10 Ways Photographers are Their Own Worst Enemies

  1. They talk themselves out of things.  – Telling themselves that it wouldn’t matter if they learned new skills or shot new images or whatever they didn’t want to make the effort to do.
  2. They try to “educate” their clients (sometimes a bit too much) instead of collaborating and possibly learning from them.  A lot of “older” photographers are like this when they are working with younger art buyers or directors. I think the energy needs to work both ways.House surrounded by construction site, Atlantic City, NJ
  3. They give themselves an A for effort for starting something but too many times their starts lead to nowhere if they don’t have an end goal in mind.
  4. They don’t open themselves up to networking with others by attending industry meetings or events.
  5. They treat their clients like their enemies where one needs to win instead working toward a positive outcome for both.
  6. They make the mistake of creating for an audience, instead of creating for them selves.  (Thanks to Seth Godin for that thought)
  7. They take workshops or pay for a service and then don’t utilize them. I’ve been guilty of this too many times.
  8. They don’t shoot for the pleasure of it.
  9. They rely too much on commissioned work instead of taking advantage of new opportunities and ways in which to market and sell their own projects.
  10. They don’t stay true to themselves.

3 Replies to “10 Ways Photographers are Their Own Worst Enemies”

  1. Great post, Gail! From all the years I’ve been working with photographers to help take their business to the next level, I’d have to say that # 1 and # 7 (closely followed by #3) are the main reasons they stall out.

    Also, # 2 is a great point. It’s one of the best ways a seasoned photographer can re-energize their career and MUST be done if they are do avoid becoming “irrelevant.” Far too many seasoned photographers are so pissed off that things have changed so drastically that they would rather whine than be open to what might be an exciting new path. They shy away from working with younger clients out of fear of being embarrassed by being less tech-savvy than the younger clients.

    They fear they’ll be seen as cranky old coots. And they WILL be seen that way when they’re hell bent on protecting their “experienced photographer ego” and seek to “educate” clients without any empathy. Not only does that rarely work, but it doesn’t allow the photographer to gain new skills–and more importantly, new and evolving ways of viewing business and the world.

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