the biggest mistakes i made while building my photography business

August 2, 2020

photography business mistakes

building a business does not come easy. while the dream of being your own boss is initially what draws most of us small-business owners in, there is much to learn during the process! i’ve been in the photography business and oh can I tell you, i’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way!!!

but rather than having to experience all of them yourself and learn the hard way like me, i want to share some of the things i’ve done, so you can avoid the same mistakes.

1. offering discounts

when you hear “discount,” you probably think of giving somebody a great deal. and while i’ve definitely shaved off a few hundred dollars over the years in an effort to get a client, i learned a lot more about discounting myself.

i found out that when i sold myself short just to get a client, fill-up the weekend, and get a quick paycheck, that I ended up feeling undervalued. by booking someone at less than what i charge in full, the client ended up undervaluing me just like i did to myself by not charging my full value.

not offering a discount isn’t just about making more money, it’s about booking clients who VALUE you in every way. clients who pay full price (and what you are WORTH) are excited to share their day with you and want YOU to be the one there.

if they want you, they will pay for it. 

2. saying “YES” to everything

i know, i know––when you’re starting out, it’s hard to turn away business and i admit, this is still a big problem for me! what can I say?!? i’m always a work in progress!! but as you get deeper into your photography career, you will really be drawn to particular styles.

if weddings really call your name, carry on!

don’t sell family portraits or book a newborn photoshoot if that’s not what you love doing. market that you’re a WEDDING photographer and tell everyone you do WEDDINGS. they will see you for the pro you are having narrowed down what you love to do instead of offering a little bit of everything. plus, the more you do in one area, the better you become!

i’m not saying you can ONLY do weddings. i mean…if you’re interested in trying something new and it feels “you,” then do it! but trying to be a pro at every type of photography is the fastest way to hit burnout. 

burnout is when you feel so incredibly heavy with shoots, editing, family and friends, that you can’t even enjoy life! work is not fun when its all you have. 

photography is an incredible job to have: it’s amazing to call it your business and career, but it really isn’t that fun when it’s your sole weight of stress on your shoulders!

make sure to say “yes” to relaxing and enjoying life WHILE running your business!

3. not asking for HELP

i get it…your business is your baby. but we all need help from others to reach success.

maybe you start recommending other photographers because you don’t want to take too much on, or you outsource and hire an accountant (because taxes are HARD and weird, and hiring someone to do it for you is so much easier–– I PROMISE). maybe you are asking for help outside of your business to help you spend more time on what matters most––it’s OK! take the time to ask for help or take help when it is offered. nobody starts and runs a business alone!

4. last-minute editing

confession: I LOVE pushing off editing! i struggle to get my work done, especially when it isn’t on a hard and fast deadline. of course i can be at my wedding right on time, but when it comes to making my own schedule and working on my daily tasks, it can be SOO easy to push it off.

the important message is getting your editing done efficiently and over-serving your clients. when you accomplish this, it’s going to go SO much better than you could imagine!

do I have all of these mistakes mastered? nope! i am STILL building my business and still making mistakes. but i continue to learn and hope some of my mistakes continue to help you grow in your business as well! 

i love to help photographers avoid mistakes and go above and beyond in helping to streamline your business so you can enjoy an amazing work/life balance while still making $$$! to learn more about working with me, click here.

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