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Let's face it...
Photography is a dog-eat-dog world. Starting a photography business is tough work, especially considering all the competition there is these days for a finite number of clients.
But don't let a little competition and tough work derail your dreams of becoming a professional photographer.
In this quick-start guide, I offer a few must-have tips that will help you learn how to start a photography business.
Be Real About Your Strengths and Weaknesses
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I'm a skilled landscape photographer, if I do say so myself. It's certainly my greatest strength behind the lens.
What I'm not good at, however, is macro photography.
What's important is that I understand these facts. Landscapes come to me naturally; macro does not.
So, if I were starting a photography business today, I would choose to capitalize on my strengths and focus on landscapes, not macro.
You need to do the same thing.
If portraits are your calling, specialize in portraits. If wildlife photography is your passion, make that the focus of your business.
Don't try to be everything to everyone - that will just muddy the waters!
You Need Good Hosting
An integral component of a modern photography business is having a gorgeous website, an online portfolio of your images, and perhaps even an online store.
But it isn't enough to simply have those things - they need to work and do so reliably if you're going to build a successful photography business.
Over my 20 years in this industry, I've partnered with more hosting companies than I care to admit - most of which were a nightmare to work with.
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Fortunately, I came across OVH several years ago, and I've never looked back.
Since switching PhotographyTalk to OVH, we've had excellent uptime - 99.9% just as OVH promises.
What I like about OVH (aside from their incredible reliability) is the fact that they're a global company with data centers and servers all over the globe.
In fact, they have 27 data centers and over 300,000 servers, so if anyone can ensure your company stays online, it's them.
You aren't just another number, though.
Sometimes, large companies have so many customers that you really are just one more in a long line of clients.
But despite being a global company, OVH works hard to ensure each and every customer feels like the most important customer.
Developing a successful is all about finding the best people to help you find success. In this case, OVH is precisely who you should partner with to realize your business goals.
People Skills Matter
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You can be a master photographer all day long, but if you don't know how to speak to people and engage them in a genuine manner, being a professional photographer is going to be a much tougher task.
And this doesn't apply just to photographers that work directly with clients, like wedding photographers and portrait photographers.
Even as a landscape photographer, I still have to speak to clients, hear their wants, needs, and concerns, and communicate with them in a way that makes them feel heard and understood.
You need people skills for effectively marketing your business and for working with other stakeholders in the industry as well.
Talking to people comes naturally to some of us. For others, it's a struggle. If you fall into the latter category, now is the time to start improving on your people skills! It's an asset that you cannot afford to go without.
Up Your Watermark Game
Yes, the watermark or photography logo you use to identify your work really matters.
In fact, I'd say that photography watermarks are one of the most important marketing tools you can have.
That's easy - the logo or signature you include on your images is like having a sign for your business.
Just like you wouldn't want to put up an ugly sign outside your storefront, you don't want to put an ugly logo on your photos, either.
Yet, one look at what some pros are doing with their photography signatures, and you quickly see that a lot of people are still using ugly, amateur-looking watermarks. That's a rookie move!
Not only does an ugly watermark (like my old one, shown above) diminish the quality of the overall photo, but it also screams "I don't care about quality!"
Seriously - my old photography logo took me two minutes to make in Photoshop, and it shows.
If you want to build a successful business and keep it going for the long-term, you need to step up your watermarking game and get something that speaks to your personality and individuality as a photographer.
There's no better way to do that than with a Photologo.
I got a Photologo (shown above), and I think we can all agree that there's a huge difference between what I had before and what I have now.
What makes Photologo so cool is that they are handmade by a team of artisans. There's no robot in a back room somewhere coming up with these photography logo ideas. Instead, it's real, live humans doing all the work.
That means that every single Photologo is unique. There's nothing like a bespoke watermark for your images to really make them shine!
Besides, with a gorgeous, handcrafted signature on all your work, you can deter people from ripping off your images while also getting some great marketing for yourself at the same time.
Your photos will never be mistaken for anyone else's work, either.
It's just a sleek, elegant, and modern way to sign your photos, just like artists have for centuries.
Best of all, you can get a Photologo for less than $40. That includes a free revision and turnaround time of as little as 48 hours.
That sounds like a deal to me!
Don't Stop Learning
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Just because you're ready to take the leap into professional photography doesn't mean that there's nothing left to learn.
There's always something to learn, be that on the photography side or the business side.
Staying on top of best practices in post-processing, learning how to use a new lens, discovering new ways to market your business, and constantly seeking to improve the way you manage your daily tasks will serve you well as you grow your business for long-term success.
And keeping engaged in learning about your craft has never been easier.
The point is that dedicating yourself to learning doesn't mean you need to go back to college and get another degree.
Just spend a few minutes here and there learning a new skill, and you'll be in a much better position to be successful!