Photography is an incredibly gratifying profession. On the one hand, the state of the industry is very solid and as long as there are parties, weddings, the necessity for fresh content, and good-looking photos, professional photographers will always be able to count on a stable income flow.
On the other hand, photography is an amazing form of art that allows you to unleash limitless creativity with a technology that is easy to learn, but offers endless possibilities for progress and developing a unique voice.
Still, in spite of all these amazing perks, photography is a business and as such it requires good planning and a comprehensive business strategy. Let us take a look then if we can help you with this and present some basic steps to make the launch of your company a successful one.
Make a comprehensive business plan
Photography may be an endlessly creative venture but it’s still a business so you will do best if you treat it as such. And all successful companies start with a thorough business plan that outlines the long-term and short-term goals, financing sources, financial projections, market analysis, pricing models, and all other critical business considerations. Also, don’t forget the cover the specifics of your industry so take into account seasonal demand spikes, cost of equipment, travel, supplies, and your time. All these things will help you always know where your company’s heading and what you need to do to course-correct.
Consider the costs and start getting funding
People who are new to photography often make the mistake that their business will consist mostly of shooting so they usually focus their startup budget on getting top-tier equipment. However, the truth is that taking photos takes only about 10% of the photographer’s time – the remaining 90% goes to marketing, taxes, traveling, rents, etc. You absolutely need to take into account these costs when raising the funding or you will stretch too thin and be forced to take projects that can’t, in any way, push your career forward. Ideally, you should be able to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses before taking off.
Ramp up your skills
In the world of photography, good equipment can take you very far but only so far before you need to demonstrate some real skill to move on. Therefore, instead of pouring down excessive money into cutting-edge gear you should instead invest in professional photography courses and expand your skillset as far as possible. At some point, the difference you get with the latest cameras doesn’t even matter. The same thing can’t be said about talent, creativity, and hard work. When choosing between the two, your potential clients will always opt for a professional who can offer something unique.
Put everything on paper
Yeah, you should avoid handshake agreements as much as possible and make each one of your gigs 100% legal and backed-up by contract. Some casual clients may frown upon this additional step they will need to make, but, eventually, they will realize this protects their interests as well. But, in order for this to work, it is important to develop a well-thought-out and clear pricing model you will be able to use as a template. So, no matter whether you are going to charge your clients per hour, per photo, per project, or use all these methods combined, your clients need to have an idea about what they are charged for.
Create additional sources of revenue
Photography is an industry that offers a lot of different career paths. In most cases, you will get to pick between wedding and party photographs, model shooting, creating images for products, brochures, and magazines, or taking stock photos. While it’s highly recommended to focus your company in one of these niches and push your skills as far as possible, creating a safety net in the form of occasional side gigs is equally as welcome. Since they don’t require that much work present slow but very steady source of income, we say that you use your spare time to take a couple of sock photos and offer them for sale.
Take branding very seriously
Last but not least, we would like to remind you that branding is one of the most powerful assets you can use to win the affection of a wide audience. There is no reason why your photo gig shouldn’t be able to use these perks to its advantage. So, treat your small business like Coca-Cola – come up with an effective logo, sum up the vibe you are sending in a catchy slogan, find a unique voice you can use on social media, and purposefully use these platforms to build a solid following. All these efforts will be made more effective if you start a blog that will attract people who are generally interested in the topic.
We hope these few strategies will help you to take your passion for photography to the next level and turn it into a legit, full-scale business. The people who possess real talent and a good eye are truly few and far in between so the time for joining the industry is just as good as ever. But, not even the greatest talent in the world will help you reach success if you don’t treat your business… Well, like a business. Now, you know where to start.