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10 Photographer Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big

Posted by Jackie Acosta on

10 Photographer Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big

Are you making these mistakes with your photography?

Do you want to free up more of your time? Do you want more success as a photographer? Want to earn more money from your work? Learn how avoiding these costly mistakes could help you accomplish those goals and much more.

1. Multiple Personalities

Are you a portrait or a wedding photographer, but your portfolio has portraits, headshots, commercial, architecture, pet photography and more? Here is why that is a bad idea.

It's frustrating for the site visitor who likely came to your site because they are in the market for one type of photographer. Not only does this turn off and turn away site visitors but it also devalues your brand. It also makes it more difficult for your customer to establish rapport and a connection with you and your content. 

Remember this specialist command a higher price. When you have all sorts of photography in your portfolio it makes you appear to the visitor as a non-specialist. If you're still trying to figure out which type of photography you want to pursue then set up completely separate websites for each of your portfolios. Don't mix them together, and don't get lazy and just separate them by gallery titles. 

The sooner you can focus on your specialty the faster you will learn the ropes and build momentum in that genre or niche of photography. The worse thing you can do with your site and your energy is trying to please everyone and do everything, that's a recipe for disaster and burn out!

2. Auto Only

So you're passionate about photography, now it's time to learn about those manual settings. With so many variables that come into play, it is a must to understand the proper manual settings for a shot.

Lighting, number of subjects, surroundings, and type of photography, and movement just to name a few can greatly impact the image. To attempt to shoot all those scenarios in auto mode is a huge mistake. For occasions where there are no do-overs such as weddings, ensuring you get the proper shot is everything. 

3. Using Amateur Tools Expecting Pro Results

Everyone has to start somewhere but if you are serious about creating the best images then you need to use the best software. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are an absolute must for professional results.

If you shoot a lot of weddings you'll love making short work of all that editing using batch processing in Lightroom. If you want more creativity and power to edit and process your photos then Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard.

Now you can get the latest versions of Photoshop & Lightroom directly as downloads from Adobe for only $10 per month. This way you'll always have the most up to date version of each software. Get the tutorials to learn how to edit in Photoshop. Click Here -->

4. Relying Soley On Actions & Presets

While you want to leverage actions and presets to save time and boost your creativity you should also know how to properly edit and post process in Photoshop and Lightroom. It's similar to knowing your manual camera settings. As you develop your own personal style you can create your own actions and presets to use in your workflow. Don't let those tools become a substitute or crutch for really knowing how to edit in Photoshop.

5. Gallery Confusion

While every photo doesn't have to be identical in processing, you should have a consistency across your photos. When you deliver or present the proofs to your client for ordering, there should be consistency in the look and feel of your images. This will actually increase the size of their order and keep them coming back because each session is like it's own unique story. In short, your proof galleries should not look like a buffet serving of multiple styles and moods. Think story and you'll be off to a good start.

6. Non-Existent Marketing

If you're going to compete amongst the pros and freelancers, then you're going to need an advantage. As they say on the Shark Tank, you don't have a business till you have sales, you can't have sales without customers, and you can't get customers without marketing. Find a medium for marketing and learn, optimize and master it. 

The business that can afford to pay the most for customers always has the greatest chance of success. Become a student of marketing, study books, blogs, podcast and find mentors that are willing to share their knowledge with you.

7. Shiny Object Syndrome Marketing

Another mistake photographers make is trying every new whim and marketing method available, but changing it every week or few weeks. Marketing is a process and a system. It requires research, tracking, and adjustments based on data.

Trying something different every week and expecting results is like playing the lottery. Do you personally know someone who has won? Yeah, me neither.

You should pick one to three methods of marketing and stick with them for a month or three ideally. Then measure your results. Focusing on a few methods allows you to adjust and optimize those efforts so you're continually improving.

It's also best to decide on a method that has already been proven by the industry and master it. After you get a consistent stream of leads and customers, then you can experiment all you want.

8. Fumbling Natural Light

I often witness photographers positioning their subjects wrong in natural light. Usually, they've chosen a poor location or position their subjects wrong in relation to the light. This error will turn your photos into epic fails. Simply understanding proper subject placement and ideal lighting scenarios can take your photos from failing to fabulous. The best part is it's a zero cost upgrade!

If you are doing on-location photography, you need to learn and master light. Simply understanding and executing a shoot correctly can easily put miles between you and the rest of the pack. Don't neglect this topic, master it! For a simple guide & video tutorials on natural light click here -->

9. Chasing Customers vs. Attracting Them

You can spend all day every day chasing people down with your business card, working on your website, your ads etc but... if the phone isn't ringing and your inbox and calendar is empty then it's time to take a look in the mirror.  

Even if you are horrible at marketing, you can still build a successful business by word of mouth referrals. The right marketing strategy will only amplify your success. But if customers are in short supply, then you need to take an honest look at your work and make sure it is on par with your pricing and with your local market.

10. Avoiding The Phone

So the email or voicemail arrives and what do you do? The easy path is to simply reply by email. But if you want to build a relationship with your client and increase your earnings, you gotta pick up the phone. 

Speaking directly to your client allows you to add a personal touch and personality to your business and first impression. Use this opportunity to better understand your client's needs and any reservations they might have about booking with you. 

Communicating over the phone allows you to hear all the subtle things that an email won't give you. Speaking with your client also allows you to be crystal clear on your expectations for how the session will be structured. 

You can save yourself a lot of misery and time by identifying up front if this is a client you want to work with. You don't often get that luxury when you only communicate by email.

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1 comment

  • This was a great read! Extremely helpful and right to the point. I don’t shoot weddings but still learned a lot. Always grateful to the Pros who are willing to share good tips and their experience!

    JD Mallonee on

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