3 Quick Tips for Photography Business Success
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I am so happy to be working in a field that I love! I bet you are, too. Photography and videography are unique in that we can combine our enjoyment of the art, craft, and techniques of creating beautiful photographs and engaging videos with numerous money making opportunities.
The key to photography business success is to treat it as a business. I know that sounds a little odd, but I see many amazing photographers start a business and then it never really takes off. A common reason is that we sometimes get so caught up in the art that we forget the nuts and bolts of small business operations.
As photography business advice, I found 3 beginner photography business tips that should help out quite a bit. Keep in mind, there WAY more things you will need to do for photography business success, but these 3 are a good start.
Business Goals and Plans
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The first step essential for photography business success is to have a clear goal for the business and create a plan to meet that goal. Actually, you could break this step into several smaller goals.
Here’s how it works: Our primary goal in starting up a photography business is to make money from what we know and love doing. But that is a little simplistic and really won’t work very well unless we’re extremely lucky. As you probably already know, luck is not a reliable business plan.
A large part of the initial business plan is to determine what type of photography business you are. There are several different models and they can also be combined in one way or another.
One type of photography business is providing a service where you deliver images to a client, digitally, physical prints, or both. Wedding photography, portrait photography, and real estate photography fall into this model.
Another type is selling images you crafted. These can also be digital, physical, or both. Fine art photography falls under this model, as would selling prints at an arts and craft show, selling images to decorators, or having physical prints available for purchase at your office or studio.
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These models can be combined easily and it makes good sense to offer physical prints of various styles and subjects not directly related to your primary type of business. Displaying your beautiful landscape photos along with examples of your main focus might generate an extra sale or two, plus it has the added benefit of showcasing your talent.
There is a need for some caution in mixing styles like this, though. You don’t want to weaken your brand, diluting your value in the eyes of your prospective clients. Also, if you do mix that way, make sure the other images are extremely good.
All the Paperwork Stuff
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This is an area that is vital for photography business success, just as with any small business. Decide whether you’re an LLC, a corporation, or a sole proprietor working as a DBA (doing business as). There are specific legal requirements and regulations for these, so do your research to know the differences and make your choice.
There are tax scenarios for all of those, too. Be sure to keep up on the legal obligations such as local sales taxes, income taxes, and so forth. A good accounting software suite is invaluable for this, though you may wish to farm it out to professionals specializing in small businesses.
Another key to photography business success is to ensure you can stay in business when the unexpected happens. Insurance comes in various types, liability, loss, omissions and errors, and combination policies.
This is a step that you don’t want to neglect, since one mistake or accident can set you back or put you out of business. Home owners, renters, or auto policies will not cover your actions or property when engaged in work for profit.
Find a Great Print Company
When implementing ideas from the first of these 3 beginner photography business tips, you will want to make sure that any physical prints you offer are of the highest quality. Part of that will be based on your imaging talent and skill, the other part is how you choose to print them.
Since many of us already have a good printer for our business office use, we’re tempted to use that for making physical prints, which is fine for smaller prints on paper. To get larger prints or prints on specialty material such as canvas, acrylic, or metal, I use a professional printing service.
Artbeat Studios is one of my favorites, especially for those especially large prints. They won our 2020 Metal Print Shootout and we’re about to kick off our 2021 shootout. They also make amazing looking acrylic prints and superb framed prints on photographic paper in sizes up to 4x6 feet.
If your business model includes physical prints, you may as well use the best service that makes the types and sizes you want. Artbeat Studios is consistently at or near the top of my list because they use high quality materials, have excellent craftsmanship, are reasonably priced, and have rapid turnaround time. As a business owner, I also appreciate their high level of customer service.
These are just 3 quick tips of photography business advice that can get you started on your own photography business success. Check out some of our other articles and stay tuned for more hints and photography business tips.