Are you always the go to person when it comes to taking photos at family events? Have you always been praised for your good quality shots? Have you got that creative flair and considered starting your photography business?

Well, this blog will guide you how to go about setting up and what you need to think about when starting out on your own.

Photography is a popular profession and hobby right now and some have taken it upon themselves to do this as a side line business. They want to pursue their passion, while still getting a steady stream of income. But that’s okay! Don’t feel that this should stop you from following your dreams of owning a photography business and doing this as a full time job!

It just means you have to work a little harder to set yourself apart from the masses of photographers out there!

The tips have been broken down under two main categories for how to start a photography business.

1.The Planning Stage

2.Attracting Clients

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1. Planning Stage

1. Decide your specialism and branding

If you are already a professional or hobby photographer with a view to setting up a business, you have more than likely given this some thought already. If you haven’t, then decide on your main genre(s). You don’t just have to choose one, but you will need a focus. Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for?

Whether it is photojournalism, sporting events, weddings or property photography, if you stay focused to one or two of these areas, then it will help you develop your brand and build a reputation in your chosen area.

If you are thinking of becoming a wedding photographer, ShootDotEdit provide an excellent editing service for professional wedding photographers. They have recently published a blog, which provides a comprehensive list of things you need to know to prepare, build and sustain the growth of your wedding photography business.

When it comes to branding, think about what you name your business. This will become the brand image. So choose a name that fits the type of photography you want to do. For example, if you want to do business photography or weddings, you’ll want something that sounds professional or elegant. You also need to check and insure the name isn’t protected by trademark.

 

As photographers, you are in the image business so make sure you get business cards which show off your brand in a creative way. The front of you card should have your vital contact information. After all, your card should be a “call to action” step to reach out to you. But also think about the back of the card. The back of the card image shows someone immediately what it is that you do.

Definitely place a lot of thought into what image you put on there! It’s going to have to represent your entire collection and create an impression.

2. Create a business plan

A business plan is pretty much something you need to think about straight away. It allows you to set goals for your business. Without considering where you want to take your business and how you are going to get there, you are likely to lose sight of your focus and goals later on. This site  explains in detail how to create your own business plan.

A good business plan outlines the details of your business, including the services you offer, how you’ll differ from the competition, financial projections and marketing strategies.

Running a photography business is: one part photography skills and two parts business skills. Those business skills should also include getting out the door and getting yourself in front of the right people who are going to give you work.

3. Evaluate your finances

This is crucial. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to realise that your business isn’t going to be profitable overnight.

If you have enough money in your bank account to start your business, you may not need to borrow money. But most entrepreneurs need financial help and at least half of these entrepreneurs asked friends and family for financial support.  If you need further support on how to self-finance your business; this article explains 4 New Ways to Self-Fund Your Startup

Whether you ask friends and family for financial assistance or apply for a bank loan, you’ll need a plan in place on how you are going to make repayments.

4. Buying Equipment

If photography is your hobby, you may already have much of the equipment you need. You’ll have to assess if the quality is high enough to charge for professional services. It goes without saying, your camera equipment is a crucial investment for your business! So, it’s important you have high quality, reliable equipment that you feel comfortable using.

A starting kit could include two cameras (for example, one good quality DSLR and one maybe cheaper backup DSLR), a range of lenses (depending on your specialism), one high quality flash, a tripod and photo editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. Once again, if you are starting out as a wedding photographer and dont feel comfortable enough just yet, use ShootDotEdit (photography editing service)

Don’t forget to budget for consumable items, such as batteries, light bulbs, quality photo paper and packaging used to deliver the photos to clients. The costs for all of this, as well as projected costs for upgrades or replacement equipment, should all be mapped out in your business plan so you can plan and budget accordingly.

5. Consider Pricing

Determining your pricing structure should be done around the same time you are creating your business plan. Think about forward projections. For example, if you want to make £50,000 per year and believe you can book 26 weddings a year, you’d need to charge around £2,000 per wedding. The pricing you decide needs to take into account the cost of equipment, supplies, travelling costs, as well as your time

Setting up and managing a photography business is: one part photography skills and two parts business skills. Those business skills should also include getting out there and getting yourself in front of the right people, who are going to help give you work.

