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There are many amazing photographers who have incredible talents and a passion for their art form but even they face huge challenges when pursuing their chosen career. Every career has its challenges but those faced within the creative industries can be much harder to foresee and deal with as they arise.
It’s hard to find your feet in the industry.
When you are starting out as a professional photographer it can be very difficult to make enough money to keep yourself in a position to be paying your bills on time! This can lead to a vicious downward spiral that can sap your motivation, lower your self confidence and even have a negative impact on the quality of your work if you are worrying about the financial side of your work all the time.
Standing out from the crowd can be hard at first.
When you are setting out on a career as a professional photographer, and even if you are already well established, it can be very challenging to market yourself effectively. To overcome the problems you might face while marketing yourself you should start by setting up a good portfolio of your work to date online. Make use of social media to drive interested traffic to your site. You can also buy advertising on search platforms such as Google or on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This can be an extremely effective way to reach potential customers.
Getting results will take a long time.
It’s difficult at the beginning to build up a solid following online and to get the regular clients that you need to make a good living. Don’t be put off if things are slow at the outset because with patience and a well rounded marketing strategy you can achieve the results you want. Try to work ‘smarter not harder’ and make the most of the links and resources that you do have. Network in the real world at galleries, workshops and other public occasions where you might hit the jackpot and meet the perfect contact that sets you on a new path to success.
Losing faith in your own abilities.
If things aren’t going your way it can be tempting to lose faith in your talents, skills and abilities, especially in the creative industries. If you’re not getting the feedback you want or the customers you had hoped for it can lead to you beginning to doubt yourself. This can be a crushing experience for a photographer and unfortunately there is no easy cure but if you stay determined and hang in there you will soon find that it pays off.
One method that some photographers use to boost their self confidence is to look back over some of their best photos to remind themselves why they really are good. Always keep in mind that there will be ups and downs in your career and so when times are good always take a moment to reflect, give yourself a pat on the back and hold onto how you feel for when the times are not so good. This kind of long term approach will help you to maintain a balanced, objective and realistic view of the situation and avoid sinking into feelings of self doubt.
Rejection is hard for anyone to deal with.
When you apply for work or commissions but get rejected it can be easy to take it personally and feel hurt or depressed, but in reality it’s just business. You need to remember that you will need to make many applications before you get a job, or send off a lot of letters before you land that ideal photography gig! Never dismay though and keep plugging away at it and you’ll soon start to get some positive replies. A good tip to increase the chances of hearing back from galleries, potential commissions or companies you may be hoping to work for, is to tailor each application specifically making sure to include relevant information about your portfolio and experience that can best serve their needs.
The competition is extremely tough in professional photography.
There are many people who dream of becoming a pro photographer and because most of those entering the industry are passionate, driven and dedicated to their craft there is always going to be very steep competition. It can be daunting to enter the photography industry but don’t let this put you off and instead see it as a fantastic way to push yourself to become the best photographer you can be.
Appreciate what your competition is doing right and try to do it better, study the talents of others and constantly stay open to learning new things. Even once you have found your feet in the industry, continue to go to interesting workshops and seminars to stay up to date with the latest technology, techniques and ideas in the field.
Good equipment is expensive.
Photography is a highly specialized craft and consequently the associated equipment can be extremely expensive. When you are starting out as a professional it can be a good idea to hold back on spending beyond your budget.
Make sure you have a good quality camera and choose lenses and other accessories that you can directly use in your business. For example, if you are working towards becoming a property photographer for real estate agents then you should only spend money on lenses which you can utilize immediately in your work and avoid of the temptation of buying things you won’t use in the short term.
Of course, it’s always going to be tempting to buy the latest gear but especially if you are just entering the industry you should try to hold back and make sure that your expenses will pay themselves off within your niche.
What happens if nobody rings or your inbox is empty?
It can be soul destroying when you put out the adverts, run a good marketing campaign and yet all the work seems to have dried up! When things aren’t going well try to be proactive and take even more actions to ensure your success. There are many things you can do such as network with other photographers, gallery owners and people in the industry, attend local business events that may be happening at your local Chamber of Commerce, put more energy into your advertising and no matter what don’t lose hope! Spend some time tweaking your website and make sure your best work is on display. You can also be active in your local community and offer your services free of charge to charities or send emails to businesses in your area. Staying proactive will give you the best chances of success and help to avoid those creeping feelings of worry!
Photography is an incredibly rewarding pastime and career.
Regardless of whether you are a working professional photographer or a passionate amateur, you are bound to face setbacks along the way. Keeping yourself focused, determined and working at your best will require that you develop personal strategies to deal with stress, rejection and hard times.
This can be a very difficult aspect of photography that is rarely covered in the books and manuals but it is something that you are bound to come up against at some point. Take the time when things are going well to remind yourself why you are doing photography in the first place and allow yourself to feel proud of your work and achievements. This will help to buoy you when the times are more difficult.
As well good personal habits and reminding yourself that you can do it, no matter what the world throws at you; you can also take inspiration from the stories of other photographers who have succeeded against all the odds!
Trust yourself and stay the course.
You can succeed in the world of photography as long as you have a good work ethic, a determined attitude and allow your inner creativity to flow! Never let temporary setbacks stop your long term progress and always have faith in your own abilities, not only to take fantastic photographs but also to overcome the difficulties that may arise from time to time.
What was your toughest challenge to overcome as a photographer?
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