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Get Clients Chasing You
12 Photography Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big
March 2019
Do you want to free up more of your time? Do you want more success as a photographer? Want to earn more money from your work? Learn how avoiding these costly mistakes could help you accomplish those goals and much more.
1. Portfolios And Trying To Do It All
I've coached and mentored thousands of photographers and I see this common mistake all the time. For example your a portrait or a wedding photographer, but your portfolio has portraits, headshots, commercial, architecture, pet photography etc. Here is why that is a bad idea.

It's frustrating for the site visitor who likely came to your site because they are in the market for one type of photographer. Not only does this turn off and turn away site visitors but it also devalues your brand. Remember this specialist command a higher price. When you have all sorts of photography in your portfolio it makes you appear to the visitor as a non-specialist. AKA a general photographer. 

If you're trying to figure out which type of photography you want to pursue then set up completely separate websites for each of those portfolios, don't mix them together and don't get lazy and just separate them by gallery titles. 

The sooner you can focus on your specialty the faster you will learn the ropes and build momentum in that genre or niche of photography. The worst thing you can do with your site and your energy is to try to please everyone and do everything. That's a recipe for disaster and burn-out!
Camera Basics
2. Not Knowing The Best Manual Settings For The Shot
So you're passionate about photography, now it's time to learn to those manual settings. With so many variables that come into play, it is a must to understand the proper manual settings for a shot.

Lighting, number of subjects, surroundings, and type of photography, and movement just to name a few can greatly impact the image. To attempt to shoot all those scenarios in auto mode is a huge mistake. For occasions where there are no do-overs such as weddings, ensuring you get the proper shot is everything. 

Take the time to understand ISO, shutter speed, aperture and know how to manipulate these in varying scenarios, lighting and styles of shoots.
photoshop manual camera settings
3. Using The Wrong Software To Edit & Post Process
Everyone has to start somewhere but if you are serious about creating the best images and launching a photography business, then you need to use professional software. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are an absolute must for professional photographers. 

If you shoot a lot of weddings you'll love dialing in your workflow and easily processing a large number of photos in short time. If you want more creativity and power to edit and process your photos then Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. It used to be pricey to get into Photoshop with CS6 and earlier versions. 

Now you can get the latest versions of Photoshop & Lightroom directly as downloads from Adobe for only $10 per month. Then you'll always have the current version of both. You may think it's too difficult to learn Lightroom and Photoshop, but it's actually much more difficult to try to run a professional photography business without it.
Are you missing out on this huge time saver?
Are you missing out 
on this huge time saver?
The Hipster Collection
4. Not Using Actions & Presets To Save Time
If you're using some other software to edit your photos then you are missing out on a huge time saver by not being able to use actions and presets. These are simply saved action steps in Photoshop and Lightroom that allow you to quickly and easily edit your photos.

I should caution you here that while there are some great presets and actions that will yield beautiful results, there is also a lot of junk being offered that will only frustrate you and waste your time. You don't need 1,000 actions, just imagine what a time waster that would be. But you should find some that work for you as they can help you really reduce your editing time and create consistency across the session work. The best actions have customizable layers and will work for a variety of photos.
5. Not Knowing How To Hand Edit & Only Using Actions & Presets
While you want to leverage actions and presets to save time and boost your creativity you should also know how to properly edit and post process in Photoshop and Lightroom. It's similar to knowing your manual camera settings. As you develop your own personal style as a photographer you can create your own actions and presets to use in your workflow. Don't let those tools become a substitute or crutch for understanding the best way to edit in Photoshop.
6. Client Gallery Confusion
While every photo doesn't have to be identical in processing, you should have a consistency across your photos. When you the proofs to your client for ordering, there should be consistency in the look and feel of your images. This will actually increase the size of their order and keep them coming back because each session is like it's own unique story. Your proof galleries should not look like a buffet serving of multiple styles and moods. Think story and you'll be off to a great start.
7. Not Marketing
If you're going to compete amongst the pros and freelancers, then you're going to need an advantage.

As they say on the Shark Tank, you don't have a business till you have sales, you can't have sales without customers, and you can't get customers without marketing. 
8. Marketing Flavor Of The Week
Another mistake photographers make is trying every new whim and marketing method available, but changing it every week or few weeks. Marketing is a process and a system. It requires research, tracking, and adjustments based on data.

Trying something different every week and expecting results is like playing the lottery. Do you personally know someone who has won? Yeah, me neither.

You should choose one to three methods of marketing and stick with them for a month or three ideally. Then measure your results. Focusing on a few methods allows you to adjust and optimize those efforts so you're continually improving.

It's also best to decide on a method that has already been proven by the industry and master it. After you get a consistent stream of leads and customers, then you can experiment all you want.
9. Getting Natural Light Wrong
I'll be at the park, at the beach or somewhere and witness a photo shoot being executed completely wrong. They choose the wrong spot or position the subjects wrong in the light. Often times there is a perfect one within 50 yards. 

If you are doing on-location photography, you need to learn and master light. Simply understanding and executing a shoot correctly can easily put miles between you and the rest of the pack. Don't neglect this topic, master it!
10. Chasing Customers Instead Of Attracting Them
You can spend all day every day chasing people down with your business card, working on your website, your ads etc but... if the phone isn't ringing and your inbox and calendar are empty then it's time to take a look in the mirror.  

Even if your are horrible at marketing, you can still build a successful business by word of mouth referrals. The right marketing strategy will only amplify your success. But if customers are in short supply, then you need to take an honest look at your work and make sure it is on par with your pricing and with your local market.
You need to master your craft, both in capturing, editing and delivering a finished product.
Make sure you are always learning, growing and investing in developing your skills to higher levels.

You should also surround yourself and expose yourself to good photography and successful artist. It will help inspire your creativity and develop your eye for capturing amazing shots. You'll also learn faster if you are connected with a community of photographers.
11. Avoiding Photoshop
I get it, learning something new takes time and Photoshop can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Too many teachers and tutorials over complicate it which only increases the confusion and extends the learning curve. Also just because you have your way of editing in Photoshop, doesn't mean you shouldn't search to find better ways. 

I've personally mentored hundreds of advanced photographers with successful businesses. Many of them discover they've been doing things the hard way for years. No matter what, you can't avoid learning Photoshop, and if you are avoiding it, you need to dive in soon. Even Lightroom is limited in what it can do, but having a good grasp on Photoshop opens up an entire world of new creative options. 
Photoshop Basics
12. Avoiding The Phone
So the email or voicemail arrives and what do you do? The easy path is to simply reply by email. But if you want to build a relationship with your client and increase your earnings, you gotta pick up the phone. Speaking directly with your client allows you to add a personal touch and personality to your business and first impression. Use this opportunity to discover their desires and expectations for their session, as well as any reservations they might have about booking with you. 

Communicating over the phone allows you to hear all the subtle things that an email won't give you. Speaking with your client also allows you to be crystal clear on your expectations and setting up or framing how the session will be structured and so on. You can save yourself a lot of heart-ache and wasted time by identifying up front if this is a client you want to work with. You don't often get that luxury when you only communicate by email.
Are you tired of chasing clients? Do you want to know how to get them chasing you? 
CITED REFERENCES
.1 Keith Speights, Motley Fool, www.fool.com What Percentage of Businesses Fail in Their First Year? May, 3 2017

.2 Facts & Figures, Photography Bsiness Exposures at a Glance, Insureon, 2018

.3 Sales Stats, The Brevet Group 2018
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