Featuring Justin Haugen
Written by Sabrina Sabbagh
Justin Haugen is no stranger to photography workshops and expos, but his taste in curriculum has evolved over the last decade. When the Tucson Wedding and Portrait Photographer used to attend conferences like WPPI, he would purposely avoid classes about running or growing a photography business.
“I find that we tend to focus on skills-based learning very early in our careers.”
Justin says his class choices were largely based on his concern about the competition. “That’s the focus for a long time in the beginning: how we can be more talented, more skilled, and more artistic.”
Growing Your Photography Business
When Justin was starting out, he says he was drawn to technical classes because he wanted to grow as a photographer. “It’s what motivates me to continue doing this craft. I love taking pictures and I love trying to top whatever I did previously.”
Now that he’s in his 6th year of shooting weddings professionally, Justin regrets skipping all of those business classes at previous conventions. “I realized that the barrier to success is not talent or how hard I work at my photography, it’s how I conduct my business.” Justin told me that means improving his client experience and being as good, if not better at running a business as he is at taking great photos. The longtime Arizonan says this year is all about automation and improving his business process.
I caught up with Justin after he taught a class at WPPI. “I’m really diving into education that’s going to help me longterm and growing my business so I can have longevity in this industry and be able to help others have longevity and earn what they deserve.” Easier said than done, even for Justin, who admitted that in order to reach his goal of being the top-earning photographer in his market, he has to make some changes. “I have a long way to go to reach that goal because I’ve hit a plateau in my earning potential.” He says that’s why he has shifted his focus. “The current business model is only earning me so much money, and I know there is a glass ceiling for me to break through and earn more with better business tools.”
The Struggles of Time Management
The hurdles facing a new business owner don’t stop at income and education. Poor time management is something Justin says he’s guilty of. “I continue to struggle with balancing my time and I have for the last 6 years.”
Justin believes time management is a serious issue within the photography community, one that isn’t discussed as often as it should be. “It’s a poorly kept secret about photographers and how we manage our time, the work that goes into running a business, and how that puts stress on your personal relationships.”
Spending Time With Intention | Justin Haugen Photography
Justin regrets not implementing helpful business tools sooner to keep his time limitations from negatively impacting the relationships in his life. He cautioned other photographers not to follow suit. “I hope that most people who are making images for a living are fulfilled creatively. But it’s spending time with intention that will lead to a healthy mental outlook and ultimately, a happier life.
Justin gave a lot of AMAZING advice in this ShootDotEdit Feature. But, to recap a few KEY points for our readers:
- Take your photography BUSINESS as seriously as your PHOTOGRAPHY.
- Client experience is EVERYTHING!
- Spend your TIME with INTENTION, don’t waste it!
At ShootDotEdit, we know all about the struggles of time management most photographers face. Sometimes it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day! But there’s no need to STAY overwhelmed. Check out how WE can help YOU make MORE TIME for the stuff that really counts!