I really liked Scott Bourne’s post last week entitled, 10 Traits You Should Posses if You Want to be a Good Photographer. It got me thinking about the traits you need to make money as a photographer – because they’re totally different things. The best photographer in the world may not make any significant money without these traits:
- You must be a marketer. If you haven’t defined your target market & created a marketing message specific for them, you’re missing out. Most photographers are horrible marketers. Hone these skills and you’ll be much better off.
- You need passion. Scott mentioned this one regarding passion about getting THE shot. I totally agree. And, I’d add that you need similar passion for GROWING your business.
- Tenacity. Some people will beat you down. Others will ask what your REAL job is. If you don’t have the tenacity to charge forward no matter what, eventually, they will be right.
- You need be organized. Creative people are often disorganized. Use a system that doesn’t rely on you keeping everything organized. There are plenty of online customer database systems that will keep you more organized.
- You must follow up. If you don’t follow up consistently with every lead and every past customer, you’re throwing money down the drain. Its one of the hardest things to do, but pays the biggest dividends. Again, use a system to help you with this.
- You must not hesitate to sell. You’ve got to feel comfortable asking for the business. If you don’t, chances are you won’t get it.
- You need to be willing to get help. You’re the master of your work. That’s fine. But get help running the business. Hire someone to help you with the books, with organization, with follow up. The longer you leave all that up to you, the more it takes away from you shooting great stuff & making money.
- You need disciplined focus. Many photographers go out and try to do everything – wedding photography, portrait photography, commercial photography, photojournalism, etc. You may be the best in the world for all of those, but if you’re everything to everybody, then you’re nothing to nobody. You need to be disciplined about your target market & your niche. Focus on a specific market and dominate it.
- You need humility. In other words, you need to realize that you can’t do it all on your own. Get some good partners that can help promote your business and you can help promote theirs. Getting into a win-win situation like that can do wonders.
- You must be a relationship master. Whether you like it or not, people want to do business with those they like. If they don’t like you, they’re not going to buy from you. It all comes down to relationship. Luckily, the web has enabled many reserved people to have great relationships online that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with in person. If you’re already great at relationship building, leverage that. If not, work on it. Hard.
I think that’s a solid list. I’d love to hear your ideas about what helps a photographer make money.
Photo credit: James Jordan