Starting a photography business is a great way to add a second income or a main income if you work hard. While the photography market is quite competitive, many photography business owners and photographers have been able to find their niche and build a sustainable career.
To built and grow our business, you actually need both raw talent and a knack for marketing. You should be working continuously to improve your craft and evolving your product and work consistently on your own branding, online marketing, and people skills. Without these two, the results just become an expensive hobby rather than a viable full-time business.
1. Startup costs
Quality photography equipment is expensive, so you’ll have to start off with Buying a $5,000 lens doesn’t make sense if your business isn’t making money yet. There is a need of quality photography equipment and many professional photographers prefer planning budgeting about $10,000 to start photography business.
Based on the advice of professional photographers, here is a basic budget for you starting a business:
- Two cameras: $1,500 to $2,000 each
- Multiple lenses: $1,000+ each
- Two flashes: $700
- Multiple memory cards: $50+ each
- Two external drives: $120 each
- Computer or laptop with sufficient memory: $2,000
- Website like Wix, Smug : $60+
- Lightroom and also photoshop subscription: $120 per year
- Business licenses: $150 (varies)
- Insurance: $600 per year (varies)
- Accounting: $300+ per year (varies)
- Contracts: Free to $1,000+ (varies)
- Online proof gallery,: $120 per year
- Business cards: $20+
- Business training
- Photography workshops and classes
- Stylish camera bags and straps
- Second computer
- Printed marketing materials
- Studio and office space
Other things you need to do (that may be free or low-cost):
- Market business via social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to start)
- Create your business name and logo
- Research the best business structure for you (LLC, S corporation or other)
- Sales tax permit and employer identification number
- Obtain image licensing and usage contracts; like Creative Commons offers free services
- Set up business bank accounts
- Find a way to collect and manage client contact information and emails
- Choose a spreadsheets and scheduling solution
- Find an expense tracker for (mileage, expenses, billable time).
- Research credit card payment processing, such as PayPal
- Establish a referral program
Best Selling DSLR Cameras:
1. Canon EOS 1500D 24.1 Digital SLR Camera (Black) with EF S18-55 is II Lens
Best For Beginners and Proffesionals
2. Canon PowerShot SX540HS 20.3MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical Zoom (Black)
Best For Beginners and Proffesionals
3. Canon EOS 80D 24.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) + EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization USM Lens Kit
Best for Amateurs
4. Canon EOS 80D 24.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) + EF-S 18-55mm STM Lens Kit + Memory card
Best for Proffessionals
5. Nikon D7500 20.9MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens
Best for Proffessionals
2. Your branding and reputation
Person and gear: If you work with people then even the little things affect your reputation, and most of your business will come by the word-of-mouth referrals. When you go to a shoot and dress appropriately. Be organized. Bring your own water and snacks and charge your electronics. Being ready shows respect and professionalism.
Be timely: Always arrive at the shoot early, and don’t ever fail to deliver your product when it is promised. Print out directions to not get lost. Ensure that clients understand the production schedule and for how long it will be for them to receive their proofs and final product, and stick to your agreements. Answer phone calls and emails in a regular manner.
Online: This is one of the best tips for starting a photography business and Anonymity is nearly not possible these days. Many potential clients would be searching for you and your work online. The images you post online should not only be high-quality but also the type of images you want to be taking to attract the kind of work you want to be doing. Avoid contentious social media posts, and keep your posting language positive. Keep your professional LinkedIn profile and contact information on all sites up-to-date.
3. Pricing for starting a photography business
Many photographers find difficulties with setting their price and determining their value. Certainly, you should never price work to result in your lost money or less than minimum wage, but many do. You can research your service area to see what your competitors charge, but ultimately, you’ll need to charge what you are worth.
Once you start adding up the numbers, you can see the reason undercutting your competitors may not always be the best strategy and may result in you losing money on a gig. If it does not seem to make the numbers match, you’ll have to consider whether you are OK or if you need to branch out into a different, more profitable market.
You should always require an upfront deposit for high-priced gigs. To avoid credit card stop payments, you should require cash, a cashier’s check, or a bank transfer for paying the deposit.
5. Customer expectations and contracts
Managing clients’ expectations is important to success. Your clients should know exactly what to expect and also what is expected of them. Timelines, weddings, and group pictures must be organized in advance. For infant photos, customers must know very well what clothes and accessories to bring. If you are clicking corporate headshot images, people should know how to dress.
For contracts, your clients must know quite well how much is due in advance and how to pay it. You should set terms and conditions on in advance you need them to commit so you can schedule. These should be explained carefully, and, your customers know how they are allowed to use the images and that should be in writing as well. This will help us built and grow our business and You can find free contracts online, like model release, photo licensing, wedding agreements, and other common photography contracts, on sites like Less Accounting.
Finding your niche market allows you to focus on a specific skill set and it gives the opportunity to find networking prospects in a specific genre. Wedding and infant photographers are abundant. You can book these types of gigs, but if you can offer something different that others do not, you may find more work.
5. Where to find work
A note about wedding photography
At weddings, you get only one chance to do and If you can face issues with your camera or memory card and don’t have the proper backup gear, you may miss the whole thing and damage your grown reputation quickly. If you are not prepared for lighting challenges, other technical things, or the chaos of working with emotional, opinionated family members, you will not produce your best work.
You have to look at photography markets and quality photography equipment and Although weddings are profitable gigs many experienced wedding photographers always recommend to start as a second shooter with an established wedding photographer before going solo. The knowledge of photography markets is very important and many part-time photographers try to get into the wedding game, but there are other ways to make money while you work on your skills and purchasing the proper gear.
Other photography markets
Try Stock photography: You can start your own stock-photo website or sign up as a contributor to popular sites such as Shutterstock, Pixbay, Unsplash, etc.
Start Contract work: Some photographers have obtained contracts that make a pay set monthly amount to cover local events or to be on call.
Commercial photography: All businesses need web images these days so you may be able to find work capturing images of their products or services, facilities, and even headshots of their board members and management team.
Real estate: Oftentimes, real estate agents contract with photographers to capture professional images of homes, business properties and land. They may want you to capture 360-degree or interactive video footage.
Pets: People certainly love their pets, and many pet owners want professional images of their furry companions, either as portrait-style images or on location with natural movement and action.
Boudoir or glamour: Many people like sensual pics of themselves taken of them with their hair and makeup professionally done. These can also be done in a studio with many other professional artists if you cannot do hair and makeup yourself.
Sports: A wide variety of sports organizations always wanted professional images and video. You may be able to obtain contract work to mainly cover a full season or a specific event, such as a local marathon, rodeo, or bike race. Always Keep in mind that lenses for capturing sports moments can be costly.
Local news: Local print, TV, and online news sources pay you for images of local events, weather disasters, or crime scenes. It would require you to go out and cover the events, but it could pay off later.
Image or video editing: A busy local photographer always need assistance with his workload. The pay may not be ideal, but it is always a good opportunity to work on your editing skills.
Product images: Many local artisans, retail businesses sell products online and they always need good product images for their own websites or shopping sites, such as Etsy or Amazon. The pay per image can be low, but the work is relatively easy.
Food images Business: Like other business, restaurants always need to have an online presence. You may find ample work in helping restaurants by creating online menus and promotional images.
Music: Working bands need promotional images for their working websites, CDs, and media packages. Some also want video of their live performances.
Prints: Some photographers become successful selling their prints. It’s a tough way to make money but exploring it can fits your genre. Prints can also be sold online and in galleries.
These were the best tips for starting a photography business and hope you learned and enjoyed, also please comment if you want more information about any topic of your choice from Mahapath.