- Read books about business and marketing.
- Learn how to develop a business plan and write one for your business.
- Part of this process is deciding what kind of photography you want to shoot and sell.
- You may need the part-time period to create a strong portfolio.
- Build a Web site and become part of the online photography community, so you know how the quality of your images compares to successful full-time pros.
- Use social networking to learn how others have started part-time photography businesses. There is no reason for you to re-invent the wheel. In fact, you will probably be successful, and then go full-time, faster if you adopt may of the business practices and methods that others have used.
- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group PortraitsSelling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
Digital photography is one of the few small businesses you can do part time, and also be successful. There are many wedding photographers, for example, that shoot one or two events during the weekend to supplement their regular income. Unless you have deep pockets or a long line of clients requesting your services, your best strategy for starting a photography business is first to keep your day job. It may be a job that you would rather exchange for a full-time photography gig, for any number of reasons, but don’t tell the boss to shove your job just yet!
Continuing to work your day job, as you build your photography business, will ensure that you have a stable financial base and provide you with some resources to buy equipment during a period of time and to begin to market your business. The profits from part-time photography can also be used to finance various business costs or temporarily help you during a financial or other kind of personal emergency.
This is certainly a good idea if you have a family, with dependents to support. Even if you’re young, with no dependents, it’s still smart to accumulate a few years in your career field, so you have a track record, in case you must return to that profession. A majority of small businesses fail, so the odds are already against you, which means you should have a fallback position. Don’t burn your bridges! In addition, quick success in any business type is a myth, except in very rare cases. To start even a part-time photography business is hard work; to go full-time and be successful is even harder work.
Another advantage of retaining your day job is that it could be a source of assignments for your part-time digital photography business. Your co-workers may have marriage plans or a new baby to photograph or they want a family portrait. Plus, people know people; so giving your co-workers hefty discounts in exchange for referrals could quickly widen your universe of prospects, and build an excellent portfolio.
There are very few businesses that don’t need photography for one use or another, meaning your employer could also become a client. Photography opportunities could include executive portraits, products, marketing materials, public relation, company events (Christmas party), etc.
You must be a bit careful when approaching the boss for photography assignments, as he or she may think you will be leaving soon to start a full-time business. It could also be an indication that you think your salary is too low. You can turn this to your advantage, however, by telling the boss that your photography supplements your income, so you don’t have to pressure him or her too often about a raise.
Even though you are starting smart with a part-time photography business first, you still must have a plan. Project ahead a year you would like to be working full-time in photography. Then, make a plan of small steps and goals that will eventually allow you to reach your big goal.
With the security of your day job and a slow, steady approach to building a photography business, you are much more likely to be successful.