We often hear about mistakes in photography. Usually, they’re lists telling us to stop using selective colour or to stop shooting everything at f/1.4. But if photography is your business, there are potentially far greater mistakes that you might be making that while not necessarily detrimental to your photography can be very harmful to your business and your bottom line.
In this video, commercial photography Scott Choucino talks about the six biggest mistakes that he sees professional photographers making, why they’re such a big deal and how they can harm your business.
- Allocation of time – Stop researching gear you don’t need to buy right now. Just shoot. Improve your abilities. Stop wasting time.
- Believing your own hype – How well your work does on social media has no relation to how well it will be received (or paid for) by clients.
- Buying gear – Stop buying gear just for the sake of it. New gear isn’t going to make you a better photographer or make you more money.
- Not having a niche – You’ll get better clients and better pay if you’re not a jack of all trades and show that you excel in a couple of specific areas.
- Limiting yourself locally – Yes, we all like to work close from home, but if the high paying clients are a little further afield, go looking for them, and charge accordingly to cover the costs.
- Trying to follow genres of photography for which there is no market – I see this a lot.
As Scott says in the video, that last one is pretty contentious, but it’s a biggie and extremely common. I don’t follow the commercial world much, but I see and know a lot of photographers on social media who regularly photograph models, and pretty much only models, but then wonder why they’re not making any money.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with shooting this kind of thing, but how can you apply that gear, experience and portfolio to an actual paying market? Because most models these days, especially ones you find online, are charging photographers, not paying them.
If you want your photography to be a successful business, there’s so much more to it than just being a gun for hire. It takes a lot of thought and hard work to succeed and become a viable business – not to mention to be able to adapt and survive through the ever-changing world around us.
What’s the biggest mistake you see photographers making in business?