Photographers are pros as taking the alternate route in almost every situation.
They find themselves shooting in crazy locations, take the long way home to snag the sunset at the right time, convincing close friends to pose for you and so on. You are a great example of what it means to go your own way.
There are no straight routes to success in photography either. Similar to your location scouting, you will meander, fall, trip, step in puddles, and get lost along the way to photography success and that’s often the best part.
In the last few years, mostly at the hand of social media, there has been a shift in how the route or path of business is done for photographers. Normally, there are only a few ways that a workflow can go and the most basic is to take images for a client who reaches out.
Though this seems simple and logical, there’s another way you should be approaching your work.
Client First, Shooting Second
This is the most common business model for photographers. Clients and customers seek you out and need your services. They pay you to provide images that they want as established prior to the session.
It’s not a complex science. It’s how nearly 90% of photography business works. Senior portraits, weddings, engagements, families, and more all work this way. And don’t get confused either. There is nothing wrong with how this is done. It seems logical to have a client seek you out and ask for specific images as a part of their requests.
However, though this is the most common, it’s not the only way to go about business.
Shoot First, Client Second
Taking a flip on the first approach some photographers like to take their own initiative and go out to find photos to take.
This works better for real estate, architecture, and nature photography, but can actually work for many other niches. When you take the initiative to go out into your environment and create freely for your own pleasure, those images are likely to be amazing. In addition, you build a great body of work for your portfolio and might just get noticed.
The part that works out well is that by putting in the time and effort to take images for your own pleasure, you are actually saving time in the end. After taking these images, you will post them, share them, and add them to your body of work and there are chances that potential clients actually ask to buy those images. Then you won’t have to do anything but print them or send them over after payment.
Shooting No Matter What
Part of keeping both of these methods of business working is that you have to keep building up that personal initiative. By doing this, you will maintain your photographic creativity and you will keep yourself separate from the coldness of the business.
Instead of being motivated only when you are approached and paid by a client, try to keep working for yourself. It will help your skills stay sharp and help you keep the creativity to shoot for yourself and often by yourself. There are tons of benefits other than being a better shooter and making a strong portfolio too. You can find intrinsic motivation, you keep learning, and you keep improving on your craft.
There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to any business, and photography is not an exception. Building a strong portfolio is going to a crucial part of your business and you have all the power to do it for yourself and for other people. You should make a strong effort to maintain that creativity and try to switch your business from one approach to another.