Today we talk about the top five mistakes every new photographer makes. Some of us still make these mistakes every now and then even if it’s at a lessor value than the new guy. Let’s jump in and figure out what some of the more common mistakes are from my experience as an educator and photographer.

5.) Don’t register their business:

MANY photographers in my experience, are operating ILLEGALLY! I’ve spoken with a lot of photographers who don’t have a F.E.I.N (Federal Employment Identification Number) or state tax license. This is is not smart for many different reasons but the two I will point out are; tax break on the equipment you purchase and charging applicable tax on any product you sell. If you make ANY money off products you hand a person, you are required to pay taxes on it. Did you know, if you purchase equipment new or used, you are still obligated to pay taxes? Look up a local tax accountant that has a free consult and ask him these questions, you’ll be amazed by what you learn.

4.) Buying the latest and greatest gear:

If you’re really interested in growing your photography and general business, keep close eyes on the camera manufactures. These guys have photographers drooling and selling old equipment just to upgrade to a bit better equipment. Many fights are the “Canon vs Nikon” debates. Friendships lost, mentor relationships demolished and people hurt over such silly arguments. These new cameras are geared towards the “tech heads” that has to buy the newest Canon 5700D that’s 1,479 megapixels that has infra red built in technology that costs 74,158.26 +tax. Our client’s don’t care about our megapixel count or that we know how to interpolate, they only care if you capture themselves as true as possible. The only ones impressed by our cameras and gear is OTHER photographers…who will NEVER be paying clients. Camera and gear manufactures continue to get rich, while we continue to stay poor and fighting on the net about which camera is more superior. How bout the one that takes a pic?

3.) Gear branding:

Canon vs Nikon. Photogenic vs Elinchrom and so on and so on. These are mistakes new photographers make often. They are trying to reverse engineer images to figure out what modifiers were used in an effort to shoot images like those they like. Totally ignoring the fact that most likely, the photographer has been shooting 10+ years to get that look and style s/he has and could replicate that with a 20.00 home built diffusion system! Many of my workshops have seen photographers asking for everything but the serial number of the strobes I use while ignoring my explaining the positioning of the lights or why this specific modifier worked for this shot. When we focus on the technical, we let the emotional side slide and once we do that, we’ve become just like every other photographer out there, we lose our edge.

2.) Not the right look:

Many times we are sooo excited to work, that we take the first person that comes our way. We have total and blatant disregard for the quality that client brings to our book. Not everyone we shoot, we need to post or share with the world. Now I realize that may sound terrible for me to say, but it’s an honest fact. In no world, rhyme or reason can I see a photographer shooting me and sharing my images in an effort to try and gain new clientele. I’m a 300lb short guy with no neck. I won’t make people look at your work and say “Wow! you really made that short fat guy look good!” it just won’t happen. While I’m not saying don’t take my money if I offer it to you, what I am saying is you have to shoot anyone but share the beautiful ones. What is beautiful? Totally up to you to decide, but realize you will get more bookings by showcasing those that are pleasant to future customers eye than you will those that are middle of the line. Even unattractive people will be more interested in booking you if they see beautiful people because they will want you to make us look like them!

1.) Improper balance:

The biggest mistakes photographers make in my research; the inability to see our own shortcomings. We are either focused on the technical side or the business side but never both equally. This balance deficiency bleeds into other areas of our business and life as well. Simple things such as too much or too little Photoshop? Too much or too little equipment? The only times I’ve seen good balance are in photographers that have been shooting for quite some time. They’ve realized that it’s more fun to be relaxed and enjoy the session, vs feeling as though they have to be super technical or connect more with the client than technical. Before you can master one, you have to master the other, how do you decide which to master first? only YOU can decide that. Because we are unable to see our own balance issues, we tend to make the weaker side suffer and as a result our work as a whole suffers. Because we’re so busy starting our photography business, or moving it to the next level, we make our personal relationships suffer.

I KNOW there’s many more things out there, what am I missing? Feel free to share!

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