Who doesn’t want to make a living from their passion? In reading this article, you’ve made that all-important first step of conducting some research into the feasibility of making a living from photography. We don’t need to tell you that there’s nothing quite like the satisfying feeling of expressing yourself creatively and honing your craft. As The Balance Small Business notes, there are pros and cons to starting your own photography business, but it can offer a more flexible and rewarding lifestyle. Since you’ve reached the point of seriously thinking about this, it’s safe to assume that you’ve got some talent, but what’s needed to start a photography business? Read on to find out!
Have a Plan
It’s not the most exciting part of starting up your photography business, but planning is a necessary evil. As Bplans mentions, breaking down the basics like expenses, competition, ownership, and cashflow is essential. There are numerous free online resources available to assist you in putting together your business plan, including from the Government. Of course, as part of this planning process, you’ll want to establish the necessary costs incurred in the startup of the business. For example, do you have all the photography equipment and software you need? Will you need a marketing budget?
Assess Your Personal Finances
It’s not realistic to expect that your new business will be making money straight away. As photographer Lauren Lim wrote in her article for Photography Concentrate, it took six years before her business was in a place she expected it to be just one year down the line. Making your business work takes a lot of hard work and patience. You need to prepare yourself for the long game; how are you going to bridge the gap between startup status and profitable business?
Perfect Your Portfolio
In photography, your portfolio is of paramount importance. Expert Photography offers strong advice for building your portfolio. If you have limited professional experience, make sure you network with more seasoned photographers gaining projects for your portfolio alongside them. Undertaking work experience with a professional photographer will also allow you the opportunity to learn more about the business side of being a photographer.
Invest in Equipment
You don’t need a complete kit of top of the line equipment from the start, but you should begin with quality gear. Small Biz Trends recommends as a bare minimum that you’ll need a good camera, a tripod, camera bag, lighting, lenses, backgrounds, and props. You’ll also need a reliable computer, transport and editing software. You will want to have at least two cameras so that you have a backup.
Establish Your Pricing Plan
When you’re used to working on a salary, coming up with an hourly rate can seem an abstract concept. Remember that your hourly shoot rate needs to reflect the fact that you may spend triple the time editing images. If you want to read more about moving away from free sessions to paid gigs then check out this article here. And if you want to absolutely perfect your pricing, then you need to get the only system that does the hard work for you – Pricing Made Easy.
Have a Quality Online Presence
In order to showcase your creative talents, a quality online presence is essential. In 2019 it’s not acceptable to simply have an informational website; you’re competing with numerous photographers using social media to its full potential. Given its status as a visually focused platform, Instagram is proving increasingly popular with photographers. Canva has a particularly useful article for using Instagram to promote your photography.
Decide on Your Services
Making the decision about the services you’d like to offer will ultimately begin with where your talents lie. If you’re a jack of all trades when it comes to photography, what do you enjoy the most and which photography styles have you received the most compliments about? Starups.co.uk mentions that wedding photography is considered the most lucrative type of photography. This work is highly seasonal, with most weddings taking place between May and September and it is also extremely competitive. Ultimately, most photographers work across a variety of styles to supplement their income throughout the year.
Appreciate the Importance of Networking
Networking is important for creative professionals of any experience level. As Dylan Goldby writes for Creative Live, it is of paramount importance to do what you can to spread positive word of mouth about your business. Think about who you already know that may be interested in hiring a photographer and take up any local business networking opportunity you come across.
Use these as a benchmark
So I hope you’ll use these pointers as a good guide to how, when and how much you’ll need to start a photography business. Being a photographer is such an incredibly enjoyable way to spend your life, meeting new people, capturing memories and going to new places. Just make sure you’ve ticked the right boxes in deciding if it’s the right business for you to run, do the research upfront, and you won’t go far wrong!
And there’s always extra help & support from The Happy Photo. Check out a full range of resources, courses, tools & tips to suit every budget and every stage – whether you’re just dipping your toe in, or are taking it seriously and want to progress to the next stage 🙂
With my happy photo love,