5 Good Habits of Happy Photography Business Owners

when i first started my photography business, i was more focused on making my clients happy than i was about making myself happy.  i am a people pleaser, so it is only natural for me to put others before myself.  and don’t get me wrong, i was a happy photographer because i was living my passion.  but i was exhausted!  i was working 80 hours a week and compromising my weekends.  i was on my email all the time and i was saying yes when i wanted to say no.  it wasn’t until a couple years into my business that i thought, i am happy…but i could be even happier.  and with a few little changes, i quickly made my photography business into an even better photography business…by truly being the boss.

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5 Good Habits of Happy Photography Business Owners

5 Good Habits of Happy Photography Business Owners | bethadilly photography

one of the best parts about owning a photography business is…you are your own boss.  and this is exactly what you need to think about when you are making decisions for your business.  you need to make the decisions based on what work best for you and, more importantly, for your family.  the best thing about being your own boss is that, you do have the ability of putting yourself and your best interests first!  and you should.

now, when you are just starting out with your business…of course you are going to be putting in long hours and putting others first.  that is what starting a business is all about!  getting a business off the ground is a lot of work and it has to get done.  but once you are established, it should be all about letting your business do the work for you and not the other way around.  by incorporating these 5 good habits into how you run your photography business, you will find that you are an even happier business owner!

1. Say No To Clients Who Aren’t Right For You

this is one of the most important habits every good photographer stands by and you should be doing this as soon as you start your photography business.  think about the goal of your business and what your photography style is and accept only the clients who are a good match for you.  i am a lifestyle family and newborn photographer who’s goal is to create images that are honest and contain true emotion.  when clients contact me for posed photography or to photograph an event for them, i politely turn them down because i know what they want in a photographer is not something that i do.  more importantly, it is something that i am not passionate about.

taking on clients that aren’t right for you will only take your business into a downward spiral.  if you start taking pictures that you hate only to please your client, you are going to start attracting the wrong clients because you will be giving the idea that what you are photographing is what you offer.

turning down clients that aren’t a good fit for you not only is a good habit because you are giving them to a photographer who will be a better fit for them, but it also ensures that you are spending your time with the clients who truly love your style.  if you are accepting any and every client, you are going to be creating chaos in your portfolio as you try to do too many things.  you will also burn yourself out because you will be taking jobs that you aren’t passionate about.  instead, you should be taking only the clients that support your photography style so that you photograph what you are passionate about and, in turn, can create a strong portfolio.

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2. Stand By Your Pricing

i have done this from day one.  i have a price and it’s non-negotiable.  listen, there are going to be clients that don’t hire you because you are too expensive.  you need to let them walk away.  when you originally set your pricing, you were thinking about what your time and what your work was worth.  don’t take anything less.  there are clients for everyone and not every client is going to be ideal for you.  but once you start telling one person that you will reduce your pricing, the word is going to get around (and trust me, it will) and every client will expect you to do it for them too.

there are a lot of clients who email me and ask if i can offer a lower rate, and i always respectfully stand by my pricing.  most of the time, the client books me anyway because they were simply trying to get a better deal, like any good consumer.  and sometimes they don’t book me because i am out of their price range.  but allowing those customers to walk away only makes my business stronger and more profitable because i am saving my time and session spots for the client who is going to pay for what i am worth.

3. Set Your Own Schedule

a good photographer tells her clients when she is going to work, and doesn’t let others tell her what her schedule is.  i offer only three locations to my clients and only certain days of the month are open for scheduling.  by setting my own schedule, i am only working when is best for me and my family.  by setting the location, i am making the most of my time by scheduling multiple clients back to back throughout the day so that i only have to leave my family once, but can still photograph multiple clients all in one day.

one of the easiest ways for me to enforce my schedule is by having clients email me their top 3 desired dates with their inquiry, which allows me to pick which date works best for my schedule and what i am currently offering.

4. Be Strict At Your Sessions

this was a game changer for me and my business, and once i became more strict with my clients, i was an even happier photographer.  be strict about your policies and what you will not tolerate.  the biggest one for me was late clients.  because i arrive on time to my sessions, i expect my clients to respect my time by being punctual as well.  when sending out session confirmations, i tell my clients the exact start and stop time for their session and inform them that late arrivals do forfeit their photography session and will have to pay a new deposit to get a new spot on my calendar.  as soon as i started being strict about time, i haven’t had a late client.  this means i start and stop my sessions on time, and am back home spending time with my family instead of waiting on a late client.

5. Have Written Communication

put everything in writing, especially pricing and policies.  if you are a photographer who likes to talk with clients on the phone, that is great!  but follow up your phone call with an email outlining everything that you discussed so you have it in writing.  it’s harder to tell a client, “i told you that over the phone,” than it is to politely forward them an email that outlines what was previously discussed if ever an issue were to arise.  in addition to written communication, you should always have clients sign your photography contract so that you and your business are protected at all times.  every client i photograph signs my contract and i won’t photograph a client without a signature, ever.  i recommend hiring a lawyer to create a photography contract for your business.

like i said, it takes time to develop good habits and some of these habits you will develop right away, while some of them you may develop as you grow your photography business.  it’s all about working smart and being happy, because being a business owner is so rewarding when your happiness is the goal of your business.

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5 Good Habits of Happy Photography Business Owners | bethadilly photography

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  • Linda - Hi Beth,
    Thankyou for these great tips- it’s really helpful for me to read as I consider turning my hobby to a business at some point. Friends and family have started asking me to do photo sessions with them- do I need to get them to sign a contract? What kinds of things do I need to be thinking about for a photographer’s contract? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - Hello Linda! I personally have every single person that I photograph sign my contract, even if they are friends or family. If you hire a lawyer to draft up your contract, they will be able to give you advice on what to include to best protect yourself and your business!ReplyCancel

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