Sometimes, as photographers, we’re afraid to admit that things aren’t working.
Sometimes we’re afraid to confess these things publicly, and sometimes, we’re afraid to admit them even to ourselves.
This article will cover a few of the most common confessions from pro photographers as well as a few tactics to combating them.
I Lied to Get My First Clients
When we are first getting started in our business, so many photographers feel like they have to “fake it until they make it.”
This couldn’t be more wrong. Let your work speak for yourself and if somebody is your first paying client and happens to inquire how long you’ve been doing this, let them know your experience but don’t be afraid to let them know they’re your first paying client. There’s a good chance they’ll be honored.
You don’t have to pretend, on your website or in person, to have a team, a studio, or anything else to get early clients. Let your work and your passion speak for itself. Until you get that first client, here’s a few other ideas on how to make money with your photography.
I Still Only Have a Few Clients
Along the same lines is lying to get your first clients, we feel like we have to lie, claiming that we ever only have a few slots of open or are nearly booked solid.
You’re afraid that potential clients won’t book you because you don’t have any current clients, somewhat like walking into an empty restaurant on a Friday night.
We’ve all been there, trust me.
This is not only unhealthy to you, but consider who you’re really doing it to impress. Is it your potential clients, or is it your peers? So often photographers work extra hard on their websites or their messaging because they want to impress other photographers.
Your ideal clients don’t care how booked up you are so don’t fake any kind of scarcity thinking it will impress them.
I’d Never Pay What I Charge
The first step with this confession is that it’s okay.
Trust me, it’s perfectly fine.
This is because you are not your ideal client.
Not everybody who works at the Bentley dealership drives one, either.
The danger lies in, should you continue believing this, you will sabotage yourself by shooting for free, giving in to unreasonable client demands, and *gasp* heavily discounting your services to a rate that seems more “reasonable” to you.
One of the biggest reasons you would never pay your rates is because you can do it for yourself! Your frame of reference is completely different.
I Don’t Have Answers to Good Questions
Clients ask totally reasonable questions all the time. Questions like:
“What kind of camera is that?”
“What lens are you using?”
Sometimes they love photography. Sometimes they’re just curious people.
Instead of getting flustered or offering a cursory answer, direct the conversation back to your love of photography and your style, says a photographer.
Please note, unreasonable questions like “Can I see that?” after every shot, or “Can I get all of the files?” should also be handled with a similar grace, albeit a bit more firmly as these kinds of questions compromise your ability to get great shots.
I’m Bad with Clients
You may have gotten into photography because you like taking photos, not because you like working with people.
But let’s be honest: Most of us are quirky and awkward in one way or another.
Convincing yourself that you can’t be successful because you don’t have the people skills necessary to woo clients and build relationships is just flat out wrong.
Whether communicating via email or in-person, there are a lot of great resources for upping your social game so that it’s on par with the quality of your photography.
In the photography business, we have to wear a lot of hats, so don’t let your shortcomings in one area become part of your mental narrative going forward.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. I read each one of them!
Author’s Bio: Brendan is the founder of Photo MBA, where he teachers photographers how to charge more, land better clients, eliminate business headaches, and bridge the gap between their current reality and photography business goals.