Why a photography marketing mentor got abused

I recently saw a Facebook advert for a photography marketing system (not one of ours) to help photographers. The marketing mentor who runs the course did a wonderful job of politely fielding some rather negative comments from the photography community.

Here’s what his advert said:

“In less than 6 weeks of following this formula you can start booking $7k+ per month in your photography business even if you’re just starting. Sounds crazy I know, but it’s true. With experience you can do far more”

Most new and struggling photographers would be delighted to uncover a system like that.

So it was sad to see comments like this underneath the advert:

“Stop sucking up money off naive photographers.”

A sarcastically written “I wish I hadn’t bothered to learn how to use my camera now”

“This is very good trolling of photographers… Congrats.”

“What’s funny is that someone’s formula isn’t necessarily going to be anyone else’s. Especially with photography!”

One commenter clearly hadn’t read the advert correctly when she wrote “$7k a month isn’t that much. Especially to own and operate a full photography studio. You’re lucky if that covers your overhead. My brand makes nearly twice that a month and yes we have a nice studio in a great location but after overhead you are still not making a TON of money.

We all see the world through our hang-ups, bias and distortions that have been created by our life experiences.

However, your personal little world isn’t the only truth. Your experiences aren’t the same as everyone else’s.

It was sad to see that the immediate reaction of some photographers was to attack something that’s designed to help them.

However, it was encouraging to see many of the photographers who have actually tried the system were jumping to the mentor’s defence by stating how well the system works.

This demonstrates the different types of mindset photographers have:

  1. Negative photographers feel that nothing works (or only their way works) and that everyone is out to get them, including their clients. They’d prefer to waste time attacking something they’ve never tried rather than invest time and/or money in discovering new ideas
  2. If your photography is good enough it will sell itself. This is completely untrue. Great work certainly helps (and I encourage every photographer to master their craft), but you need to understand marketing, sales and pricing if you’re to succeed. Your livelihood depends on it.
  3. The more positive photographers realise that photography is a business and that they’ll need to learn how to run a business if they want to survive (let alone thrive)
  4. Perhaps the trolls didn’t want other photographers to benefit from the advert so they wanted to put a negative spin on it so people wouldn’t try it. The fact is, if more photographers understood how to run their businesses we’d all be better off. Why? Because our industry wouldn’t be getting devalued from within.

So ask yourself – what sort of photographer are you?

Are you an angry troll who’s lost your faith and enthusiasm? Someone who thinks they’re always right and that people with a different opinion is either wrong or trying to trick you.

Or are you prepared to try things with an open mind, dedication and a desire to grow?

I’ve bought countless online courses and I can only think of two that I was particularly disappointed with. And one of those was nothing to do with photography.

There’s a huge number of smart, honest, kind, dedicated photographers out there trying to help the industry. Charles Lewis, Photobizexposed, Sarah Petty, The Modern Tog, The Million Dollar Photographer, Zenologue etc etc.

I’ve found them (and many more) incredibly helpful and at Get Pro Photo Club we share their dedication to supporting the photography community.

Do those mentors earn money by helping photographers? Of course – they wouldn’t be able to help if they did it for free.

Do they teach because they can’t do it for real? Absolutely not. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually harder to make money teaching about the business of photography than it is to actually be a photographer.

So, what lessons do I want you take from this post?

  • Be humble enough to accept help. No-one knows everything.
  • I want you to be willing to give things a try.
  • You don’t have to struggle alone. There are lots of people out there who sincerely want to help fellow photographers.
  • Invest in yourself.
  • Accept that photography is a business and that business skills are critical to succeed
Accept that photography is a business and that business skills are critical to succeed Click To Tweet

The fastest and easiest way to achieving your goals is to have a photography mentor. I chose Charles Lewis and he’s the reason I was able to become a full time photographer. I’m eternally grateful.

Who should you choose?

It doesn’t matter if you choose me or any of the other mentors I mentioned. They all know what they’re talking about and most mentors have learned from each other anyway.

Choose someone who feels a good fit for you. Someone who you can relate to.

Is there any particular reason to choose me as your mentor?

Well, I’m the only one on the list who’s based in the UK. I feel the American photography market is quite different and wrote about it in this post.

I’m earning most of my income through my own photography business. I’m working in the trenches every day in the wedding and portrait photography markets.

I studied marketing at university and spent 14 years as a Marketing Manager for The Royal National Institute For Deaf People, and for SIG PLC.

Our members get fast and thorough responses to their questions – 7 days a week. So if you’re frustrated and disheartened you just reach out to us and we’ll set you back on the right path. We’re like the emergency services for photographers!

Plus, I’ve had to overcome several issues that you might relate to:

  • A crippling lack of self confidence – something many photographers suffer from. I can help you overcome it like I did
  • I live in a low income city (Peterborough in the UK)
  • I started my business in 2008 which means I can relate to photographers who are trying to start their business from scratch in this new hyper-competitive digital world.
  • The UK portrait market has lower averages than the US and a number of other disadvantages.

But again, if you’re a new or struggling photographer I urge you to put your trust in a mentor. 99% of us really are sweet, lovely, cuddly, gorgeous people!

…Oh yeah, one of the other things that makes me a little different is I try and make running your business fun.

Give me a try for 60 days and if you don’t think I’m sweet, cuddly and gorgeous then you don’t pay a penny!

I think I may have to work a bit harder on the ‘gorgeous’ bit!