12 Photographer Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big

March 18, 2018 0 Comments

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. Don't Be The Walmart of Photographers

Are you a portrait or a wedding photographer, but your portfolio has portraits, headshots, commercial, architecture, pet photography, etc. Here is why that is a bad idea. High paying clients are in the market for a specialist in their category. This causes high-value clients to click away from your site and devalues your brand. Remember, specialist command a higher price. When you have all sorts of photography in your portfolio it makes you appear to a generalist rather than a highly-skilled, focused and successful photographer that specializes in exactly what they are looking for. The way to stand out to the clients that pay the best is to niche down and be a specialist in whatever category you want to pursue.
The sooner you can focus on your specialty the faster you will learn the ropes, build momentum in your niche and develop a following of faithful clients. The worst thing you can do with your site and your energy is to try 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 to 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. 
Take the time to understand ISO, shutter speed, aperture and know how to manipulate these in varying scenarios, lighting and styles of shoots.

3. No Post Processing Tools

Everyone has to start somewhere but if you are serious about creating the best images and launching a photography business, then you need to use professional software. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are an absolute must for professional photographers. If you shoot a lot of weddings you'll love being able to dial and streamline in your workflow. You can easily process a large number of photos in a short time. If you want more creativity and power to edit your photos then Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. It used to be pricey to get into Photoshop with CS6 and earlier versions. Now you can get the latest versions of Photoshop & Lightroom directly as downloads from Adobe for only $10 per month. This ensures you always have the current version of both. You may think it's too difficult to learn Lightroom and Photoshop, but it's actually much more difficult to try to run a professional photography business without it. 

4. Post Processing Burn Out

You're doing all your editing by hand when you could be saving loads of time. You end up getting burnt out and not putting the right finish on your images. Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions are a huge time saver that allows you to quickly and easily edit your photos. If you are just starting out these can help you achieve professional finishes while you're working to develop your own skill and style.

5. Never Progressing Beyond Actions & Presets

While you want to leverage actions and presets to save time and boost your creativity you should also know how to hand edit and post-process in Photoshop and Lightroom. It's similar to knowing your manual camera settings. Doing so allows you to develop your own personal style as a photographer.

 

6. Client Gallery Confusion

While every photo doesn't have to be identical in processing, you should have consistency across your photos. When you show the proofs to your client for ordering, there should be a 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. Your proof galleries should not look like a buffet serving of multiple styles and moods. Think story and you'll be off to a great start.

7. Not Understanding How To Market Your Services

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. The world has changed. Nobody looks in the yellow pages for a photographer. You have to go to where they are. Advertise on the sites and blogs your potential client frequents. Learn SEM (Search Engine Marketing) so clients that are looking for photographers in your area can actually find you first!

8. Spray & Pray 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 choose 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.

 

9. Un-natural Natural Light

I'll be at the park, at the beach or somewhere and witness a photoshoot being executed completely wrong. They choose the wrong spot or position the subjects wrong in the light. Often times there is a perfect one within 50 yards. 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. The wrong lighting and positioning can make clients look older, heavier, tired, blown and so on. Don't neglect this topic, master it! If you need help take my Camera basics Course and my Intro To Portrait Photography Course.

 

10. Chasing Customers Instead Of Attracting Them

You can spend all 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.

You need to master your craft, both in capturing, editing and delivering a finished product.
Make sure you are always learning, growing and investing in developing your skills to higher levels. You should also surround yourself and expose yourself to good photography and successful artist. It will help inspire your creativity and develop your eye for capturing amazing shots. You'll also learn faster if you are connected with a community of photographers. I have beginner and advanced courses for photographers available here.

11. Avoiding Photoshop

Photoshop can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Too many teachers and tutorials over complicate it which only increases the confusion and extends the learning curve. I've personally mentored other successful photographers and many of them discover they've been doing things the hard way for years. Know that Lightroom is limited in what it can do, but having a good grasp on Photoshop will allow you to greatly expand your creative and technical abilities. 

12. 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 with your client allows you to add a personal touch and personality to your business and first impression. Use this opportunity to discover their desires and expectations for their session, as well as 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 and setting up or framing how the session will be structured and so on. You can save yourself a lot of heart-ache and wasted time by identifying upfront if this is a client you want to work with. You don't often get that luxury when you only communicate by email.