There is no way around it. If you are a photographer in a market the size of Raleigh, NC, you will always have "New" and "Old" competitors that you can either be worried about or instead focus on your business rather than worrying about their business. Yes, you have to be aware of competition and on your game, but don't let it cause you to lose site of your own goals and dreams.
Competition is just part of the business world. You can either be frustrated that a "New" photography competitor just popped up or you can continue to focus on your business like what makes you different and hope that your potential clients notice the differences.
Photography is not 100% about the photographers portfolio. That is a critical element, but personality is also important. For example, a bride will likely decide partially on the personality of the photographer and whether she wants that photographer at her wedding or not. Your personality is your personality and it will work for some and not others. That's the same thing that can be said about your portfolio. No matter how great you or your last client loves your portfolio, that doesn't mean that the next potential client will love your portfolio.
You may be the "New" photographer that just came on the scene with a new marketing strategy and you are now right there with the "Old" photographer on the block that has been using a similar strategy for years. Just keep in mind that as time goes along that you will become the "Old" and someone else will become the "New" photographer trying something in your space for the first time. I have personally experienced this recently with one of my marketing strategies that I noticed someone right there with me a few weeks ago that was not there before and within 30 to 45 days, I noticed someone else in the same space that I haven't seen before. It's the nature of business and will continue to happen.
What Truly Separates You From Your Competition?
FYI, it's not being the lowest priced photographer in the market. Yes, that may separate you, but low pricing is not the sustainable answer. Look around at the long time photographers in your market and I can almost guarantee you that their #1 selling point is not that they are the "lowest" priced photographer in Raleigh.
The answer(s) to this question will likely take some time to work through and even after you have worked through it, is there actually no other photographer in your market that does what you do the way you do it? For example, teetered shooting. Sure, that's a selling point, but other photographers shoot teethered as well. Oh, what about "Post production editing?" Any established photographer will provide post editing services. So to truly answer "What Truly Separates You From Your Competition?." you'll have to put your thinking cap on.
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