How to Jumpstart Your Photography Business in Any Red-Ocean Market

Whether you’re new to the industry, or you’ve relocated to a new market, trying to get yourself situated in an already-established marketplace can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. But the good news is that enterprising entrepreneurs just like yourself have been diving headfirst into red-oceans for tens of thousands of years, for as long as humans have been selling stuff to other humans.

That dynamic has never changed. Consider the following:

  • Apple
  • Five Guys
  • Bose

When Apple launched its first iPhone in 2007, they were entering a market which was already dominated with a myriad of other smartphones which included Blackberrys and Palm Pilots. How did they disrupt the market? They created a smartphone which was much better than all their competitors, in every single category.

When Five Guys entered the market in 1986, they were up against powerhouses like McDonalds and Burger King. How were they able to thrive in such a competitive market? They produced an objectively superior product for their customers. Almost 40 years later (at the time of this writing), they’re still going on strong.

Bose was able to compete with much larger rival electronics retailers like Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and Apple by focusing on ONE thing that they did well: audio. In fact, they do that ONE thing better than everyone else. So even though their earnings are 95% less than their larger competitors, they completely own that audio space in the market.

As a wedding photographer, you could consider going the blue-ocean route, but where’s the fun in that?

Traditionally speaking, in order to thrive in a red ocean environment, you’d simply have to be cunning and work yourself up the food chain; wiping out your competitors by any means necessary (pricing, offerings, etc). But the good news for us wedding professionals is that the wedding industry is very different from other industries. While there may be a ton of competition in this market (regardless of where you are on this planet), it is possible to succeed.

But fair warning, your path ahead is not for the faint of heart.

  1. For starters, you WILL have to work your ass off. This means long days and long nights, burning the midnight oil and possibly working weekends. The good news is that this pain is temporary. The bad news is that you’ll just have to suck it up for the time being; every success story you’ve ever heard of, very likely went through this same exact process.
  2. You might have to undercut the market (for just a little while), at least until you get some traction. We all know you’re worth every penny and more, but your prospects won’t know that. Figure out where you stack up against your competitors, and you can decide if you want to either charge less or offer more. In these cases, you DO want your clients to compare apples to apples, and you DO want your clients to believe they’re getting more value from you.
  3. Don’t slouch on your SEO, social media, and networking opportunities. These are the FREE ways you can get yourself established in ANY market. Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past 10 years, most of you already know the bare minimum you should be doing. You’ll have to produce your content, share it with your audience, and serve everyone in your orbit in a meaningful way (this includes clients, vendors, and venues).
  4. Last but not least, you’ll need to know who your audience is. If you can truly understand their deepest darkest fears and desires, then you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to show in order to keep their attention, hold it, and get them to ultimately buy from you.

This way of selling & marketing by brute force and sheer force of will, simply works. It worked for my dad when he was selling poultry door-to-door, and it worked for me when I was selling wedding photography in the most saturated market on the planet. I’m confident this can work for you too, wherever you may be in the universe.


  • Do good exceptional work (product)
  • Provide exceptional value (price)
  • Put in the effort (productivity/time management)
  • Serve everyone (service)

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