To follow a career in photography and work in the industry you will have to make money. But let’s be honest, most of us are in the photography business because we love capturing photographs, getting paid to do that is just mechanism that allows you to keep doing that.
Defining your purpose in the photography world is the one thing that makes you get up everyday and surround yourself with all things creative. Having a purpose allows you to make your mark on the creative world, it helps you feel fulfilled and give you an answer to why you do this, it helps you live your life by providing an income and it justifies why you do this, unless you really are in this game just for the money.
I built my wedding photography business with a strong purpose and mission, and yes they’re are only words, it’s not a physical thing, but having them allows you to revisit why you’re in this game and without them you’re stepping into the unknown without any sense of direction. Whichever career you choose in photography or even the wider creative industry, it’s a saturated market, knowing the purpose of you and the business makes it easier for you to stand out to customers and clients. I speak a lot about honesty and trust, if you’re genuine and share your purpose with customers, they become a lot more engaged and start building a bond with not only you, but also your business and branding.
Forgetting the customers for a minute, having a strong purpose aids you. Money and income can only go so far to motivate you, and sticking with awful cliches for a minute, money really cannot buy everything. For example I know that 100% of my clients would be happy if I shot their wedding exactly the same as the last wedding I did, using all the same poses and all the same equipment. They wouldn't know any different and they would be more than happy with the finished products as they’ve chosen me based on my previous work and my personality. I can guarantee I’d not only feel like I was cheating myself but I wouldn't stick around in the wedding photography game for much longer. Having a purpose to create unique and creative imagery ensures I’m always striving to create something new and more importantly challenge myself by leaving my comfort zones.
Let’s go back to the customers, your purpose comes across in most of your literature & personality you write online, whether you consciously or unconsciously think about it. Your customers will pick up on this, but more importantly the customers you want to work with will be excited to use your services knowing they understand you and the purpose of your business.
So by now you’re probably thinking how the heck do I know what my purpose is? Honestly it’s easier than you may think, it’s not necessarily the actual ‘job’ you do and what you sell but that feeling customers get when they use your services. A bridal shop, in a nutshell, fits and sells wedding dresses to women, but what they actually do for the client is make them feel like the most beautiful women on earth on their wedding day. A wedding photograph takes a series of pictures that documents a period of time, to the client they provide a collection of beautiful composed memories that helps them relive the most important day of their lives. Go ahead, whatever business you’re in, think about your purpose and leave your answer in the comments below.
Finally, your purpose can push you much further than just starting/running a successful photography business. I made it my purpose to have a positive impact on my local communities and industry, how did I achieve this? I became involved with as many local and regional networking groups as I could, I spoke openly about the economy on social media platforms and in person, I put myself out there and met new people. You can use your business to campaign for positive causes you believe in, people will be more willing to work with you and buy your services if they can see you’re open and honest.
Do you have a core purpose that motivated you in your business? Have you used your role to have a positive impact on other issues outside of the business?