5 Things Which Will Hurt Your Photography Business

(Last Updated On: March 6, 2017)
Photo by Joanna Poe

Photography Business

If your goal is to make money from photography, your in business. It’s important not to forget this fact. The photography business is not easy, however, there are best practices. Sometimes it’s helpful to review the things which will hurt your business to help you understand what you can do to improve and grow your photography company.

Below is a list of things which can hurt your business. If I have a related video on the topic, I include it with the section.

Punish Your Clients

The first thing I recommend is to not punish your current clients and prospects for the sins of past clients. Sometimes we get burned. It happens; move on. It is a good idea to look at new ways to protect yourself in the future. However, many photographers take it too far and the result is a loss of future business. This is especially true when you work with the public or dare I mention models. Don’t place restrictive barriers to do business with you. Ask yourself, would you put up with such a hoop to work with a service provider?

Link to video: https://youtu.be/DlApnQgdaCI

Don’t Connect With Clients

One regret I have is not making deeper connections with my clients. I’ve met many wonderful people through the years. Some photographers are a natural and connect with everyone. Me, I’m rather standoffish. I don’t mean to be, yet, in my early years, I was in and out of an assignment quickly. You were lucky if I remembered your name by the time I was out the door. Today, I’m much better. Every photographer is different. If you are an introvert, consider working on your social skills for the sake of your company. It doesn’t need to be an overnight solution. Yet, you can practice asking questions on each new assignment.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/zByleG0e_EA

Say Yes To Everything

Learn to say no. I know you want every opportunity possible. Some photographers take on the philosophy to say yes and figure it out later. Depending on your skill level, this is a dangerous game. If you are not sure, pass the assignment to a fellow photographer who specializes in such an area of speciality. Your reputation is more important than the money. You can make up the money, it’s hard to rebuild a reputation.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/PIc1bvtUlW0

Learn to say no for the sake of filling your schedule with income producing activities. Set an hourly rate for your activities. If you will not pay you, your hourly rate, to do what you are doing at the moment, find something better to do with your time. If you can afford it, find people to do the minor takes for you.

Not Know Your Value

If you wish to survive as a photographer, you must know your value. How much should you charge for your work. Just because other people do it cheaper, doesn’t mean you can. Do you know your cost of doing business? That is a good start. Never forget, only you can take photographs by you and you are priceless.

Only you can take photographs by you and you are priceless. Click To Tweet

Your eye, your time and your experience as a photographer or in life has value. Your copyright has value. I can’t emphasize this enough, if your copyright has no value then why do people ask for it? If your time has no value, then why do people want it? If your photographs have no value then why is there a market? Chances are your value in the marketplace is much greater than you believe.

Knowing It All

You don’t know it all and it all changes daily. Continue to educate yourself. Develop new skills in the photography field. You may be a food photographer, however, learning to photograph babies may give you some insight and new skills you can apply to your food photography.

You don't know it all and it all changes daily Click To Tweet

Test new equipment. Rent a camera, lens or light you have never tried. Read blogs on photography topics outside your normal comfort zone. Watch tutorials on the latest photography techniques and concepts. Create a library of resources.

There is always something new in our industry. Do you know how to make an awesome virtual reality (VR) experience, can you create a cinemagraph?, do you know the latest tools in Photoshop? Stay curious.

Have you been doing the same thing for the last three years? It works and your clients like it. Unfortunately, if you don’t keep growing, you will wake up one day and wondered what happened. Where did your business go? Chances are, you will blame technology and other photographers. The only tool you need to help see what happened, is a mirror. There are more opportunities than ever for photographers. Keep yourself educated and look for new trends.


There are many things which can derail a photography business.  I’ve mentioned a few here, such as, not punishing your clients, engage with them and keep yourself educated. What would you add to this list?

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