There’s a mantra held by some that in life taking risks results in great rewards. There’s certainly many examples out there to consider, without even including those risks defined as detrimental to one’s health and safety which are NEVER worth attempting. The subtle nuance lies with calculated risks – risks which have been carefully assessed to establish the likely outcome. Rather than taking death-defying risks to land the perfect shot, calculated risks are what can help photographers improve their business.
Allow Yourself to Feel Anxious or Uncomfortable
When it comes to complacency, we can sometimes be our own worst enemy. As we’ve detailed previously, a feeling of self-doubt or anxiety allows a photographer to analyse their own work in a new light. This feeling also encapsulates insecurity, which prompts us to ask ourselves – what is our rationale for a particular shoot or project? What does it actually mean to us? Are we just going through the motions, or do we really feel passionate about what we’re doing?
Put Yourself Out There
If you’re early into your career, don’t hesitate to pick up that phone and chase your leads. You don’t need to adopt a pushy sales approach but you can make the effort to drive your sales. All else failing, you will better understand the market and needs of prospective clients. You should also be prepared to invest in marketing for your business – start with a modest budget and timeframe, then review. It might reap returns, or it might fail to deliver any benefit. But the only way you’re going to know is if you risk outlaying your hard earned money.
Push Yourself in a Different Direction
From time to time, there’s no harm in taking your photography in a different direction. Whether that be trying your hand at a different photography segment, adopting a different style of photography, the use of different equipment, or perhaps adjusting the conditions you shoot in. While it’s great that many photographers become specialists within a particular segment and so forth, it’s also what contributes to that feeling of being comfortable. There’s a lot of upside for your business by expanding your skillset into other genres.
Don’t be Afraid to Rely on Others
For many, criticism is one of those things that they just can’t bear to stomach. But it’s also the source of feedback that will help you appreciate your photography shortfalls. Reach out and ask someone that you respect if they can be your mentor. There is no shame in asking for help. It’s the sign of someone who is courageous enough to understand themselves and their abilities. There are few people better placed to offer advice than those with a wealth of experience and who have done it before.
Your Camera Doesn’t Have Feelings, Use it
Like any item of significant value, particularly new ones, we tend to be overly protective of our shiny cameras. The reality is however, adopting some smart practices, or using protective coverings will often allow you to use your camera in a ‘harsh’ environment. If you’re still worried, look into appropriate insurance policies to cover your gear. For many photographers there’s going to be that shot where you need to be prepared for your camera to get a little bit dirty – will you be ready?
Keep Your Head High
Setbacks are par the course. Many will try their hand at photography and either decide it’s not for them, or fail to make it. But it’s important they really give it their complete and best efforts before making this decision, not leaving any doubts behind. If they then opt out of the industry they should know that it’s incredibly common for people, often successful businesspeople, to fail at what they pursue. What makes all the difference is being prepared to get back up again and move onto your next pursuit.