12 Things holding You Back From A Great Photography Career

Hi, I’m Dan Waters, Co-Founder of Get Pro Photo Club

Do you remember the first time you created a photograph you were really proud of? The sense of accomplishment was immense, right?

But it gets better…

You show someone the photograph and they tell you how amazing you are.

Then it gets even better…

You capture a beautiful photograph of your friend’s child and give it to them. They’re blown away. They LOVE it. They LOVE you. Being able to make people that happy is wonderful.

It becomes fabulously addictive.

You press a button and achieve instant gratification.

You press a button and you make people happy.

The need to feel liked, wanted, recognised and respected are some of the greatest desires we have as human beings. People make insane decisions based on these desires.

Look at what people will do to become famous.

We’re all driven to try and make people happy…

…unless you’re a sociopath or psychopath!

The great thing about photography is that you can quickly improve your skills and you’ll never stop getting better. You’re compelled along an endless mission to be better, better, better.

Up to a point this is healthy, inspiring and motivating. It gives you purpose.

But then something happens….

…You realise how phenomenal it would be to make a career from this thing you love.

You’d be released from the drudgery of your day job.

No more tedious meetings.

No more rude and demanding bosses.

You’ll be able to do something you love every day and get paid for it

So you set up a website and start promoting yourself on Facebook.

You’re in business!

And I’m guessing this is where your story gets a little rockier…

The trouble is no-one ever told you how to run a business. And, by the way, I have a degree in Business Studies and I STILL struggled at first, so it’s not your fault.

Maybe you get a handful of clients. But you realise you’re going to need a whole lot more if you’re going to actually make a living.

Word doesn’t seem to be getting around like you’d hoped.

Should you drop your prices? But you’re barely making anything as it is!

Is your photography the problem?

Are the people in your area just not into photography?

Or is it something else?

The thing about photography is YOU are the business. You’re the marketing department, the sales department, the accountant, the administrator, the PR department… etc.

You’re probably doing it all.

So, the good news is that you can change things, because the only thing you need to change is how you’re thinking. You’re the boss. You’re the business owner.

Don’t take this negatively. It’s not your fault if you’re struggling.

Even in my business studies degree they didn’t explain how to think like an entrepreneur.

Most people think business must be common sense.

However, Bloomberg states that 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first 18 months. Therefore, it can’t be common sense, it’s uncommon sense!

There are so many myths and common misconceptions about how to run a business. It all gets shared around and pretty soon 80% of people are saying the same incorrect stuff.

I worked in marketing departments for 17 years and I heard these myths stated time and again. Misguided phrases like:

  • “We need to lower the price to get more customers.”
  • “We need to make the advert catchy and short because people won’t read things these days.”
  • “We need to do something ‘to get our name out there.'”

The people who succeed are the people who DON’T think like everyone else.

So, with that in mind, your first step is to honestly consider how you feel about the 12 things I believe are holding you back from a successful photography career.

And by the way, I’ve wrestled with many of these issues myself. Some of them still haunt me today. We’ve all got hang-ups that we’ve acquired from the people we spend time with. Acknowledging those hang-ups and challenging them will save you years of pain and frustration.

You CAN do something about them and your transformation can start today.

Who the hell’s Dan Waters?

It’s always good to know a bit about whoever’s teaching you something. After all, they might be teaching you a load of useless junk that doesn’t work!

Hi, I’m Dan Waters, a professional portrait and wedding photographer and the co-founder of Get Pro Photo Club. You can check out my photography at www.danwaterscreative.com

I was a marketing professional for around 17 years and got my degree in Marketing and Business Studies way back in 1995.

I’ve invested thousands of pounds and thousands of hours studying the programmes and systems of the world’s leading business consultants.

People like Drayton Bird, The Results Corporation, Dan Kennedy, Clayton Makepeace (who’s considered the world’s highest paid marketing copywriter by the way!), Brendon Burchard, Napolean Hill, Joe Girard, Ari Galper, Brian Tracy and many more.

I’ve been featured on leading photography websites like:

Weirdly, I think it’s my deficiencies that make me most helpful to you though. For example I was always very low on confidence and had a poor self image, caused by years of bullying – first through school and then by bosses at work.

When I launched my photography business it was hard for me to look people in the eye, let alone charge a decent amount for my work.

So, I understand how you feel if you get uncomfortable talking to your clients about price, or trying to ‘sell’ your work. I get it. And because I get it I can help you overcome your fears and lack of confidence because I can share what worked for me.

