Why photographers fail in photography and how can you prevent that?

why photographers fail in photography

All around the world, there are photographers who fail in photography, new ones who give up due to the oversaturated market and more photographers giving up this passion and business for the same reason.

Compared to years ago, for many people, photography remains just a passion and not a way to create an income because of the high standards set by society and the great competition existant.

How can you prevent to fail in photography?

There are 5 main key points to prevent you from failing in photography: Consistency, Knowledge, Creativity, Dedication and Mental Awareness, plus some other tips on how to boost your photography journey.

I am in the process of writing a book using a psychological guide to become a better photographer and those are some highlighted tips in the book which can help you prevent from failing in photography.

Although there can be other external reasons, those are 5 main key factors I want to talk about today, represented by a star.

prevent to fail in photography

1. Consistency

This is one of the main points why photographers fail in photography, and to extend a bit, in order to be successful not only in photography but in any domain, you have to be consistent.

One thing which can impact the consistency line is some other external factors such as a full-time job (other than photography), friends & unsupportive family, a mental awareness which we are going to talk later in this post, financial situation etc.

Wherever path in photography you took, wedding or portrait photography, microstock submissions, blogging or only social media, not being consistent is the main reason behind it.

Being consistent in photography doesn’t mean only to upload regularly to Facebook or Instagram new photographs, but to create and stick to a routine schedule and be available 24/7 for any new customers, not to have any gaps of time in your photography jobs. A day off is acceptable, a week off or more from photography means that you may not be consistent enough.

The general photographic indecision and lack of consistency can be the immense avalanche of failures which may be falling upon us.

2. Knowledge

Without any doubt, knowledge is the jewel on the top of the crown. But don’t get me wrong, even a crown without the main jewel still remains a crown. The jewel just makes it looks nicer.

Same goes with the knowledge. You can be indeed a brilliant photographer even with minimal knowledge about photography if you are a dedicated person and you have the eye for creativity. Knowledge indeed accelerates your learning capabilities and skills and is one another point of interest we have to focus on.

People of different ages have different learning capabilities, which differ from person to person. You don’t need to be a genius to study photography and definitely you don’t have to be a young person to do that. Age does not matter! Do not underestimate yourself as either being too old, too young or too naïve to learn photography. This is not rocket science. Even that can be learned, of course.

The basic knowledge in photography will help to to get you rolling. Although this is not the top key of why photographers fail in photography, having some knowledge in photography can have a major impact in having a specific job as a photographer or getting your hand on different contracts.

3. Creativity

Creativity is a key point which is different for each person. It is not something you can learn, but something you can develop in time.

Of course that you can study and read plenty of creative ideas, and this will contradict me with what I’ve said above, but you can develop your creativity skills by applying your knowledge gained through learning.

Being creative will make the difference between being a good photographer and being an excellent one. Although excellent is not a word I want to use here, better said ‘unique’.

4. Dedication

Dedication is another main key towards the road of success in photography and is in direct relationship with consistency. While consistency can directly depend by some unforeseen factors, with dedication is exactly the opposite.

There are no factors you have to depend in order to be dedicated to photography, perhaps to be truly passionate about it and have a realistic goal.

The way we perceive dedication, in reality, is related directly with our present mood and mental state. If you feel hopeless and have one of those bad days, for sure you cannot expect yourself to remain truly dedicated in order to achieve your goals.

Although dedication can have a direct impact on why do photographers fail in photography, keep in mind that in relation with consistency, you have had created your schedule or routine in photography as best on your interest, to follow, to be successful.

It can be hard for some photographers to be fully dedicated in photography when we pass through hard times in our lives and major chances which can impact directly our ability to create a routine out of it.

But to be able to be a successful photographer and to avoid failure in photography, you need to have a strong dedication for that.

5. Mental awareness

Oh boy! How can I better explain the mental awareness than being the right or the wrong key for the main door, a blockage on our road of success?

Call it wherever you want, either mental health awareness or photography awareness. It is everything related to the way we perceive things, not only in photography but everything in general.

Remember the star from above?

If there is one arm from the star missing, it might work. Maybe, or maybe not. But if one of the legs is missing from the star, the whole star can collapse.

Our mental capacity to assess things in our day to day life can have a major impact on our decision to create a long term commitment to photography, either positively or negatively.

