My Number One Struggle as a Wedding Photographer

April 30, 2023


I honestly don’t like to share this side of my business, but this is something everyone will understand.

For anyone who doesn’t know me, my name is Samantha Kleven, and I have been photographing weddings for over five years – the same five years of owning this business. I also have a huge heart for my faith in the Lord which is the foundation for everything I do: marketing, photographing, editing, and everything in between.

Still, over the last few years, many of my clients, followers, and friends may not have known the number one thing I struggled with as a business owner; the pain of comparison. I know that this is a very common struggle among business owners that I need it to end today. My hope for this is to not only help you but also the other people in your life who also have the same issue of comparison. I will also touch on my faith throughout my points to help you see where I learned these key values to my own business.

The Importance of Your Business Foundation

The first thing you need to think about for your business and life is your overall purpose. In other words, what is your WHY? With a few years of business ownership, I have spent the past year mentoring photographers on this exact mindset. Knowing the WHY behind your business can change your approach tenfold. For example, a part of my WHY leans on God and I always lean on Him for any of my struggles: financially, creatively, and for help.

To help start you on this path, you need to think about three things for your business: what, how, and why. Here’s a quick breakdown of each to help you think about this yourself!!

  • What – this is the service, product, or thing you do for your clients (EX: photography)
  • How – your core values, strengths, and overall importance of your business (EX: love, creativity, and emotions)
  • Why – beliefs & purpose for your business (EX: remembering marriage and memories connected to the feelings and emotions shown on wedding days)

Take a piece of paper and brainstorm these three things for yourself to not only differentiate yourself from others but dig yourself out of the hole of comparison. I promise this will relight your business – it did for me!!

Galatians 1:10 – Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Our Lives are Perfectly Planned

The other day, I was talking with a friend about how much I would love to live without social media. As business owners, we all know the pressure of posting, always being active, or following trends. However, no one ever shows the struggles and toll social media takes on all of us.

If I am being honest, I HATE social media, and here’s why – it is the main trap for comparison.

I did some research to see what researchers have found about the overall impact of social media on people, and I found that it is the leading factor for something called the Scarcity Mindset otherwise known as Imposter Syndrome. This is a medical mindset that is created when you think you aren’t “good enough” or are missing something while comparing yourself to others (WebMD, 2023). This feeling is not only deteriorating but also leads us to forget your WHY and only focus on other’s accomplishments.

It is important to create goals and values as business owners but not in a competitive mindset.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

We are in Different Seasons of Life

There are many different things that I have learned as a business owner, but one of the biggest things is to value your stage of life. To help you visualize this, let’s use my business as an example.

I started my business when I was sixteen years old. I had no idea what I was doing, but I worked every single day on educating myself on all things business, practicing how to use my camera, and photographing as many couples as I could. At the same time, I was doing PSEO, working part-time as a server, and volunteering through a local club. Afterward, I went to college to finish my bachelor’s degree. The entire time, I spent hours pouring my heart into my business in hopes that one day I could go full-time. Today, I am so happy that God blessed me to be a full-time destination wedding photographer at twenty-one years old.

I use my story to crush anytime I feel any slight amount of imposter syndrome. In my mind, most of the photographers I compare to are almost five years older than me, financially well-established, married, etc. So, it isn’t right to compare my business – which is totally different – to theirs.

Your story will probably be completely different than mine, but you can be in this same mindset when feeling stuck like I have been!! I encourage you to stick with your initial goals and business expectations rather than worrying about others – especially on social media.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.

In the end, I encourage you to truly embrace your goals and values in your business instead of focusing on the success, creativity, or accomplishments of others. If you continue to do this after reading my encouragement, take breaks from social media to break this unhealthy habit!!

If you ever need any help, prayers, or extra encouragement for yourself or your business, don’t hesitate to reach out through my email!!

Thank you all so much for your constant love and support of my business!! I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you!! God bless!!