Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 | http://www.trifonanguelov.com


2 Comments

9 Tips For Becoming a Successful Photographer


Wedding decorations at backyard DIY wedding in Livermore, CA

Wedding decorations at backyard DIY wedding in Livermore, CA

Becoming a successful photographer is not easy. It is a long journey and never ending preparation to meet opportunities.

In my mind, being a successful photographer requires three major qualities:

   – ability to master the business side of photography profession: marketing, sales, general administration

   – ability to master the photography craft: gear, light, composition, post-processing

   – mental ability to handle the stress and maintain a positive attitude while dealing with clients

All three qualities are broad topics to cover in a single blog, so I will only focus on the third one: the mental ability to handle stress and maintain a positive attitude while dealing with clients. I am planning to cover the other two major qualities into separate blog articles.

So why is important for a photographer to maintain a positive attitude and be prepared mentally? Because this is the “glue” which binds the technical aspect (gear, light, post-processing) and the business aspect. It can make or break a business as neither one of the three qualities can be a winning one by itself.

So now that we know the “What” and “Why”, let’s explore the “How’. Here are 9 tips on how to prepare mentally for being a successful photographer:

1. Be Humble:

The truth is that photographers are not born overnight. It requires lots of efforts and dedication to become good at photographing subjects or objects. Which means that when you first start, you will be nowhere near where the rest of the photographers you admire or strive to be like are.

You will also make lots of mistakes and fail many times while learning. What is important is to accept that you will fail to be correct or do things as you planned to, and accept that you will have to work harder to get better. The worst disservice you can do for yourself is to believe that you can become very successful photographer overnight, that you will make no mistakes and that everything will happen to you from the very first try.

Being humble, admitting that you would need to get better over time and learning from your mistakes will take help you maintain a positive attitude when everything seems not to be going your way.

Related: Top 10 Mistakes Every Photographer Should Avoid

2. Don’t Get Defensive:

Getting defensive at the first sign or criticism or failure will destroy you mentally. Instead of seeing each obstacle or critical comment, as a “plot” to destroy your business or threat everyone else as they are trying to steal or harm your business, see it as an opportunity to improve your business and grow like a photographer.

For example: when someone at a wedding takes photos of the same poses you worked so hard to direct and setup, and then posts them before you on social media, instead of attacking this person and trying to remove the images, post your better and amazing images so others can see how much better photographer you are. Let you craft speak for itself instead of wasting energy to correct every single wrong that would happen to you.

Another example: Instead of trying to go after the bride and wave your photography contract in retaliation, after she asked someone to edit your images and ordered a big canvas from the edited pictures, analyze why it this happening.

Were your images not up to par with her expectations so additional editing was required or was something which the bride asked you to do and you didn’t deliver on it? Why there is a disconnect between your service and her expectations? What you can do next time to prevent this type of situation?

It is easy to get defensive and miss the opportunity to learn from the situation and improve your skills and business.

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

 

3. Be Prepared For The Unexpected:

There are two types of photographers. Those who hate to plan and use their imagination and skills to get the best of the light conditions and setup they have. And others who plan and research everything to the smallest detail before even go out and try to take a picture.

If you are the second type, then you need to accept that your plan would not always work. For many reasons, but the important part is not to try to desperately follow the plan even when is obvious that it was a bad plan in the first place. Instead, try to access and use the current light and set up to make the best out of it. Forget about your preconceived ideas.

Adjust and you will be amazed how differently your images would be when you allow yourself to see the moments, instead of planning them ahead. Life happens as they say.

4. Accept That You Will Be Rejected Sometimes:

No one books every single client they pitch an offer to. The same as not everyone who walks into a department store, always buys something from there.

Photography is a subjective and discretionary service. Different clients would have different tastes and would respond differently to different photography styles. Expecting that every client would book you and becoming dissatisfied when it doesn’t happen, it will destroy your self confidence as a photographer and long term prospects of becoming successful.

