Other photographers aren’t your competition. Ya know who is?

I am sick.to.death of all the talk about your/our competition. Other photographers are not our competition. There’s only one YOU. There’s only one Elizabeth Halford and my clients aren’t doing price comparisons on photographers. My clients love me and hire me for my art. I’m an artist. You want me? You hire me! You want cheap? Hire someone else.

It’s taken me years to get to the point where I can say that. “I am an artist”. It’s a vulnerable thing to say because it puts me in the firing line of anyone and everyone who thinks they’re better than me to scoff. It would be much more comfortable to simply fade into the mass of other photographers who don’t stand out and not draw attention to myself.

So the following statement is being made from the stance that I’m an artist and my products are a luxury item. Mkay? Here goes…

Other photographers are not my competition. You know who is? Apple. Starbucks. Disney World.

My competition are all the other luxury items and brands selling the idea that their products will enrich and enhance the lives of those who spend their money on them. The stuff that claims to add value to their lives.

If you want to stand out, if you want to draw attention to your business and nab the love and respect of people who don’t even yet know how your photography can enhance their lives, stop trying to one-up other photographers. One-up Starbucks. One-up Apple. They sell the hell out of the concept that they add value to your life. If you want clients who spend money on the nicer things in life, you need to chase those masses. Not the ones on Groupon clambering over each other for the next $10 photographer.



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Elizabeth Halford

Elizabeth Halford


She blogs about photography and business with her unique plain English approach. Elizabeth has been-there-done-that with running a photography business that doesn’t profit a penny and loves teaching photographers how to get away from the starving artist model of running a creative business.
Elizabeth Halford
  • Alisha - preach it! lol I am not an Apple lover (my Iphone and I have issues) BUT they are soooo good at looking appealing and pretty and tempting you to cough up money you don’t have for their product. Starbucks has had me spending way more than I should weekly because what they have is packaged and sold so well. I do look at their example when thinking of my own business, for sure.

  • Athena.Long - this is the realest ish EVER.

    WORD. UP.

    (and I am adding this to my annual quote book. thank you)

  • Grace - Best thing to read on a Monday morning. Ever.

  • Shauna Taylor - Anything that takes up discretionary income is your competition Motorcycles, candles, anything. We talk about this endlessly in Better Together , our community for local photographers we meet once a month to brainstorm and discuss ideas as colleagues, not competitors. There should be more local chapters.

  • Rhonda Elder - Amen Sister!

  • Cyndi - I just love your blog and I learn new things all the time. I read a book called “What Would Google Do” one time and that’s where I learned that ANYONE who works online has the potential to shine and that friendly relationships with people in your niche can only enhance your portfolio because we’re all different enough that really, we should just all support each other. I’m definitely unique from other photographers and I don’t plan (at this point anyways) to do much “in person” photography but I want to focus on my online Zazzle store – I want to stay more in the virtual reality, if you will. But, it’s such a wonderful thing seeing other photographers (and writers) and how they set up/execute their businesses. You’re wonderful at what you do! 🙂

  • Ana - You are absolutely correct!

  • Asashia - And I am taking that to the bank!
    I too often compare myself to everyone around me and wallow into why my calendar isn’t booked. There is only one ME so what can I do to stand out from the crowd?
    Thanks Elizabeth!

  • www.miahopephotography.com - LOVE!!!!!! I am reciting it in my head…. I am an artist! I am an artist!

  • Jim Rogers - Re: “Who is the competition”….succinctly put and a reminder to all people in the arts, whether it’s photography, painting or sculpture….in virtually any endeavor where you put your talents out there for the public. This brief essay should be thumbtacked to every artist’s studio wall, easel or “breakroom”. Well done!

  • artofequus.com - Truer words have not been spoken…

  • Rosalind - Preach it Sister!!!

  • Amber - Thank you! I needed to hear this, being in a small community with some really talented people, and others who claim to be the cheapest-and booking all the people who have been trying to talk me down. I feel I am getting to the point where people really love me for my work and how i treat them. And finding my own voice. I just found your blog, and I appreciate all that I see here! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Kim - Yesss-you took those words right out of my mouth❤ great work you do!!!

  • Rachel - Wow. This post really spoke to me! I totally get it. And you know what else, now you have said it, its kind of obvious!

  • Cynthia - Hmm. I think I know the point you are trying to make but I am not sure about the comparison with Apple and Starbucks. These companies are selling a unique idea and monopolizing it at consumer levels. And they are mass produced at higher price but still affordable luxury. However, they are not Louis Vutton or Tiffany. Photography can be both. How one sees their art is really based on how one treats it. You can treat it like those JC Penny portrait studios, or be the $10,000 Tiffany diamond ring of photography. That’s up to you big you choose to compare yourself to Apple and Starbucks then that’s how you see if others want to treat it like the Dollar Tree then so be it. Personally, I would aim higher – but I would have to prove that. Unfortunately, there is an over saturation of “similar style” photographers in the market that there are very rare unique styles to really point out. Oh these photographers are good but their styles all look like each other. And they all think they are Apples and Starbucks of photography. True artists will not argue about the business. They will keep working to make themselves stand out.

  • Bri - Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  • Samantha H - I’m a new Photographer & I mean New ( only had my DSLR for about 3 months now ) anyways I’ve been reading all sorts of stuff on your blog & it really is helpful! Lots of great tips & your pictures are amazing! I cant wait to see how great I will become one day! Thanks for all the advice!

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