How Do You Know If Your Photography Business Will Fail?

(Last Updated On: May 19, 2017)

Will Your Photography Business Fail?

*Don’t forget to check out the video at the bottom

It’s a big step to start a photography business. Many photographers begin as amateurs who decide to turn their passion in to a career. Unfortunately, many photographers don’t heed the warning signs about their business future. Photography is an awesome career, however, there are things you need to do to increase your chance of success.

The Beginning

Let’s start at the beginning. Although there are many things photographers don’t do well at the onset of their career, myself included. The number one path to failure is not starting. I know, when you have enough money, the stars align and your problems go away — it will be the right time. Nope.

There is never a perfect time.

Your problems will not magically go away. You may have a specific barrier which you are waiting to pass. Still, chances are, there will be another barrier once this one passes. Start now, even if it’s a small step.

There is nothing wrong with a part-time job while you develop a photography career. You can transition. However, make sure you have a plan. Is your career transition process over six months or a year? What goals do you need to reach before you can tell your boss to take this job and shove it.

Set Up For Failure

Too many photographers set poor precedents early on in their career. If you have any intent of making photography your full-time job, set high standards early. Use best business practices and set solid rates. When you set low rates early in your career, people will expect them later. The people who refer you will let others know if you are a cheap or high-value photographer.

The cheap photographer reputation is a tough one to shake.

It’s important to know your cost of doing business (CODB) and how much you need to charge as a full-time photographer. Starting cheap with the belief you can magically raise your rates quickly later, when you depend on photography for your income is foolish. Check out my pricing article for more information.

How may $500 weddings does it take to make a living? One hundred? Don’t forget your expenses, time, marketing and the competition you need to beat to earn 100 weddings in a year. There is a reason photographers charge thousands of dollars per wedding, command high day rates and per image fees. We have expenses to pay and families to feed.

Depending On Others

You must decide if life as a photographer is right for you. Friends and family are a guide. Yet, not all friends and family want you to succeed. They don’t have a dream job, why should you? They are not always the best judge of marketable photography either.

I recall my grandparents hired a neighbor, who was a budding photographer, to create their photograph. My grandparents where wonderful people, especially my grandmother. She saw the best in everyone. They raved about the talents of this photographer. Shockingly, when I saw the result, I realized it was the most horrible portrait I’ve ever seen from a photographer. Not just from a professional perspective. The photo is terrible. It’s underexposed, on camera flash, poor composition against a gray wall. Both my grandparents are frowning, caught off guard and look like they belong in a police line up. They proudly sent copies to the entire family.

Friends and family telling you what a great eye you have does not pay the bills. You need strangers willing to pay you for your photography and then refer you. If people who didn’t know you before their session, refer you after to their friends and family — you have a good chance at success.

Do It Like Everyone Else

There is nothing wrong with mentors, finding influence and inspiration from other photographers. It’s not a bad idea to try to recreate similar work from photographers you admire. Especially to improve your skills. However, you need to separate yourself from the competition, if you are to succeed.

When you do what everyone else does, it turns your photography in to a commodity. In other words, hiring you is all about price, not your work. No, your great service is not the answer. Everyone must have great service to stay in business. If you don’t find a look, style or service which separates you from the competition. It will be a tough road ahead. There are a lot of photographers who can do the basic work.

You can succeed because no one has your vision. Still, it’s important to understand the business to create a successful photography career. What would you add to the list?

Below is a video about the five reasons your business will fail. Check it out for more insight. Link:

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