For those in the business of photography, understanding the psychology behind a photograph is key. A photograph is more than a snapshot. It’s a memory, an experience, a symbol of a special moment. Knowing this will lead to more and happier clients. In this video, I’ll be discussing the role psychology plays in a successful photography business.

Video: The Role of Psychology in a Successful Photography Business

Favorite Photograph Exercise

Close your eyes and step out of your role as a photographer for a moment. Then, think of a photo that you personally appreciate. Likely, it’s a photograph a lot like mine. One that evokes a memory of a certain point in our lives of ourselves or someone we care about.

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My favorite photograph is one of myself and my father when I was very young. You see, he was a single father and immigrated to America with me, raising me while earning a degree in civil engineering. Despite how busy he was, he still made time for me.

There’s a good chance that when you thought about your photo, you didn’t consider anything technical. My favorite photo is just a simple snapshot. Yet, this photograph means so much to me. That’s because photography is a psychological product. To understand how this applies to building a successful photography business, we can look at it from two perspectives.

#1: The Photographer’s Perspective

As photographers, when we take a photograph, we likely look at it from the perspective of our own journey learning the craft. As we hone our skills, constantly pay close attention to our technical abilities. Therefore, in our own photos, we might pay attention to the light, composition, colors, etc.

However, anybody else may not see any of that. This becomes particularly important when building a successful photography business when we’re taking photographs for other people, such as clients.

#2: The Client’s Perspective

When a bride and groom see a photograph taken of them, they’ll  likely remember experience leading up to that photograph. They may think about how they were feeling at the moment of capture, whether they were confident or felt beautiful. They may see a symbol of their love for each other. What I can guarantee is that they won’t be thinking of the f-stop, or the lighting, or the composition. They won’t be thinking how the photo was captured with such a high megapixel state of the art camera. This is an important distinction.

Much like in our earlier exercise, to our clients, these photos are emotional anchors to that special time in their lives. And to build a successful photography business, we need to understand that that is the product we are selling. This is why the experience leading up to the photograph is so important. Because that’s what the client will remember. Did we understand what is important to them? Did they feel confident and beautiful when we captured the photo? Were they having a good time?

The W.A.V.E. Framework

For our Complete Business Course on SLR Lounge Premium, we’ve created a framework for talking with clients called the W.A.V.E. Framework. In this framework, we guide the client through a visualization exercise that pinpoints exactly what they want to see out of their photographs. Through this, we come to understand their values and we can take extra care to make sure their needs and desires are fulfilled. This will lead to ecstatic clients who are more than eager to recommend you to everybody they know. Because you’re the photographer who knew and gave them exactly what they wanted.


I hope you enjoyed this article/video. This knowledge of psychology when taking photographs of your client can be your superpower. Photography and practically all sales can be attributed back to applying psychology to understand your client’s true needs and desires. This is a part of our Complete Business Training System on SLR Lounge Premium where you can learn how to create a successful photography business. We’ve also discussed this very topic on our new podcast, 12 Week Relationships, where Dr. Glen Hong and I discuss all things involving cultivating healthy relationships.

Don’t miss our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!