The world of professional photography today has more competition than ever. Nearly everyone owns a camera, whether in the form of an SLR, compact camera, or camera phone. To succeed in becoming a professional photographer, much forethought is needed. This includes sitting down and coming up with at least a simple business plan. This will do much to alleviate the stresses of starting a new business. This article will discuss key points to keep in mind when going professional and starting a photography business.
At the core of your business plan, you need to identify exactly why you are starting a photography business. Is it because you need a job? Or is it because you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to try something new? Or maybe you feel like you have something to prove. Whatever the case may be, identifying the reason for starting a business is a step that shouldn’t be skipped. It helps you decide if it really is a step that you want to take, and whether it’s worth taking that step. Weighing the pros and cons and counting the cost, so to speak. Furthermore, down the road when you start having startup pains, it will be helpful to have the motivation behind the business written down.
As a hobbyist who became professional myself, it is important to note that photographing for work is not the same as photographing for your own enjoyment. Hence, it is good to anticipate that you’ll need to take breaks from work to shoot just for fun once in a while. This will enable you to continue enjoying photography and motivate you to not give up on your journey.
The difference when shooting for a friend a for a client is quite substantial. With a friend, they will usually wait patiently as you sit and adjust the white balance, colors, flash, lens aperture, shutter speed, etc. With a client, they will be expecting that you know what you are doing. Being paid for shooting is also a huge motivation. As such, make sure that you invest time into learning how to use your equipment properly and quickly in realistic settings. Have practice sessions before your first paid photo shoot. Also, physical equipment is not the only thing you should familiarize yourself with. Learning how to properly edit and post-process your own photos with the appropriate software such as Adobe Lightroom will go a long way. And finally, you’ll need to make sure you know how to upload or send your photos to your clients after the photo shoot.
There is more than enough “general photographers” in the world. These are photographers who are generalists and like to experiment with different types of photography. There is nothing wrong with this, but it’s not the most ideal situation when starting a business. To have a competitive edge in today’s highly contested photography market, you need to be a specialist. This means when someone looks at your website, your portfolio, and your business card – they know exactly what you have experience photographing. This can be anything like event photography, wedding photography, senior portraits, or food photography. Technically, you don’t have to refuse all business outside of your “specialty”. But when someone asks what kind of photography you do, would you rather say, “I take photos of everything”, or “I specialize in wedding photography”? Specializing in a specific field of photography not only increases your worth to the client, it also helps you compete in a specific segment of the market.
The world of business is a new one to most amateur photographers. To begin your journey, start by educating yourself on the basics of starting a new business in the country/city in which you live. Most countries have information to help you get started when you are looking into starting a business. Sometimes there is even free help available through government agencies. Be sure to look into every resource available to assist you. Taking the time to establish the business legally can save you a lot of headache in the future. In addition, make sure you have qualified professionals look over your paperwork before submitting to the government in order to prevent any accidents. These accidents can cost a lot of time and money.