Tips for Launching a Photography Business
If your photography skills are at a professional level, you might consider starting a business. It's not an easy endeavor, but why not turn your passion into something that could earn you money?
Keep in mind that running a business and being a skilled photographer are two different things. You can be good at one (photographer) and not be good at running a small business. Here are a few tips for you if you're thinking of launching your own photography business.
Start-up costs: You will likely need to buy some equipment even if you're stocked up on photography equipment. Consider what type of business equipment you might need - like accounting or invoicing software, computers, studio space, etc.
Income: It might be difficult for the first few years to earn enough income to live on. You might want to ensure you have additional savings to get you by.
Play and Work: Being a hobby photographer is by no means the same as being professional. Doing something for fun isn't the same as knowing it's your bread and butter. Too many photographers find that when they turn their hobby into work, it's not fun anymore.
Clients: The customer is (almost) always right. Are you the type of person who can work with challenging personalities? It's not easy getting used to working with clients.
Personal vs. work time: When you're a professional photographer, it can be tough to distinguish between your work and your own time. In the early years, especially, it can be tempting just to work as many jobs as come your way. It's a good idea to create a schedule of hours you're willing to work and try to stick to them.
LAUNCHING A BUSINESS
Here are some things to consider before you begin a photography business.
Name: You will need a name for your business. Many photographers simply use their own names. Whatever you choose, thinking long and hard. Do your research. Are there other photographers with the same or similar name? Also, consider how you can brand your business name...
Style: What's your genre or photography style? What sort of work are you looking for? Do you want to specialize in weddings? Children? Family photography? You need to decide this to know what direction to take your business.
Marketing: You'll need to develop a marketing plan and create your marketing materials to get your name out to the public and drum up some business. There are plenty of free marketing plans, ideas, and templates online. Again, research and information is the key to success. If you have a friend with marketing experience, perhaps you can barter some photos in exchange for free pictures.
Email marketing: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with previous clients. It's also a great way to keep them informed of any special promotions you're offering.
Internet: The Internet is your storefront. It's often the first place people will see your work. You'll need a top-notch website, attractive logo, regular blog posts, and social media presence.
License and banking: You'll need a business license and a business bank account - most likely in that order.
Rates: Set your fee structure carefully. This is probably one of the most challenging things you'll have to do before you start a business. Do some research. How and what do other photographers charge in your area? Remember that a lot goes into setting price structure including your skills, equipment, travel time, studio space, photography genre, and business needs. You have to pay the rent, after all!
Studio space: Where will you be doing your work? You will need to consider rent costs for space. Consider accessibility for your potential clients. Is it easy to find? Is there convenient parking? Some photographers are able to set up a small studio in their home. Does that work for you?