If you think being a great photographer is all about taking stunning photos, think again. While gorgeous photos are certainly a part of your success, there’s more involved to becoming a standout photographer.
Here, I share 5 ways you can rise even higher in your field—and trust me, these tips are not difficult to implement into your life and business. You’ll find that once you do, your career will flourish even more.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other photographers
Comparing yourself is a big no-no.
Never, ever compare your creative journey with someone else’s. Doing so is a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you. They may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every person has their own pace.
Your journey is your journey—and you may as well enjoy the beauty of it.
When it comes to photography, you will never “arrive”—no one ever does. There is so much to learn in our business, so if you waste time looking over your shoulders and comparing yourself to others, you´ll loose valuable time, time you can invest in growing your art and your business.
Enjoy your journey and celebrate your art♥.
2. Join a network of like-minded, kind and creative people
There’s power and magic in community.
If I hadn’t joined a photography network of like-minded people, I would definitely not be at the level I am today. When I was a beginner in 2009, I joined a photo community—unaware of how much it would affect my work.
I was fortunate and very lucky to meet many wonderful people, many of whom gave me caring feedback and heartwarming comments. Their support helped me grow and develop my photographs—and today, they are still in my heart and in my network.
Facebook has many great photography networks, and you can also join sites like 500px, flickr, Instagram and many others. One thing I noticed when participating in a group: the more active you are, the more beneficial your experience will be because you’ll connect with others and learn from them.
When you join a group, seek out friendly supporters who lift your spirit and help you believe in yourself, and avoid socializing with criticizers. Although positive criticism can improve your photography, sometimes it can be demoralizing.
If you think criticism is affecting you negatively, avoid it until you can handle it. Ignore those who try to bring you down and have no good photographs to show. And you don’t have to remain in a group if it’s not for you; networking should be a positive (and fun) learning experience.
3. Say no to competing with other photographers—you’re on your own journey
Another important step in becoming a better photographer is to stop competing with other photographers in your area. Instead of trying to keep up with your competition, forget about them and do your own thing! In fact, you are much better off if you never look at what other photographers in your area are doing.
Listen to your heart, and only your heart.
Ask yourself how can you create a better business for your clients. What can you change or improve to make them feel important and welcome? Your heart is the foundation of your wisdom; love is intelligent; and knows the truth of things. Use that power to shine as a photographer and eliminate any concerns about the competition.
If you need a dose of inspiration, look at entrepreneurs/shops/businesses outside of your field.
Which shops/businesses do you absolutely adore?
Which shops/businesses inspire you so much they make your heart pump faster?
What do you admire about them?
When you look around for inspiration, you can improve your own business and set yourself apart from other photographers in your local area. You’ll be amazed at the results!
4. Take a break from the camera—and do something else
I know how much you love photography. You may even feel that you can’t live without it. I know how easy it is to fall into overworking at something you love. But I want to tell you that taking a break is beneficial to your work, your business, you life.
Passion is a strength—it´s your fuel and your drive. But overworking can hurt you. Sometimes the signs are obvious: you’re not fully engaged in your work; you’re not feeling enthusiastic; it’s causing you stress; and so on. Working at something you’re so passionate about can put you at risk for burnout, so it’s important to take periodic breaks.
Make it a priority to take time away from work, to rest, walk, lay on the beach, read a book, exercise, meet with friends…whatever inspires you and makes you feel good. After some time away you’ll return to your photography feeling rejuvenated—and ready to create!
5. Stop selling yourself short
Are you keeping your prices lower than the competition?
It might sound like a good idea; it’s how supermarkets get the ball rolling. And it’s tempting because of the economic crisis. But trust me when I tell you: it doesn’t work in the photography field.
Your pricing structure is one of the core fundamentals in business that leads to success. The cheaper you sell yourself, the harder you have to work! What will happen when you set a low fee? You’ll get lots of price-shopping clients to book you, you’ll work your butt of and possibly burn out—not so fun, right?
There’s a better option: You can charge a fee that will a.) make sure you don’t work under pressure and b.) support the amount of time you spend on a client.
This way you’ll feel happy when you work—and plus you’ll have more time with your family.
The higher your price, the more time you’ll have to spoil your clients, do your finest post-processing and brand your business.
And let’s be honest here: Price-shopping clients do not often value all the work and effort you put into it. True, isn’t it?
If you do want to keep your prices in the lower range, consider doing mini-sessions. Not everyone wants to have a full photo session if they’re just looking for a nice photo for their Facebook page, their web site or for an invitation.
Offering mini sessions can be a great way to make extra sales. Not only do they take less time, but you also have the opportunity to make the client fall in love with you and your work. They might end up spending more money than planned, because they just have to have the images—and they’ll talk about you to all their friends.
Thank you, as always, for tuning in.