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This article describes a concept that will enable me to buy photography gear by borrowing from the idea of crowdsourcing. It’s not exactly a crowdsourcing model because I plan to earn every dollar – but it’s similar. I’ll document the process in a series of articles, and from this series I hope that you will find value.
I’m not an advocate for buying photography gear without good reason. I’ve been through that phase and I’m ashamed at how much money I wasted. There is a term for this — photographers call it G.A.S. — or Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
The desired result is that I’ll reach people who are, or will become, fans of what I do. Click to tweet
Don’t worry; the needless acquisition of gear is not what this post (or series) is about. I’m not going to try to get you to purchase new gear that you don’t need. There are plenty of YouTube channels for that. I’m not even going to mention the gear that I’m spying. I’m just going to propose a concept that I hope will allow me to crowdsource my next big purchase. If I’m successful then you’ll have a blueprint to help you do the same. I’m sure that this isn’t an original idea but I’m putting it out there anyway. Success or failure — I hope that at the end of this process we all learn something from it.
The local market & target audience
I live in the Middle East and focus primarily on headshot photography. My goal is to elevate the personal brand for everyone that I come in contact with. However, for this campaign I will focus on men. I get consistent results more quickly if I focus on shooting only men. This is important since volume will be high if this project is to be successful.
Bahrain has about 230,000 people on the LinkedIn network – 230,000! This is a tiny island! Given this information I have decided that the target audience for this campaign is men who need a proper headshot for their LinkedIn presence and live in Bahrain.
For more information on why I do what I do and how I go about it you can visit my headshot specific website and blog for Bahrain Headshots. The blog is just now getting going but I do have a few good articles on there. It would be great if you all could share some of them!
My style of photography is on the high-end of the spectrum in this country. I’m talking purely in terms of cost (the rest is subjective). There are a lot of photographers that charge pennies on the dollar relative to what I charge. However, I would suggest that for what I do these photographers are less capable. I’m not implying that they’re less skilled photographers — they’re just less skilled in my particular niche. Many in the population here are happy with low-end photography. As a result a lot of my efforts focus on educating the people on the value of my service. The bottom line here is that I aim to target the high-end customer — even if it results in less volume.
The goal – buy photography gear
The purchase that I want to make is for a portrait lighting kit that is unlike any other (for my niche). The problem is that it’s really expensive.
Don’t go thinking to yourself that I just have a case of G.A.S.! I’ve been eyeballing this kit now for over a year but haven’t been able to justify having it.
Regarding equipment; take a look at the following quote:
This quote is TRUTH. It’s a quote that I keep in the back of my mind these days before I make any big purchases. So I’m in touch with my impulse spending habits.
Another thing that I’d like to add to the purchase is a new laptop so that I can shoot tethered on site. Let’s say that the grand total of these purchases is USD $7500 (about 2900 Bahraini Dinar).
How does this purchase differ from your typical G.A.S. scenario? Here’s how. I truly believe that my level of skill in my niche has transcended the capabilities of my current lighting gear. I’m at that point where the upgrade to premium lighting equipment actually makes sense and will allow me to produce a more consistent, and therefore predictable, output. I’ll be able to get to that next level.
I plan to craft a long-form landing page that has sales copy tailored for men. Writing in a language that men understand and being a little more raw in nature will be key; but it’ll be honest. It will tug at the heart-strings of men and bring a little humor (my personality) into the mix. The offer will only apply to men. In our society this is likely to work in my favor. It will build in a sense of exclusivity.
The desired result is that I’ll reach people who are, or will become, fans of what I do. I want to make men believe in WHY I do what I do and how what I do will add value to their brand. All of the copy will surround a central message that speaks to how I will take your LinkedIn profile picture from this:
Here is the image I presented for his new LinkedIn avatar
The new image most definitely represents Bryan’s brand as a mentor and community leader in a more professional way than the earlier image.
The Photofeeler community agrees that our result is on another level – value added to Bryan’s brand.
The message will continue to speak to how we carry out this goal together — as a collaboration.
I will build my tribe.
The offer is a two for one deal. I’ll get into more details in future articles but the quick version goes like this.
Pay full price for a headshot session with me now (as part of this campaign) to upgrade your LinkedIn presence (men only). This session will use my current equipment (excellent results) and be shot on a solid white background. The proceeds from these sessions will go completely to my “buy photography gear” fund.
Within 6 months of the purchase I will invite all the participants back to the studio for an updated headshot with the new lighting equipment.
This offer will result in everyone receiving two high quality headshots that have two separate looks for the price of one. These men will be headshot veterans by the second session and will be more relaxed. This will most likely result in an even better headshot than the first session. At the same time all the participants, who hopefully believe in my message, will be helping me upgrade my headshot game.
In my mind this is a win-win scenario.
So, how many people do I need to shoot? Let’s work backward and use round numbers. I need 3000 BD to make my purchases. At a fee of 100 BD per shoot I will be required to connect with 30 men who believe in my message and want to help a brother out.
Let’s go ahead and make it 40 men. That will give me 1000 BD extra that I can put toward an advertising budget and venue rental (these budgets haven’t been worked out yet — they’re a guesstimate at the time of this writing).
So that’s it! I have to use this campaign to connect with 40 men who don’t know (yet) that they need a brand upgrade for their LinkedIn presence.
The holidays are here. Nobody is going to do anything until after the new year. I’m aware of this. My goal is to plan the copy and marketing by the end of the year and be ready to launch the campaign in the beginning of January. I’ve considered putting a timeline on it and encouraging people to share and try to have it go viral on a local level through advertising and organic efforts. I think it needs to have a time limit — maybe 1 day per person (so 40 days). I’ll feel this out a little more before settling on a number. I’m open to suggestions.
Between now and the new year I will release more content on my Bahrain Headshots blog about personal branding and its importance in the digital age. This is to set the stage for the marketing campaign.
The real shooting will take place over two weekends and I’ll collect the money on the day of the shoot.
These guys will have had two headshots taken by me and they will be a part of an exclusive club that helped me meet an essential goal during my journey. As a result they will also have elevated their personal brand on social media — which will help them with future opportunities.
I would love to hear some feedback and/or recommendations! Do you have a better idea to buy photography gear with other people’s money (kinda)? Connect with me on Twitter and let’s get the conversation started!
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