- Get the Specs and Pricing on Photography Insurance from Next Insurance
- Things to Consider When Buying Professional Photographer's Insurance
I'll just come right out and say it...
Starting a photography business is hard. Well, starting any kind of business is hard!
But just because something is difficult to do doesn't mean that you can't find a way to make your business dreams a reality.
The key is to set yourself up for success and minimize critical mistakes that have led to the downfall of countless aspiring photographers before you.
With that in mind, let's explore a few photography business mistakes that you need to avoid if you want to build a successful business.
Mistake #1: Not Knowing What to Charge
The whole point of being in business is to turn a profit, right?
Well, that's hard to do if you don't spend some time thinking about how much you need to charge your clients so you can cover all your bills, taxes, and other expenses and still have a nice profit to put in the bank.
That means that you need to add up all those expenses and work backwards from there to determine how much you need to charge.
This can happen in a couple of ways. First, if you're just starting out, a short-term income goal might be that you make enough just to break even. If that's the plan, add up all your expenses (don't forget taxes!) and determine how much you need to charge and how much you need to work to meet that number.
A second way to determine what to charge is to set a long-term goal, like how much money you want to make in the next business year.
So, if you want to make $50,000, you'll need to add that to all the expenses you have, and again, working backwards, determine how much you need to charge and how often you need to work to meet that goal.
It sounds simple enough, but it can be a little complex. After all, you'll have fixed expenses, like rent or your mortgage payment to account for, as well as unexpected expenses, like car repairs or medical bills that could throw you off reaching your income goal.
The type of photography you pursue - portraiture, fine art, stock photography, and so forth - will also impact what you can charge.
For a thorough discussion of how much photographer's make (and how much you should charge), check the Learn More links below.
Mistake #2: Not Having Insurance
You'd never get behind the wheel of your car without being properly insured, so why would you open a business without having the proper coverage in place first?
It seems like a no-brainer, yet all the hard work, time, and effort that goes into starting a business can mean that some crucial steps - like getting proper coverage - are missed along the way.
That's where Next Insurance's professional photographer insurance comes in...
For starters, Next Insurance was founded by three guys that had an awful experience getting the insurance they needed for a previous business, so they know all about the difficulties of starting a business and the value of providing insurance products that are simple to understand, easy to get, and inexpensive, all at the same time.
In fact, Next Insurance is built to provide flexible coverage for small business owners, specifically photographers, so you'd be hard-pressed to find a better insurance partner than them.
When shopping for insurance, you need to consider a few things.
First, you don't want it to cost an arm and a leg. After all, when you're just starting out, money will be tight.
You want to look for insurance plans that are flexible to meet your needs, like paying on a month-by-month basis and pricing that won't break the bank, either.
Second, you'll want General Liability Insurance (GL), which protects you should you do something that causes harm to a client or a venue and you get sued for it.
Third, you'll want Equipment Protection coverage for all that photography gear you have and be sure that the policy offers the coverage you need to replace lost, stolen, or damaged equipment.
For example, Next Insurance's replacement cost coverage entitles you to either be reimbursed for your gear or get new gear, that way you aren't without what you need to continue working. Other insurance companies may only pay you for the used value of your equipment, which means you not only take a hit of having lost or damaged gear but you also lose money by only getting used value for it.
Something else to consider when shopping for photographer's insurance is how digital technology has improved the photography insurance industry.
By that, I mean you want to work with a company that offers customized coverage that takes your unique business needs into account. That means policies that are unique to your business and your business alone rather than using a one-size-fits-all model that may or may not work well for you.
The digitization of photography insurance also means that you can cut out the middleman and save money.
In other words, rather than going to an insurance broker to be the intermediary between you and the insurance company that's bearing the risk, companies like Next Insurance connect you directly to your policy via an online quote process.
That means you avoid paying unnecessary fees and get the coverage you need for less money per month.
Mistake #3: Working for Free
This is sort of a hot-button issue in the photography community...
Some photographers believe that when you first start out that working for free is a great way to get your name out there and make connections with people in the community.
Other photographers believe that working for free devalues you, your time, and the images you produce.
I can see both sides of the issue, but I lean towards not working for free.
For starters, when you start out, you're at your most vulnerable from an income point of view, so the more time you spend working for free, that's just the less time you have to bring in the green stuff to pay the bills.
And last time I checked, if you don't pay your bills, you won't be in business for long.
Secondly, if you work for free, all of your photography packages - even the least expensive ones - suddenly look and feel more expensive to that client.
So, the next time around when they want you to take photos, the chances are good that they won't opt for your top-tier package and will instead opt for the cheapest thing you offer.
Again, this isn't good for your bottom line!
Furthermore, think about the additional expenses of working for free.
You're not just giving them your time when you're taking their photos, you're also giving them the time it takes you to process the images. On top of that, if they order prints, you're on the hook for that as well.
Instead, when you're starting out, offer discounted pricing and specials so your clients feel like they're getting a great deal.
That means outlining your pricing packages (based upon your income goals, as discussed earlier), and then figure out how much of a discount you can offer and still make a profit.
For example, if you're a wedding photographer and you charge $4,000 for a middle-of-the-road package, perhaps you advertise a special in which you charge $3,500 or perhaps you offer to throw in an engagement session for a deeply discounted price, too.
The point is that you can generate interest in your business without going out and spending all your time working for free.
If you market your business smartly and come up with discounts and sales that pique people's interest, you'll set the right expectations for what you offer and also get your business started by actually making money!
Get a few more insights on this topic in the video above by The Art of Photography.
As I noted in the introduction, starting a business is a tall task.
But if you set about it in the right way and avoid critical mistakes like the ones I've outlined above, you'll be on solid footing for creating something that is successful for the long term.
That means outlining your income goals, getting top-notch insurance by working with Next Insurance, and getting early experience without doing so for free.