How to Start a Photography Business that Works
By: Billy Baker
It's a great idea to have your own photography business and even though you aren't the first to think about this, very few progress to actually opening it. Even though it's easier now than it has ever been before. Cold feet is the blame for that. That doesn't mean you should rush in by the way. You should do a little reading up before you get started.
Do you have a passion for photography? Do you dream of making your hobby into a full-time job working for yourself? All you need is a place at home converted into a work space, and you are ready to setup and start working. You will also need to market yourself so people know what you do and how to find you.
Make sure you have a good portfolio to show potential clients.
Think of it like this - Would you a hire a photographer if they could not show you examples of their work to impress you? If the answer is no then - Why would your potential clients hire you if you don't have an impressive portfolio?
Photography Equipment for Starting Out
All you need to start is a good SLR digital camera, a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop and a computer. This is how simplistic photographic equipment has become. You can go out and spend money on extra equipment but until you can afford more, you can always hire it.
Skills of a Digital Photographer
In the old days, a photographer needed very specialist skills. That's not to say they don't still. It is just the focus on skills has changed. The digital age has made it so much easier to manipulate and print your own photos and images. Consider there is nor more film to buy, nor chemicals for that matter. Anyone with a good eye, a love for photography and a willingness to learn can turn their hobby into a successful photography business.
The demand for photographs is higher than ever before; what, with online businesses shooting up all over the place. That doesn't look like stopping any time soon. Prices are definitely lower that they used to be. This is because competition has risen so much with so many photographers competing against each other worldwide. However, there has been a rise in demand for photos. More and more people are shopping online. Every e-commerce website needs photos of their products. Every corner of the market needs more photos than ever because they are now so much more visual - travel agents, real estate, celebrations; really, anything you can think of can be a subject for a photograph that can be something someone needs.
When thinking of setting up as a freelance photographer think about what niche market your interests fit into. See what people are already doing and charging, and look at where you fit in. What do you do that is so special? Take a look at other photographer's prices and see if you can charge less. But in considering this, think about your skills and make sure you do not undervalue yourself or your overheads. There is no point working cheaper than your competitors if it means you make no money. You will from time to time need to transfer ownership of your images to a customer and it's good to have forms in place to assist with quick and smooth transition. You may want to think about some standard forms for varying occasions.
Business Planning yourself into the Future
As for any other business, it is wise to write yourself a business plan. This will guide you through your initial setup stages as well as into the future. It is a handy tool for many reasons. A business plan should include: - your goals, - financial projections, - pricing, - current financial position, - marketing plan, - a mission statement, and - how you will achieve your goals.
It is a good reference document to keep you and your business on track. Your business plan should be regularly updated to reflect the growth of your business.
A business plan should include whether you are a sole trader or whether you are going to form a company to work under; you business or trading name and where you intend to operate from. Your business plan should be detailed; include any future goals and set yourself milestones to reach. This gives you a good guide on how to get there, but if your needs change, update the business plan.
A business plan also needs details of your financial and business history. One day you may need to apply for a loan and lenders will want to see something in writing to show them you are serious about your business.
A clear marketing plan of how you are going to reach your objectives and potential clients is an absolute must. Include things like what sets you apart from other photographers. Think about what type of customers you want. Take a second to think if it will be something like portrait or baby photography. Do you want to specifically target these markets? There are many different types of photography, consider carefully if you would prefer to specialize in one or two? Maybe target your business at your area of expertise then grow or branch out from there. Ask yourself if you are happy with a small, part-time business, or if you want to target a wider market full-time. Consider whether you need a website to market your skills. What other methods are you going to use to reach your target audience?
Another part of you business plan should outline the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Look at their services and how you can compete. Find out their prices. This is fairly easy these days as most people post their prices on their websites. Then you should include a section about the daily running of your business. How are you going to make money? Make sure you have a good idea of how much you need to spend in the following year and go over i twice. If you have a spouse or partner, let them go over it too? How are you going to finance that? How much have you got in the bank to support you through any tough times in the first 2 years? What insurances do you need? How are you going to keep track of your customers, billing, and the everyday running of your business? How are you going to deal with your taxes?
Check that you do not need licenses in your state to run a business from home. Take a look at how you will expand into the future. Work out if your business can cover your expenses. If you are intending to leave a full-time job, it may pay to start out small and build your business up to where you can cut your days at your other job. Do not be too hasty to jump in. Always protect your financial situation.
As you can see, anyone can start a business as a photographer. Keep in mind that planning is imperative and while your at it make sure you truly enjoy photography or this could be a mistake.
Author Billy Baker has provided access to more tips on photography at http://www.photography-business-tips.com and if you want to read highly regarded literature on starting a profitable photography business, download the guide at http://profitable-photography.com It's looked upon as a type of photography business go-to!
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