Looking to take your photography to the next level?

Many photographers are looking to enter the professional realm in hopes of earning some money off of their passion. Unfortunately though, an estimated 85% of professional photographers go out of business within their first five years; which begs the question: what determines whether someone will succeed?

What separates professionals from amateurs isn’t always the quality of their work, in many cases it’s their business sense that sets them apart.

Knowing common mistakes that pro photographers make can help you to avoid making them. Read on to see seven common business mistakes made by pro photographers.

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Not Updating Your Website

It’s easy to get busy with life and forget about updating your website/blog/portfolio. This is a mistake that all too many photographers make. Before you know it a week turns into a month –or longer- and the website still isn’t updated.

Don’t make this mistake. If your site doesn’t have new content, visitors will think that you are out of business. It’s important to take the time to update your website with fresh, new content. One way to ensure that your site will be updated is to set up a weekly publishing schedule, and stick to it.

Sharing Every Photo You Take

Many photographers make the mistake of posting loads of photos from the same shoot. Even if you’re a professional, photo overload can cause your portfolio to look amateur -and messy.

Don’t share every photo that you take, just choose your best ones. You want your portfolio to look its best, so be relentless with your selection process. Think of your portfolio as your storefront, you want to show the world the best of what you have to offer. In many cases, less is more –especially when it comes to showcasing your photos.

Constantly Needing New Gear

It’s fine to want new gear, but many photographers feel that they need new gear in order to take great photos. New gear won’t make someone a better photographer though. Likewise, a great photographer won’t let their gear hold them back.

New gear is great, but don’t allow this perceived need to hold you back. It’s best to consider whether your photography business is making enough profit to merit an extra purchase, rather than purchasing new gear in an attempt to gain new business.

Underestimating the Importance of Networking

Many photographers make the mistake of thinking that they can go it alone with photography, but this is a mistake. Networking can open up new opportunities for a photographer, that wouldn’t be available otherwise.

Networking can help you to expand your contacts and meet new people who may be interested in hiring you. Getting out and meeting other photographers and networking with vendors can help you to gain new clients; something that’s essential for any business’ success.

Underestimating the Cost of Running a Business

Underestimating business expenses is a tragic mistake that can lead to business failure. Many pro photographers drastically underestimate the costs that are involved in their day-to-day business operations, which leads to inadequate pricing. Without correctly estimating your expenses, you will have nothing to base your pricing strategy on.

It’s important to calculate your estimated yearly expenses; including supplies, advertising, equipment, upgrades, and taxes; and formulate a pricing strategy based on your cost of doing business.

Thinking That Running a Business Will be Easy

A photography business involves a lot more than just taking photos and selling them. It involves doing many tasks that have nothing to do with photography. Running a business takes hard work, dedication, and persistence. It involves facing a lot of setbacks, criticism, and discouragement.

Being a professional photographer can be a rewarding career, but there’s a lot more to it than just taking nice photos. It’s important to make sure that you want the responsibility of running a business, before taking the leap.

Letting Your Passion Die

Never lose your passion. There’s a big difference between doing photography because you’re passionate about it, and doing it as a job. Many pro photographers find that they start to lose their enthusiasm for photography once they start doing it for a living.

To combat complacency, try to take time off from paying gigs to work on photography projects that are all yours –without having to work within the boundaries of client specifications. It’s important to take the time to let your creativity run lose, and to focus on projects that will allow you to reignite your inspiration.

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