Being an entrepreneur is a courageous but fulfilling choice. When choosing to turn your dream job into reality, you couldn’t have imagined just how confusing developing a legal business would be. Even though the main idea is to do what you love, you have to have a solid plan with realistic goals set.
A job as a photographer can help you earn a good living, make your own working schedule, and even travel to exotic places. The skillset you need, apart from photography is design, editing, communication, customer service, etc. Here is a short guide to help you build your own photography business.
Explore the market and find an interesting niche
There are many opportunities to use your photography skill while practicing. However, when you want to turn it into a business, it might be overwhelming to do too many different things at a time. Pick a niche that piques your interest the most, where you have the most experience, or even see a gap (for example not many photographers do boudoir photography).
In time you can spread to a few niches, but try to go from one and spread to closely related ones. For example, if you are doing weddings you can spread to other celebrations, couple photoshoots, or family photography. Additionally, different niches might need different gear and in the beginning, you don’t want to spend too much on new gear.
Gather your gear
The photographer has to have basic equipment. You most likely already have most of them or need to make a few updates. Some of these can be bought second-hand, like a tripod, lenses, or additional camera body, but do plan out what you want to offer. This is a list of the equipment that is the basics for a photographer.
- A camera;
- Editing software;
- Batteries for different equipment;
- Tripod; and
- Memory cards and cloud.
Investing in gear takes time and should be done along with business growth and new ventures. For example, if you have a photo booth you might want to invest in lightning, but they are not cheap so you go second-hand. After a while, you can get new lights and even update with other props for an even better customer experience.
Optional quick-ROI inventories
The first few years of the work are crucial in the long run for building reputation, brand, a network of satisfied clients, and a portfolio. It is a good idea to consider adding an additional inventory that might help customize your service and ease your workload. Usually, you need to invest some money in these, but they quickly pay off in time, and quickly afterward in investment as well.
Those can be pre-sets from editing applications that, once made or bought can be reused making your photos unique. The other thing that you might consider investing in from the start is a photo booth. The most memorable thing from the weddings can be your custom wedding photo booth where everyone took a picture. Changing props is not expensive and the ambiance does the work for you in angles, lighting, etc.
Your businesses’ name is your brand
The most important thing about your business, apart from the photos, of course, is your businesses’ name. Picking the name for your brand can be tricky since once established it will be how your customers recognize you. In an article about this issue, Forbes states that many businesses fail because of a poor choice in the company name.
Do not pick complicated or long names but also you don’t need to stick to your personal name if that is not your preference. Don’t choose limiting names, like adding ‘wedding’ if you plan to work on other events, or ‘stock photography’ when you also want to venture into another type of product photography. One special tip is to use an internet-friendly name from the start, the one that will easily transfer to the website or social media account.
Website and social media marketing
Even though your best chance for customer reach is through social media accounts, be careful to stay active and make a good portfolio by uploading the best quality pictures. Try to choose pictures that best represent your interests and the direction you’d like to follow further to attract customers with the same interests.
Creating your own website helps to avoid copyright infringement, as it is only you who decide which photos to display and whether or not to watermark them to protect your rights. Your website design also plays an essential part in promoting your work: it reflects your general style right away, literally at first glance. Lastly, it makes you look more professional and provides opportunities for selling other content like catalogs, e-books, workshops, and writing your blog.
Go legal and protect your work
As a small business owner, keeping costs low should be a top priority. Therefore, running your photography business from home is highly recommended. You can meet your customers in a café or on the shooting sports, and most of your administration is done online either way. This still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the paperwork. Upon advising with other professionals, register and check how to protect your author rights. Even if this might be confusing, your work will be protected, as well as your customers, thus ensuring their loyalty.