That’s the question we’ve posed to some creative professionals (photo editors, photographers, art buyers, etc.) this month. We hope their answers will not only be enjoyable to read, but informative and thought provoking as well. I plan on throwing out many more questions like this in an effort to bring you all something valuable for your inbox and this blog. I hope you enjoy reading on! Feel free to email me with any comments or if you’d like to contribute to the next round.
– Jacqueline Bovaird, Assignment Representative
Click here to view our assignment email, which contains abridged versions of the answers below.
How does competition affect you?
AMY BERKLEY, PHOTO EDITOR, FIELD AND STREAM MAGAZINE:
I do look at other men’s magazines (like Esquire, GQ, Best Life, Wired, Texas Monthy…etc.) I do this to be inspired as well as see who shoots for them because I am always curious about that sort of thing. However, I definitely choose my photographers based on their talent and if their style is appropriate for the look of F&S. I don’t ever think that looking at other magazines is harmful. It pushes you to be the best and keep competitive. I think any photo editor who isn’t looking at other magazines isn’t feeding their brains. A magazine, as our former Editor In Chief, Sid Evans, used to say is like a living organism…it is always changing, should always be changing on some level. So I am always thinking that way and trying to push it forward to get better and better!
RYAN SCHUDE, PHOTOGRAPHER:
Competition is almost always helpful. It generates more interest into whatever you are trying to push as well as constantly raising the bar for quality. Many times I become concerned that there is a larger supply of photographers than the demand for photos, not to mention those that provide an inferior product at a lower price to a consumer that isn’t concerned about the difference. The hope is to stand out from this group by offering a style that isn’t available to the masses and therefore avoid the negative aspects of competition.
MIHA MATEI, PHOTOGRAPHER:
I think competition is very healthy, because it forces photographers to be on top of their game, promotes creativeness and encourages us to put out the best work that we can. In terms of money, I think it’s a sensitive subject, because if photographers
underbid on assignments it lowers the standards for everybody. I’m a big believer in the idea that you get what you pay for. If a photographer feels that he or she is well compensated they will put forth more effort than if they feel like they are giving the client a bargain on their work.
As both photographer and photo editor it’s great to have the bar raised by your peers. Competition gives you that edge that motivates and inspires you to work harder to push boundaries, focus and/or take risks, which can be very healthy. It doesn’t have to involve undermining or usurping other professionals in the field: some of my greatest friends and mentors are also my competition.
DERRICK GOMEZ, PHOTOGRAPHER:
(excerpt from full essay here…. read it! It’s amazing!)
Personally, for me its not about competition being objectively helpful or hurtful. The answer to that question would rely on whether or not the respondent is an optimist or a pessimist. Photography is competitive, now more than ever. And a week from now, it will be more
than that. Its inevitable. The only thing we have control over is how we react to the situation.
More competition is the basic direction the world of media is moving towards. There is no getting around it. So you either adapt to survive, or you miss out. The increased competition should not be viewed as healthy or hurtful, but rather an exciting change of pace
and an incredible opportunity.
SHEILA HO, ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT, INTERACTIVE MARKETING/ADVERTISING, FULLSIX:
I’m in interactive marketing so I don’t see directly any sort of client competition that would otherwise come into play with my performance or approach. What I/my company does is work with clients to build databases and communities through website (marketing) features to connect with their consumers. We create an intimate or exclusive virtual community that acts as a bridging link between a company and their customers as well as a communications outreach tool to attract prospective demographics.
In terms of competition, it is helpful to know what sort of website marketing and community sites other companies are offering their consumers and effective ways to draw in sign up/registration but the approach is not to define, analyze and punch out competitors as it is to create the most effective, aesthetically appealing and user friendly website that will appeal to, engage and interact with users on all platforms.
JESSE DITTMAR, PHOTOGRAPHER:
As an emerging photographer, competition both humbles and motivates me. I take a lot of time to see who else out there is working hard and making it. It provides me with a great idea of what is successful in the photography business, and how my work might fit in, or stand out, in comparison to my peers. But, looking at other photographers work can be overwhelming. There are so many different ways to solve photographic problems that it is easy to lose a voice while being exposed to the sheer volume of photographers I compete against. Its extremely difficult but essential to get over this. At the end of the day, when I suppress the anxiety for how vast this industry is, competition is another force that drives me to keep working, learning, and pushing as hard as I can.
Thank you everyone who participated!! Keepa look out for next month’s question and email blast!!
If you have any ideas, comments, or if you’d like to participate in our monthly email Q&A, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Jacqueline Bovaird. I am always looking for new voices to add to this discussion.
212 . 462 . 4538 | firstname.lastname@example.org