What’s the most common question people have when they decide to become professional photographers?
“How do I become a successful photographer?”
Yet that question is impossible for anyone other than the photographer to answer. And if I tried to answer it for them, I would quickly put them on the path to failure. Here’s why.
You see, everyone has their own vision of success.
One person may see a business that brings in enough income they can stay home with the kids. They photograph portraits a few times a week, and charge just enough to bring in enough income to pay the bills.
The next person may choose to become the most well known photographer in the world. They want to travel around the world, sell their images to the best publications, and give presentations in the highest places possible.
These two people would both be considered a success if they achieved the goals they have for themselves. Yet if I tried to define success for them in generic terms, I could never have accomplished it.
So, if you want to follow the path to failure, buy a guide to success from a photographer and try to follow his advice down to the detail.
But if you want to create a path to success, use these strategies to move you forward
Read as many success guides as you can, and use them to define your own goals
The easiest way to find success is to follow in someone else’s footsteps. Let face it, its all been done before. Someone has made a lot of money as a portrait photographer, a wedding photographer, an app developer, and an album designer. If you can think it, you can find someone who has found success doing what you’re dreaming about.
Even though they have blazed the trail before you, you probably have key issues with the way they do things. You may be targeting a different set of clients, be in a different area, or have different desires. Because you are starting out now, and they may have years or even decades of experience, you’ll probably approach things a bit different. That’s okay. That’s what gives you your unique twist on things, and will help you blaze your own trail.
Physically write down what makes you happy and what you hope to achieve
- I want a steady flow of income year round
- I want to do something meaningful every day that I believe in
- I want to be recognized for my talents
- I want to be able to give back to my community
By writing down what makes you happy, you can start seeing your new direction. For example, if being recognized for your talents is important to you, maybe its time to work with a publicity firm, and start being recognized in newspapers, magazines and online sources.
Don’t do this exercise once and put it away. Instead, keep your ideas fresh and right in front of you. Add to them every chance you get. The more refined you make them, the clearer they will become.
Look for opportunities all the time
The funny thing about success is it usually falls into your lap when you least expect it. I’m not saying that it comes easily and you don’t have to work for it. Instead, what I’m saying is the more you look and plan for it, the more open you are for opportunities.
If you are focusing on becoming the best wedding photographer in the world, you focus in on wedding opportunities. Maybe you learn of a new online resource just for brides. You head over and offer your services as a writer and columnist. And because you’ve been active with PR and have a wide variety of things in Google, this new site recognizes your talents and invites you in right away.
That’s opportunity. That’s success.