5 Goal Setting Strategies for Photographers

We all have goals to achieve. But why are some people successful at achieving their goals while others only add new items to their to-do list day by day and year by year?

5 Goal-Setting Strategies for Photographers

In this post I collected some goal setting strategies to help you get your photography career and business on a fast track.

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.

Bruce Lee

According to a research study conducted by Dominican university, people only achieve 43% of their goals when they just think about them. In comparison people who wrote down their goals, created an action plan and shared it with friends, showed a 76% rate of goal achievement.

So, before we’ll go into goal-setting strategies, take some time to think of your own goals. Maybe you want to be a freelance photographer and travel the world? Or you just started your photography business and your goal is to grow it quickly? Or maybe you have a particular salary bracket you want to reach in future? All dreams and goals are personal. Set your own goals so that you can wake up every morning with a purpose.


One of the most popular and effective goal-setting strategies for business is SMART. Wikipedia says that SMART is a principle which provides criteria for the setting of objectives, for example in project management, employee-performance management and personal development. Let’s figure out what this abbreviation means in real life. This method has been a successful goal-setting strategy for quite a long time, as it’s easy to understand and follow.

SMART goals for photographers

S – Specific: The more specific you can be with the setting up of your goals, the easier it would be to see what you need to do to achieve it. You need to define some very specific, concrete, and measurable objectives to visualise what your goal looks like in real life. Also, think of how you will measure your results to establish if you’re getting somewhere. You can use the five “W’s” to set more specific goals: Who? What? Where? Why? Which?

For example, you can answer the five “W’s” as follows: I want to grow my business in the next 12 months, because I want to earn $500 per day! Insert specific objectives, numbers and time.

M – Measurable: Can you measure your goal? How would you know that you achieved your goal? Your goal should be real and measurable.

For example, it’s too vague simply to think “I want to be rich”. It is better to think, “I want to earn $500 per day in half a year”. In the same way you can also determine exactly how many photo sessions you need to book for the next month to get closer to your goal.

A – Attainable: Make sure you can actually achieve the goals you set for yourself. Make sure the numbers and timing you set for yourself are realistic. If not, you will get frustrated and quit before you ever really started.

For example, if you want to earn $500 per day, would it be possible to achieve this goal in just 6 months or do you need more time for it?

R – Relevant: If your goals are relevant they should impact your business positively and give results. So, answer the question: will your goals change the vision and values of your business? Will it help you to achieve success in the future?

For example, if one of your goals is to grow your social media accounts, how will you realistically achieve this?

T – Time-bound: You need to set realistic deadlines for achieving your goals. Your objectives should be time-limited. If your main goal will take a lot of time to reach, set some short-term goals that will help you to get to your main one. It can help you to make your main goal look more achievable and make you feel like what you are doing today will have a positive impact on your future.

For example, would it be possible for you to grow your business to earn $500 per day in half a year? How many sessions per month would you need to have to actually achieve this kind of profit?

Focus on the Process, not the Outcome

Goal setting strategies for your photography career

If you have big goals, you should know that it will take a lot of time and effort to achieve them. Whether you’re going to start a photography business or write a book it is the same process. You may at times feel tired, exhausted, or even like giving up. You may think that it’s okay to give up, as your current position is quite fine. Don’t let your brain trick you like that!

Write down the real reason WHY you need to change your current job, or why you need to start a business, or whatever you want to do. Find out the benefits of achieving your goal, as well as the downsides. However, remember that besides your goals there is a real life around you, so enjoy the process, but don’t get obsessed with your goal. Focus on the process itself, not only on the outcome.

Dream Big

Goal setting strategies for your photography business

Don’t be afraid to dream big! Small goals mean small actions, and small thinking. For example, a goal of getting to a profit of $10 000 in half a year may be quite realistic for you. If your goal does not scare you, it’s probably too small. Make your goal ten times bigger and then try to achieve it.

Big goals mean that you have to take big actions, and take risks and overcome challenges. So, you need to put more thinking, more efforts and more time into achieving this big goal. It’s limited only by the time and effort you’re willing to put in.

Turn Goals into Actions

Once you set up your goals, think of real actions you can take to achieve them.

For example, if you want to earn $500 per day, you need to work on your marketing strategy to find new clients, and start working with them. Maybe you need to ask more for your services.. You may even need to consider changing your lifestyle. Goals without actions are only dreams.

Once you have your action plan, make sure you do something to get closer to your goal every day.

Your Goals Will Change

how to set goals for photographers

Along the way your goals may change and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t be afraid to change your goals depending on what’s happening in your life. For example, perhaps you decided to become a freelance photographer and travel the world, but then you find out that you are going to have a baby over the next few months. This does not mean that you need to postpone your dreams it just means that they will change depending on your situation. Maybe you will decide to set up a local photography business instead.

Over to You

Remember, as long as you’re alive and healthy, you can achieve anything you want to. The main problem you may have with your goals is that nobody can guarantee that your hard work will pay off. So, try to trust the process and enjoy the journey of making your dreams come true. What do you do to achieve your goals? Tell us in the comment section below.

By Nancy Young

Nancy is a passionate freelance writer and blogger. She writes inspirational articles on web design, photography, and technology. She enjoys traveling, reading and meeting new people. Nancy believes in a magic of written words to inspire and motivate. She is also working as a writer at OneDesBlog.


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