The best you can do, is to reach out to the client who didn’t book you and try to find out if there was anything you could have done to win the business. Or find out what the photographer who won the business did differently. May be there is something you shall consider.

Related: The Single Worst Mistake a Photographer Can Make

5. Stick With Your Business Plan:

Low paying jobs just take your focus away from becoming successful. You need to build and grow “YOUR” business not someone else business. Don’t chase any client at any price just to get some income while undermining your long term success. It will derail you from your path to becoming a successful plus would confuse your clients with pricing all over the place.

Why the friends of the clients you gave a big discount to, cannot get the same price? And did you put half efforts into their session for half the price you charged them? I know it is tempting to do post-processing or second shoot for other photographers, and that the extra money can help to get through a slow season. But if the time you are going to spend on it is giving you such a low rate of return compared to promoting your business and getting clients, why do it in the first place?

You would be better off to get one client on your own, instead of spending long hours post-processing images. And while second shooting is good to add experience and portfolio images in the very beginning of your career, later when your hourly rate increases, you would need to do lots of second shooter jobs to make up for your pay rate.

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

 

6. Seek and Learn from Constructive Criticism:

The biggest mistake many photographers make when participating in discussions is to take the feedback for their images or craft, personally.

There is a grain of truth in every feedback, so learn how to find it, understand it and tweak your workflow or techniques. When listening to a feedback different that yours, you are gaining insights into how others perceive your images, workflow, business practices. It is true that people can be very opinionated online and you have to put efforts to filter the gold nuggets from the chunks of coal you would get, but don’t blank reject anything which is not praising you and feeding your ego.

Your friends will tell you what you want to hear because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They would like even the most awful images you post because they want to remain your friends. Your clients on the other side are not your friends, although some would later follow you on social media and befriend you. You will be operating a business and in business the one who delivers the best value to its clients becomes successful.

Feel free to follow Trifon Anguelov Photography on Social Media.

So don’t be afraid to seek feedback from different sources and not from your friends or immediate family only. This will help you to realize how to improve and growth. Otherwise, you would be risking to live and feel secure in the friendship’s bubble the friendship and would make you less inclined to look into improvements.

So try to see both sides of the equation. Unless you consider yourself the master of the photography craft already and don’t want to improve at all.

7. Experiment:

We all learn by practicing and by learning from our mistakes. It’s like first learning how to walk or ride a bicycle. One needs to try and learn on its own how to get good at something. There will be many trials and failed attempts before we can master something.

Our brains are designed to store successful patterns only after we experienced the failed ones. So, when on location working with a client, try to first nail down the “must have” shots. Then do a few experiments with a new technique or composition. Have at least one of two new poses or techniques try on each session.

Don’t count them as must have but as a learning opportunity. After you master it, add to the workflow. Then continue… Look for fresh ideas. Try a different technique or perspectives.

Related: So You Bouth a Brand New DSLR and Lenses And Now What?

8. Review Your Work Regularly and Keep Your Blunders:

Keep the bad shots you took and think about why they happened. This is a valuable tool to grow as a photographer. If you don’t do it, you will repeat them again.

You need to learn to avoid them and fix your techniques By keeping your blunders around is also useful to see how you are progressing and growing as a photographer. Over time you should see your images becoming better and better. Look for the errors you did in the past and are they still present in your latest images. Analyze why an image doesn’t look “right” and what is causing it.

How you can make it look better next time? You need to have something to compare to in order to get better. I understand that you might be itching to destroy these “bad” images forever, but keeping and using them to grade your progress would be worth the effort.

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

 

9. Be Part Of The Community:

Participating in different online and in person communities would help you learn and grow faster. The multiplication effect of utilizing everyone else knowledge to grow, is going to allow you to compound your gains and excel faster in the photography business.

Also by simply being on the receiving end and not contributing back with knowledge and experience is not the way how communities thrive and grow. As you learn and receive knowledge from others, so the others and less advanced can learn and grow from your knowledge and insights.

