The Six Habits Of A Successful Photographer

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There’s a lot that goes into being a successful photographer. Certainly, the stakes are higher for professional photographers, but anyone who engages in this craft will experience some degree of anxiety in pursuit of their goals.

Of course, there’s all the technical skills one has to acquire and develop and, for some, a wide range of business acumen that must be gained.

The foundation of any photographer’s success — regardless of the various ways success might be defined — is built on good habits.

Make these six habits an integral part of your every day life and you will become a more competent, more confident photographer.

She Shoots Regularly 

It’s not uncommon to hit a wall at different points in your photography experience; sometimes you just can’t seem to make a photo you’re happy with, or you run out of ideas or you lose motivation to pick up your camera at all.

This lull isn’t permanent, but it’s important to remember that you have to nurture your passion. Keep shooting. Change things up and push your creativity in different ways. 

If you do a significant amount of client work, it’s especially important to take time to shoot for yourself, as constantly having to meet the needs of others can drain you of your creative drive.

When you hit a rut, just keep shooting.

woman taking photo of donuts
Photo by Szabo Viktor

She Keeps Her Portfolio Updated

Whether you update your portfolio after each new shoot you complete or you make targeted tweaks once a month, it is vital to make periodic portfolio updates so that your best work will always be on display for potential clients.

She Keeps Expanding Her Knowledge

Make it a habit to constantly learn new things and remain open to new ideas. Successful photographers know that they don’t know it all, and one of the keys to success is to never stop learning.

Information is right at your fingertips — from YouTube to podcasts to Light Stalking.

She Networks

The very idea of “networking” can feel disingenuous and transactional, but it should be about building real relationships with other photographers.

Having meaningful relationships with others in the photography community provides you with a source of support, helps keep you motivated when you’re discouraged, gives you someone to exchange ideas with.

It’s great to know people in positions of privilege, particularly when they’re willing to direct some goodwill your way, but one of the goals of networking should be to build substantive relationships with your peers.

people laughing and talking outside during daytime
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

She Documents Her Progress

While it is important to learn from your peers, don’t discount yourself as your best teacher.

The most valuable lessons you will learn will be sourced from your own experience, so get into the habit of documenting your growth as a photographer and periodically revisiting your past.

It’s fun to relive the wins but the failures are just as important — mistakes pave the way for course correction.

She Manages Her Time Wisely

As the saying goes, time is money. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, you should still respect and value your time. 

Being active on social media can be instrumental to establishing your presence and visibility, but don’t spend all your time there; you still need to actually pick up a camera and use it.

person holding blue sand
Photo by Ben White

Final Thoughts

Developing strong habits is a key part of growing into a successful photographer. Technical knowledge and skill are only part of the equation — without discipline those factors are largely wasted.

Incorporating good personal habits into your life will become the framework for your potential as a photographer to flourish.

Further Reading

About Author

Jason Little is a photographer, author and stock shooter. You can see Jason’s photography on his Website or his Instagram feed.

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