- Satisfy Local Regulations - if your municipality requires registration as a business entity, then make it so. Dot the I’s and cross the T’s on those forms, don’t try to just wing it.
- Get Insured - this means covering you against losses from equipment damage to liability for accidents to you or others.
- Form Partnerships - I don’t mean becoming a corporation or surrendering business control, not that type of partnership. This refers to working with other businesses in a way that could be mutually beneficial.
- Organize - everything from your image files to your tax papers and online ads needs basic organization. Either by learning it yourself or hiring out some of the jobs.
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photo by LightFieldStudios via iStock
Being a professional photographer is a great job. But it is a job, it isn’t simply being a photographer. All the other aspects of running a business apply to our photography business, too.
We need to take care of the legalities of being in business, which can vary from state to state or even at a mlore local level. We will have tax obligations, insurance needs, and just like any other small business it’s a good idea to form relationships and partnerships in photography businesses.
If you are just starting out or contemplating how to make it as a photographer, you will need to know how to grow a successful photography business. Let me list a few photography business tips I have learned or were taught to me by other professionals.
Photography Business Tips
photo by g-stockstudio via iStock
Since we have other recent articles about legalities, insurance, and organization, we will cover the “Form Partnerships” aspect of photography business tips.
Why Form Partnerships
photo by AndreyPopov via iStock
Why should we concern ourselves with partnerships in photography businesses? For the same reason any business could benefit from partnering up, to increase business.
Used in this context, the term “business partnership” does not refer to a type of business entity, such as two or more owners with a stake in the operation and finances of the business, but more like a friendship or a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” way.
It’s especially profitable for us as photographers to link up with related services. Printing services, binderies, make up artists, hair stylists, and realtors are a few with whom I have formed partnerships.
Sometimes, you can partner with local businesses and meet in person to figure out mutually beneficial promotions. Other times, you link up with national businesses and receive discounts or affiliate status. Both methods work well for our photography businesses.
I mentioned a few partnerships in photography ideas earlier, let’s look at a couple of them and why they make good sense to us as a professional photography business.
High-End Printing Service
photo by scyther5 via iStock
Some of us have invested in a very high quality printer in order to provide our clients with actual physical prints they can display in albums or on walls, and that’s great. But it also means a lot of maintenance and storing inls and various types of papers in different sizes.
What I have noticed is that no matter what size I offer and promote, someone always asks for a different size or a different type of paper. So, even with my own pro quality printer, I still have accounts with some high quality printing shops.
Besides the paper types and sizes, there are some options for printing that increase your profits and customer satisfaction, namely printing on metal and printing on canvas. Check out our printer comparison articles for ideas of who to use as a preferred printer.
“I’m a photographer, not a book maker!” Okay, Doctor McCoy, but you will miss out on some profitable opportunities, especially if you specialize in wedding photography or portraits.
A friend recommended Qt Albums for their printing services and album making and I can’t express enough how impressed I am with their quality. They cost a little more, but so does high-end wedding photography or portraiture. If your business model supports very high end photography, you should have a printer and bindery that matches your quality.
For special events like a wedding or for the perfect gift of portraiture, presenting the final product as a finely crafted album of linen, silk, and leather really speaks loudly for your superb imaging.
In addition to prints and albums, QtAlbums makes fine crafted presentation boxes, folios, and heirloom books. They also provide a wonderful way to blend the old world with new in making USB drives from fine wood that you can add to with customized lettering or logos.
Makeup Artist and Hair Stylists
photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock
The back and forth possibilities for promotional activities and products that you can do with local hair stylists and makeup artists are virtually endless.
I don’t think we professional photographers should ever give away our work, but partnerships in photography with these fine professionals do tend to increase business opportunities all the way around, so carefully consider what you want and what you’re willing to provide.
For local partnerships in photography and related businesses, be sure to have written agreements and follow all local regulations.
Real Estate Agents
photo by ake1150sb via iStock
As my final recommendation for partnerships in photography, make friends with local realtors. An idea I have used is to provide a discounted imaging service to the realtor for their listings in exchange for flyer ad placement and maybe some coupons for the new owners for portraits or whatever your specialty is.
Again, don’t sell yourself or any other professional short and follow safe, legal, and ethical business practices.
Present Value, Get Value
photo by SolStock via iStock
Any business partnership should satisfy all parties involved. In order to have successful partnerships in photography businesses, make sure you receive something of value, not simply ‘exposure,’ whatever that is. And then offer something of your photography business that will be worthwhile to their businesses and to your prospective clients.
Good partnerships in photography will benefit all involved, so we want to hear your ideas, too. Join our forums or send us some feedback.