While we all know that there is no universal recipe for becoming a successful photographer, there are certainly some pitfalls that every photographer should avoid. Since the market is so saturated nowadays, analyzing your approach and reevaluating your business can be the first step to improve what’s problematic and increase the chances of success.
The following 7 things might be the main factors that are preventing you from reaching your full potential as a photographer:
1. Not Taking Criticism Well
There is no personal growth without the ability to take criticism well. In the case that you often find yourself defending your photos, you are not doing yourself any favours since you’re inhibiting the learning process.
There are no limits to skill levels when it comes to art – you can become better and better every day if you’re willing to listen and learn. It’s great to accept what people have to say with grace and use their critique to grow, especially if they are seasoned photographers.
2. Obsessing Over Gear
No matter how important it is to have the right gear, it’s not true having all the latest and greatest gear makes you a better photographer. It’s always your creativity, your knowledge and your way to deal with challenges that matter the most.
Many photographers are guilty of using gear or lack thereof as an excuse for bad performance. The sooner you realize that your kit is only a tool, the sooner you work harder to hone your skills and learn some new tricks.
3. Being A Cliché Photographer
There are countless cliché photographers out there because it’s so easy to be this kind of photographer – you just need to replicate common ideas and concepts and use common settings. It doesn’t pay off to be another cliché photographer because you cannot stand out if you’re just like everyone else. In order to be truly successful, you should specialize in one or two genres, not more than that. A photographer who’s an expert in 10 different genres simply doesn’t exist. You have to discover your calling.
4. Not Using Social Media
Maybe 10 years ago it was still acceptable not to have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, but this doesn’t work anymore. You have to be active on social media so that people can understand what your business is all about and what’s the best way to reach you.
However, even if you have a profile on every social network you won't get too far without learning and applying proper marketing strategies.
5. Having Money As The Main Goal
If money is your only goal, photography is most probably the wrong career for you. If you choose a certain genre just for the money and not because you’re truly interested in it, you are setting yourself up for a really bad time. Photography is an art form and if you’re not passionate about it, you can’t get truly good at it.
6. Quantity Over Quality Approach
One amazing photograph means much more than 50 mediocre ones. Instead of showcasing too many images in your portfolio and making your customers bored, you should always pick the most superb ones. With time and practice, the amount of great images will increase in your portfolio.
Ultimately, the goal is to show off a brief yet powerful portfolio that will blow your customers’ minds. It’s really hard to achieve this but it’s certainly not impossible.
7. Not Having Repeat Customers
Repeat customers are in a way more important than new customers, because these people are so happy about your photography that they decided to come back for more. This also means that if you’re not having any repeat customers, there’s something wrong with your business model.
The most common reasons for not having repeat customers are either quality of service or lack of communication with customers. You should figure out what the problem is and fix it. The good way to do so is to constantly seek feedback from your customers.
In case some of these mistakes look familiar, you may want to consider taking a different approach to photography. Even some small changes are a useful initial step towards more success in photography.