What are the main things you love about photography? Why do you love it and what can you do to protect it from the mental assault in a case that your mind will assess wrongly your ultimate decision to create that commitment for photography? Yes, it is more than true that if this will happen, you will start losing interest in what you love and can easily lead to depression and other mental health problems.

I am not saying exactly that your decision to be a photographer will eventually lead to depression as everyone’s brain is acting different and nobody is the same, but there are risks involved like in any commitment or strong need to create something. It may be like you are considering that your photography business is failing when is not, or you feel that the progress is way too slow and you cannot keep up or dedicate many years of your life for something that may fail.

This is the main mental barrier which acts as a door on the road of success and to avoid as a photographer to fail in photography, but you will need the right key to open that door and continue your journey.

But which is the right key? You have to identify that.

How can we prevent as a photographer to fail in photography?

Creating a realistic goal.

Somewhere above I’ve mentioned about creating a realistic goal. Aiming to be on the first page of national geographic may not seem to be very realistic, although, goals like this can have an impact on us when we see that our journey in photography is nothing like our expectation.

My first tip is to create a realistic goal (e.g. become a local wedding photographer or have your own portrait studio) and then you will see the line of failure below your expectations because this is realizable.

I am not saying that it is impossible to get your work on the front page of the national geographic magazine, but is probably one of the hardest tasks and goals a photographer can have, therefore, everything else we see as a failure in photography.

Identifying our problems in photography

I am pretty confident that photographers may have their own problem in special when related to photography. Nobody may be perfect and their journey is like a golden star. If you would be like this, you probably won’t be reading this post right now. Right? 🙂

We do have to identify our problems in photography and what is holding us back, what can we do to remove them or change them and how can we act differently in our best interest to avoid such problems to return in the future.

As an instance, a good example can be debts you created by buying your photography gear and many financial problems. This can definitely stop you from being a travel photographer, if this is your goal, and we have to see what you can do to attempt to fix it.

It can be something as simple as not being recognised or not having enough or customers at all. To avoid failing in photography we will have to highlight those problems and slowly, to try to fix them.

If you are unable to do it, it is a good point to see the whole process of photography you are involved from a different perspective.

Expectation vs Reality

This is pretty much related to the above-mentioned goal, but as a photographer to avoid failing in photography, we must see a short difference from our expectation and the reality in photography.

If this difference is led by a huge margin, something is wrong then. We also have to identify this and see how we can solve the problem.

One good example is that you have invested into a very expensive drone, way over your budget, because you just knew that with this you will be successful in aerial photography as you had several requests from your clients. But the reality is that you not only created yourself a huge debt but some of your clients ditched you while some other didn’t pay as you were expected to.

Although this could be solved from the beginning by assessing your client needs and your further work in aerial photography, this maybe could be solved with a cheaper drone from the beginning or even just to rent one, if you have no use of it after a while.

The same me, who bought a dozen lenses in time worth over 10 grand, only to realize that all I need is just two or three of them.

Having a backup plan

A backup plan is always an option in order to avoid to fail in photography. If you put all your eggs in one basket and you drop it, there is nothing more you can do about it.

Having a backup plan can be something as “if things won’t be great as a wedding photographer, I have the gear, why should I not do some portrait photography? or why not both of them?”

Also, if you are or you want to be a travel photographer and you travel around the world taking amazing pictures but having a contract with only one agency which pays you for your work, is the quickest way to fail in photography. If that agency no longer needs your work, you will find yourself stuck in the middle of Africa with no other plans.

Avoid further to think about it.

One another thing is when you are dealing with your problems in photography which cannot be solved anytime soon, don’t think about it all the time, because all you are doing, you feed your anxiety and bad thoughts.

Put it aside and move on. Solve it when is realistically possible. Stop thinking about it unless you really have to.

As an example, I have scratched the image sensor from one of my DSLR’s when I tried to clean it. To change the image sensor will cost me close to the price of my DSLR. Although the images are not greatly affected by it and I do not have another option now as I do not own the financial possibility to fix or buy another camera, I have to live with it and to avoid further to think about it.

Analysing your whole journey as a photographer.

If you feel that you are failing in photography and nothing is working as it should, try to analyse your whole journey as a photographer and see where did you start from and where you got.

