One of the best things you can do to scale your biz is to know who you are as a business owner. This is how you understand your client interactions, what makes you stand out, and what holds you back. But how can you know what those things are? It’s no secret that one of my favorite tools for navigating different personality types within a business is the enneagram!

Enneagrams are so fascinating and can apply to absolutely any facet of life. But today I want to talk to my fellow photographers about enneagrams and photography. How does your enneagram type play a role in your photography business? What are your strengths and opportunities? What holds you back and how can you overcome that? 

Don’t know your enneagram personality type yet? No worries, this is the perfect chance to dig in! I recommend taking a few minutes to take the enneagram test so you’ll have a better understanding of your own Enneagram type before diving into this post. There are plenty of places you can take the test, but my favorite is by the Enneagram Institute. (If you aren’t ready to spend the $12, here is my favorite free test by Eclectic Energies.)


Who are enneagram ones as photographers?

Enneagram ones, in general, are driven by principles and integrity. That is no exception within your photography business. As an enneagram 1 photographer, you lead with your values, you’re honest, responsible, improvement-focused, and ethical. 

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

Your sense of responsibility also means you have high standards, and that always leads to quality galleries for your clients. When it comes to directing people in front of your lens, you’re clear and direct which helps your clients know exactly what to do. Timelines and permits? You’ve got your clients covered! And forget about leaving off a lens cap… you would never.

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

You fear that people may think you’re not always doing the best thing for the client so you constantly feel the need to justify your actions. And as someone who is overly critical of yourself, those high standards I mentioned earlier tend to cause you to be paralyzed by perfectionism. But the good news is, you don’t have to let these things put your development on hold! Stop over-structuring your limitations and watch yourself grow.


Who are enneagram twos as photographers?

Enneagram twos you’re empathetic, supportive, warm, great listeners, and accommodating. These traits make you a passionately committed photographer that generously focuses on your clients’ needs. 

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

Your personality is kind and inviting which helps you make strong connections with your clients. Your ability to perceive your clients’ needs without them having to say a word makes you an amazing photographer. The interpersonal skills you have should be celebrated because they allow you to provide a client experience that can’t be matched. 

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

Your deep devotion to your clients can make you fearful of being unwanted. It may also lead you to overcommit to please your clients. Your giving nature and the way you put others’ needs before your own can easily lead to burnout. But you don’t have to feel overwhelmed! Before you respond to requests, take time to truly determine if you are able to take on the extra workload. And try not to be afraid to use the word “no.” Protecting your boundaries is not neglectful, it keeps you at your very best for your clients.


Who are enneagram threes as photographers?

Enneagram threes are energetic, driven, confident, encouraging and productive. When it comes to enneagrams and photography, this makes you a photographer who is not only committed to your clients but also adaptable to their changing needs.

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

You develop solid gameplans to make sure your clients get the best possible outcome. You’re also a problem solver so your clients never have to worry about any changes. When it comes to working with new people, you have the ability to adapt to any social setting which allows for all of your clients to feel comfortable. You get things done and you make it look easy which leads to an unforgettable client experience.

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

You tend to avoid your own feelings to make sure a job is done to the best of its abilities. This tendency to overcommit can lead to you alienating yourself from people in your personal life. You struggle to be vulnerable, are afraid to fail, and can even get frustrated when you’re questioned. But when you allow the way others perceive you to define your worth, it can lead to exhaustion. Be sure to slow down and check in with your own needs so that you can protect your energy!


Who are enneagram fours as photographers?

Enneagram fours are creative, individualist, nostalgic, aesthetically driven, and empathetic. As a photographer, these personality traits lead you to have a beautiful way of capturing meaning and purpose in imagery. 

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

You thrive in the creative environment of being a photographer and have the truest passion for your craft. Your imaginative thinking allows you to hone in on your branding aesthetic. But being deeply in-tune with others also allows you to capture authentic moments. You don’t believe in surface level relationships and will go the extra mile to make sure you share a genuine connection with your clients so that you can uniquely tell their stories.

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

You are your own worst critic and can feel flawed. But being hypersensitive to criticism from others can also stop you in your tracks from growth. Comparison fatigue on social media truly gets in the way of your own marketing capabilities. Your emotional connection to your work can cause you to be fearful that there is no significance in your work. But you don’t have to let the emotions from criticism and comparison stop you from growing! Practice positive affirmations and know that others look up to your artistic nature. Never let anyone make you feel like you’re too much or not enough.


Who are enneagram fives as photographers?

Fun fact about enneagrams and photography! Enneagram fives are the enneagram type that make up the rarest enneagram of photographers according to a survey by Mastin Labs. If you’re an enneagram 5, you’re a problem solver and a systematic, curious and determined photographer. You’re also technologically savvy which is a super helpful trait in this line of work!

