I do it, you probably do it, we all do it. And no, I'm not talking about procrastination, though this does relate (and we all do that as well)! What I'm talking about is when we don't believe that theres much of a market for the type of work that we do. I call this the "specialty work mindset". By definition (which I'm making up right now...) this means that we believe that our work is very niche and only has a very small and certain market.
Action sports photographers find themselves in this niche all the time. My eyes were first opened wide to what I was doing when I spoke with pro skier Trevor Hiatt. He explained to me that "the money is outside of the ski industry." But how can that be? Here I was thinking the whole time that the only places to sell skiing photos, was to skiing companies, resorts, and ski related magazines.
What I had failed to do at this time was think outside the box. I had never realized that maybe watch companies, sunglass companies, clothing companies, may all want a ski shot, or even real-estate companies (to add to their portfolio and show the cool activities you can enjoy near your new home), or maybe even on the back of a Cheez-IT box. The last one may sound ridiculous, but everyone has different needs for different photos.
Stock agencies helped me realize this as well. I noticed a few months back that Getty Images had sold one of my skiing photos to a company in Croatia as wall-art. Who would of known?? I would never have found that client on my own (Thanks Getty!). I do recommend looking into stock agencies as one way of getting photos out that you are having a tough time selling on your own.
My point in this rant? Explore all your options, think as obscurely as possible, and never block a company out as a possible client due to the type of imagery you make. You never know when something great may come along! Think outside the box and show your work to everyone and everywhere you can think of. Great things will happen and you'll create your own market.
Clients can't find you if your sitting around with just a website. Send out e-mails and start marketing more Today (Not tomorrow for all you procrastinators, myself included occasionally.) The mindset that your work is only valuable to a small niche group is way off. It's possible that any company in the world that's completely unrelated may still have a need for your work. Good luck, and hopefully this has been a major eye-opening experience. Just writing it makes me think about marketing... WHICH I WILL DO TODAY!
That's the BUZZ for Today! Please check back soon for more.