It is easy to ask for help and advice but not taking the time to share and help others grow. But if everyone does that, who is going to bring the latest ideas and information? Sharing and participating by contributing is how the entire photography community can grow and stay healthy.

Conclusion:

There are many successful photographers who worked hard and persistently to master their craft. There are also many who struggle to sustain and grow their businesses. The difference between both is the way how they approach and the decisions they make every single day.

It is important to understand what makes a business a success and how to not only sustain it but also grow it. I hope these 9 tips were helpful to give you some ideas to try on your own.

If you find it useful and interesting, please feel free to share with your friends or fellow photographers by using the share buttons below. We all can and will become better photographers by learning and sharing knowledge with others. If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback, drop me a line in the Comments section.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days. To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site

Advertisements


11 Comments

What Does It Take To Be a Wedding Photographer


Romantic Wedding in Saratoga Country Club in Saratoga, CA

Bridal Bouquet at Romantic Wedding in Saratoga Country Club in Saratoga, CA

Stark contrast with 20 years ago, when there were only a handful local wedding photographers available in each area. Back then, medium format film cameras and lighting equipment required to shoot a wedding could cost a small fortune. Not to mention that it took years to learn and practice the craft before one can call itself a wedding photographer.

Talk to wedding photographer veterans and many will remember spending long hours in the darkroom as apprentices, assisting established wedding photographers for years before picking up the camera and photographing a wedding on their own.

Nowadays, professional cameras and lenses are more affordable than ever. There are more wedding photography online tutorials, videos on YouTube and books than one can watch and absorb in a lifetime (for the fact gigs in us: 11,000 years based on the latest estimates). Opening a website and marketing a wedding photography business can take from few weeks to few months.

In other words, more affordable photography equipment and more information being available online, made possible for many photographers to enter the wedding photography business.

Wedding photography is also a field that can generate a steady stream of clients (during the wedding season) year over year. And the business is not as cyclical as an advertisement or commercial photography which tend to tank when the economy is not doing very well, and companies spend less on creating ads to market their products. People get married all the time and are less likely to cancel their weddings even when the economy turns sour.

But just because it is easier to get into it and start practicing, it doesn’t mean it easy to sustain and master it. It is indeed, a demanding and complex photography field, which is the reason so many new wedding photographers last only a few years before giving up. Of course, new entrants take their place, only to shut down their practices in few short years and to be replaced by the next batch of newly minted wedding photographers.

So, what is causing this high failure rate and high turnover among wedding photographers? Is it because is not as easy as it appears to be? Or is it that with so much competition around and rates going down, many decide the money they get paid is not worth the energy and time they invest? Or is it that over time it could become a bit of “Been There, Seen That, Done That”?

As a wedding photographer, working with San Francisco Bay Area clients and fellow local wedding photographers for few years already, I had the opportunity to build and sustain a wedding photography business. All points below (the most important but not everything) are what I think it takes to be a wedding photographer.

I hope many inspired to be wedding photographers would consider these when deciding to join the ranks of the wedding photographers. These are by no means all that one should consider, but I think are the one that are most demanding and can cause one to fail if not well prepared and able to handle. I grouped them into three main categories:

  • Skills
  • Time
  • Efforts

So let’s go over the list and see why each one is important to understand and prepare for.

Summer Wedding at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Gilroy, CA

Summer Wedding at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Gilroy, CA

Skills: 

1. Knowing How To Market Yourself:

The most important skill that wedding photographers should learn in my mind (besides knowing how to photograph which is mandatory and not open for any discussions). Vision and talent are great to have, but if one doesn’t know how to market it (aka convince others to hire its talent), there is no business. With no business, there is no income and no way to sustain the practice.

