5 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Photography Business (And How to Stop Doing Them!)
After five years into photography small business entrepreneurship, I’ve learned a lot, and made a lot of mistakes. I don’t want you making them, too! Here are five mistakes you’re likely making today that are killing your photography business (and how to stop doing them!)
I. Copying / Recreating Other Artists’ Work
I think this is something we’ve all fallen prey to, especially in the beginning stages of our photography businesses. But take a step back and assess yourself: are you still trying to fit in? Do you still feel like a fraud, like a fake, like you need to be more like that [fill in the blank] established photographer in order to prove yourself legit?
Stop listening to those voices inside your head.
Your superpower is that YOU are YOU.
Take time to experiment and invest in yourself as an artist by organizing styled shoots, photographing in your free time, and trying new gear or techniques. You’ll likely start to begin noticing trends of something specific you love in your work - GRAB ONTO THAT! Keep doing it!
There is nothing more powerful than being true to yourself, especially when it comes to art. Whether that “IT” factor is your personality, your style, a specific shot you consistently compose, a pose, or the fact that you love fish tacos — latch onto it and use it to your advantage! It helps you stand out.
II. Not Charging What You’re Worth
This is the most detrimental thing to any photography business. Do not undervalue yourself.
Crunch the numbers and stand firm in the fact that you’re worthy of a financially successful business. We as artists deserve to be paid well because what we do is hard work! Be confident in your worth and others will respect that.
III. Waiting for Clients to Come to You
It’s so easy to think that if you create beautiful images and build a stunning brand, the people will come. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
It’s time to put on ya big girl pants and make things happen!
A few ideas:
+ Networking with other vendors - emails, phone calls, site visits to people/places you want to work with
+ Marketing through social media - sometimes that may mean you pay to play… just be strategic
+ Write helpful resources for clients that may want to work with you in the future - SERVE THEM!
+ Create images that will attract the right people - then share them. EVERYWHERE. BOLDLY.
+ Tell everyone you know what you do.
AAAND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS CONTINUES TO GROW…
+ Serve your current clients WELL. They will undoubtedly talk about you if they love you, right? Get them talking about how wonderful you are, and they’ll inevitably send new clients your way.
IV. Not Using Social Media Correctly
It’s a trap we all fall into at some point. Social media (specifically Instagram) has become a space of comparison, addiction, and a constant race to see who can win the “numbers game.”
The truth? If you have ten followers who engage with you regularly, your social media is doing more to advance your business than if you had ten thousand unengaged followers.
Social media is meant to be just that: SOCIAL!
Focus your time on serving your audience, engaging with people in an authentic way, and lifting others up. Buying followers or playing the “follow, unfollow” game may seem immediately fulfilling, but it is not setting you up well for long-term growth.
V. Working Too Much
This may not be true for every business owner out there, but for us creatives, it is so important. Your growth will flat line if you aren’t filling yourself up creatively, spiritually, and personally.
There are definitely times as small business owners that require a “hustle, hustle, hustle” mentality - but it is even more important to take a step back.
Step back and assess your business. Instead of working IN it, work ON it. Take time to dream and think through what your personal goals are. Work isn’t meant to be your LIFE - just a part of it.
Taking care of yourself outside of work will put you in a much better headspace when it’s time to get back to the grind. Be intentional about the way you spend your time. It’s true what they say:
Work smarter, not harder.
Hopefully this article encouraged you and gave you a few ideas to grow your photography business. I wouldn’t have included any of these mistakes unless I had struggled with them personally in the past. You got this, friend!