5 mistakes almost all photographers make (and how YOU can avoid them!)
Learn the 5 mistakes almost every photographer makes when they start a photography business.
Today we’re talking about the biggest mistakes almost every photographer makes. Back in the day as an up and coming photographer, I thought I had it all together. I thought I was ready to start my own photography business. In fact, I thought I knew everything. I’d read a few tutorials, watched a few workshops, second shot a handful of times… In my eyes, I was the bizzzzzness.
Oh silly, cocky, naive younger self.
Years later, hindsight is truly 20/20. There were so many things I was just plain clueless about. So many mistakes I could have avoided. And I can tell you today without a doubt in my mind that I wasted YEARS trying to build my photography business the WRONG WAY.
The truth is the mistakes I made aren’t uncommon at all. In fact, they’re mistakes almost ALL photographers make! How silly is that? So today I’m going to share the mistakes almost all photographers make, how to avoid them, and how you can benefit! The truth is when everyone is going in one direction and you head the other, its easy to stand out – Learn how to avoid the mistakes almost all photographers make and you’ll be miles ahead from the start.
Ready? Lets go.
Photography Business Mistake #1 – Pricing too low.
Pricing too low is photography business mistake #1. Here’s what happens. You say to yourself “Hmm, I don’t have much of a portfolio yet.. I bet if I set my prices 50% lower than every other photographer out there, I’ll have LOADS of bookings.
No. Don’t do this. Just don’t do it.
Why? Several reasons. First, let me ask you a question. When you’re shopping for something online, and you see the price is just too good to be true, what do you do?
Correct. You close that tab and move on to another option. One with reviews and a normal price.
What do you think happens when your potential photography client looks at your prices and sees you’re charging $1500 less than every other photographer? Alarm bells will be ringing.
The truth is that people are willing to pay for the things they value – You don’t HAVE to give your services away, because the people who value photography are willing to pay a fair price.
But there is an even more important reason NOT to set your prices too low!
Low prices attract low quality clients.
Yep. Setting your prices bargain basement pretty much guarantees you’ll get the worst clients. Not always, but the majority of the time. Why? Because the people who value photography the least are the only ones who are going to look at your prices and not think they are waaaay too low. They’ll book you for low prices because they don’t value photography that much.
How do you expect that situation to play out? Do you think you’ll enjoy working with people who don’t really value what you do? Probably not….
So set your prices higher – Don’t fall into this mistake almost all photographers make the hard way. Setting your prices higher from the start gets you higher quality clients at the get go. You’ll build an exceptional portfolio way faster because you’re photographing higher quality bookings. Just like that, you’re miles ahead.
Photography Business Mistake #2 – Unteachable Mindset
The school of hardknox is something you want to avoid when you’re starting a business. Or anything in general. There are several ways to learn in life.. The easy way, the hard way, and the tragic way. The easy way is from someone else’s experience or advice. The hard way is from your own failure, and the tragic way is to never learn at all.
The hard way and the tragic way are options you want to AVOID.
The next biggest mistake almost all photographers make is being unteachable. When you think you know it all, noon e is able to help you forward – How can they? You already know everything! If I were to do it ALL over again, I wouldn’t try to do it all on my own. I wouldn’t waste so much time making up my own answers and methods when if I’d just been humble enough to ask someone who had already done it, I could have gone WAAAAY further, way faster.
Having launched 3 photography studios and several other businesses, I’m no longer trying to figure things out myself. There is ALWAYS someone smarter and more talented out there who has answers that will save you YEARS of hard work and hard lessons. Why would you ever pass that up?
So thats number two. Don’t be a pig headed dummy – Be teachable, assume you don’t know much – Because if you’re just starting, you probably don’t! Get around people more talented and further on the journey than you, and you’ll see yourself grow 10X faster than your peers doing it on their own.
Photography Business Mistake #3 – Competing & Copying Others
Learn from others. Ask them for help and advice. But don’t try and copycat everything about them! This is another HUGE mistake almost all photographers make when they’re starting a photography business. They find a few photographers whose work they love, and they become photography CLONES. Literally copying everything – Web design, branding, posing. They buy the same camera gear, charge the same prices, and pretty much do everything without a shadow of originality.
This may sound harsh – But don’t worry, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to my dumb headed, copycat self of yesteryear…. Unless this also applies to you. In which case, don’t be that person anymore!
The truth is businesses that compete – LOSE.
Straight up. If you offer the exact same service and style as another photographer, what do you think your clients are going to base their decision on?
Yes – Price. The worst differentiating factor ever. Why? Because it creates a bidding war, where you and your “competition” have to forever lower your prices in an effort to snag more jobs. End result? More work for less money. Not a win win at all.
