Are you a happy photographer


Why do you want to be a photographer?

Because it will make you happy, right?

Creating beautiful photographs that touch people’s hearts.

Having control over how and when you work.

Having control over your own destiny.

No annoying bosses and tedious meetings.

No asking for approval to get time off.

You want to be a photographer because you want to be happy.

And when you boil down what I teach at Get Pro Photo Club it’s all about helping you find a path that will make you happier.

But before you can create a happy photography business you have to consider what will actually make you happy.

My mate photographs 60 weddings a year.

Therefore it appears he’s doing well.

Until you talk to him…

…he’s stressed and getting rather fed up with photographing wedding after wedding.

I love photographing weddings, but I’d rather french kiss a rabid vulture than photograph 60 of them in a year.

Even with outsourcing (which my friend doesn’t do anyway).

Ask yourself – what does your perfect photography business look like?

What would you like your photographs to look like?

What are your clients like?

Are you specialising in weddings, or families, or babies, or business headshots, or a mixture?

Or is it something else?

How hard do you want to work?

How much do you need to charge to avoid working any harder than you need to?

What do you enjoy?

Do you enjoy writing? Then blog consistently.

And don’t only blog for Google – blog to make yourself happy, too.

For example, I like using amusing similes to spice up my writing. Like the one just now about french kissing a rabid vulture.

It makes me smile and makes writing this post more enjoyable for me.

I’ve Photoshopped my face onto a commercial client’s head before, just for a laugh.

It amused me and it cracked her up too. She referred me to her daughter and I booked her daughter’s wedding. All because I had a laugh with the bride’s mum.

If you like chatting with people over coffee and building relationships then join a networking club. If that sounds dull then is there a way you can make it more interesting? My ManKIND project is one way I’ve made it possible to have an interesting conversation with anyone I meet.

Do you love sitting in front of Photoshop tinkering? Then become a composite photographer like Karen Alsop http://www.portfolio.storyart.com.au

You have innate strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.

Figuring all this stuff out is what episodes one, two and three of our podcast are all about if you’ve not heard them yet.

Of course there’s always a battle inside our heads.

Sometimes we want two conflicting things at once…

One half of me is ferociously ambitious and wants to work, work, work until I’ve grown an empire.

The other half of me says ‘for the love of god Dan, you already have a lovely free and easy life – why do you want more hassle?’

Sometimes ambitious Dan wins, and sometimes beach-bum Dan wins. But I never let one of them win too many times in a row!

I was chatting with Jenika from Psychology for Photographers on email about this subject last week.

We’ve both found that some of the most successful photographers are the most stressed.

So don’t get too jealous of people who seem to be doing well.

Focus on yourself because the only question that matters is ‘am I happy?’

And ‘if not, why not?’

We can be unhappy because we’re not busy enough, or because we’re too busy…

…or because we’ve lost the joy in our work. Perhaps because there’s a danger of it becoming too repetitive if it’s always the same.

So what’s the lesson here?

Focus on what you love.

Enjoy your work.

If you absolutely hate writing then forget blogging.

Blogging can be great for business but you’ll never keep it up if you can’t stand it. There are plenty of other great marketing strategies.

HOWEVER, if you never experience any pain then you should be concerned.

If you’re not learning anything new and putting yourself into uncomfortable situations then you’ll never grow.

I used to HATE the thought of public speaking because I was that weird looking little kid at school who got bullied… and now I have a podcast and entertain large groups at weddings. Now I’m a massive show-off!

I used to HATE selling until I discovered that good selling is about helping people.

So, use your innate passions as the main pillars of your business and then grow by trying new skills.

When you’re starting out in photography it can be overwhelming – so make it as fun as possible by focusing on what you love.

And if you get stuck on something or just can’t find the right path then join Get Pro Photo Club, because that’s what we’re all about.