The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Photographers

Owl Photo by Scott Bourne

With a hat tip to Stephen R. Covey, here’s a list of seven habits I’ve noticed in effective photographers.

1. They find a niche and they stick with it. Peter Hurley is capable of photographing just about anything and doing it well. But he’s known for his headshots He has few peers. Peter has realized that doing one thing (very well) pays off. This doesn’t mean you can’t shoot more than one subject or style. It means you concentrate on MARKETING only one genre of photography.

2. They know their audience. If you’re a wedding photographer working in southern California, you will have a different approach than if you are a wedding photographer in southern Mississippi. Knowing what your audience believes, feels and desires (BFD) is important.

3. They work hard and often. If you don’t shoot every day, or at least work on showing, building, marketing or selling your images, you’re probably not as effective as someone who does. Photography isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes dedication and hard work to win.

4. They have a plan. Photographers who expect to get rich quick are almost always, always, always disappointed. Those who build a plan and work according to that plan have the best chance at not only being effective, but being successful and happy.

5. They don’t wait for permission. Unless you work for “the man,” you can’t afford to stand around and wait for someone to tell you to go out and shoot. Pick up your camera, go out and make images, show those images. It’s up to YOU to make something happen. Don’t wait around for someone to tell you what to do. Do SOMETHING and do it now.

6. They never stop learning. If you really want to be effective as a photographer, you owe it to yourself to spend as much time reading photo books, magazines and blogs as you can. You should be taking classes, attending conferences and workshops. No matter what stage of your career you’re in, try to learn something new today, and every day.

7. They move forward. Photography is a life-long pursuit that requires constant motion for success. You can only be moving in one of three directions: Backwards, Side-to-Side or Forward. If you aren’t moving forward, you aren’t making progress. Ignore the negative. Embrace the positive. Move forward and leave the doubt, fear, bitterness, anger and jealousy that plagues much of our world behind. You’ll be a better shooter for it.


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