When I began my photography career at the age of eight-teen, my mantra was YES, I can do it. If I don’t know how, I will figure it out. Soon I discovered that saying yes to everything lead me down a career path of average photography and mad clients.
This was a time before the World Wide Web and social media. Some might argue that today it is easier to say yes to everything because how-to do anything is at your fingertips. I do agree.
I have a question for you. Name the most famous everything photographer you know. The photographer who isn’t known for a specialty or two. She photographs everything, in every way and is famous for it. There are famous photographers who have a style that they apply to multiple subjects. I’m at a loss to find the everything photographer who says yes to all opportunities and hits it out of the park every time. Maybe you know one; you must also know they are rare.
Once I started to say no and focused on a few specialties, larger clients began knocking on my door, taking my phone calls and my career took off.
Understanding and recognizing my limitations allows me to think strategically. Rather than take on a project that doesn’t fit my areas of specialty, I referred the clients to other photographers. I also take a cut for my referral.
I discovered that I rather have a happy client using a photographer friend than a mad client because I couldn’t say no.