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

Being tech savvy means that you’re always eager to learn the newest insights as the photography industry evolves. Because of this, your clients see you as someone who is filled with new ideas! Your clients also appreciate your listening skills and natural ability to problem solve because it means they always receive the absolute best results.

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

The emotional connections you form with your clients may not always be as strong as you’d like because you tend to rely too much on your own knowledge. This type of self-reliance can also lead you to separate yourself from others as well as fear that you’re incapable. But practicing relying on resources other than just your own will prevent burnout and remind you just how capable we both know you are!


Who are enneagram sixes as photographers?

If you’re an enneagram six, you’re an insightful, collaborative, genuine, trustworthy and strategic photographer. These personality traits lead you to be very hardworking and loyal to your clients.

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

You’re prepared! You always prep and check all of your photography gear to avoid any potential issues. And of course this means you’re known for showing up and getting the job done! Your perseverance is another characteristic that makes you stand out. Giving up just isn’t an option and you will continue to push your own abilities to new heights, which always makes for memorable galleries. Your clients also see you as someone who is truthful and you’re known to follow through on all agreed projects. 

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

You do well with predictable situations so when it comes to photographing in new locations (or even not knowing the parking situation), you can become filled with anxiety. The worry can lead to analysis paralysis which gets in the way of your decision making process. This can also make you fearful of not having guidance or support and even fearful of rejection. But try to remember how prepared you always show up and, because of that, no matter what decision you make, you will be okay! You are worthy. 


Who are enneagram sevens as photographers?

Enneagram sevens, you’re adventurous, flexible, engaging and optimistic. These traits allow you to wear the many hats of being a photographer with ease. In other words, you’re quite the multitasker!

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

New locations and gorgeous views not only fill your heart with happiness, but are oftentimes a part of your client experience, making you an amazing hire for couples who want to make an adventure out of their experience. Clients not only see you as someone uplifting, they also trust you in making their time with you FUN. There isn’t much you can’t do and your generosity to do it doesn’t go unnoticed.

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

As much as you are excited to say yes to new adventures and experiences, it can lead to exhaustion. Your impulsiveness can have you agreeing to new client adeas quickly. But this can get in the way of how you manage the work/life balance level you crave. Your struggle to stay focused long term and tendency to get distracted can also get in the way of your work/life balance. Organizing your time and how you spend your energy is crucial for balancing that scale. 


Who are enneagram eights as photographers?

Enneagram eights, you’re determined, bold, resourceful, willful and passionate, making you a natural leader in the photography community.

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

There isn’t a challenge you can’t handle and your relentless mentality is what others look up to. For your clients, they see you as someone who will fearlessly go above and beyond for them. You have a gift for knowing what needs to happen and you’re not afraid to implement quick action. Your persistent nature leads you to continuous growth and you truly leave your mark on the clients you serve. 

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

WIth the feeling that you must always control your environment, or even people, you can be perceived as intimidating. Allowing someone else to take the lead can be hard for you and you can tend to ignore the opinions of others. Know that you can take in various viewpoints and still be in control. Besides, letting things go can be good to protect your mental health and improve your work/life balance!


Who are enneagram nines as photographers?

Enneagram nines are reassuring, patient, flexible, accepting, and reliable. If you’re an enneagram nine, these harmonious traits make you well equipped for the ebb and flow of the photography industry.

What are your strengths and what makes you stand out as a photographer?

You have an unmatched ability to make your clients feel seen and heard. By being someone who can see multiple perspectives, you make a great storyteller as you celebrate what is most important to the individuals you photograph. You’re easy-going and reliable which makes your clients excited to work with you. While you aren’t always the first to want to share your opinions, it makes the world a better place when you do.

What gets in your way and how can you overcome it?

When things become overwhelming, you tend to overlook yourself. Your fear of conflict can stop you from having necessary conversations with clients or biz partners. It takes more effort for you to tell someone “no” than “yes” which can lead you to overworking yourself. Know that you don’t have to say “yes” if it doesn’t benefit you or your business.

I hope you now love the enneagram as much as I do! It’s so helpful to you as an entrepreneur and, when it comes to enneagrams and photography, there is so much that we can learn. Growth truely starts with self-awareness. As you become more self-aware, you can define what you’re good at and figure out what’s stopping you from growing. You can also gain a better understanding of your clients’ experience by enhancing the way you interact with others and learn more about how they perceive you. And, as a biz owner, it’s such a great way to hone in on what you need to protect your mental health and improve your work/life balance. Added bonus? Marketing! You can really gain a clear brand vision and elevate your marketing skills as you become more familiar with who you are as a professional photographer.

Thrilled to have used the template above for all of my Instagram enneagram posts.

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Hi, I’m Ellie McKinney

Retail Executive -turned- Wedding Photographer -turned- Photography Business Educator.

I help artists create and implement their ideal growth strategy.

I love equipping photographers with tools, resources, and thought-provoking conversations to gain self-awareness to drive the results they want to see.

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