Photography Business Goals: Our Guide

Starting and growing your very own photography business is about more than snapping pictures and developing film. You must have a business plan, and in this plan, there must be business goals. Also, setting these goals is not something you save for the New Year. The great news about goals is that you can set them anytime you like, and you can make them as big or small as you want. Business goals are ever-changing, which means you must be willing to rework them, rewrite them and add to them throughout the year. Success does not happen by accident. It happens by continuing to set goals, exceeding them and working hard to grow your photography business.

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Even if your business goals are working for your photography business, it never hurts to adjust them and add to them. If your goals aren’t working how you thought they might, it could be time for you to sit down and evaluate why they aren’t working and what you can do to make sure they don’t fail again. Goals make it possible for you to grow your business. If you’re struggling to grow as a photographer, it could have everything to do with your goals. Perhaps they aren’t specific enough. They might not be big enough. They might be too broad. Whatever the problem is, learning how to set specific and achievable business goals can change your business for the better.

What are Achievable Business Goals?

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Setting business goals is not enough to guarantee success. If your goals aren’t achievable, you’re not helping yourself or your business grow. An achievable business goal is one you set that you can realistically reach. For example, setting a business goal of earning $1 million as a photographer this year when you’ve never even had a professional job might not be realistic. Setting a goal of shooting five sessions per month is a more achievable goal.


Once you have your achievable goal written down, you work on that. Once you meet that goal, then you start working on bigger goals. Eventually, you can work on earning that $1 million per year, but you must make sure that goal is achievable before you set it. A good business goal is compromised of five important elements, and it’s called a SMART goal.

  • S for specific
  • M for measurable
  • A for attainable
  • R for relevant
  • T for time-based


When setting goals, ask yourself if they meet each of those requirements. Is your goal specific? For example, you can write down that you’d like to photograph five sessions per month getting started—as a specific goal. If you say you’re going to have clients every month, that’s not a specific goal. Also, your goal must meet the rest of the expectations. If it doesn’t, adjust the goal so you can meet those requirements. Now it’s an attainable goal, and you have a better chance of successfully reaching it.

The Benefits of Setting Goals

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The point of business goals is to outline what you want to achieve as a photography business owner. Your goal is your mission, and it might not be the same mission for you as it is for someone else. You might make your goals to earn enough money every year, quit your day job and focus solely on your photography. Someone else might make it their goal to use their business as a creative outlet to add to their income to save for a home. There’s a lot you can do to make business goals work for you, if only you know what you’re working toward.

Here are some of the benefits of setting business goals:

Business Goals Motivate You

When you have a goal, you have a purpose. When you know you have to make something happen, you are more willing to work for it. When you have no goal, you may not always feel motivated. The simple act of having something to work for pushes you each day to work harder and more effectively. If you want to make more money, for example, you’ll get up each morning knowing you need to work so you can make that happen. The point of a goal is to motivate you.

Goals Give You An Advantage

If you know what you’re working for, you have the advantage over others in the same industry. You are working toward something that drives you to do better, learn more and make positive changes. Businesses without goals are often less- organized and efficient, which only serves to make your photography business more professional.

Goals Can Be Broken Down

The biggest benefit of setting business goals is your ability to break them down and make them smaller. This helps you achieve them more efficiently. For example, if you’re starting small by setting a goal of booking five clients each month as a brand-new photographer, you can further break that down into a series of smaller goals that allow you to meet your bigger goal.

Here’s an example:

To book five clients per month, you need to book a session every six days. This means you need to work on finding clients by going to events, setting up a business website, making cards and finding ways to market yourself to bring in the clients you want in every six days. Eventually, you’ll have your five clients every month—and then some. You’ll be booked months in advance, and that will make your business grow tremendously.


Goals Make You More Competitive

When you have something to work for, you are more competitive. You want to be better and more talented than the other photographers in your area. You’ll want to learn how to get better so that people want to call you rather than the photographer they would work with otherwise. Your job is to become more competitive so you can grow into the kind of photographer you want to become.

Goals Help You Grow

If you have nothing to work for, you have nothing to do. Goals inspire you to grow by constantly giving you something to work for. You can make sure you’re business is growing by setting new goals that challenge you regularly.

How to Create Achievable Business Goals

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Setting achievable business goals is where you take the SMART rule and apply it. Your goals must meet each requirement to be effective goals. This allows you to learn, to grow and to make sure your goals are doable. These tips can help you set more attainable goals, too:

Make Your Goals Motivational

If your goals don’t make you wake up in the morning ready to get started on your business plan, they’re not big enough. You need to make your goals things that are important to you. If they’re not important to you, you aren’t going to work hard on them, which makes them not-very-good goals.

Break Them Down

Now that you have a big goal, break it down into a series of smaller goals that are more attainable. You must make sure that you can cross off smaller goals as you go to keep you motivated. It’s easier to meet your big goals when you are able to cross off smaller ones along the way. This helps renew your motivation and purpose.

Only Set Goals That Are Important To You

One of the biggest mistakes photography business owners make is setting goals they feel are good for the business but not good for themselves. If your goals are tied to the way someone else feels or the way you think you should feel or work, they won’t be effective. Ignore what everyone else thinks and how they feel, and make sure your goals are for you and your business. Don’t try to compete with other photographers. Compete with yourself to make sure your business is stronger and better.

Write Down Your Goals

The single most important thing you can do for yourself when setting business goals is to write them down. If you do not write down your goals, they just don’t feel real. Your job as a photography business owner is to write down your goals, break them down into smaller goals and cross them off as you meet them. This motivates you, makes you work harder and makes you more successful in meeting your goals. No one wants to see something in writing go undone. There is power in the very simple act of crossing things off your to-do list each day.

Conclusion

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Goals are personal. If you want to create attainable business goals for your photography business, you must learn to make them goals you want to see manifest. You must believe you can meet these goals and then exceed them. You must be willing to adjust them when they aren’t working for you, and you must be willing to think bigger and better when you realize your goals. You can do anything you want, but you must be motivated to make that happen in a successful manner. Start by creating goals that are personal to you, write them down and then figure out what you need to do to make those goals a reality in your life.

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