While there are many ways that you can destroy your business, I have chosen 5 ways that may affect you negatively. These are either things that I have experienced myself, or they are things that I have seen in the industry.
5. Having No Idea What Is Happening
You like making photos. You start with a cheap camera, and then upgrade (maybe). People like the photos you take and some even say
"You have the eye..." and you have no idea what that really means, but you think you might be able to make a few bucks with this gig. So you take your camera, and you start charging money.
Your downfall might be communication or expectations. It might be camera settings or quality. OR it might be business in the long run. But you get started and you get burned out because you did not take any time to learn not only photography, but you did not take the time to learn the business.
4. Trying To Please Everyone
In the beginning we tend to take every job. We don't want to turn down any client because we think.
- Its money
- I need to shoot everything
In my first year, I attempted to shoot a newborn session. It was awful. I had no idea what I was doing, the baby cried for an hour. I realized after that, it was not my thing. I also realized that many things were not my thing. Figure out your brand, and what you want to shoot and work towards that. You do not have to specialize in; Weddings, Engagements, Families, Seniors, Cake Smashes, Birthdays, Commercials, Dogs, Births, Dog Births, and Senior Clown Weddings.
ITS TOO MUCH. Yes, you can shoot other things. But specialize in something. Your accountant is not the same person that fixes your car (unless you are married to that person).
This follows along with the last part of number 4. Figure out your brand, if you are lost as a brand your customers will be lost with who you are. Yes, you will still get jobs, but over time you will become frustrated as people will ask you for things that you don't want to shoot. If you are defined as a brand you do not have to worry as much about people not knowing what you are. It is like when Coors tried to make "Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water."
2. Dolla Dolla Y'All
There are a couple ways to look at this
- You are chasing money
- You are not charging enough
- You don't care
So quickly lets look at these. If you are chasing money, you have the potential to hurt your clients. Photography is not as about us the photographer as we would like to think. Yes, we have a vision, and that is what we hope we will be hired for. But the clients want us to preserve/provide something for us, and it goes beyond an image. They want confidence, memories, content, etc... This is beyond who we are as artists. If you are chasing money and don't care, that will come off and you will start loosing business because of it.
When I first started I got $50 for shooting an engagement session. I thought I had made it. It took 2 hours and I made what usually took me 4 hours. But then I had to edit them, and it took several hours (at the time I was only using photoshop). As we all know $50 is nothing for a 2 hours session. If you want to last you need to price yourself as such. Remember you will probably have to pay approximately 30% to taxes. If you make $3000 for a wedding that is close to $1000 for just taxes. Price yourself to last.
You are just shooting for the hell of it and your don't care about any of this. Well, if this is the case I am surprised you are reading this.
1. You Focus TOO Much On Others
Teddy Roosevelt once said "Comparison is the thief of joy"
This is probably the one that will kill you faster than anything else. Comparison.
Staying aware of what is going on in the photography industry is good, but comparing where you are at in your journey, your work, and your life will only lead to more failure. Use others as inspiration. But comparing your journey to others highlights is misleading. As creatives we all have rough times, we all doubt ourselves. There will be times where clients will destroy your confidence and times where others will try to tear your down. But focuse on who you are, what you are doing and keep on keeping on.
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