- How to Make Your Portraits Look More Professional
- Strategies for Finalizing the Sale With Your Client
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If you’re looking to start a photography business right now, then I commend you for understanding exactly what you want out of life and not being afraid to chase it down (even during a pandemic).
But, starting a photography business right now is obviously going to be especially tricky, if only because clients are few and far between. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start a photography business, it just means you should expect more challenges once you do.
But, a lot of people are looking for work from home jobs right now and starting a home-based photography business may mean that you’re not only better protected from this virus, but that you no longer have to struggle with all of the things we hate about office jobs, like long commutes and missing out on time with your family.
Plus, you can start a photography business in 9 quick steps.
Choose Your Niche
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The first thing you need to do before you start a photography business is choose what types of photos you want to be taking. This is a pretty easy step for most people since it’s mostly about picking what drew you to photography in the first place.
Do you love kids and want to get into family photography? Did you see a need for portrait photographers in your city since unemployment has risen due to the pandemic? Do you love hiking and camping and want to be an adventure wedding photographer?
Once you’ve chosen the sort of photography you’d ideally love to do, you need to figure out how large the need is for that type of photography in your town. A quick Google search should tell you how many other photographers in that niche already exist near you. Then, you can bring the question to local Facebook groups.
Create a Business Plan
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This is definitely one of the more boring parts of starting a photography business, but it’s essential. Your business plan first of all tells you (and others) exactly how you’re planning on bringing in revenue. This is where you should outline what services you’ll give people and why someone would choose you over any of the other photographers in your area.
Your business plan should also include: potential marketing ideas, an overall financial breakdown of your business, and a pricing structure.
After you’ve created your business plan you will know whether your dream to start a photography business is actually achievable, or whether you’ll want to stick to photography as a hobby or part-time job.
Make It Legal
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Depending upon where you live, you’ll want to register your business with your state. You can either work as a sole proprietor or establish an LLC. Likely, you’ll start off as a sole proprietor, which is the cheapest option, before working up to an LLC, which gives you a lot more protection if something catastrophic were to happen, like a major lawsuit.
Choose Your Name
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I just wrote a pretty lengthy article about choosing a name for your photography business, but I can break that photography business advice down to this: make sure your name is easy to remember and that it reflects the specific type of photography your business does.
You’ll also want to make sure that your business name doesn’t already belong to someone else. You can do so through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
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When you start a photography business, there are a bunch of legal problems you could face if you forget to do things like get a business license or permit, depending upon your state, county and city, and collect sales tax.
While this can seem a little daunting, it’s really as easy as reaching out to your state’s tax office and asking questions. They’ll let you know exactly what you need to do.
You’ll also want to make sure that you can keep your business’ finances separate from your personal finances by creating a bank account for it.
Stock Up On Supplies
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In order to start a photography business, you need a good chunk of change. Depending upon how long you’ve been doing photography as a hobby, you may be able to save some money by using your old equipment, but you’ll need new supplies regardless.
Some things you’ll need to purchase are: lenses, batteries, subscriptions for PhotoShop and Lightroom, lights, etc. But, you’ll also need to purchase less photography specific supplies. For instance, you may need to get an office, business cards, and a photography bag.
Start Your Marketing Campaign
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I already mentioned the fact that you need business cards to start a photography business, but you’ll also need to build a website and take on other digital marketing. Depending upon the quality of other photography websites in your area, you may want to outsource this job to a professional.
You’ll also want to build all of your social media accounts, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and make sure that your business is branded the same way across all of these platforms. This means that you’ll also need to create your branding, like your logo, based off of what type of population you’re hoping to reach.
Never End Your Marketing Campaign
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Unfortunately, when you start a photography business, a lot of the work that you do up front is work you’ll need to continue for the life of your business. This is especially true of your marketing.
You need to talk to anyone and everyone who will listen to you about the fact that you want to start a photography business. Pass out your business cards to local businesses, put them in coffee shops, and always have them on you.
You’ll need to continuously post on your social media pages, including images and videos you’ve taken from recent shoots. You may want to work with other photographers or business owners in your area, as well.
Find Good Business Partners
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Of all of these photography business success tips, this may be the most important one. It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to create a business.
Besides networking with other photographers in your area, you’ll also want to have pre-established relationships with different business partners before you need their services.
For instance, if you plan on offering studio sessions, but you don’t own your own studio, then you’ll need to already know what studios you can rent out in your area and how much it will cost so that you can build this information into your pricing structure.
Or, if you plan to sell (or gift) different physical products to your clients, like photo albums, you’ll want to know what businesses make those types of products.
I’ll make your search just a bit easier and let you know that if you’re planning on selling canvas prints to your clients, you should check out CanvasHQ.
I’ve used CanvasHQ for my business for a few years. I love them because their canvases are the absolute best quality because they build them in-house. Each one is fade resistant for decades, thanks to the ink they use, and warp resistant, thanks to the way they build their frames.
Importantly, CanvasHQ has a countdown on their website that lets you know exactly how long your turnaround time would be if you sent in a photo for them to print today. Even throughout the pandemic, I’ve never seen that countdown go above 3 days, which is definitely a plus for people doing rush services around the holidays which are coming up.
Plus, CanvasHQ canvases are relatively inexpensive. They start at just $20, which leaves you room for markup to make profit.
So, take these steps to ensure your new business gets off on the right foot. It will be hard work, but it will be worth it!