As a wedding photographer, marketing means:

  • meeting lots of people (brides, grooms, vendors, photographers, etc) and getting them excited about your vision and talent
  • attending bridal fairs to meet your clients and sell your services
  • making and maintaining an appealing website to showcase your work
  • advancing your website ranking by SEO
  • meeting potential clients all the time
  • keeping up with social media
  • maintaining your blog
  • answering your email
  • etc

Your marketing efforts would never stop. Unless, you decide to retire and stop looking for new clients.

2. Knowing How To Sell Your Services and Products:

If the marketing was skill #1 to learn and master, as a wedding photographer, the actual selling of what you market, is as skill #2, you need to be absolutely good at it. Ok. I lied. You don’t have to be good at it. You have to be absolutely amazing at it.

The sale is what gets you paid and would allow you to not only sustain but also to grow your business. Not to mention would open the doors to different type of clients and different types of venues. And I am not only talking about collecting payments and keeping track of them.

There is much more as:

  • keeping track of leads
  • following up with clients and guiding them through the booking process
  • writing contracts
  • collecting and keeping track of deposits and payments
  • bookkeeping of sales records
  • invoicing and receipting

So much for taking pictures, ah? We will come to the photography part below. Promise.

3. Learning and Practicing Multiple Photography Areas:

No other photography field blends so many different photography areas as the wedding photography. It requires one to learn and master areas as:

  • landscape photography (all this amazing environmental shots with the bride and groom in it)
  • macro photography (think of ring, shoes, dress, flowers, decorations, invitations, etc details)
  • portraiture (bride and groom portraits)
  • action photography (all the dance floor action in low light)

All of these have their place during a wedding, and a successful wedding photographer would need to have the experience and know how to apply them all.

Related: Top 10 Mistakes Every Photographer Should Avoid

4. Learning To Pose and Direct People:

Most brides and grooms don’t feel very comfortable in front of a camera. After all, modeling and posing requires practice. So as a wedding photographer, you would have to learn and get very good at posing and directing others to create visually interesting photos. It is another soft skill, and you need to master it if you want to set yourself apart from the competition.

Do you have what it takes to communicate to others how to position their bodies, heads and bring the best expressions out of them? Do you enjoy it or absolutely hate it? Having an answer would help you down the path to becoming a great wedding photographer.

5. Learning and Mastering Different Lighting Conditions: 

Weddings are very challenging when it comes to lighting conditions. From the low light ceremony locations (churches, temples, etc), to the transition to bright light events after the ceremony, to outdoor or indoor receptions, to the dark or no lights at all (except for all colors of the rainbow DJ lights), wedding photographers have it all. All the challenging and requiring knowledge how to capture, lighting conditions.

Not to mention that moving from one lighting condition to another happens very rapidly. Wedding photographers must know the light by heart and be able to react instantly.

DIY Decoration at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

DIY Decoration at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

Time: 

6. Working Long Hours:

Most weddings can last about 6-12 hours. On top of that, wedding photographers are commuting to and from the wedding venues for another 1-3 hours which means they are pulling 7 – 15 hours working days. It requires lots of energy and stamina to go through a normal wedding day.

Make sure you are mentally and physically ready for it. This will not be like a walk in the park for a one-hour photo session with posed clients.

Related: Getting Ready, Ceremony, Formals, Reception Planning Guide

7. Post-Processing For Thrice the Shooting Time:

If working long hours to capture thousands of wedding images doesn’t wear you off, prepare yourself for what comes after that. Wedding photographers have to download all the wedding images first. Then comes the culling, cataloging, tagging, editing, backup and delivering to the clients. On average it takes 3 hours of post-processing for every hour of shooting.

Unless you can charge high enough service fee and outsource the post-processing work, you will be up to long hours on your computer before having a final set of images to deliver to the bride and groom. Keep in mind that during the busy wedding season you will be shooting almost every weekend (some weeks on Saturday and Sunday), so you will most likely have a backlog of weddings to post-process. Red Bull and coffee usually help you to stay awake.

