Most photographers don’t start off with photography being their career goal. They just like taking photos and then one thing leads to another and suddenly- you’re a photographer. You know how to handle your camera, but not really how to run your own business.
So let’s talk about three common mistakes that could be hurting your photography business. And if you feel like you make any of these mistakes, come over to my Facebook Group or send me a DM on Instagram and let’s talk.
1. You’re not standing out.
Your business or at least part of it looks too much like other photographers. It could be your pricing, style, wording, branding, or colors. When you’re looking for inspiration, try to look outside of the photography genre and especially outside of your own local market and competitors.
If you see others looking too much like you, regardless if you were first or not, think about what you can do to separate yourself from them. Figuring out how to stand out is a big part of what I teach in my program Sustainable Photography Program. It’s opening up again this fall and you should get on the waitlist now. There are surprises in store for you so don’t miss out!
It’s easy to think that there is a right or wrong way to do things. A lot of educators teach this. That you should do what they did, or ”do this” and “don’t do that”. But I disagree with this way of doing things so much. What has worked for me, my personality and my audience might be a complete failure for you to do. So I always encourage you to test and try and find your way of doing things.
2. You’re doing too many things.
I know that photography is your passion, but not taking time off can, and will, lead to burnout. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard of photographers reaching burnout. It’s very real, and it happens when you do too much for too long. So make sure you schedule time off. Add it to your calendar. Set a cap on how many shoots you want to take on in a month and a year, and make sure you will get enough paid from those shoots. Check out episode 29 on how to take some time off and episode 22 on self-care for photographers with Jen Wille.
Another pitfall is when you have too many offers. If you try to combine all kinds of different types of photography from newborn shoots to weddings to business, it’s just so much to deal with at once. Each type of photography requires different emails and contracts and prices and all the things. And you might need more equipment as well, so what may seem like easy money, might end up costing you because it takes you so much longer than what you normally do. When you get too overwhelmed, maybe it’s time for you to find your photography niche.
Improving your productivity and automating things will help if you are always juggling too many things. Check out episode 36 with Charlotte Isaac and episode 24 with Jen Madigan for more about productivity. Make sure you spend your time on what matters instead of just staying busy. It’s so common, and it won’t get you anywhere.
Having goals can help you create a path to follow. But if you’re struggling to know what you should be doing, like how to spend your time wisely, you need to set some goals. What do you want to accomplish? Once you know what you want it’s so much easier to set boundaries and to say no. Which again frees up your time so you can spend it doing what you want.
3. You’re basing your business decisions on feelings.
Make sure you’re running your business based on what makes sense and what works for you. And then do the fun things as well.
You might be thinking ‘what’s fun’?
One example is buying too many things. Like you want the newest gear and another lens and more cute headbands for your newborn shoots. My question to you is – is it helping your business? Like is it going to ensure you make more money or is it just for fun?
If you and your business can afford that, then great! But often I see photographers who claim to be struggling one day and then spend tons of money the next. And in which case I would say you’re running your business based on your feelings rather than what makes sense and that’s not helping you. That’s gonna hurt your business.
Another example is posting on social media based on likes instead of bookings. If you keep posting things that give you likes instead of things that are giving you bookings, that’s not helping your business. Sure it’s fun, but it’s not making you money. The amount of followers is probably not adding to your income, so try to not be so hung up on it. Post on social media, and keep track of what it leads to. If a certain kind of post always results in inquiries, see if you should post more of those, even if it might not be your most liked content.
Making choices based on fear
You might feel worried that you won’t book if you raise your prices, so you keep them too low. You might not be paying yourself enough. And you might be basing your pricing on others.
The consequence of this, of course, is that you’re not really running your business. You could in fact be losing money. And spending a lot of time doing so. If you want to talk about how you can improve your business, send me a DM on Instagram.
Business mistakes can’t always be avoided. What’s important is that you learn from these mistakes and you try to improve yourself, your process, and your business. Also, photographers like you can always reach out to get help. If you want to know more, you can check out my Sustainable Photography Program.
hi, i'm ingvild
I spend as much of my time as I can being outside taking photos of happy couples in love. I live with my dog and boyfriend in Norway, and I love traveling the world in search of beautiful locations and love stories.