8 Tips to Push You and Your Photography Business out of a Rut

Employment of Photographers by State according to the US Department of Labor Statistics

Per US Department of Labor Statistics, May 2013

The same report, US Department of Labor Statistics, May 2013, states that the mean hourly wage is $17.88 and mean annual salary in 2013 was $37,190 – a good chunk of change for the above average hobbyist as well.

Becoming a photographer has low cost of entry (entry level DSLRs with a kit lens are around $1000-$1500), low barriers to entry, (home studios or outdoor sessions) and in most cases an education or a photography related degree is not required. Often times, as with most other professions, it is not what you know but who you know. If you happen to have a huge social circle or attract clients who have huge social circles, word-of-mouth and viral social media posts makes you famous almost overnight.

Unfortunately, the same social media and online marketing can also have a detrimental effect on photographers. It is very easy for a new photographer, or even a seasoned one, to feel overwhelmed and demotivated. Feelings of jealously, lack of confidence or even self doubt are very common and occur often. However with a few simple but effective steps, you can get out of your photographic rut, end your pity party of one, and get back to the profession you fell in love with. These steps will help you invest time in yourself, invest time in your community, and invest time in your craft to differentiate yourself from your competition and get noticed by clients, both present and future ones.

#1 Start personal projects

Medium Format Film Mamiya Christmas Market in Downtown Chicago by Memorable Jaunts

One of my personal projects is photographing with film – medium format and 35mm from a recent photowalk in Downtown Chicago

#2 Re-examine your portfolio

#3 Make friends in the industry

Making Friends with Fellow Photographers Memorable Jaunts

My talented friends – lifestyle film photographer Sachiko Eubanks Photography and wedding photographer Aparna of Photography by Aparna Paul Jain

#4 Rebuild your portfolio

#5 Attend workshops, seminars, and online events

Denver Colorado Wedding Photographer Memorable Jaunts Wedding BrideGroom Portraits

Attending workshops provides a platform to learn new techniques, network with other photographers and updated photos for your portfolio

#6 Volunteer your services

There are many great organizations and services out there. Find a few that you are passionate about and reach out to see if they need a volunteer photographer. Remember to be honest about your time commitment. If you can only volunteer your services during the slow season, let them know so they can plan accordingly. Remember if you are genuine and true, your images will reflect that passion and people will respect you more for wanting to contribute to the community.

Downers Grove Humane Society Volunteer Photographer Memorable Jaunts

My time volunteering at the local humane society has been one of the most rewarding experiences to date – I would adopt all of them if I could!

#7 Join photography clubs and groups

There are many great online and local community resources for photographers. Meetup.com is one very popular site that has many different photography clubs. There are generally a wide range of photography enthusiasts in every club and it is likely that you will have a good time. Go with an open mind and not with the attitude of, “What’s in it for me?”.

Naperville Illinois High School Seniors Glamour Portrait Photographer Memorable Jaunts

Participating in photowalks and shoot outs with other photographers has given me the experience of photographing a variety of subjects like high school seniors

#8 Honesty really is the best policy

Don’t just give the elusion of staying busy – actually get busy. Be honest and upfront with your clients. It is perfectly okay to say you are experimenting with black and white, dabbling with newborn photography, or working on landscape photos. Prospective clients will research and find all everything they want to know about you via social media, so be truthful.

Photographing Horses on film during the slow season Memorable Jaunts

Equestrian photos on film – photo credit Sachiko Eubanks Photography during one of our photography excursions

Lastly, keep your chin up and roll with the punches. Everyone goes through tough times in their lives and businesses at some point or the other. The key is to recognize that this is just a phase and it too shall pass.

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