If a shy, average student (straight C) like me can turn things around then anyone can. I now regularly earn over £1000 from a single family portrait session and was voted one of the top 10 breakthrough wedding photographers in the UK by www.hitched.com.

But don’t be fooled, once I learned the secrets to success in the photography industry I was able to get these nice orders while I was:

  1. Still part time
  2. Had no studio
  3. With elementary photography skills
  4. And living in a low income city (Peterborough in the UK)

If I can do it, anyone can. At Get Pro Photo Club we’re dedicated to helping new and struggling photographers earn a great living doing what they love. OK, let’s dive in – here are the 12 things holding you back from a great photography career…

1. Thinking, if I’m cheaper than the competition I’ll get all the clients I need

It seems logical that if you’re cheaper than the competition then you’ll get more clients and be more successful. You’re offering ‘value for money’.

The trouble is you’re selling your time, you’re not selling tins of baked beans at the local pound store.

You can only photograph a limited number of people. The more people you photograph the less time you’ll have with each one and the more your photography and service will suffer.

A lot of photographers go onto forums and ask how much they should charge. This is actually the wrong question. They should be asking themselves how much they want to earn, work out how many sessions they’ll need to do to achieve that (while considering all the many hidden costs associated with a photography business).

Just because other photographers charge a certain amount doesn’t mean you can’t be more expensive, even if you don’t think you’re as good.

You can compete on service.

For example, I meet all my portrait clients before they book me so we can chat about what they’re looking for and plan the session.

Why copy the prices of someone else who probably just copied someone else, too. Why model your pricing on complete strangers who might be struggling themselves.

Do you really want to be the cheapest photographer in town? Do you want to be photography’s answer to fast food, with clients being photographed like they’re on a production line? One size fits all. No time for creativity or taking care of each client – you just get them in and get them out.

Or would you rather be the best you can be and give as much care and attention to each client as you can?

If you want to feel rewarded creatively and financially then I feel you need to do the following two things:

  1. Add value
  2. Demonstrate the value

It’s beyond the scope of this book to explain how you do that, but this is something we can help you with here. Differentiating yourself from the competition is critical if you want to be successful. We can even show you how to triple your family portrait sales without even raising your prices! Impossible? Not at all. And you can do it tomorrow if you follow the Get Pro Photo Club system.

2. You think that if your photographs are great then they’ll sell themselves

It’s sad to say that there are a lot of incredibly talented photographers who really struggle with the businesses and ultimately give up. Conversely there are some pretty average photographers who are wildly successful.

I’ve had orders of over £1000 when I wasn’t very happy with the images I’d created. While some of the finest photographs I’ve ever created remain unsold.

My clients often choose what I consider my least favourite from a session.

Don’t get me wrong, your photography needs to be the best you can possibly do. It is important, but it won’t sell itself.

Great photography won’t bring a clamouring army of clients to your front door waving their credit cards. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. Trust me. All the photographs in this book are mine and they’re not too shabby, but they don’t sell themselves.

You need to master the art of marketing and selling (more on that in a bit – and don’t worry, it’s not as hideous as you imagine!).

3. You think people will only pay what you’d pay

We all have a threshold for how much we think something is worth. Different people value different things differently. Some people will spend hundreds of pounds on a golf club, or a bottle of wine. Some people will put all their money into a sporty car, even if they live in a modest home. Other people will spend every penny they have on travelling.

You get the point.

So, the key is to ignore your inner voice that tells you what your photography is worth. I can assure you I repeatedly have clients invest far more in
my photography than I ever dreamed.

Those people are out there and they’ll choose you if you can show them why you’re offering services that your competition isn’t.

If you were a salesperson at a jewellers you wouldn’t feel guilty about charging thousands of pounds for a diamond ring. Your boss would have educated you on what makes that ring better than a cheaper one, based on cut, clarity, carat and colour.

The same goes for your photography. If you offer a fantastic service then the people who care about photography will be happy to invest in you. You just need to discover the marketing and sales skills to help you separate yourself from the competition.

Which brings me on to…

4. You think selling is evil

Where does your dislike of salespeople come from?

Is it those cold calls where the salesperson talks relentlessly at the speed of a race horse commentator?

Perhaps it was a dodgy garage owner who promised one price and then ramped it up once their mechanic had your car in bits.

Maybe you’ve experienced the persuasive charms of a persistent rug salesman on a Marrakech market.

Sales professionals have a bad name because there are so many people who do it badly. However, there are a lot of terrible builders in the world, but it doesn’t make it a bad profession.

If you sell in the right way you are helping your clients, not tricking or pressuring them. I want you to see selling as an extension of your customer service. That’s exactly what it is…

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