So you love photography.
You know something about how to use a camera.
You think it would be great to actually make some money off of the fancy equipment that you have which is currently just being used to make family photos and nice scenery shots from your family vacations.
Well how about starting a photography business?
Having your own business of any kind is very rewarding but of course there are many things to think about before you dive in. If you go about creating your photography business in a way that makes sense and takes advantage of your situation, you’re going to be extremely happy with a job that not only do you love, but also makes a handsome living for yourself.
Choosing a Target Audience For Your Startup Photography Business
One of the first things that you’ll want to do when you start your own photography business is to choose who you want your audience to be. You can’t just start taking pictures of anything and everything and hope that people will buy them. You need to actually try and target the people that you want to sell to. In other words, you need to decide what type of photographer you’re going to be and what you’ll take photos of.
You can be a “jack of all trades” or you can be an expert at a few select trades. It’s much better to do a few things and do them well, than it is to do everything halfway. Someone who knows how to specialize is not only going to really know what they’re doing, but is also going to have a much happier customer base because they will see that they are getting the best that is available to them.
Insurance, Hiring Employees, Buying the Right Photography Equipment Etc.
A big part of the opening process of any business are things like insurance, hiring employees and making sure that you are properly equipped to do the job.
If you aren’t properly insured you’re going to run into trouble somewhere down the road and this can be disastrous to both your business and your reputation. If you only have a small amount of equipment and don’t think that insurance is a big deal, you’d be dead wrong. Insuring your equipment is probably the least of your worries. You need to have a full business insurance policy to insure yourself against complaints from customers and any number of things that might go wrong.
You might one day have an accident where someone gets hurt and sues you, and you need to make sure that you’re going to be covered in situations like this. It only takes one mistake to completely end your career as a photographer if you aren’t insured.
When you’re first starting you may not need to really hire that many employees, if any. You should definitely think about how you might expand your business in the future though because you never know what might happen. If you are good at your job and people start talking about you, you could have a lot of business. This might mean you’ll need to hire a second photographer to help you cover events, or you may need an accountant to help you keep your books.
The right equipment is really important for a photographer. If you’re going to be taking photos of weddings you’re going to need some really nice lighting to help with the indoors shots. If you’re taking photos of wildlife you’ll probably need some really long telephoto lenses. If you’re taking sports photos you’ll need a professional level camera body that takes many frames per second. The best thing you can do is to do some research about the specific type of photography that you are targeting and find out what the best equipment is.
Understanding the “Business” in “Photography Business”
A good photographer does not a successful photography business make. In other words, just because you know how to take a good photo and maybe even how to market yourself, doesn’t mean that you will be a successful photographer. It is imperative that you also have a mastery over the business side of things.
This is going to range from keeping a tight record of your spendings and earnings to networking so that your business continues to grow.
My simple advice on this topic is to go out and buy a few books about starting a small home based business. You could even sign up for a few business classes at your nearest community college. When you think about it the price of a few books or even of a few classes is going to be very small when you compare it to the amount of income that you will make on your own business. Think of it as investing in yourself to make your business more profitable.
You’ll make your life so much easier if you can avoid as many mistakes as possible at the beginning so you don’t have to learn the right way the hard way.
Working From Home: Pros and Cons
There are a lot of things to think about when you’re starting a business from home. Yes you are probably going to have more flexibility than you would at an office simply because you’re at home, but you need to make sure that you are not distracted from work by your home.
The first pro that I’ve already mentioned is that you’ll have a lot more flexibility. You’re going to set your own hours. You’ll be able to do the laundry in between editing photos. If there’s an emergency that you need to address with a family member you’ll have a lot better chance of getting time off since you’re the boss. The flexibility of working from home is undeniable.
Another pro is that you get to decide how successful your business will be. Your paycheck isn’t going to be limited to what your boss gives you. You are totally in control of what you make. It’s up to you to get more clients and you can charge whatever you like.
The cons of the business go pretty much hand in hand with the pros. You’re going to have to be extremely self motivated to succeed in your own business. Starting a photography business or any business for that matter doesn’t just run itself. You’ll need to make sure that you are involved 100% of the time or it’s going to be a flop, guaranteed.
Because your business is going to be new, you won’t have an already built up clientele. You’re going to have to do all the hard work of building up trust and respect within the community before you can expect giant leaps and bounds to be made. This is different than just working for another company where you can rely on a paycheck every other week. Now you MUST work or you don’t eat.
Doing it All On Your Own, Or Do You?
You don’t actually have to be on your own. Yes you might be in a business that doesn’t rely on an employer for yourself because you are the employer, but you can still have other people involved in your business. Friends and family for example can be some of the best help you could ever want.
You have many things to do and you can use all these friends and family members to help you out. They can help you make fliers, they can spread the word, or best of all they could even be your first customers! This could be great because as a starting company you will need good references. If you have no references people will be hesitant to try you out. It’s easy to get your family to let you take photos of them and then you can let them rave about how good you are.
A rope made of three strings is so much stronger than a rope made of one string. The same goes with starting a business. If you go it all on your own, you’re going to have a much harder time than if you bring a lot of help on board with you. Can you succeed all by yourself? Yes. Will it be easier if you bring help? YES!