No, it isn’t your gear. While your gear can make you look like a better photographer in the mind of the fashion world, it isn’t the secret to what makes you more or less of an attractive candidate to someone who wants to hire a photographer. Yes, being more affordable than the other can work and in the cases of people who aren’t very discerning, that’s all that you’ll be able to do.
In many cases, that isn’t a winning battle at all.
As a blog editor and a photographer myself, I’ve been on both sides of the table and in many ways there is an interchangeable hierarchy.
The hierarchy of how to get hired as a photographer goes in a varying order, but roughly runs something like this:
– Budget (some folks just want it done cheaply and don’t care about anything else. Typically, these are the people that expect Annie Leibovitz levels of work for $40.) But in other instances, you only have a very small budget to work with as a marrying couple, business owner, etc.
– Capabilities (Can you do 360 photography? Are you equipped and experienced to do it? Or can you deliver the look in headshots that someone wants? If you say yes, do you have an adequate body of work that can prove this?)
– Creative Vision (Do you have the vision that your client wants? Can you deliver images that they can see themselves being proud of paying for?)
– Timeliness (can you do the job in a timely manner that meets their deadlines?)
– The Extras (this is never a big factor, but in some cases it is. When I was a wedding photographer, part of how I got new clients was by eliminating the Silver bound albums, marketing it as being environmentally friendly, and instead offering to pre-load all of their images onto a brand new iPad for the couple. What I found is that the brides wanted it, but the grooms wanted it so badly that they pressured the brides to cave.)
These four factors are a hierarchy of needs that a photographer should consider when they want to be hired. In some situations, budget wins over everything else and you can probably find a way to do the work cheaply, for cash, and with minimal effort on your part (yes it’s true.) But those looking for the best creative vision are those most likely to pay the premium. So with that said, all photographers need to find a way to steadily develop their creative vision over everything else.
Just make sure that you can actually do the work.