Photography Startup 101 | Launching A Photography Business – It’s More Strategic Than You Think
Photography Startup 101 | It was Benjamin Franklin that said that by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail, and oh boy, was he right! Taking stunning pictures will only take you so far in today’s saturated photography industry – there are countless other photographers in your niche or your particular area that are targeting exactly the same audience as you are. And if you want to turn your business idea into a success story, you will need to cover your bases.
Starting a photography business is ridiculously easy nowadays – so easy, in fact, that anyone with some extra cash on the side and one good eye can call themselves a professional photographer. Running a successful business, on the other hand, is a completely different story. To help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls surrounding photography startups, we compiled a list of things you should take care of before putting out the “open for business” sign.
Write A Business Plan | Photography Startup 101
Every successful business owner will tell you one thing – in order to turn your ideas and plans into reality, you need to write them down on paper. Clearly define your goals and ideas how you’re planning to achieve them – and leave nothing out. Even the smallest details will matter down the road, and the more details you sort out right now, the easier it will be to avoid potential pitfalls and challenges. Cover everything from the name of your business to the finances.
Set Up A Pricing Plan | Photography Startup 101
The question of pricing is always a challenging one for photographers, no matter if they’re just starting out or have been shooting professionally for some time now. Many even leave the entire decision to the potential client during the meeting, which can be a grave mistake! You’re the only one that knows how much it costs you to stay in business, and how much you need to charge to stay afloat. It’s better to have a starting point when a potential client approaches you than to leave it up to them to set the terms – at the end of the day, how is anyone supposed to know your worth if you’re not sure yourself?
Invest In High-Quality Equipment | Photography Startup 101
While not the only factor, the equipment you use when shooting is one of the deciding factors that affect not only the quality of the pictures you take but the success of your business as well, which is why you’ll want to make sure you get the best camera gear your budget allows. What’s most important? You’ll need a camera body, a few lenses, lighting equipment if applicable for your niche, as well as a computer and relevant editing software. You’ll also want to invest in the right backup equipment, as even the new gear can fail at the worst time possible.
Showcase Your Work | Photography Startup 101
In our digital age, having a professionally designed portfolio website is no longer optional – it’s expected in addition to the printed portfolio book. Long gone are the days when you had to carry a heavy book around from one meeting to another, hoping that someone will hire you; instead, anyone with Internet access can view your works without scheduling a meeting, which puts your work under the fingertips of potential clients around the world.
Build A Strong Social Presence | Photography Startup 101
What’s the most practical way you can reach your potential clients right away? Something they feel comfortable with and love using? The logical answer: social media. Figure out where your potential clients spend their time, and get on their radars! Keep in mind, though, that you can’t really spend all your time on social media talking about your offer – you need to share interesting content and engage your potential clients in a conversation – so make sure you reply to their comments, comment their content, like, fave and +1 it, and you’ll not only build a strong brand, but a reputation of a reliable expert as well.
Print Is Not Dead | Photography Startup 101
You want to be noticed on social media, sure, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket – keep in mind that you’ll also want to leave the right impression when networking in real life as well. You’ll have a much better chance of standing out if you create a stationery package for your business that provides you with everything you need to convey your message to your potential clients – from business cards to the packaging – and that leaves the best impression possible.
Your stationery items have to look, feel and sound like they came from the same source, which means you can’t afford to go to the nearest stationery store and get a generic package everyone in your area is already using. Make sure your stationery items are able to convey not only your intended message, but reinforce your brand by using the same color scheme, fonts, and featuring your logo in a prominent place.
Network Like There’s No Tomorrow! | Photography Startup 101
With fresh new business cards and other stationery items, you’ll be ready to get out and start networking. Keep in mind that not every professional network is created equal though – you’ll want to find other business owners that are looking to serve similar audience as you are, but are still offering non-competing services. For example, if you’re in the wedding photography niche, approach cake decorators, bridal boutiques and venue owners and let them know how much you appreciate referrals. You’d be surprised how loyal business owners can be when they really hit it off.