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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Increased Local Photography Competition Leads to Better Minneapolis Photographers

It's now 2015, and the barriers to enter the world of digital photography have diminished greatly in the past decade. Today, for a few thousand dollars, a novice is able to purchase a pro-level DSLR camera, premium photo-editing software, create a portfolio website, and launch a photography business. Minneapolis is known as a national hub for the arts, with supporting programs from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, and Minneapolis College of Art and Design, to name a few. Each year hundreds of new art students are graduating, and staying local due to the strong artist community in areas like Uptown and North East Minneapolis. The decreased barrier to entry, coupled with the increased retention rates of recent graduates has lead to a boom in local photography competition. This competition, however, should be welcomed, according to the owner and lead photographer of Minneapolis studio, Dan Oksnevad Photography.

Dan Oksnevad has been running his photography business since 2006, launching the company while living in Chicago. Over the past 9 years, he has seen the highs and lows of the trade, and had to deal with moving the business from Illinois to Minnesota, and the often crippling task of re-establishing himself as a leading player within a new local wedding photography scene.
2015 – Year of Marketing

In today's digital world of social media, web-driven leads, and high customer expectations it's imperative to be on the cutting edge of technology, especially when it comes to marketing. "Earlier in my career, I would obsess over my craft, only seeking to improve my skills as a photographer," says Dan Oksnevad. "In recent years I have learned to strike a balance between running the business side, and constantly improving my talents. It doesn't matter if you've been in the business for 1, 5, or 25 years; what matters is if you can get in front of the right customer at the right time and book the gig."

The increased talent pool, lower barriers to entry, and digital marketing savviness of the recent graduates is worrying to some established photographers, but Dan Oksnevad is optimistic, however; "An increased pool of talent will improve industry standards, lead to further differentiation between low-end and high-end players, and ultimately benefit the local economy."

Minnesota photography income rivals D.C., California, and New York
According to a 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Illinois and Minnesota lead the Midwest in employment of photographers, but Minnesota ($48,760) stands apart in the national earnings reports, rivaling Washington D.C. ($66,130), California ($53,280), and New York ($49,480). With the lower cost of living in Minneapolis as compared to its East and West coast counterparts, Minneapolis is fast becoming a national hub for the photography community.

"I love the local photography scene here in Minneapolis," says Dan Oksnevad. "It has big-city recognition, but small-town accessibility. In recent years I've been able to get plugged in with new and veteran photographers, something that was much harder to do back in Chicago. I'm glad I've settled here, and I look forward to where the industry will go in the next decade."

Dan Oksnevad Photography has been published in Minnesota Bride Magazine, Wisconsin Bridge Magazine, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, and received both local and national awards for his work.