7 Reasons why most Photographers and Videographers don’t Reach their Goals

You’ve done it. Looked at another photographer’s Instagram, website, Facebook, or Twitter and seen their huge following, beautiful photographs, the brands and art directors they have worked with, and delicious dinners; and it hurt your heart a little bit. Maybe you even thought they weren’t even that good to have such a following! Right? So why aren’t you there?


I love, love goals. Yes. Double love. Because I get to dream of where I want to be, see myself there in my mind, make a plan to get there, work on that plan, and look back with amazement. As I meet with photography and videography clients, I feel pretty bummed when I see talented, interesting people not working towards their goals. These are the 7 biggest problems that I run into with you.

1. They have general ideas.

Most photographers and videographers know exactly what they want to do and where they want to go. But when I ask you, it comes out really vague. “I want to do fashion and maybe do a portrait business.” “Weddings.” “I want to work with kids.” “I just want to take pictures. I’ll do anything. I could do video too.”

So what’s a specific goal? “I want to do Weddings with a vintage style for $4,000 six times a month.” Now that’s a goal! I know exactly what area of photography you do, what style, how much you charge or want to charge, and how many jobs you are trying to book. This goal is specific, and most importantly, measurable. If you can’t measure your goal, you can’t determine how close or far you are from it.

2. They don’t write down their goals.
There is power in having written goals. Take it from Brian Tracey:

“Only about 3 percent of adults have clear, written goals. These people accomplish five and ten times as much as people of equal or better education and ability but who, for whatever reason, have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want.”

I would guess that not even a whole one percent of photographers or videographers have clear, written goals. Prove me wrong in the comments, or make that change with you. Are your goals written down? Write one goal down right now.


3. They have a beginner’s mindset.

This next one is such a shame. If you know you want to do a specific style or area of videography or photography, do that area or that style. Don’t fall into the trap that you have to “start” somewhere else. You don’t have to do some other kind of photography for 5 years until you can do what you want. I see too many climbing up the wrong ladder to get to a different ladder and getting stuck or doing a little or this and a little of that.

If you want to be a commercial photographer, choose a niche, build your portfolio for free by going to events to meet manufacturers and asking to shoot their products, then go after paid jobs. If you want to do weddings, be an assistant, do some weddings for free, and work your way up to higher paying jobs. Build your career by starting in your career–not some other career. *Cue super whiny voice*: but so and so did it such and such way. *Cue karate kick to the face.* You can get to your goals faster by focusing and building.

4. They aren’t accountable.

A lot of photographers and videographers know what they need to do, but they don’t do it. When you are only accountable to yourself, it’s easier to break promises. Sad but true. If you hold yourself accountable to someone else, like an accountability partner, you will get your work done. Or you will be embarrassed and get your work done the next day. I have a daily and monthly accountability partner. Jay P has a disorder and can’t stop until he gets something done. 😉

5. They simply don’t have a plan to reach their goals.

Making plans to reach goals is my favorite! Simply wanting to work with a specific art director isn’t enough. You need to have a plan to reach her and try your different strategies out over a specific allotted time. Then evaluate, recourse, and continue. There are so many clever ways to market to an art director. If you know who you want to reach, we can think of 5 ways on the spot to reach them in a non-pushy way. That’s why we started TSL’s Business Coaching Class. We want to see you reach your goals. Let’s get you there.

6. They don’t look at their goals.

Have you ever made goals at the beginning of the year and forgotten them by the middle of the year? Or written a business plan and put it in a folder on a shelf… never to be seen until you are throwing away stuff. If you write out your goals, put them where you can see them. By a stylish picture frame and put them in there on your wall in your office or work area. If you don’t care about style, staple it to your wall (but check with your landlord if you’re renting or are married). Or make them the background on your phone or computer. This will help you stay focused and on course. Look at them every day or once a week.

7. They take success for failure.

Our plans and goals don’t work out the way we planned. They work out better or differently, and this isn’t bad, wrong, or shameful. If you are taking action towards a goal everyday, amazing, super amazing things will happen. Sometimes, you will book 9 jobs in one month and 5 in another. And with a heavy heart, you will have failed at getting 6 jobs for that month. Even though one of them, paid three times more than your typical job and you had 3 extra jobs the month before. It’s silly, but it happens. Always acknowledge your successes. Every single job.

Are you ready to make goals, start planning, and taking action? Jay P and I made a free video series to help you write out your goals and take action towards reaching them. We even have free worksheets for you to do your goal planning. If you want to get your goals written and start taking action, sign up for our free series 5 MUSTS for Every Pro, and you will get one video delivered to you for 5 days. By the 5th day, you will be rocking on your business.

If you want to continue to learn more marketing and business strategies, sign up for our business coaching class.



Adelaide Lawren

I simplify marketing and business strategies for photographers and videographers to help them get the results they want. (It’s awesome!) Partner at the Slanted Lens and Marketing Coach for TSL’s Business Coaching Group. I’m also a comedic actress, which is why my marketing guides are […]

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