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How to Grow a Six-Figure Photography Business: 6 lessons I learned

March 6, 2020

When it comes to learning how to grow a six-figure photography business, expectations can be quite different from reality. And I’m not going to lie to you, I was not prepared. It turns out that it isn’t without it’s own speed bumps, potholes, flat tires, out-of-gas-in-the-middle-of-nowhere moments. But, if you want to push past a certain amount of income, past a certain amount of sessions, it’s the only way to get there.

So, today, I’m sharing with you the 6 lessons I learned while growing a 6-figure Photography Business that will benefit you RIGHT NOW!

How to Grow a Six-Figure Photography Business | Marketing Tips for Photographers with Ariel Dilworth

Lesson #1- You are what’s different!

We all know that if we want our business to stand out we have to be different from our competition! We have to let people know why they should choose us. That’s all great, except, we photographers like to try and do this by OFFERING something different. A different type of mini session, a referral program, etc. But the truth is, those things are just bonuses to hiring you. The real thing that’s different about your business, the real selling point is YOU!

That’s why in my More than Marketing course I start with self-awareness activities for photographers to get to know themselves and what makes them unique. Then, this leads them to discover their why –> a.k.a. their life purpose and message. Then we take that and apply it to their photography business because the truth is. You’re not selling your photography, you’re selling you. If you feel like you need a little help with this, make sure you join the waitlist for THIS course. Enrollment opens every 6 months and only 20 photographers are accepted at one time!

Lesson #2- Passionately Serve

Until you actually care about the people you are trying to serve, your business will always be limited. Because we can tell when someone is serving us out of selfish motives or even out of obligation. But when someone serves us because they passionately care about us. We can tell. It’s evident in the way they write, the way they talk, the way they treat us, etc.

When I finally started doing this in my own business my posts started getting shared, my blogs started getting read by the people I wanted to read them, and even writing my content became SO MUCH EASIER. So my advice is, if you want to learn how to grow a six-figure photography business, CARE! And the way to actually care is by learning about them. Learn their story, their dreams, their hopes, their struggles in life AND in the day-to-day. Because when we learn about others we can’t help but start empathizing with them.

Free Ideal Client Worksheet | Marketing for Photographers with Ariel Dilworth

Lesson #3- Stay Focused

When I found my why and applied it to my business as “Photos by Ariel Wholistic Photography,” my business exploded. But the truth is, it took a lot of focus. Not just in the process of trying to find my why, but also not getting distracted by things like comparison and self-doubt.

Perfectionism, self-doubt, and comparison are “diseases” that plague many photographers and creatives. So, when it comes to knowing how to grow a photography business, you have to know how to shut them down! You have to know how to focus on what you’re doing so your business won’t be limited.

Andddddd because I like free stuff, I also created a little freebie for this one too! Make sure you take advantage of my “Photographer’s Guide to Overcome Self-Doubt.”

Lesson #4- Balance

As your business grows its easy for things to fall out of alignment. You start checking your emails during family time. Scheduling sessions on your scheduled days off or not even scheduling days off in the first place! Work/life balance is hard but important. Not only is important for your relationships with your spouse, kids, and friends, but also your personal development as well! Heck, rest is even an important piece to the growth of your business. Most of our BEST ideas occur to us in moments of rest.

An important part of work/life balance is knowing what’s required of you as far as money and sessions. Sit down and figure up your family budget and how much money you need to be making bare minimum, good, and best.

When we don’t know that information we find ourselves saying yes to anything and everything! But when we say yes to one thing, we are always saying no to something else.

Lesson #5- Time Management

Want to know how to grow a six-figure photography business? Learn how to manage your time. As business owners, we wear a lot of hats. So, it’s important to make sure you have a designated amount of time for each. We can’t spend all our time on social media content. We still have to blog, respond to client emails in a timely manner, cull and edit photos, manage finances, etc. or else our business is at risk of crashing and burning. I wrote an entire blog about time management tips just for photographers. You can find it HERE.

Lesson #6- Organization

Another lesson I learned the hard way was organization. I had double-booked sessions and my client experience that I promised was falling through the cracks because I simply didn’t have the systems in place to handle it. So, in the middle of the craziness, I started 3 these things and honestly, they are what saved me and my business.


Honeybook is a client management system that helps me keep track of my clients and where they are at in their workflow/client experience. It allows me to have completely on brand brochures that get automatically emailed to my clients as soon as they inquire. It also lets me automate workflows so certain emails, questionnaires and resources can be sent to my clients at certain times (2 weeks, 2 months, or 8 months before their session).Not to mention it collects payments and even links with my business bank account so it can track my business income and expenses and even categorizes what tax bracket they fall under. Not to mention they have an online booking calendar so that I never forget or accidentally double book a session. Seriously, this is hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in my business. Click HERE to save $200 off your Honeybook subscription!

Photographer’s Edit

Yes, I know. Outsourcing anything in our business is so hard. Nobody can do it as well as we can, right? Well, Photographer’s Edit proved me wrong. I was editing approximately 10,000 pictures a month and couldn’t provide my clients with the experience I was no for OR take any more sessions. But once I started outsourcing my editing, I could use that time to book more sessions and make MORE income! Woot, Woot! Click HERE to see how it works and to snag a discount off your first order.


Yep! I built my business to this point with little to no childcare. But the truth is, my kids were suffering the consequences of having a mom who was constantly distracted. So, I hired a part-time nanny to come to my house 3 days a week so that I could be present with my business when it was time to work and with my kids when it wasn’t time to work.

I hope you liked my article and will follow these steps to succeed in your photography business. And If you’ve started applying these steps in your photography business, you should also know about SEO, has written a detailed guide for the photographer on SEO, you must check it out. Here’s a link: SEO Tips For Photographers.

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