I recently received an email from Alicia Caine from Served Up Fresh (another photography business expert) that I loved so much that I just had to share it. It’s all about being a scared photographer – something that crippled me in the early days too. But hey, if you never do anything that scares you you’ll never grow.
Here’s Alicia’s email:
I have an ancient Indian fable for you that surprisingly, is tied to being a successful photographer…
There once was a mouse in constant distress because of its fear of a cat. A magician took pity on the mouse and
offered to turn her into a cat.
This made the mouse’s heart sing…
until she became afraid of the dog.
So the magician instantly turned her into a dog.
But soon, she began to fear the panther.
So the magician snapped his fingers and poof she was now a sleek and powerful panther…
But soon, fear of the hunter nearly paralyzed her.
Have you ever run a business before? Have you ever been a salesperson, a marketing copywriter, a web designer, a social media expert, a business analyst, a brand consultant, an entertainer or a diplomat?
No? Have you ever studied those areas? As photographers we need to be all of these things and more. As a photographer you’re an entrepreneur. It’s not easy. But hopefully you find the challenge and the journey exciting and interesting.
We all have so much to learn. Embrace it and never stop pushing yourself.
No single thing will make your photography business a success.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link, which is why I always bang on about creating a system. You can’t look for magic pill solutions that will instantly catapult you to success.
Imagine having a website with great design and mesmerizingly persuasive copy that encourages lots of people to ring you, only for you to bore every caller to within an inch of their life. They won’t hire a dull dweeb (although they might hire a dingus as that’s pretty close to how I am!). Every part of the system needs to work well or you’ll be like a car with a broken spark plug – going nowhere, but not entirely sure why.
“It’s audacious to think you can grasp the lifetime’s work of someone in just a couple of hours of reading their book”
Jay Abrahams talking about Claude Hopkins phenomenal book ‘Scientific advertising’
These days the question is not so much:
‘How hard is it to be a photographer’
‘How hard is it to become a photographer?’
Simply getting started is a big challenge. That said, don’t listen to the doomsayers who believe the professional photographer is a dying breed.
I don’t mean a bit serious. I don’t mean ‘fond’ of photography. You need to be Ebola virus serious.
Do you remember the term ‘yuppie’? Back in the 80s my uncle was one of those ‘Young Urban Professionals,’ earning a great living in the burgeoning computer industry. He had the big house in London and a Mercedes 500 which he proudly told me was the world’s fastest saloon car, at the time. He did pretty well.
Many years ago I asked him why some people made so much more money than others, even though many people with money weren’t all that bright. Since I was a straight C student I was pretty keen to know how an average Joe could do a bit better for himself.
At the time his answer didn’t seem that helpful, but it has stayed with me for over 20 years and the meaning behind it has swollen with importance and insight.
This is what he said:
“Most people earn as much as they think you’re worth.”
What does this mean to you? Well, some photographers have the confidence to look a client in the eye and tell them that an x sized wall portrait is £800. When I started out I couldn’t see anyone wanting to invest more than £200-£400 in a family portrait session. Now I can sometimes command seven times that amount with a session. What changed? Sure, I have a fantastic system in place to help clients appreciate the value of what I do, but the biggest change happened in my head.
I was just like you. I couldn’t believe anyone would spend that much on portrait photography, Continue reading
I used to be very good at thinking up excuses about why my photography career wasn’t going anywhere and why successful photographers had some sort of unfair advantage over me. Do you do that?
My ‘problem’ was that I started my journey into photography very late (I was 31 when I picked up my first SLR!).Can you believe that!? I think it was a mid-life crisis driving me to seek a more fulfilling new career.
Like many new photographers I thought it was going to be a fun easy way to make decent money. As the years rolled past I realised there was a bit more to this photography caper than I’d realised. That’s when the excuses started seeping out. After all, I’d studied business and marketing at university and I’d been a marketing professional all my adult life. I needed a damn good excuse to ensure any failings with my photography career weren’t my fault!
Don’t be fooled. The simplicity of some of the business tips I’m going to reveal might make your eyes roll like a scolded teenager. Just because these principles are simple, their undeniable power should not be overlooked.
You may think that some of these ideas are obvious, too; but be careful – it’s often the obvious stuff that we end up ignoring. After all, we all know the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than we consume, but how many of us consistently take the obvious steps required?
So, absorb these principles and start carrying them out, today. Pick one and focus on it for a week before moving onto the next one. In a month you’ll have 4 great new habits.
Get Pro Photo is all about helping photographers like you earn the living you deserve from doing what you love. It’s about sharing the best ideas in the photographic community. It’s about realising that other photographers aren’t your enemy, ignorance is. For example, if every wedding photographer in your area averaged $5000 (£3000) for each wedding wouldn’t you be delighted? Sure you would, because it would mean that all the prospective clients in your area would be used to investing that amount and that would make your life a lot easier.
What I’m saying is – don’t be afraid to share the ideas and secrets you discover on this website. They don’t Continue reading
The photography industry is pretty exciting right now. In ‘Is the photography industry dying’ I mention how it’s easier than ever to share your photography with the world and make a name for yourself. However, the flip side of that is you may feel completely overwhelmed by all the choices out there. What path should you take? Should you Tweet, Pin or Like? Should you blog, network or exhibit?
Have you ever thought:
“how is it some photographers seem to get way more done? Their name is everywhere, with clients beating a path to their door.”
Speaking of the word ‘path’ – which path should you take when there are so many options out there? The video below helps you crystallise in your mind what you need to do – what it takes to drive your photography business forward in today’s competitive Continue reading
We’re all great at thinking up excuses about why we’re not where we want to be in the world. This video explains what’s holding you back from a great photography career and how to overcome the issues.
I know exactly how it feels. You feel you’re not as smart as everyone else, or you’re not as naturally gifted at photography. Maybe you don’t feel confident around people. Perhaps you feel lost and just don’t know where to start because launching a new business is pretty overwhelming.
Take a look at this video – I’m sure a lot of my experiences will resonate with you. Best of all, I explain how I overcame the chips sitting on my shoulder.
If you’d like to read more on this subject then you’ll like my post ‘A Photographer’s Biggest Competitor is in Their Head’.
Please leave a comment if you have a sec – I’d really appreciate it.
In this post I explained how you need to think of all the problems and concerns your client may have and then think of ways to help them overcome them. This time we’re going to look at some of the problems your business has and what you need to do to overcome them. Actually, to be technically correct, your business doesn’t have these problems, your brain does. But then you ARE the business, so if it’s not working you have to kick your own ass and set things straight.
Today I’m going to kick your ass for you! So, I apologise in advance if any of this sounds less pleasant than a dentist appointment. However, the more this information hurts, the more you probably needed to be told it…
Don’t worry though, you’re not alone. We all suffer with some, or all of these afflictions at some point. In fact I actually highlight what I did to overcome each issue. The key is to acknowledge the problems and set out a plan to deal with them.