This is a great article by Michael Woloszynowicz and even though it was published a couple of years ago, the message still stands.
You need to define what stage you are in and think of the most productive ways to move forward in your career. Of course you need to shoot a lot in the beginning, but as time goes on and you become better at what you’re doing, you should pause for a while.
The Discovery Stage
This is a stage of discovery where you should shoot anything and everything to learn what it is that you love, what you excel at and what your style is. This process can take a great deal of time but the key here is to try lots of different things. Therein lies one of the first problems that I continually observe. I see a number of photographers shooting one personal shoot after another, all of which are the same. The differentiating factor between them is often little more than the model while the remaining formula remains unchanged. Once again, if you’re a commercial photographer being compensated to shoot these looks, then by all means, keep hammering out your signature look. If however you’re shooting to build a portfolio, then a book of fifty images, all of which are the same will do little to demonstrate your range. Step one therefore is to not take on another creative unless it’s different in some way.
The Refinement Stage
The next consideration to make is whether you’re beginning to sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s great that you’ve got 100 images in your portfolio but are they all of the highest caliber? Would you be better represented with 20 stellar images versus 100 mediocre ones? As you grow as photographer you should come to the realization that top quality results take lots of effort. This work takes place well before the shutter clicks and long after you leave the studio. They come from days or weeks of planning, and subsequently careful culling and post processing. These stages take time so if you’re shooting constantly you can’t possibly put in the effort needed to make the most of each shoot.
The Marketing Stage
With your portfolio of high quality images built, it’s time to slow things down and focus on your business. As tempting as it is to take the next offer for a creative project, you have to stick to your guns and give your business some much needed attention. There’s little doubt that just about every photographer would prefer to be out shooting rather than cold calling or addressing mailers, but unfortunately this becomes the reality of the situation. While I’m not encouraging you to stop shooting personal projects entirely, you do have to become more selective with them and only take on those that will allow you to reach more lucrative clients or tap new markets.