- How to Turn Your Photography Hobby Into a Career
- 5 Things to Research Before Starting a Photography Business
photo by Ridofranz via iStock
My first photography business went under. And I don’t say this to get sympathy, and I definitely don’t say this to prove myself an expert, but it happens to the best of us.
For beginners, it’s impossible to avoid all photography business mistakes. It’s what allows us to grow, and, in turn, help others to grow.
But, there are some major pitfalls of photography businesses you will need to avoid during your first few years in business.
Here’s a few you need to avoid...
Not Having Photography Insurance
photo by Pattanaphong Khuankaew via iStock
You never think you’re going to need insurance until you do, and then it seems stupid that you never budgeted for it in the first place.
But, if you’ve gotten this far in life, then you know the importance of insurance, especially for your business. My rule of thumb is this: if I can’t afford to replace it out of pocket tomorrow, I need to have insurance for it.
But, there are a few different types of photography insurance you may never have thought of before. You don’t just need photography insurance for your camera gear, but for your events, yourself, and general liability.
It’s a lot to think about. Thankfully, Full Frame Insurance already thought of everything you might need.
Full Frame Insurance has the types of photography insurance you need, from event coverage for a few days to annual coverage year-round. Plus, you can add equipment coverage to your policy.
But the best part about Full Frame is that you don’t have to deal with pushy salespeople. That’s just not how they do things! In fact, you never actually have to talk to anyone at all because you can go on their website right now and pick exactly what you need to purchase coverage online.
Starting at just $59, there’s no reason for your photography business not to be insured!
Recommended Photography Business Books:
Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash
Have you ever responded to a client just a few hours after reading an email and never heard back? In our digital world, clients expect incredible communication because for every minute you’re not responding, they’re searching for other photographers near them.
This same laziness can hurt you in multiple ways. As a business owner, you need to motivate yourself to do everything, from responding to emails in a timely fashion to going to that networking dinner after a 12-hour shoot.
photo by Martin Dimitrov via iStock
A personal pet peeve I’ve seen before is when a photographer takes a photo that could have been so much better if they just moved their feet.
Climbing on top of a table in the middle of a crowded mall may feel awkward, but striving to take the perfect photo every single time means you’re going to strive to run your business perfectly as well.
Not Taking Contracts Seriously
Jessica Kobeissi’s video on how she built her photography contracts is a much-watch because if you run a photography business and you’re using a photography contract template you found online after a 10-minute search, you’re losing money.
Photographers get paid in a few ways. Obviously, you get paid for your services. But, you also get paid for the licensing of your work. If you build a contract that doesn’t differentiate between the two then you’re missing out on licensing fees.
photo by AntonioGuillem via iStock
If you’re doing it correctly, it should take you at least a full business day to create the perfect contract for your photography business.
Sure, that’s a lot of work up front, but it’s better to devote the time at the outset to create rock-solid contracts than to do it willy-nilly and have to revise as you go.
Missing the Boat on Finances
It’s no secret that photographers are getting paid less than they used to. It’s an industry in the middle of a huge upheaval. But don’t let this prevent you from requesting what you’re worth.
The above video by CFO On Call is a must-watch for people building a photography business if you’re not a budgeting guru already.
Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash
You need to be tracking every dollar that comes into and flows out of your business. You need to have short-term and long-term budgeting goals. You need to understand how to cope when clients aren’t coming in and you need to know where to spend additional dollars when you have a ton of work.
Don’t let something as simple as budgeting prevent your photography business from the growth its destined for!
Bonus Tip: Avoid Overspending on Gear
Photo by ArisSu via iStock
Though it's exciting to pick up a new camera and some new lenses and new lighting gear and so forth, all of that stuff can be extremely expensive.
You know the old saying, "house rich, cash poor," right? Well, the same principle applies to photography. You don't want to be gear rich and cash poor!
Sure, it would be fantastic to have a Sony a7R IV in your bag, but if your Sony a7R II is still getting the job done, why shell out the money for a newer model?
This is really the key to avoiding overspending - use the gear you have, and when it's time to upgrade, think about buying used.
Photo by johnnychaos via iStock
I know there's tons of horror stories about people buying a used camera on eBay and ending up with a box of rocks or buying a used camera on Craigslist and finding out that the camera was stolen.
But if you avoid those places and shop used gear at a reputable retailer like MPB, all those worries can be cast aside.
MPB inspects everything and assigns it a grade, that way you know the exact condition the item is in before you buy.
What's more, MPB offers a six-month warranty on most items, so you can rest assured that if something goes wrong, they've got your back.
Speaking of which, I've bought (and sold) numerous items on MPB over the years, and the customer service experience has always been top-notch.
Since photography gear can be so expensive, buying used gear can save you a ton of money, and buying from MPB can save you the heartache and stress of buying gear from an unknown source.