Photographers: Stop taking projects you don’t want

Photographers: Stop taking projects you don’t want

It happens to all of us: a client comes in with a project, and while you talk about the project, you realize it’s not really what you like to shoot. Maybe you’re a wedding photographer and they want you to shoot headshots. Maybe you’re an architecture photographer and they want quick real estate shots. But the money is good, and you kind of need the money, so you take the job.

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone. I have done it before and I will probably do it again. But, in most cases, it’s not the best course of action.

While we won’t love every single job that comes our way, it’s important to focus our attention on the ones we really want. First, it will make you enjoy your work a whole lot more. Second, focusing on these jobs will help you attract more similar jobs. If you want fashion jobs but you keep shooting weddings, chances are you will keep getting wedding clients.

Focusing on these jobs will help you attract more similar jobs

I know money is a big factor and, in some cases, it is hard to ignore. But if money is always the main pull, you are looking at short-term gains instead of long-term satisfaction. As I’ve written before, patience is key in business. While you are not taking the unsatisfying job, you have time to find clients that will give you satisfying projects. It might mean being a little short on cash for a few more weeks, but it will pay off in the long term.

Your goal is to find a good balance between very satisfying jobs and the ones that are mostly helping with your bottom line. You wouldn’t want to pass up that dream job because you’re stuck with a project you don’t like.

If you’re worried about letting down clients, simply explain that it’s not your specialty and that you would be happy to recommend one or two photographers who will do a great job. Just make sure your recommendations are top notch, as their performance will reflect on you.

While my focus is on architecture, I sometimes shoot corporate headshots. I only do it for recurring clients, as a service to keep a good relationship with them. If it were to be a big project with dozens or hundreds of headshots, I would recommend someone else, as it is not my main activity.

In short: find a balance so you can keep growing your business with satisfying jobs.

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