Zero Clients and Ready to Quit

Image courtesy of bplanet at

Sometimes it seems you can’t turn around without tripping over another photographer… and when you’re building a new business and you’re realizing how surrounded you are by competition, it can get overwhelming and make you second guess the wisdom of competing not only with the established pros, but all with everyone else just starting out too.   So what should you do?

Dear Stefanie Shutters,

My area is saturated with photographers, and  while I’ve just started my business I’m already at the point where I’m ready to quit because I can’t get any clients. ANY! I can’t even give away a free session to get people in the door. Yet the other photographers in my area are always showing new work and getting clients. Am I just horrible? Are my prices too low? (I’m scared to raise them because what if I do and no one books?) What am I doing wrong?

~Closing Time?


Dear Closing,

First off, “other photographers” is the worst phrasing to be used in making business decisions. It’s the wrong outlook coming from the photographer just as much as it is when a potential client uses the phrase. So let’s scrap what everyone else is doing.

Or, realistically, what everyone else SEEMS to be doing. Because they can be milking free model calls, friends kids, their own kids, and their family images (or that one session from 4 years ago that they re-edited) to seem more in demand than they are.   Internet reality is an oxymoron. {There’s some interesting articles on this too – check out “Chasing Happiness”, “The Social Media Effect” and “Our Double Lives“}

So, first, take a step back from the reality that everyone is presenting and focus on you first.

Your work is GOOD. You’re professional grade in quality.

So you do need to be charging professional rates.  Charging at cheap will just get you stuck there and you’ll never be able to progress to making a living wage if you do ‘what everyone else is doing’ and charge $50 and give away all the images on disc.

“But what if I raise my prices and no one books?”

If you’ve got zero clients now at your current price point….. what’s the worst that can happen if you go BIG?

Zero clients?


So here’s the truth: you CANNOT rely on Facebook and the internet to get clients.  Its not going to happen – passive marketing approaches like this will not bring you clients. It’s time to get active!

This means you’re going to have to take some risks, go out of your comfort zone, and start doing some major marketing on a personal level.

In an over saturated market, you need to climb out of the rabble and become known.

To quote myself in a previous advice posting, “What it comes down to is that you need to be marketing every moment you’re awake and then dreaming of new plans for the next day in your sleep.”

It’s time to take a risk. It’s time to go BIG. It’s time to fly!



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