No amount of talent can ever replace hardwork. Advice for new photographers by Ten·2·Ten Photography

Advice for New Photographers: Does Talent Trump Hard Work?

I’ve written many blog posts in regards to advice for new photographers – but if you choose only to read one of those articles… please, make it this one!

There is a ridiculously high amount of talented wedding photographers out there – but only a handful are actually successful at what they do for one very important reasons: they are the hardest working.  Talent can only take you so far – you need to work incredibly hard at not only maintaining your talent and increasing your education in order to stay at the top of your game but also need to know how to run your business, market yourself, network with others and provide the highest level of customer service and quality product as possible.  Needless to say, the hard work you put into running your business and bettering yourself will always trump your raw talent when it comes to predicting your success.

Starting a photography business is no easy task – I can tell you that for a fact.  That being said, it is not impossible – at least, it’s not impossible for those who are driven to succeed.

As you begin your career as a professional photographer it’s very normal to still have a part or full time job to help make ends meet.  Balancing work and life can be difficult enough as it is, but balancing work + more work + life may seem next to impossible.  Again, it only seems impossible at first – but it is genuinely achievable if you stay focused on your goal of establishing your photography business.

No amount of talent can ever replace hardwork

Here are a 6 tips for all those talented photographers out there who need a little push in the ‘hard work’ department:

  • Aim on investing 40 hours a week into your photography business, regardless of your other jobs
    • Have you ever heard the old saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?”  That saying can be translated into the wild world of a new photographer “Work for the job you want, not the job you have.”
    • This means that even if you have a full-time job elsewhere, you need to also put full-time hours into establishing yourself as a photographer
    • A photography business does not magically grow over night nor do people typically get their ‘big breaks’ like Hollywood makes you think – success is built on a solid foundation of hardwork and perseverance
    • If you aren’t putting full time hours into your photography business you simply cannot expect full time success.
  • Keep track of all of your activities during a 2-week span
    • We often aren’t aware of the amount of time we spent socializing versus working
    • Keeping a diary for a 2-week span that contains information about your activities as well as the length of them can help you reassess your routine and give you additional opportunities to focus on your goal: to establish your photography business
  • Learn how to say ‘no’ to social time with friends and family
    • If you find yourself spending just as much time socializing + working your side-job every week than you’re spending focusing on your photography, you must reassess your priorities if you want to stay focused on your goal
    • Learning how to be friends with a wedding photographer (or any entrepreneur) as well as learning how to be a wedding photographer without alienating all of your friends can be difficult; but again, achievable.
    • Consider your social activities as a ‘reward’ for a job well done – you earn time to socialize by putting hard work into your photography business.  No hard work = no socializing
    • Saying ‘no’ to friends and family and declining an invitation to a vacation, barbecue or day at the beach can be difficult – but it must be done from time to time if you want your business to be booming the next time engagement season rolls around.
  • Find at least 1 thing to shoot every week; always add to your portfolio
    • One great way to keep yourself focused on your photography is to constantly add to your portfolio
    • Just because you don’t have paying clients yet doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to shoot!  Grab a friend and take picture of them – it’s a great way to practice your portrait skills and posing techniques.
  • Make sure your part-time jobs are really worth it!
    • Hourly-rate pay is pretty easy to figure out but not everyone has the luxury of having jobs that pay by the hour
    • If your side-job is commission based or has unpredictable pay rates you must determine if having that unpredictable/freelance job is really worth it.
    • As you track your activities over the course of 2 weeks; write down how much time you put into these freelance/commission based jobs – this includes meetings, education, travel and on-the-job work.  Then, divide your pay check by the number of hours you have put into it… if it turns out that you are making less than minimum wage – forget about it and move on to something better.
    • Investing your time into your photography business will pay off in the near future – so everything else you are investing your time into should pay off now.
  • Stop ‘thinking’ and start ‘doing’.
    • At the beginning stages of starting your business you will have to sit down and do some serious thinking as you hash out your business plan
    • Some people get caught up in the “thinking” phase
    • If you spend too much time thinking you will end up constantly changing your packages/prices/branding/services because you think that they ‘don’t work’… meanwhile, the truth behind it is they aren’t working because you’re not working

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