Hey, how’s it going? I’m Andy Jones, and this is episode 143 of the Photography Side Hustle podcast.
Okay, this week’s episode is “Common Mistakes 8”.
Professional photographers, just like anyone in any profession, can make mistakes from time to time. I know I have over the years and continue to do. So, here are eleven common ones you need to avoid.
Over-reliance on equipment
It’s really easy to get caught up in the latest, greatest camera body and think that better equipment will automatically result in better photos. While the latest gear can certainly help, your skill as a photographer is far more important.
Sometimes, you might overlook the composition, lighting, and storytelling because you are blown away by how fast your new camera body and lens focus.
So before every photo you take, think composition and light. What is in the frame, and how is the light affecting the subject? Not, I can’t wait to see how much better the photos are using my new equipment.
Remember, your camera and lenses are just tools. They need to capture what your creative mind sees. It’s no good having a photo in sharp focus if the composition sucks.
Not communicating effectively with customers
Now, this can make or break your business.
Your customer needs information about what it’s going to cost them, where and when the session will take place. When do you want payments to be made? Do you have any suggestions on what they should wear? You also need to get them to sign your contract.
Knowing what your customer wants from the photo session is so important. You need to make sure you give them everything they want. If a customer says after a session, I wish we had got a photo of my husband and his cousin together, you didn’t do your job.
Ask questions and find out what they need in advance. Communicate properly, and your business will run smoothly.
Poor time management
Time management is crucial in photography, especially for professionals who may be juggling multiple projects or deadlines.
You need to know how much time is needed for the shoot and include traveling time. Knowing how long it will take you to process the images is so important. You need to deliver the photos to your customer on time or early. Late isn’t an option.
Overcommitting and spreading yourself too thin is a problem. Taking on too many projects or commitments at once can lead to burnout and compromise the quality of work. Poor time management won’t get you any referrals or glowing testimonials. So, manage your time carefully.
With the rise of AI in the editing software we use, it is very easy to cross the line between just enough and oh dear.
I’ve seen some edits where the photographer said they wanted the subject to pop. Well, it looked like they went way past popped. It was more of a color explosion.
Finding the right balance between enhancing an image and preserving its authenticity is key. Don’t go crazy using Saturation and Vibrance. Too much can make your photo look just wrong.
Lack of backup and storage
Losing or corrupting files due to inadequate backup and storage practices can be devastating for a professional photographer. It’s essential to have reliable backup systems in place, including copies of files stored in multiple locations, to safeguard against data loss.
Just imagine having to explain to a bride why you don’t have any photos of the wedding ceremony. It’s not like you can do a re-shoot.
So, make sure you have copies of the master files in at least three places. On your computer, on a backup hard drive, and off-site. Off-site can be either another hard drive at a friend’s place or uploaded to a cloud storage site.
If your computer dies, you have two backup copies to use. Or if your house burns down, you have the off-site copy to use.
Another thing to consider is having extra memory cards in your bag. Because when a memory card gets corrupted as you are shooting, you can replace it and redo the last few shots. If you don’t have extra cards with you, well, that’s the end of the session. So buy more memory cards and don’t upset your customers.
Photography can be physically demanding, especially for professionals who spend long hours on their feet carrying heavy equipment or working in challenging conditions. Neglecting self-care, such as proper nutrition, hydration, and rest, can lead to burnout and decreased productivity.
So take bottled water and snacks with you. Shooting a wedding on a hot day, you can quickly become dehydrated and need to be on top of your game.
I mentioned Poor Time Management earlier, and the stress caused by not managing your time can cause burnout. So look after yourself, because if you get sick, there is no photography business.
Not charging enough
If your prices are too low, people’s perceived value of you will be low. That isn’t good if you want to make a decent profit.
Rather than trying to start out with high prices and not getting any bookings, you need to start low and raise them gradually in small increments.
When you’ve been shooting for a year, your images are going to be way better than when you started out. So, raising your prices as your photos improve is the way to go.
No networking or marketing
Even the most talented photographers can struggle to attract clients if they don’t effectively market themselves and build a strong network of contacts.
Networking with potential customers, maintaining an active online presence, and investing in marketing efforts are essential for growing a successful photography business.
So, let’s say you are a headshot and branding photographer. To network with your potential customers, you can join LinkedIn or Facebook groups specific to certain industries.
You can also pay for ads that get seen on LinkedIn and Facebook. Then there is also the old-fashioned way of contacting business people directly at their place of business.
Your website is your hub for showing people what you do and collecting their emails to your email list. All of your marketing and networking directs people to your website. The mailing list is essential for selling yourself and your services anytime you need bookings.
Okay, next …
Ignoring legal and copyright stuff
Failure to properly understand and protect your rights as a creator can leave you vulnerable to copyright infringement and legal disputes.
It’s important to educate yourself about copyright law in your country. Use contracts to clarify ownership and usage rights and take steps to enforce your rights when necessary.
Having a good contract and having the customer sign it is so important.
Underestimating the importance of soft skills
In addition to technical skills, success as a photographer often requires strong personal and communication skills.
Building a good relationship with clients and providing excellent customer service are all critical aspects of your job as a photographer.
Not adapting to changing market trends
The photography industry is constantly evolving, and photographers who fail to adapt to changing market trends risk becoming obsolete.
Whether it’s embracing new technologies, exploring new genres or niches, or adapting your marketing strategies to reach new audiences, you must be willing to evolve with the times.
So, every year, take some time to see what is changing in your marketing results or if there is a photography style that is becoming more prominent. Adjust your tactics if needed and stay competitive. Ignore the changes, and you won’t be around for long.
Okay, those are eleven common mistakes you want to avoid in your business.
If you need help, you can join the Facebook group. It’s a friendly place, and everyone wants to help.
You can get the transcript for this episode in the show notes or over at PhotographySideHustle.com/143.
And while you are there, you can support the show and buy me a coffee.
I’ll be back next week with an SD card full of waffle.
Talk to you soon, bye.