So what do you do to avoid making this massive photography mistake almost all photographers make?
Be yourself. Not in the lame rainbows and butterflies kind of way though. Develop a unique style. You’re a creative and individual person who sees the world completely uniquely – So let that come out in your work. This may take time as at first as photographers we just want to get GOOD. But what is “good” anyways? What defines art? Who sets the standard? At the end of the day, don’t shoot for everybody else – Shoot for yourself. Create YOUR art. Express YOUR vision.
It seems so counterintuitive.
It feels like the logical way would be to do what is popular, what sells, what everyone seems to be doing right?
Nope. The truth is when you do what everyone else is doing, you’re a commodity – And with commodities, the lowest price wins.
But lets say you do something totally you, something creative and unique that noone else is doing. Even if its something totally cray like taking photos of cats underwater… The crazier, the more of a unique and irreplaceable edge you have. And you might get some copycats along the way, but they’ll never truly be able to be YOU the way that you can!
See how that works? Bam – Miles ahead.
Mistakes Almost Every Photographer Makes #4 – All Learning, No Application.
When you’re starting as a photographer, you’re trying to figure out photography essentials, how to take amazing pictures, how to start a photography business, and a million other things. There is a LOT to learn. Its natural to spend a lot of time reading, studying, stalking, and watching videos. But the mistake almost every photographer makes is getting caught in the trap of pursuing knowledge acquisition vs knowledge application.
Knowledge isn’t power. APPLIED knowledge is power.
The huge mistake photographers make when they’re starting (Or even long after!) is reading every blog, watching every tutorial, but applying none of it.
I can watch a million juggling tutorials. I can go see the best jugglers in the world, I can read all the juggling literature out there, subscribe to jugglers inc, and follow my fav jugglers like a stalker.
But NONE of that is going to make me a better juggler.
For some reason we struggle to get this through our heads! I don’t expect to become a doctor by binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, so why would I expect spending 5 hours a day on Youtube to make me into a photographer?
Going back to juggling, you know the ONLY way I’ll ever become a juggler? By going out and practicing. Over, and over, and over. Maybe I reference a video once in a while to learn a new technique… But that’s only so I can go and PRACTICE what I’ve learned.
If you take one photographer who spends 2 hours a day on tutorials and an hour a week shooting, and put them against someone who goes out and practices photography 2 hours a day, even with NO tutorials, you know which one I want photographing me? The 2 hours a day everytime. In the space of a year, they’ll be ONE HUNDRED TIMES BETTER than any silly photo noob watching hundreds of hours of youtube videos with no application.
Application is everything. In photography, in business, and in life.
What you know and don’t apply does NOTHING.
Photography Business Mistake #5 – Doing It All Alone.
Can you name one professional athlete without a coach? Name one sports team without a whole team of managers, coaches, physical therapists and trainers.
Why? Because people who try to do everything alone are doing it the hard way. The hard way is the dumb way. Why spend years figuring it out on your own when someone who has already been there can walk you through it in days, or even hours?!
This is a huge mistake that almost every photographer makes. We’re excited to start our own business, and can’t wait to be the boss! So of course as an independent soul, I want to do it my way. Or maybe we’re just too cheap to invest in coaching or training resources, because we’re not sure they’re worth it. That was me down to a tee.
Let me ask you a question. If I were planning to do a road trip across America, wow logical would it be for me to insist I build my own transportation? From scratch, without any help. Cars are overpriced anyways…. All those dealers are shady. I’m sure I can make my own for way less than those guys are charging.
Does this sound like a logical gameplan?
So why as a photographer starting a business do we try to “build our own” – Methods, business model, presets… Why not just invest in one of the vehicles out there that are just WAITING?
I say this from personal experience. If I were to do it all over again, start a business from scratch… The LAST thing I’d ever do is go it on my own or start from scratch.
Do you want to separate yourself from all the other photographers out there making this mistake?
Invest in yourself and your business – Don’t try and figure it out on your own.
In this 7+hr course, Daniel breaks down his whole business roadmap – You’ll learn his methods for building a business, setting yourself apart, building a portfolio. You’ll learn his shooting style and how he gets inspired. You’ll learn exactly how he edits his photos to give them their iconic look, and you’ll receive his exclusive, never released lightroom presets. AND we’ve included the RAW files to edit along and apply what you’re learning RIGHT AWAY.
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Let our hard lessons save you a TON of time, trouble, and money. At the end of the day, most photographers are still probably going to make these same mistakes –
1) Pricing too low
3) Competing & Copying
4) All their time learning – No Application
5) Trying to do everything ALONE
So simply by avoiding them, you’ll separate yourself from the competition and stand miles apart.
And that is a good place to be.
Ready to jumpstart your business and your editing?