Is it worse than the first time you started in photography? are all those knowledge gained for nothing, just to fail in photography? I don’t reckon you went only down as a photographer. We all have our ups and downs.

What can you do differently to fix this? When did you thrive in photography, you succeeded? review and analyse those moments, see what got you there and what you did wrong.

Have a break time

If you feel that all that stress is getting to your head and you do more worse than better, have a little break, not long to affect our main key factor consistency, but enough to put your thoughts away from this and maybe even to think and plan what to do next

We all are human beings, we cannot be immune to stress and anxiety, to our mind flooding our life with failure ideas and scenarios. We all need a break.

Having a short break in relation to other tips to identify your problems and what you can do to help yourself solve them. Use the logic to assess and create a “safe zone” as I like to call for your whole photography journey.

Identifying areas where you can fail in photography

Further, let’s try to identify some usual areas where people tend to fail in photography, and what can you do differently, maybe to find a solution.

Social media.

If social media is the way you like to go in photography, to share your photographs and get a huge number of followers or likes, in order to have a client database for further incomings, where have you failed?

The most common problem is not having enough followers or subscribers, or they are leaving on an alarming rate. Then you must’ve done something wrong.

What it can be? are you able to identify? How can you get more customers back?

In social media, consistency and engagement rate are the main factors of increasing your social database with new people or followers, therefore, be more active, post more often and set yourself a realistic goal. Increase the image quality limit of your submission will also help you appear more professional and attract new followers.

Remember that Facebook and Instagram have a mixed algorithm, not many people being able to fully understand it. Have some readings about it and see what you can do to improve yourself.

Stock Photography

If you are submitting your work for sale on microstock websites, it is no doubt that you may have noticed a decrease in sales over time

Although you are an active person and you may have a large number of photographs on your microstock portfolio, think that the market is oversaturated with hundreds of millions of images submitted, with many millions daily.

One solution is to adapt to the market request, see what they are looking for and focus your area of submission.

Have a read to our other post ” can you earn money with stock photography? “

Not finding enough clients

You may be a wedding or portrait photographer, but you have very few clients to none, therefore, in order to be successful, you simply need more clients.

The solution can be either complicated or simple, but I like to make it simpler:

  • Have a good quality website with your contact information where your clients can find you;
  • Use smart advertising (local);
  • Extend your working area from local to regional if possible.
  • Attend photography events where you can meet more photographers. Sharing is caring.

The solution can be right in front of your eyes.

Selling prints online

One other thing most photographers are doing with their top artwork is to sell prints online. This can be a good way to generate income, but it can be a bit challenging due to the market status.

A few extra tips to be able to sell more prints online:

  • Sell on websites like Amazon and eBay
  • Extend to other marketplaces like Etsy or Shopify
  • Create your own good looking website where you can sell prints directly.
  • Use advertising in a smart way to get to the right audience
  • Create an email list with your customers or people interested in your work
  • Compete in the market. Create unique prints which can make the difference.

Seeet&Love photography! Conclusion!

The majority of the photographers think that they may fail when they actually get through a bad period of time. If you love what you are doing, there is no such thing as failure.

Failure is the inferior limit we create in our little mind as a failsafe, to protect us from embarrassment or any other negative impacts.

Following our 5 key points and our tips will not guarantee your success but can have a great impact to avoid to fail in photography.

Remember folks. As there are so many photographers which succeeded in life by doing photography, why can’t you do that? What does stop you to be a great photographer and thrive in life?

I appreciate you for reading this post. You can have a read on a few other posts below if you want:

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There are reasons behind why photographers can fail in photography, therefore I wrote a bunch of tips on how can you prevent that and what can you do to avoid to fail in photography

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About Gabriel Mihalcea

Howdy! You’re here! Great things to start! Hi, I’m Gabriel I live in the UK in the beautiful town of Hastings. I am a photographer, and I do DSLR and drone photography. I always loved to capture everything I could see through the eye-finder of my Nikon, or the bird-eyes of my drone. My expectations are to share everything I learned about photography and help anyone in need to reach their potential. Honestly, nobody ever reached their maximum potential as there would always be more room for improvement, more information to achieve or new technologies in photography released on the market. But leaving that aside, I am here to help anyone in need.

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