we can work together and be friendly rather than thinking of one another as the enemy.
Most boudoir photographers don't even know any other boudoir photographers in their city or..at all. They might know of them, but they don't have a business relationship or friendship with these other photographers.
But becoming friends with your “competitors” can help you. Here's how:
- If you're booked solid, but have a client who needs to book a shoot quickly, you can refer them to someone else.
- You can share tips about your city relevant to photographers – when relevant trade shows are coming up, hidden gems that make great shoot locations, etc.
- If you do different types of photography, you can refer clients to one another when someone requests something you don't do.
- Have an emergency? A photographer friend can step in to help.
- Other photographers can give you constructive criticism if you're trying new techniques or redoing your studio.
- …heck you could even share a studio and split costs when you're both first getting started. (I did that initially.)
You could even plan events, like marathons, together for twice the exposure (and half the costs, if you share expenses like renting a hotel room or other shooting space).
If you don't know where to start meeting other photographers in your city, I want to invite you to become part of the Boudie Shorts community. We have thousands of photographers that participate in our Facebook group – so stop in and introduce yourself. I bet you'll find several other community members who are local to you!
How do you get to know other boudoir photographers in your area? What's one thing you'll start doing differently when you come across a local to you boudoir photographer? Let us know in the comments below! xoxo