One simple question to revolutionize your photo business

Here's a hint.“Why do you want to be a photographer?”

I asked the question to get Sarah thinking as much as I did to hear her answer. 

We're in the middle of a coaching call. Sarah is launching her photography business and asked for some advice on marketing.

“Why do I want to be a photographer? I guess I’ve always loved taking pictures. I love the feeling I get when I create something awesome. Now I’m hooked. It’s like I have to create,” she paused and left silence on the line. 

“Why do you want to shoot portraits?”

“That’s easy. I love interacting with people. I love capturing the essence of their personalities. When they look at my photo and laugh out loud ‘that is SO me!’ that’s the best moment ever.”

If you could hear the conversation, you would know that life and passion lifts Sarah’s voice. But that life and passion wasn’t in the voice of her website or marketing materials. I could tell she took great pictures but not why.

In Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, he says that the Why is often the difference between the ho hum business and one that attracts clients and inspires loyalty.

Rather than tell us what they do or how they do it, great leaders and businesses start with Why. 

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” Sinek says. 

Want a great example? Check out this video from a husband and wife photography team. Meet Justin & Mary.

In the entire video, they never mentioned what kind of cameras they used or what style they shoot or any of the other flags photographers typically wave. They shared their love story. They shared their Why. 

“We are Justin and Mary. Photography for people who believe in love. Because for us, it always started with love.”

I’m willing to guess many a bride-to-be has swooned at the end of that story.

What’s your Why?

The Five Whys help you find the right one

Six Sigma gurus say ask yourself Why five times to get to the root of any issue. Pretend you are talking with a 5-year-old child.

I want to launch a photography business.











Fill in the blanks with your own reasons. By the fifth Why, you should have something close to the real truth.

When you find out your real why, make that your mantra. Write it in your manifesto. Let it permeate they way you talk about and present your business to others.

Maybe you might create something as powerful as Justin and Mary.

What's your Why? Share it in the comments below.

Why not?