Photography Tip—10 Mistakes You Can Learn From Professional Photographers, so You Don’t Make Them Too, Part 2
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Think you’re ready to start a digital photography business just because you have a semi-pro or professional-grade DSLR camera? WRONG! Many enthusiastic photographers have had the dream of making a living from the hobby they love, only to stumble and fall because they didn’t heed the warnings from the professionals. Many of them have made the same new-business mistakes, learning these lessons the hard way, before they finally succeeded. You can avoid these blunders with the tips in this two-part PhotographyTalk.com article. Read the first five in Part 1; the other five begin below.
Start a relationship with a professional in your market niche.
It is usually easier to start such a relationship online via social media or photography forums. Eventually, you would want to try to find a professional locally to serve as mentor. Consider finding someone that is near retirement, so he or she won’t be a competitor. The 10 mistakes to avoid in this two-part PhotographyTalk.com are just the beginning; there are probably hundreds, and some may be specific to your market niche or location. Don’t be surprised if a professional asks to be paid to be your mentor. After all, he or she has spent years learning the business; and they often have information, expertise and experiences you can’t find anywhere else.
Understand your business structure.
Meet with an attorney to establish the right type of business structure, probably either a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC). Make sure you understand the tax, and other, implications of either type. Read these PhotographyTalk.com articles for more information.
Photography Tip—How to Select An Attorney for Your Business-Building Team, Part 1
Photography Tip—How to Select An Attorney for Your Business-Building Team, Part 2
Photography Tip—How to Find An Accountant for Your Business-Building Team
Obtain the right kind and amount of insurance.
Many photographers have a studio at home, where they welcome and photograph clients. What many fail to realize is that the liability portion of a homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover any client accidents or injuries that occur in the home. Generally, you also need a specific policy for your equipment and any business mistakes that could result in disputes with clients, or even lawsuits.
Join a professional photography association.
Do some research to determine which of many associations best fits your type of photography and offers specific services you may need. For example, some associations provide insurance programs for members at a lower cost because it creates a large pool of people who need the same kind of insurance.
Don’t use free photography to attract clients.
One of the most difficult concepts for many new, small, and even established, business owners to understand is that the products and services they sell must hold value for potential customers. When you discount or give your services for free just to attract customers, you are devaluing your services, which cause prospective clients to consider you less than professional. In fact, it has been proven again and again that consumers actually equate excellent products and services with a higher price. Psychologically, they respect you and what you offer because you charge more than the average of the marketplace.
Donating your services to a charity is the only situation under which you should offer free photography. Even then, this has a public-relations value that you should use promotionally in a well-written and widely distributed press release.
Often, the best first step to start a photography business is not to make the mistakes others have made, and then proceed with the strategies and methods that will have a positive impact on the success of your fledgling business.