for photographers

[for photographers] 3 reasons why avoiding business is better for business or 3 ways to cultivate some creativity

Has anyone else been in the business doldrums lately?  Feeling like you are just not reaching the goals you want to reach in the time you want to reach them?

I am so in that spot.  I am trying to take action to fix the issue, so I am basically burying myself up to my forehead in small business gunk.

Then, I stumbled on a thought…

Maybe the best way to achieve my business goals is to completely abandon them for a while.

Uh, what?

I have been trying to find some balance and figure out what it takes to be a healthy and creative business owner, and it seems that an overload on business theory may be quite counterproductive in a creative business.

Why too much business is bad for your business:

1. You become completely focused on the bottom line.  

This can be death to a creative business!  While we certainly need business sense (and good business sense), it is near impossible to cultivate creativity if you are always thinking money.  

Money can be hard to ignore when you are trying to pay some bills, but when we focus on creativity instead we can become photographers with a signature style, who are willing to take risks, who clients rave about because we are doing things that other photographers don't do.

2. You become crippled by the pressure.  

The pressure to be successful is quite a heavy burden, and its weight can cause us to completely shut down.

I get caught in the downward spiral all the time.  Photographer-who-shall-remain-nameless became successful in a year, why can’t I?  So and so started at the same time as me, but they are getting way more work!  How on earth can so and so get clients but I can’t!?!

This crap is devastating, and it makes us give up.  Let's shut it down!

3. You lose sight of why people hire you. 

You are a photographer, which means people hire you for your creative vision.  If we are only thinking about business and marketing, when do we have time for the creative vision that our clients want?

I’m not saying to ignore business and marketing, but can be incredibly healthy to step back and realize that clients want an artistic and creative photographer.  Otherwise, they would do it themselves. 

Okay, you took some steps to walk away from the business muck for a while, now what???

It’s time to cultivate some creativity!

1. Spend some time getting inspired outside of the photography world. 

Even though I think it is important to study photographs, lighting, and posing, sometimes it just makes me compare myself to other photographers.  And that comparison is one big step towards a depressing view of my business.

Let's break out of it!  Read a book, watch a movie, listen to some music, go on a walk, and let it inspire you.  Really slow down and enjoy it.  Let all of the emotions of someone else's creativity spur you towards your own.

I want to cultivate creative ideas that aren’t born out of competition and comparison!

2. Daydream!

If we only had time to daydream again!  I need to take the time to do this.  I want to let my mind wander, and give it the time and relaxation that it needs to be creative. 

3. Use the camera for completely personal reasons.

Step away from monetary motivations for a while.  For some of you that will just be a day, others may need a week or even months, to walk away from the money and focus on the love you have for your craft.  Take on a personal project and enjoy it!

Check out this awesome post from Copyblogger for more on making money without thinking about money.

P.S. I would love to know your thoughts.  Who is on this journey with me?  How do you battle the doldrums???

P.P.S.  Do you have other photographer friends who are battling this, too?  Click the share button below and pass along the info.  I would love to have them join the discussion.