The Biggest Photography Mistakes You Can Make

Lauren (QUESTION): What are some of the biggest photography mistakes you see photographers making, both business-wise and skill-wise?

Phillip Van Nostrand (ANSWER): I think a big waste of time that I see people doing is playing around with edits a lot, trying vignetting, or vintage edits, playing with contrast, etc.

I kinda wish someone had told me to forget the creative edits, and try for a perfect picture IN CAMERA every time. And only then can I start tweaking the style a little. But edits should be subtle, like almost impossible to tell if it was done with a lighting trick or not. Look at any magazine photo. Was it edited or not? Done with professional lighting or natural?

I also think one of the biggest mistakes I think new photographers make in their business is following a lot of “shoulds” instead of their own strengths. For example, you should update your Facebook page every day. You should have an intro video on your website. You should have a website. You should have a full frame camera. You should blog every day. You should network more.

I can think of successful photographers for each of those shoulds who have done the exact opposite thing. Never blogged, or doesn’t have a Facebook page, or never networks, etc.

Instead, I love the idea of spending time exercising that muscle that you already have developed- Are you a natural connector? Do that more. Are you great at Instagramming and have 5000+ followers? Maximize your impact on that platform and don’t worry about your weak blog. Build your business around your strengths, not your weaknesses. There are a lot of articles written about this online, like THIS one:

Photographer Mistakes
My strength is people skills. These ladies flew me to Italy to photograph them all dressed up for the week. One of the best trips of my life!


$$$ Tip:

They say 80 percent of your income comes from 20 percent of your sources. This is called the 80/20 rule. For me, 80 percent of my photo gigs came from Facebook in the beginning. I wasn’t really getting jobs from venues or wedding planners or Instagram or my blog (I didn’t have a blog). So instead of wasting time trying to build up a blog because everyone around me was doing it with success, I instead focused on Facebook — posting photos often, making wedding galleries, befriending my wedding clients, tagging them in a gallery of image the night of the wedding, etc. This all helped bring in more clients.
If 80 percent of your income is coming from one specific source, maximize that source and treat it well! The return will be huge.

What do YOU think is the biggest mistake a photographer can make in their career? Photography mistakes should only happen once! Let’s help future photographers learn from our examples.


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