Photography Tip—10 Mistakes You Can Learn From Professional Photographers, so You Don’t Make Them Too, Part 1
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It’s so easy to think that you can start almost immediately to make money from digital photography as soon as you have a DSLR camera in your hands. The power, the features, the capabilities seem to give you all the magical tools you need to convince people to pay you for taking pictures. For a very few that may be possible; however, many would-be photographic entrepreneurs discover themselves in trouble because they make the same mistakes that so many others have made.
One of the first and most important business tips is to learn where the pitfalls lie from those who have already fallen in them, and recovered to run a successful photography business. That’s what this PhotographyTalk.com article is meant to do for you: Reveal 10 mistakes, or pitfalls, that you can avoid, to make your transition to a professional easier and more likely to succeed on the first attempt.
Know your camera.
Your mind and eyes may be all bedazzled by that new (or first) DSLR in your hands, but, like any tool you expect to use professionally, to generate income, you must understand how it works in its entirety, and then have put into practice all of the various features and capabilities. You want to know them backwards and forwards and be able to produce excellent images that compare favorably with your competition. Don’t rely on yourself, however; take part in photography forums, ask questions, request critiques of your work and attend workshops until there is no question you know your camera thoroughly.
Plan for success.
Reaching any goal or succeeding at any endeavor is virtually impossible without a plan. A new photography business doesn’t require an elaborate business plan; in fact, there are many resources that will show you how to create a one-page business plan that will serve you just fine, at least, initially. The marketplace as well as the Internet is filled with books on business plans that are presented in easy steps.
Make a budget part of your plan.
You must prepare projections of your income sources and the costs of doing business before you spend a single dollar. Too many unprepared entrepreneurs have started businesses by maxing credit cards or depleting savings with no control of how much they are spending on what, where and why. Very few new businesses do as well initially as the rosy revenue their owners have projected, but the costs to open and sustain a business continue.
Maintain separate financial accounts.
A major pitfall that many new business owners experience is combining their personal and business finances in one bank account. Not only does this make bookkeeping and tax preparation more difficult, but also you can find yourself spending money that you need to pay the rent or buy groceries.
Know your market niche.
One of the advantages of a digital photography business is that you can specialize in more than one market niche. A wedding photographer can parlay these skills into similar events: anniversaries, birthday parties, family reunions, etc. It’s not only important to decide which is your specialty (or specialties), but also you must be as thoroughly knowledgeable about that market niche as your equipment. You must do enough research to know how much potential business for that photographic specialty is in your locale, who are your competitors, how much do they charge, how do they market themselves, etc. The more you know about the type of photography with which you expect to generate revenue and the current market conditions, the more likely you’ll succeed.