Beginner’s Photography Industry Guide | The Secret Recipe For Surviving (And Thriving) In Photography Industry
Beginner’s Photography Industry Guide | If you’re passionate about taking photos, starting a photography business probably sounds like a dream come true to you – after all, nothing sounds better than doing what you love all day long and getting paid for it, right? However, there are many pitfalls associated with the startup stage in any industry, not just the photography industry, and if you go into it without doing any prep work, starting a photography business might turn out to be a living nightmare!
There’s so much more that goes into starting a photography business than the ability to take stunning photos – after all, we’ve all witnessed many talented photographers start their own business, only to end up struggling for a few months and calling it quits. There are also those, arguably less talented photographers, that sail right by and turn their photography businesses into household names. Their secret? Mad business skills! However, there’s good news – just like photography skills, business skills are something that can be learned as well! To help you get started, we put together a list of essential things you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re serious about turning your love for photography into a profitable business.
Do The Prep Work | Beginner’s Photography Industry Guide
Before starting a photography business, you’ll want to take some time to figure out a few things and make some vitally important decisions. For example, what type of photography are you into? Rank different niches and take a look at the supply and demand curve – after all, you could be into high-end fashion photography, but if the demand is low in your area, it won’t do you any good. Your personal preferences aside, we’re talking about starting a business here, so you need to be aware of the demand, otherwise you might end up with a bunch of broken dreams and a ton of debt!
Once you pinpoint your area of specialization, you can move onto defining your ideal client. And no, “everybody” isn’t a target audience. You want to get as specific as possible, as this will affect pretty much every aspect of your business, from the equipment you get to the way you market your services. Remember, the more detailed your definition is, the better your chance of succeeding, so don’t move on to the next stage until you define your ideal client in terms of age, gender, location, and even marital status.
Write A Business Plan | Beginner’s Photography Industry Guide
Being an amateur photographer has its perks – for example, you’re more than likely to have a primary source of income, so amateurs can always fall back on their day job to pay the bills and cover other expenses. However, running your own business comes with certain challenges, such as balancing your love for photography and staying afloat. This is why writing a business plan is a great idea: it will allow you to focus your attention on the art of photography without losing your sight of the business aspects.
Every successful business owner will tell you that in order to achieve your goals, you need to define them first. “I want to be a successful photographer in 5 years!” isn’t a goal – it’s a dream. To turn it into a dream, you need to define “success!” This can be a number of shoots per year, or total profits (after all the bills have been paid!), or some other tangible metric you can keep track of. Once you define your goals, create an outline and come up with a game plan!
Tweak Your Plan As You Go | Beginner’s Photography Industry Guide
Writing a business plan will help you ensure you stay on the right track, so you won’t get sidetracked as easily, or distracted too often. Even if you do get distracted, you’ll have your business plan to check out and find your way back to the path of success. However, just because you don’t want to get sidetracked, it doesn’t mean you can’t tweak the plan – in fact, it’s a good idea to revise your plan every now and then, just to see which efforts are working, which aren’t, and which ones need improving. By keeping an eye on your goals and your strategy, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts without wasting any valuable time you can spend doing what matters the most – taking stunning photos.
Don’t Work For Free! | Beginner’s Photography Industry Guide
Photographers, especially when just starting out, tend to feel uncomfortable talking about money – whether they don’t feel comfortable with their skills, or they don’t feel comfortable charging more than their competitors. However, you’re a professional photographer the moment you start your own business, so start acting like one. Don’t leave it up to your potential clients to set the terms – it’s always a better idea to have a starting a point, even if you do need to lower the prices at the beginning to secure those gigs.
The most common excuse for not setting up prices, or even worse, working for free, is building a portfolio. If you’ve already quit your day job, you need to make sure you’re earning enough money to cover your expenses, otherwise you’ll burn through your savings rather quickly. You can always go through your existing works and put together a portfolio, or shoot your friends and family if you’re struggling for good photos. Speaking of, to avoid awkward situations with friends and family, come up with special prices for them instead of doing it for free.