6. Missing All Summer Weekends For Years:

Most weddings take place during the summer months (for some states as California – almost the entire year) and on the weekends: Saturday and Sunday, which means you will not be free for your friends, family or simply to go somewhere during these weekends.

Be ready to miss many birthdays, graduation events, summer parties and trips to the beach on hot summer days. Decide if this is worth the sacrifice. You will earn money for sure, but all these money, even all the money in the World will not bring back the time you have missed. Make sure you are ready for this and can commit to it.

7. Maintaining Your Gear:

As a wedding photographer, you will need to deal with lots of technologies, which means you need to be tech savvy to make the best use of it. What you need to do besides taking pictures is:

  • upgrading your computer’s hardware and software
  • installing software programs and patches
  • maintaining your camera: cleaning, configuring, learning the manuals
  • keeping up you lenses, flashes and all related gadgets

If technology is not your thing, you would need to pay someone to do that for you. It is another time allocation you need to factor in your workflow and business plan.

Mandap Decoration at Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Fremont, CA

Mandap Decoration at Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Fremont, CA

Efforts:

8. Shooting is Just 1/5 of What You Would Do:

Many new wedding photographers think is all about taking pictures of beautiful brides on amazing venues. However, this is not what a wedding photographer primarily do. Some estimates put the shooting time to just 1/5th (or 20%) of the time wedding photographers spent.

Activities like post-processing, marketing, clients management, selling, education, etc. take the majority of the time. If you like the taking pictures part but dislike the rest, you might be due for a big disappointment.

9. Working Under Pressure:

Many weddings fall behind their planned schedules which mean certain functions and events will get compressed into less time. Wedding photographers are under constant stress to take the images their clients want, even when the time is just 1/4 of what was allocated.

And if this is not enough, traveling between the locations, posing large groups and dealing with vendors on the site, is going to be part of your working day as a wedding photographer.

And before I forget to mention it: Losing your temper is not an option.

Related: How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding

10. Keeping Up With Your Craft:

Wedding photography is a competitive and fast changing field. Photographers constantly introduce new themes and techniques to stand out among the increasing competition, which means one has to spend the time to stay current.

Attending conferences, watching video tutorials, reading magazines and books, networking with fellow wedding photographers and constantly practicing and improving are just a few of the activities that you will need to do besides photographing weddings. Falling behind and becoming obsolete, is not an option. It’s a constant “rate race” to stay ahead of the competition and book clients that many others are also trying to book.

11. Making Your Clients Happy (aka Be a People’s Person):

A big part of having a successful wedding photography business is to know how to get liked by potential brides and grooms. Sure, your portfolio can turn heads around but unless you “click” with the clients and they like you as a person, the chances are there will not be many bookings at the end. The couples look for someone they can get along on their wedding day, someone who seems trustworthy and they like dealing with.

You need to be able to:

  • handle impossible to meet demands
  • educate your clients on your services and packages in plan language they can understand
  • answer all their questions
  • be available and approachable
  • find a compromises to potential conflicts
  • build relationships with vendors and fellow photographers

These are just a few of the soft skills; one needs to have to be a successful wedding photographer. If you are introvert and despise working with people, you might be better trying to make it as a wildlife or landscape photographer instead.

Related: Photographer’s Jargon For Everyday People

 Conclusion:

Wedding photography is an exciting photography field. It offers the unique opportunity to witness and experience love stories and capture amazing life moments. But it is a demanding and could become overwhelming if not approached carefully. It is important that photographers understand what they are getting into and are prepared both mentally and physically to manage the workload and stress.

Many have succeeded, and many have failed. The difference between them is that one group was better prepared, loved what they were doing and persisted along the way. Others were not prepared, didn’t realize what does it take to make it as a wedding photographer and gave up at the end.

It is up to you to decide which group you would be. The bottom line is that you need to love what you do and need to enjoy it, to be successful in a long term.

