Four Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Photographer

1) Rescheduling

When photo shoots are to be held outdoors, it is wise to set up a “rainy day plan” by choosing two dates to allow for ease in rescheduling. Securing an indoor location, in the event of prolonged inclement weather, is always a good idea, if time is of the essence.

2) Children and animals

When animals and children are involved in photography sessions, always allow extra time. Babies and puppies are incredibly adorable, in between crying and pooping sessions. They do not perform as expected. Ever. So, be prepared to wait patiently for those magical moments to occur naturally or when prompted, with the help of puppets and treats.

3) Equipment

Always carry extra batteries, lighting, backdrops, camera stand, memory cards, and a camera flash when shooting on location. Duck tape, a sand bag, and common tools may also come in handy when equipment fails or strong winds interfere with shooting.

4) Getting paid for your work

Everyone who owns their own business has made the mistake of performing a service, or giving away a product, prior to receiving payment. Generally, this happens with friends, family, and repeat customers. It doesn’t occur to you that you may not get paid. Until that day comes, when you finally realize you are never getting paid for your services.

Be smart!

Let’s discuss ways to be smart about your business. Having a clear business plan with a budget, will serve as your manual for running your company. Even if no one sees this plan besides yourself, you have set up your expectations and goals and will be more likely to stick with these goals, when they are in writing.


Be clear on expectations and deliverables upfront to clients and make sure contracts are signed before starting the project. Come up with a contract template to make it easy, when signing on new clients. Having the ability for clients to electronically sign documents will allow the flexibility to conduct interviews on-line and over the phone, without having to schedule an in-person meeting.


Adding a Service and Fees page to your website will go a long way towards financial security. Setting and listing fees for common services, higher than you would like, will give you the freedom to offer discounts. You then have the power to merge services together, offering discounted packages.

Service examples:

Real estate photography:

· Up to 1000 square foot home. Includes 1.5 hours for photo shoot. Includes a file with 30 images.

· 1000 – 1500 square foot home. Includes two hours for photo shoot. Includes file containing 40 images.

· 1500 – 2000 square foot home. Includes three hours for photo shoot. Includes file containing 50 images.

· $ (specific amount) for each additional 30 minutes.

· $ (specific amount) for 5 more images.

Family and couple photography:

· Two to four people for two hours. Includes file with 30 – 40 images. Includes 10 printed photos: two 8 x 10, four 5 x 7, and four wallet-size photos.

· Five to eight people for three hours. Includes file with 50 images. Includes 16 printed photos: four 8 x 10, six 5 x 7, two 3 x 5, and four wallet-size photos.

· $ (specific amount) per additional 15 minutes.

· $ (specific amount) per file image.

· $ (specific amount) per printed photo of (state size).

Wedding photography:

· Ceremony only. One hour. File includes 30 images.

· Ceremony and reception. Four hours. File includes 60 images.

· Pre-wedding coverage, ceremony, and reception. Five hours. File containing 75 images.

· $ (specific amount) per additional 30 minutes, per file image, and per printed photo of select size.

Engagement photos

· Surprise photo shoot, on location, without being noticed by the couple. One hour. File includes 30 images.

Indoor headshots in studio:

· One person for one hour. File includes 10 photos and two passport-size photos printed.

Product photography:

· One-hour photo shoot in studio. File includes 10 photos.

· Two-hour photo shoot on location. File includes 15 photos.

May these tips help you avoid the most common mistakes photographers make, when operating your own business.

Anastacia Elizabeth Walden

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