Have you ever felt stuck in your photography business? You love your work, and your portfolio speaks for itself, but you just can’t seem to reach that next level of success. What if I told you that the secret has very little to do with your social media marketing, your equipment, or even your current skill level as a photographer? It’s actually deeper than all of those external things—it’s probably your brain that needs a reset, not your career. That’s right: your mindset is the single most important factor in the success of your business.
A Tale of Two Mindsets
Carol Dweck, a psychologist and author (she actually wrote an entire book on this very topic! Click here to view it), explains that most of us walk around with one of two mindsets. Here’s her summary of them:
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, and their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
If you’re stuck in a fixed mindset, you’re probably adhering to a whooooole list of limiting beliefs—maybe without even knowing it! But the good news is that we get to choose our mindset every single day and with every new season. So if you’re been holding yourself back, there’s no shame! But I’m really excited to share some practical ways to move forward in that growth mindset that makes all the difference.
From Stuck to Successful: Flipping Those Limiting Beliefs
Over the years, I’ve heard some similar stories pop up from photographers all over the country. Turns out, most of us are wrestling with the exact same things! If you’ve said these things to yourself, you’re in good company—but now, it’s time to turn them around.
Mindset #1. “I messed up, so I’m a failure.”
Raise your hand if you’ve made a huuuuge mistake at work. Maybe you purchased a camera that you thought was too good to be true… and it was. You got scammed. Maybe your computer crashed and you forgot to pack up a really important gallery. Maybe you had a client photo session that went horribly. Look, it’s true—those things are failures, but they definitely don’t make YOU one.
THE FLIP: What can I learn from this mistake? Photographers who have unlocked a growth mindset know that every single mistake and mess-up, big or small, only serves to teach them something that will make them even better. When your efforts fall short, own it—but don’t internalize it. You’ll learn from this, and you’ll come out on top.
Mindset #2. “The photography market is too saturated.”
Fear is the pesky little thing hiding behind this one. You’re afraid that you won’t be successful, so you don’t even try to put yourself and your work out there. It’s true, there are a lot of photographers in the world! From family sessions to editorial work, you’re going to eventually stumble across someone else who’s “in your lane.” But this can be a great thing, not a terrifying one!
THE FLIP: I bring something unique to the table. It’s true that there are lots of photographers, but there’s only one YOU! Even if you know tons of other photographers who specialize in weddings, just like you do, they don’t work with the same tones, presets, and poses. They don’t have your specific eye for the shots you love. They will never be able to replace your unique creative gift!
Even more importantly, having fellow photographers as friends instead of competitors is a game changer. You can learn from each other and lean on each other, trusting that there is, in fact, room for everyone.
Mindset #3: I already know what I need to know.
Not to be rude, but yikes! Not only is this one incorrect, it’ll lead you to a veeeery boring photography career. There is so much to learn in this industry—from actual photography expertise to creating smoother systems that help your business grow. If you’ve already flipped your mindset from #2 above, you’ll have photography friends to learn from, too!
THE FLIP: I always have room to grow. The most incredible thing about a creative career is that it’s only stagnant when you are. You can continue to learn, hone your skills, and even change your style anytime you like!
Want to grow, but not sure how to take the next educational step? I built my Art+Heart course just for that. It’s a 6-part, self-guided series designed for novice and experienced photographers alike, complete with a step-by-step roadmap to help you identify or solidify your business plan, create soul-centered & meaningful art, build a sustainable brand, and attract & book your dream clients consistently. Sound like a dream? We’d love to have you when the doors open again!
The Benefits of a Growth Mindset
This could be its own blog post, really—because the benefits are endless! But if I had to sum them all up into one sentence, it would be this: you’ll be free to make magical moments because you’re no longer held back by fear. The growth mindset changes everything. It reminds you that you’ll never “arrive,” which is a gift because you get to keep growing! It takes off the pressure to be perfect. It opens your heart to new relationships within the photography industry. And, most of all, it teaches you how to believe in yourself no matter what. And guess what? I already believe in you. Go make some magic!