I hope you found this article useful. If so, feel free to share with anyone who is planning to get into the wedding photography or would be interested. The wedding photographer’s community would be stronger and more successful if everyone helps the others to become better photographers.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can read more about the author and review his portfolio on his website. For a complete list of services and to book your wedding, visit his Wedding Packages page.


21 Comments

Top 10 Mistakes Every Professional Photographer Should Avoid


Snowboard Photo by Trifon Angulov PhotographyMany photographers at some point of their journeys have considered or decided to make their passion a career. They have decided to become a Professional Photographer.

It makes perfect sense, right? After acquiring plenty of professional photography camera bodies and lenses, flashes, filters and all necessary gadgets, learning all about light, composition, post-processing and online marketing, it seems natural to offer photography services to others and start charging money for doing what one loves to do. Not a single day doing a boring work again.

The decision is triggered by many factors like:

  • pro bono gig for your cousin’s wedding or family reunion and the overwhelming feedback from your uncle or relatives for the great job you have done
  • meeting or collaborating with other professional photographers and seeing their work only to realize that their images are not as great as you have been thinking
  • need for extra cash and desire to use some of your free time to earn extra money besides your daytime job

Whatever the decision might be, many photographers decide to make the conversion from amateur to part-time or full-time professional photographer. And after making this big decision, many photographers make the same costly mistakes which could cost their businesses dearly and could be easily avoided.

I did these mistakes too. If I could travel back in time and had the knowledge I have now, I would avoid them and would have grown much faster as a paid photographer.

Here are the top 10 mistakes in my mind, that every professional photographer should avoid in order to build and sustain a profitable photography business:

1. Don’t Overestimate Your Skills :

If you doubt yourself or feel that you are not ready to work with paying and demanding clients, then don’t. Take your time to prepare and be confident of how to pose, direct and manage paying customers in the type of photography you choose to specialize, but once out there talking or working with your clients, don’t stumble and panic if things don’t always go your way.

If you run into a problem, deal with it with confidence. Clients would sense when a photographer doesn’t know what he is doing and most likely will not refer you to anyone or will not leave you a good review after the session. Go at your own pace and don’t jump right into the professional photography without being ready. You can burn out quickly or stumble badly.

2. Don’t Try to Compare Yourself With Other Photographers:

They are at the point they are currently, because they started way earlier than you and have put so much energy and sweat into their businesses. Develop your own style and perfect it. Your style and skills are what potential clients will hire you for.

Ask yourself: If your style looks like the other photographers in your area who are already established, why potential clients would hire you and not them? The answer might be: Only if you offer an unique and fresh style and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

3. Establish and Perfect Your Workflow:

From booking, to arranging a session, to shooting and post-processing your images. You will not have enough time to learn and offer services in the same time, or will not have adequate time for both and either both or one would be not on par with what you should be doing.

Take time to learn these before starting to work with clients. It sounds easy, but believe me it is not. You will be spending no more than 15% of your time shooting and the rest of the time would be looking for clients, messaging and arranging sessions.

You will have lots of images to process in a short deadline and if thinking that once you get the clients, you can learn all of this quickly, you are setting yourself for a failure.  Plus, consider all the administrative tasks: responding to emails, social media and blog updates, ordering and shipping prints, etc.

Related: How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding

4. Establish a Feasible Pricing Structure :

It is important that you have sound pricing from the very beginning instead of trying to low ball your local competitors and later hopping to raise you prices.

What many new entrants into the professional photography do it is try to undercut everyone to get the clients in your area and then hope to raise their prices later. Sounds logical, right? Well, if you try to do that you will get the type of clients who are bottom fishing for the cheapest photographer and not for the image quality or style you offer.

Later when you decide to raise your prices, all of these clients and their referrals would swing to the next photographer who currently offers the lowest prices. Plus you will not appeal to the clients who perceive price as quality and they will not consider you, even if you craft is above the average. Affluent clients don’t drive Kia cars exactly because of the perceived value and image Kia cars have.

