I remember long ago when I was first starting out in photography I heard some great, sound advice. Treat every photo shoot like it was THE job, THE session that you had always wanted to get. Whatever that may mean to you.

I think you can easily figure out why, but let me explain. How easy is it for us to become complacent with another family shoot, another wedding, another [fill in the blank]? How easy is it for us photographers to book another session, take our clients to the same location we just shot at last week, place the subject(s) in the same pose and charge the same price for this basic session formula? Well, let me tell you… it can be very easy to fall into that rut.

The thing to remember is that while this may be your 3rd session this week or the 5th time you’ve used this location this month it’s more likely than not that it’s your client’s FIRST time. We, as the photographers and creative forces behind our clients shoot, must treat EVERY session like it’s the most important shoot we will ever have in our careers and for our business. We build relationships, not sell them a widget. We want our clients to know of our passion and excitement for their images, not deliver cookie-cutter photos that are nothing more than head-swaps of the last session we just did.

I can tell you that I still get little butterflies at every shoot and I pray that never goes away. Why? I don’t want to get complacent. I don’t want this passion of photography to become formulaic. I want those little nerves to keep me on my toes and to propel me to GO BIG, OR GO HOME.

It’s sort of becoming my own personal motto this year that if it doesn’t give me butterflies I don’t want to do it. I want to push myself, I want to break from my comfort zone. One of the easiest ways to break free from any photography formula is to make sure that you absolutely LOVE… I mean really, LOVE what you photograph. Finding your key niche will ensure that you remain passionate for what you do and therefore you will work harder to build it and protect it. Which means, have confidence in yourself and create a portfolio of work that represents the type of clients and sessions you WANT to shoot, not the ones that you will shoot just because you have a camera. And above all else, love what you do everyday.