1. Shoot for yourself
In our industry it is very easy to get burnt out and not touch our cameras for a few days. Because of this it is important to pick up a camera and shoot for yourself. Do some photographic therapy :). I shoot film for myself and it keeps my photo juices going. It's an automatic point and shoot 35mm film camera and I admit, it's fun to not have to worry about exposure, or settings, or lenses. I just point it and shoot it. Then the fun part is next: developing the film!
Shooting for yourself will help you reconnect with why you love photography. It will give you a new perspective and help you tune into your creative side. I know it works for me
2. Blog It!
I'm sure I'm not the first one to say this but blogging is imperative to a photographer's business! It showcases your work, your clients, and most importantly, yourself. Rather than just picking the cream of the crop for your website, your clients (and future clients) will have somewhere to go to view more photos from a particular session.
I know that at first it seems silly and a bit invasive, to put yourself out there for all to read about... but why wouldn't you? Don't you want your clients to know that you love your life and love doing photography? Don't you want them to know that you have a Starbucks addiction and can't put the Caramel Mocha down?! Okay, maybe that's a little extreme but I am a little dramatic sometimes. And that is exactly what I want my clients to know, that I can joke and have fun. That I love my doggie and sometimes he's way to raggedy to photograph. I write birthday posts for each of my parents because I want my clients to know how I feel about each of them.
Allowing your clients to see who you are can better your chances in getting their business. People do business with people they like. It's really that simple. And many a times I have made friends out of my clients. Gone on coffee dates, dinners, and even drank a beer with them. This makes the level at which you take care of your clients that much higher. And they will feel it and see it.
3. Be Yourself!
This goes hand in hand with the blogging. BE YOURSELF! Don't try and be like anyone else. You are unique, special, and different and people like that. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little weird and I'm not afraid to embrace it. I talk in circles and ramble, can't tell a joke to save my life, and until recently, thought I never made any sense when I wrote blog posts. I was told by my sister and a couple of friends that I am indeed a good writer and that they like to read my blog... and all this time I was just being myself, talking in circles, and making every grammatical error in the world thinking people were here for the photos.
Because I am myself, people have gotten to know me on a deeper level. They know how to connect with me. On the blog and off the blog, don't be afraid to be you. And if someone doesn't like you, they can keep on walking!
4. Carve your own path.
In this industry, it is easy to get inundated with how everyone else is doing business. Kinda like, I seriously want to be Jose Villa in another life. But this doesn't mean that I will start shooting all film. I love film but don't get me wrong, digital is something I know. This also goes ties into the two points made above. It's okay to take advice from the greats. It's okay to use their techniques but make them your own. Make them YOU. Absorb the information and advice but use what works for you and tweak what needs to be improved.
This will also help you separate yourself from everyone else out there.
5. Bad is bad no matter what.
Even if you're a Photoshop guru, a bad photo is a bad photo. I have seen many people show their clients all photos from a session, no matter if they're bad or not. Culling your photos for the top notch ones is important. Photoshop will not make bad photos great. Great photos will be great photos.
And please, don't get me wrong, I've taken bad photos. It takes time to get it right and even then not every image will absolutely perfect. But practicing and getting it as close to perfect will help you be better. And then you can use Photoshop to make a good photo even better.
That's it! I hope this helps someone learn from my experiences.