Related: Why Wedding Photographers Hide Their Prices

5. Invest Time to Learn The Business Aspect of Photography:

It’s a business after all and knowing how to take amazing photographs it doesn’t mean you will be profitable doing so and can sustain your business. Marketing, presentation, people’s skills, finance and economics and as important as aperture, exposure, composition and Photoshop editing.

Take your time to learn and practice how to budget, how to track and calculate your expenses and profit.

6.Don’t Be Your Own Enemy:

Don’t let negative feedback slow you down or constantly seeking approval for you work from fellow photographers. You will grow overtime and your skills and images would improve, so accept it. You will not be the best wedding photographer from day one but if you continue to do what you decided to do, you will one day.

You can only get better as time passes and you continue to put energy and learn from each session. Make the first step and improve every day by learning from your mistakes, from others mistakes and by upgrading your skills and knowledge.

The worst disservice you can make to yourself is to be afraid to start out and delay starting your professional photography career. Time is something you and no one can bring back.

7. Focus Is Everything:

Instead of marketing yourself as do-it-all photographer, specialize in the type of photography you would like to do in a long-term. If you enjoy landscape photography, don’t start with headshots and think you will transition to be a great landscape photographer later.

You will have limited time to establish yourself and build the skills required to excel into your niche. Plus, you will network with people who share the same interest and will be able to learn from them if you start with the right style from the very beginning.

Trying to do everything for everyone will make you an average photographer in many areas, not one of the best photographers in one area. Niche markers are more valuable and clients look for specialized skills when they hire a photographer.

8. Outsourcing Post-Processing Is Not a Crime:

Don’t be afraid to outsource your post processing. Your time is more valuable to market yourself, learn new skills, meet new clients, capture images and network rather than spending countless hours on processing images.

Of course in the beginning if you set your prices so low that you cannot afford to outsource this task, you will never be able to do that and you most likely will be trapped into your own trap.

9. Build Strong Portfolio:

Your photography portfolio is the best “sales force” you would ever have. Therefore is important that you spend lots of time to build a strong portfolio with quality and well crafted images. 

This is the first thing your clients will ask to see. It is the showcase of your past work, skills and style. People hire a photographer because they are looking for great pictures capturing exciting moments and emotions from their lives. A well crafted photography portfolio published online, makes it easy for your clients to visualize what they will be getting if they hire you and not the guy next door.

Consider TFP (Time For Photos) assignments, discounted services for building your portfolio, etc. The more time you spend building a quality portfolio, the better would be the chances that you will be able to attract and sign the clients you are targeting. You will also have much more confidence in your pricing and would be able to back it up with actual results.

Related: Photography Portfolio Sites: Smugmug vs Zenfolio

10. Threat Your Business Seriously:

You need to be committed to your clients, willing to go an extra mile to find, to excite and book them. Just because you have a website, great portfolio and professional gear, it doesn’t mean the clients will die to hire you. You would be on a job interview with every single client.

You need to prove yourself to every client and try to win their business. And, please, please, take time to write or get help writing a photography contract. It will protect you and your time and energy investment in your business from lawsuits and potential legal actions from dissatisfied clients.

Also don’t procrastinate to register your business entity. Doing business as an individual instead of sole proprietor (SP) or limited liability company (LLC) has huge drawbacks which can ruin your future financially.

Conclusion:

I am sure that there are more than 10 mistakes a photographer can avoid in their career and some would be more important that others. I hope to update this article in the future with additional content, so please make sure to come back and check for updates. If you have done a mistake which is not in the list, drop me a comment. I would love to add it and will credit you for it.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Would love to hear from you, so feel free to drop me a line in the comments section below. If you find this article useful, please share it with your fellow photographers and friends so they can benefit from it as well.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photographer in Mountain View, CA 94040. It offering wide variety of Wedding Packages  in San Francisco Bay Area, as well Engagement and Portrait services.