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How to write a photography mission statement

The importance of a photography mission statement is that it affects your business value and strategic decision-making. Learn how to create one that’s effective and representative of your passion!

Photographers camera during a photo shoot

No mission statement? Here’s why it’s costing you money, happiness, and strategic direction.

A lot of photographers can tell you what they do but can’t tell you why they do it – and the importance of a photography mission statement doesn’t cross their minds.

While making money is one of the primary goals of any business, being profit-driven isn’t enough to educate your strategy, keep yourself or team members engaged, and give you a sense of purpose.

Whether you’re starting a new business or you’ve been a photographer for a while, be sure to take the time to do the one thing experts say will help you work happier and grow your photography business: write a mission statement for your business.

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What is a mission statement?

Before we dig in, let’s quickly recap what makes a good mission statement.

According to Jennell Evans of Psychology Today, a mission statement “defines the present state or purpose of an organization and answers three questions about why an organization exists.”

A good mission statement includes:

  • WHAT your business does
  • WHO your business does it for
  • HOW your business does what it does

A great mission statement should be no more than one or two sentences. It should be simple and memorable enough that any employee should be able to recall it from memory.

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Why are photography mission statements important?

Understanding the importance of a mission statement will help you craft or refine your own. Here are three very good reasons why every photography business, including yours, needs a mission statement.

A well-written mission statement can help you:

1. Find purpose and focus for your work 

Regardless of your photography niche, you’re bound to have a lot of competition in your market. To differentiate yourself, your mission statement can help you find a focus that sets you apart from other photographers. 

Taking the time to write your photography mission statement can help you uncover the deeper meaning behind your day-to-day operations. Finding meaning in your work leads to greater engagement, feelings of fulfillment, and a more unique offering. 

So how do you find meaning and value in your work?

According to the Harvard Business Review, people find meaning from three sources, which spiral out from:

  1. Self: providing for one’s family; making progress in challenging work
  2. Community: having a positive impact on customers; contributing to one’s community or country
  3. Society: serving society; helping people around the world

Think about your business’s impact on all three areas. A good mission statement touches on all of them. To see how it’s done, let’s take a look at Starbucks’ mission statement:

To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

The mission statement includes Starbucks’ impact on the lives of customers (one person, one cup), community (one neighborhood), and the world (inspire and nurture the human spirit).

Sitting down to craft a well-articulated mission statement can help you better understand the impact of your efforts so that you can do your best work.

2. Increase business performance and earnings

People who feel like they’re working for a greater cause and who understand the impact of their work tend to work harder and smarter. And organizations filled with these types of people push businesses forward toward greater financial gain.

Furthermore, having a clear mission statement sets you apart from your competitors, helping you differentiate and bring in more clients. 

Research even shows that companies with a clear mission statement are more likely to outperform their competitors

Clients also want to buy from companies with clear mission statements. A 2019 study from Cone/Porter Novelli found 72% of customers feel it’s more important than ever to buy from companies who share their values.

The results speak for themselves.

To gain clarity for your own business, nothing’s better than sitting down and putting words to paper in the form of a mission statement.

3. Follow a North Star

To summarize what we’ve learned so far, the importance of a photography mission statement cannot be overstated. One of the biggest benefits is how it helps you focus on your goals. 

Your mission statement acts as a North Star to guide all aspects of your evolving strategic, operational, and management priorities. It helps you focus your goals on what’s most important to you, your business, and clients.

As a result, all of your goals should ladder up to your mission statement. It makes it easier to promote your business and course correct when your business goals start to veer off track.

How to write a photography mission statement

Coming up with a well-written mission statement doesn’t have to be hard. It does, however, require—and deserve—some thought.

So how do you ensure you don’t end up with a dry mission statement? Think about what makes your business unique. And don’t be afraid to let your business personality shine.

Here are six tips for writing a great mission statement:

  1. Be specific: Keep the scope narrow enough to make it relevant to your company.
  2. Focus on the future: Be sure it can drive high-level goals for years to come.
  3. Provide direction: Make sure your mission statement can drive decision-making and set priorities.
  4. Be unique: Say something that no other company mission statement can say.
  5. Be concise: Avoid jargon and say what you really mean.
  6. Be values-driven: Say what you’re doing to improve your customers’ and employees’ lives.

Setting up your business for success with a clientflow platform

Creating a useful mission statement is just one step of building a successful business. You also need the tools and resources to manage your work properly. One of the best systems you can use is a clientflow platform like HoneyBook. 

Similar to a CRM for photographers, HoneyBook lets you manage your leads and clients in one place. But, it goes beyond that offer to offer tools that are designed specifically for your independent business. Book clients, manage payments, use contract templates, and view all your communications in one place. 

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