Tuesday I spent an hour with Chris Marchetti in his studio. We were discussing the creation of a massive canvas. 30″ tall by 120″ wide. For those who don’t want to think deeply on math, that’s 10 feet wide!
When we wrapped up and got the size and proportions worked out Chris showed me some of his latest personal work. Just like me Chris doesn’t have much time to do shooting for himself, it’s all about the clients.
After hanging out and shooting the breeze with Chris I headed back to my own studio to meet with two more clients and wrap up for the day. Before heading out Chris called to follow up on what his client was needing. Right before getting off the phone he said, “You’re a good friendly competitor.” Honestly I don’t think of Chris as my competitor. Nor do I consider the other studios that I respect competition either.
Chris and I have different styles and techniques. The type of client that seeks me out most likely isn’t going to be contacting him. And the work that he does attracts particular clientele that aren’t going to be seeking me out. That’s cool. Folks have individual preferences and seem to find the photographer they need.
Over the past few years I’ve handed out many cards for another photographer, Brooke (owner of Capture This By Brooke), when folks asked about weddings. Even though I’m doing weddings now I’ve encouraged clients to shop around, and passed along the names of other good photographers. And I’ve had referrals from Chris, Brooke, Kim Kapin, and Anderson Creative. Honestly, it’s nice to know several competent studios that do good work.
So, when I think of these other studios and photographers I don’t think about dominating the market over them. Honestly I can’t, I don’t have the time. What I do think about is what sets me apart from them, and what sets them apart from me. And when I talk to clients I keep these other photographers in mind. There are types of shoots I don’t want to do, or types that I know someone else would do better with. It’s all about being honest with myself regarding my strengths and weaknesses.
Friendly competition? Yeah. In my mind? Comrades in arms. 🙂