When you start a business, deciding what to spend your limited budget on can be problematic. But with your business plan and your customer demographic defined, you are in a stronger position to create a marketing campaign that hits the right people. Research what opportunities there are to push your business in front of the right people.
As well as online marketing such as social media, pay per click ads so that customers find your website and so on, consider offline marketing tools too, such as booking a stand at a wedding fayre. Expand your skills — photography and business You will need your business head to push your business forward and into a successful arena, just as you will need strong photography skills. Get started with an online photography course — get the basics of photography covered with a course that sees you develop and hone these skills.
From this, you can expand your field of learning with specific courses in your chosen photography area. Get started with basic business skills — alongside photography courses, take a look at basic business courses that help you write your business plan and projections for your business. If you're thinking of becoming a professional photographer, this is what you need to know to succeed.
Photography is often a business for one-man-bands. Wedding photography is generally recognised by most photographers as being a highly-skilled job, not only in terms of taking photographs, but handling all sorts of people at a potentially emotional time. And wedding photography tends to be seasonal too. Many wedding photographers have to supplement their primary income with additional work such as passport pictures and portrait photography, especially during those quieter winter months.
Some also diversify into other lines, such as PR work, commercial and industrial photography. They mix and match whatever is available to earn a living throughout the year.
As a local photographer, your bread and butter work is likely to be weddings. Well in advance of the big day, you should have visited the church and met the couple. This may involve photos of the bride and family getting ready. But you will also need to arrive at the church ahead of the guests so that you can get snaps of friends, family and the groom arriving. You will be hanging around while the service takes place in preparation for those all-important photos of the happy couple after the service.
Photos at the receptions are also a favourite, and it is likely to be 6pm at the earliest before you can knock off for the day.
Photography skills: who is photography suited to? Steve Barham has run the Grove Studio in Ipswich for 26 years, and has won over 70 awards in the past decade — including the Agfa Wedding Photographer of the Year award twice. He's seen all sorts of people come and go as photographers during that time. The start-ups who have gone on to become the most successful photographers have all had certain key characteristics in common.
And you need to have that flair to be able to produce a wonderful photograph — and to do it on a consistent basis. Otherwise, you don't get any respect. You've got to appear warm and friendly, especially to young children. Neal, who studied photography at university, recommends photographing as many people, places and things as possible. He suggests offering to take portraits of friends and family to gain experience and build your portfolio.
There are also many training programmes available where people who are new to the craft can be trained in the basics of photography. Premises To avoid the cost of maintaining their own studio, many freelance professional photographers hold shoots at locations chosen by the client, such as their home or an outdoor setting. Some photographers create a studio out of their home or rent one on an as-needed basis, but many find it unnecessary to maintain a full-time studio.
Navyblur used to have their own studio but decided to get rid of it because they felt it wasn't necessary to run their business. Now they shoot exclusively outside or on location. Staff It is possible to run a photography business on your own, but depending on what you are shooting it is likely you will need to bring an assistant along help out.
Most assistants work on a job-by-job basis and receive little or no remuneration. Money If you already have a high-quality camera, starting up a photography business doesn't cost much. You will also need a telefocus lens, additional lighting and a tripod, which all together can cost several thousand pounds as well.
You need to account for instability and periods with no income. Some sectors of the photography industry are very seasonal. For example, wedding photographers are very busy during the summer, but often have to do portraits or commercial work during the rest of the year to make ends meet.
If the pricing for quality camera equipment is a bit out of your budget then you may want to look into gaining from investment, or taking out a loan. Read our guide on how to take out a business loan here. Moreover, you don't have to look any further than you family and friends for a no-string-attached lump sum - read more in guide on Friends, Family and Fools here.
First steps The first step to starting your own photography business is to build an online portfolio of your work. If you expect people to pay top dollar, you need to be able to show them they will receive high-quality results.
It took us years to build our photography portfolio, and it's still a work in progress. Building, editing and refining portfolios is an ongoing process throughout your entire working life as a photographer.
Marketing online As well as being an expert photographer you'll need to learn all about search engine optimisation and social networking to promote your services. If you find it hard to do it all yourself, then investing in a monthly contract with a reputable SEO agency will definitely be worth your while.
We were very lucky to get to the first pages of Google for a large number of keywords in a little over a year and pretty much stay there building on the quality of work we produce. Professional photography is a highly competitive industry. Your chances of success will be multiplied if you know your craft and if you take the time to gain experience working for someone else.
However, once you know the ropes, running your own photographic business is a challenge that will bring its own rewards.Your chances of success will be multiplied if you know your craft and if you take the time to gain experience working for someone else. Is it your dream? Reaching out to bloggers in the hope they will feature your work may also help generate more business.
There are also many training programmes available where people who are new to the craft can be trained in the basics of photography. As well as online marketing such as social media, pay per click ads so that customers find your website and so on, consider offline marketing tools too, such as booking a stand at a wedding fayre. Photography is a business you can run from home — but you'll need to set aside some space for administration and storing equipment. I will work weekends, but invariably charge a lot more for doing it. When you start a business, deciding what to spend your limited budget on can be problematic. Along with business cards, brochures and a website, use your personal and professional networks to spread the word about your business.
And, in a fiercely competitive market, in which anyone can buy a camera and call themselves a professional photographer, your experience, credibility and business acumen will be stretched and challenged in the early days.
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Insurance and other incidentals For me, it was the non-photographic elements of setting up the business that I found most challenging. They can also provide you with advice in relation to funding too. You will need to decide whether you are going to rent a studio and what sort of lighting you will require. Full details can be found here x. For many photographers turning professional, it will be the first time they have had to deal with payroll, VAT and tax. If you want to network and meet potential clients face to face, you may want to check out wedding fairs however Paul Spiers, of photographymarketing.
David Locke is founder and chief photographer at Headshot London - This piece was originally published in June Relationships with schools or other associations will help in ensuring that a steady stream of local work comes your way. And, in a fiercely competitive market, in which anyone can buy a camera and call themselves a professional photographer, your experience, credibility and business acumen will be stretched and challenged in the early days. Many stock photo sites will buy or allow you to sell your photos.