So, with this in mind, let’s move on to the next part of setting up your photography business.

Attracting Clients

6. Website

Once you have come up with a name for your photography business, you’ll need a website. There are free website templates out there. But your website is like the front of a store. It needs to be impressive, so it’s best to have a website professionally created.

The purpose of your website is to showcase your work. It acts as your digital portfolio. That’s what your clients will want to see. Keep your site organised by breaking your galleries into categories.


It’s also a nice idea to include a picture of yourself and a page that describes your background and experience. Hiring a photographer for a special event, like a wedding or baby shower, is a very personal experience. The more your clients know you, the better the chance of contacting you.

 

Contact information is also a must. Make sure the contact information is the same everywhere you advertise and promote yourself, as this gets picked up by Google.

Do list your prices on the website. This helps manage client expectations, avoid time wasters and keeps people from trying to negotiate a lower price.

7. Networking

As a photographer and a new business owner, you need to network as much as possible. Networking is a low-cost way to market your photography business. If people don’t know about you or your work, you won’t get too far. Join groups, forums, clubs that are all related to your industry.

The most important thing to remember about networking is that you have to make a genuine effort to meet people and get to know them. You can’t just simply turn up and sit in the corner. Another no-no is talking about your business as soon as you meet someone. Have a plan for what you want to accomplish and then take action. This should be to build a connection with people, gauge their interests, pick up ideas and tips from them and also collect as many business cards as possible. This is so you can contact them at another time. Make sure you have your business cards readily available to give as well.

8. Social Media

Social media is the way forward for digital marketing now! Practically every client you will meet will be a member of one social media platform or other. It is a great promotion tool. If you are starting out, then it’s best to start out with one or two sites and use them consistently.

Facebook is always a good option, having the most users out of all the social media platforms. You might want to lean towards one of the more visual social media channels like Instagram. Once you have built more confidence with social media marketing, then it is worth considering setting up LinkedIn and Twitter accounts for your business.

The key thing is to remember is that in order for this to be successful you need to be posting and updating your posts and photos regularly, in order to entice potential clients to contact you. You never know when somebody needs a photographer for a major life event, personally or professionally.

9. Good Causes and Charity Events

Have you thought about taking photos for free-provided it’s for a good cause? Obviously don’t make a habit of working for free as it is generally a waste of your time (and won’t bring in any income!).

However, volunteering to take photos for a charity event is a great way to network and gain exposure and promote goodwill within your local community. Make sure you include your watermark on the photos and ensure you’re tagged on Facebook if the charity event uploads your pictures.

could even think about auctioning off a photography session for charity. Not only will you be donating to a good cause and getting your name out there, but your new client may turn into a life-long client or be your connection to many more potential leads.

10. Feedback and keep learning

Photography equipment and its technical features are continuing to evolve so it makes sense that your skills and knowledge are up to speed. Take time to read blogs, join online communities and learn from others in the industry.

Running your own photography business means you are wearing many hats- freelancer, director, finance officer and entrepreneur all packaged into one! While it may be hard at times but with dedication and commitment you can build the rewarding career you’ve always wanted.

Taking feedback may never be easy especially if it might be something you might not necessarily want to hear. We all want praise and acknowledgements for our work, but before asking for feedback ask yourself these questions; will it be helpful? Is it balanced and fair?

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Photography is a rewarding hobby and can even become an enjoyable career. You’ll get to meet people you may have never come across I everyday life or be involved in the most glamorous and extravagant events. But, don’t be disheartened if you don’t feel like you are getting any clients or work is not picking up as quick as you thought, remember everyone had to start somewhere.

Keep shooting every day and take your camera with you everywhere. Learn about light and manual modes. Another thought to bear in mind (Tip 11!) is to find a mentor (who has more experience perhaps) who can help identify what areas you need to work.

Make sure you enjoy yourself throughout this journey. Take a break if you get frustrated but don’t give up!

Related Posts:

How To Start A Wedding Photography Business (Plus Tips On What To Do On Your First Wedding Shoot)

4 Social Media Sites Wedding Photographers Should Be Using!

7 Ways for Photographers to Grow their Business

How Grow in Cloud’s Photography Software Can Help You and Your Clients

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