Throughout the photography industry, a myth has grown over the years. In fact, this myth has almost become a mantra: “Success as a photographer only comes to the lucky few. You have to slog it out with whatever clients you can scrape up until you ‘make it.'”

Here’s some truth: If you’re struggling to get clients as a photographer, the reason has nothing to do with the economy, people’s buying habits, your competition and certainly not luck.

The reason is you.

That’s right, it’s you. It’s your lack of awareness of the beliefs, actions, etc. that are holding you back.

Or, to put it another way, you don’t know what you don’t know.

As confusing as that may sound, it’s really a simple idea. People struggle in their photography businesses because they lack awareness. An awareness of the strategies and systems that exist to help them.

They’ve bought into the myth that being a photographer has to be difficult. That you have to suffer until you reach some magical point in the future when you “make it.”

The fact is, this simply isn’t true. The successful photographers in the world didn’t get there by sheer luck, nor were they predestined for success, no matter how talented they may be. They did so by applying effective strategies to their businesses, ensuring that their energies were focused in the most efficient ways possible.

There are lots of methodologies out there for building a structure around your business, but before you can tackle the physical, you need to first work on the psychological. Your mindset and awareness will be your most powerful tools for building a successful business as a photographer. What follows are a few suggestions for getting yourself mentally prepared for success.


Change your Mind

The first thing you need to do to break out of the “starving artist” myth is to realize that it is just that – a myth. The more you identify as struggling or starving, the more you begin to believe it. This affects your decisions and actions and can end up derailing any success you might have had.


Forget your Competition

It’s true, everyone and their dog has a camera now, and some of them aren’t even attached to phones. Aside from the professional photographers, the market is glutted with people waving around $2000 cameras and marketing their services at cut-rate prices like they’re the second coming of Ansel Adams. It’s frustrating, it’s infuriating… and it’s largely irrelevant. You have to focus on what you do, not what the competition is doing. Once you gain clarity about your perfect client and your signature service – what you can uniquely offer them – you shift from a commodity to a market of one.


Stop relying on luck

It’s something we’re all guilty of saying. “I have the worst luck,” or “I wasn’t lucky enough to land that client.”  The truth is, that other photographer that got the client you wanted – didn’t use luck. They earned that client. He or she either had messaging that was more direct or relevant. Or they were able to tap into the client’s desires more effectively. The blind forces of chance had nothing to do with it. Relying (or blaming things) on luck robs you of the power to change your situation. Leave luck at the poker table and take back your responsibility. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.

Understanding the psychological side of running a business is just as important as the intellectual or physical side. When you have awareness of the areas you need to work on, the focus to ignore what everyone else is doing and the willingness to take responsibility for your successes AND failures, it becomes much easier to break out of the myth of the “struggling photographer” and create a fulfilling, prosperous business, no matter the economy.


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