- How to Set Up a Photography Business Step-by-Step
- The Legalities of Setting Up a Photography Business
Let's face it...
Starting a photography business is hard. But maintaining a successful photography business for the long-term is even harder.
That means that if you're looking for details about how to start a photography business, you need all the help you can get.
In the video above, our friends at the Cooperative of Photography outline some professional photography tips that will help you get your business started on the right foot.
In fact, they boil the process down to seven critical photography business tips.
Have a look at the video above, and for a quick summary of each tip, check the article below.
How to Start a Photography Business - Step 1: Find Your Specialty
You can't really start a photography business without first understanding what your niche is.
To figure that out, give yourself a new challenge each time you grab your camera.
Perhaps today you shoot portraits, and then tomorrow you photograph landscapes.
Then the day after that, you shoot macro, and then you try fine art photography.
The point is that you have to test the waters to see what kind of photography speaks to you, and once that happens, you'll be much more apt to have a successful business on your hands.
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Step 2: Find the Right Tools
Obviously, once you determine the type of photographer you are, it's necessary to get geared up.
If you're going to be a landscape photographer, you probably don't need to invest in a ton of artificial lighting gear.
Conversely, if you plan to be a street photographer, investing in a huge 400mm lens isn't a good plan...
Just remember that it isn't the gear that makes the photographer - it's the knowledge and skills that you have that make you a great visual storyteller!
If need be, just work with the gear you have and then as you begin making money, make smart gear investments.
Step 3: Build a Portfolio
A portfolio is an absolute must for photographers because it's essentially the "front window" of your business.
Having social media channels where you post photos is fine, and in this day and age, is all but a requirement.
But you also need a curated portfolio of your best work on your own website.
Not only does it give you an opportunity to show people the kind of photographer that you are, but it also looks much more professional than just slapping your photos on Instagram.
Step 4: Find the Right Clients
Now that you have your portfolio finalized, its time to send copies of your work to potential clients.
For example, if you're a landscape photographer, seek out opportunities to work with entities travel and tourism boards that might need high-quality photos of local landscapes.
Similarly, if you're a portrait photographer, send your portfolio to local businesses and organizations that might need a photographer for corporate headshots.
The point is that you need to seek out clients that match your photography style - it's simply not good enough to open up shop and wait for people to find you!
Editor's Tip: Displaying your photos is a great way to catch people's eye and show off your skills. Get high-quality prints that turn your photos into showstoppers.
Step 5: Understand the Business
What a lot of new photographers don't realize is that much of their time will be spent not taking photos, but instead dealing with the business side of things.
That means that you need to understand how to run a business, from how to set your photography prices to how to collect payments to getting the right types of insurance coverage. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It can be overwhelming starting a photography business, which is why I wrote this comprehensive guide.
Check it out for a detailed outline of what you need to do to get your business off the ground.
Step 6: Refine Your Workflow
When you think about your workflow, it might not seem like it's all that important, but nothing could be further from the truth.
On the one hand, perfecting your workflow involves having everything you need for every shoot ready to go well ahead of time. The last thing you want is to be unprepared!
On the other hand, streamlining your workflow will save you time.
For example, if you get into the habit of working on marketing activities each morning from 8-8:30 and meeting with clients from 9-noon, you'll avoid conflicts and overlapping your responsibilities.
It's also important to develop a workflow for post-processing so you can edit your images and get them to your clients faster.
Step 7: Promote Your Work
Though word of mouth and referrals will likely be your bread and butter for getting new clients, you can't rest on your laurels when it comes to getting your work out there.
Whether that means you spend time each day engaging on social media or contracting with local businesses to have your photos displayed on their walls or something in between, set aside time every single day to find new ways for people to see your work.
If you can follow these professional photography tips, you'll be in a much better position to build a strong business that lasts for years and years to come.