10 Things a Photographer Needs to know to Succeed in Photography

By scottbourne

1. Shoot with passion – you need passion for people and/or storytelling. It’s more important than gear or anything else. It drives success.

2. Stay away from bitter, unhappy, mean, angry people. Avoid trolls and bullies – in any and all aspects of your life. Whether they be partners, vendors, clients, friends, family, associates, prospects, customers, neighbors – anonymous or otherwise. Avoid them. Ignore them. Banish them from your life. Don’t spend ANY time with or on them. This is one of the single most important things you can do to succeed at ANYTHING.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t worry about how many Twitter followers you have or Facebook friends you have or camera lenses you have. Your value to the world and your clients isn’t in any way dependent on how you think you stack up with those around you. Don’t worry about that. Worry about your clients. Put their needs and success ahead of your own and you’ll end up the winner.

4. Make the craft of photography something you lust over. Be on top of everything photography-related. Be proficient at all aspects of photography. Think about and pursue high quality results.

5. Care about people. Care about all of them, especially prospects, clients, vendors, staff and associates. Really care about them. When you ask them how they are doing, care enough to really listen to the answer. Think of your photo shoot as an attempt to help someone else’s life become a little better.

6. Tell stories with your camera. Make a difference everywhere you go. Have an impact everywhere you go. Live a big life. Take big bites out of life. Don’t concentrate on what you can’t do or don’t have, concentrate on what you can do and do have.

7. Use social media, new media, all media to show and sell your work. Embrace it. Become good at helping people solve problems using social and new media. You can help more people that way and make a bigger impact that way.

8. Own your own zip code. Make sure everyone in your zip code thinks of you as their local photographer. Don’t worry about taking over the world. The Beatles were rock stars in their local pub years before anyone in the USA ever heard of them. You can spend your whole life just serving your own zip code and be wealthy, successful and respected beyond your wildest dreams.

9. Honor your brand. Make sure it’s consistent with your core values. Know your own beliefs, feelings and desires and wrap them into your business/brand. Then live that. Make sure that you do what you say you will do well and with a smile. No excuses. Ever. Never. If you do make a mistake, immediately own it. Don’t wait for someone else to find out about it. Be proactive. Fix it. Fix it so things end up better than they would have been if you didn’t screw up. Don’t make excuses. Don’t get defensive. Apologize, fix and move on. Do it quickly, quietly and with a smile on your face every time.

10. Know your why. People don’t buy what you do they buy WHY you do it. Have an authentic WHY, and you’ll be rich in every way that counts. If you don’t know why you are a professional photographer or can’t articulate it, change jobs.

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