5 Things You Need to Start a Photography Business
Are you an amateur photographer flirting with the idea of starting a photography business? Read on to see what it takes to make the move from hobby to hire.
1. Essential Equipment and Supplies
Professional photographers need to have quality equipment to charge for services. Professional photography equipment is expensive, so start small and upgrade equipment pieces at a time. Plan to invest around $10,000 into starting your photography business. To get started, you’ll need two cameras, multiple lenses, two flashes, several memory cards, two external hard drives, and a computer with enough memory.
You’ll also need photo editing software, photo paper, a printer, and packaging. And don’t forget a professional-quality website, business licenses, accounting software, and insurance.
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2. A Brand Identity
Your photography business needs a brand identity. Decide on what photography services you’ll offer and create a niche. Businesses need product photography, realtors need marketing photography, and magazines need content photography. Individuals need photographers for portraits, events, and more.
Choose a business name that aligns with your niche and services. For example, if you specialize in family photography chose a whimsical name. If your services are targeted toward businesses or wedding photography chose an elegant name.
Client interactions play a large role in developing a positive brand identity. Always present a clean, polished, and appropriate appearance. Be organized, have all electronics charged, bring your own water and snacks, and always arrive early. Deliver your product on time as promised, stick to the discussed production schedule, and always return calls and emails in a timely manner.
3. A Marketing Strategy and Materials
Succeeding as a photography business requires an enthusiastic marketing strategy. Build a professional-quality website that includes a portfolio, and set up social media accounts where you can connect with your target market. You’ll need professional-quality business cards and brochures to hand out at networking events and to leave with clients. Plan to attend trade shows and events related to your niches such as wedding shows or dog shows for pet photography.
4. Online Presence
Potential clients will be able to search your business and your photography online. You should only post high-quality images online that will attract your target market. Be mindful of how you personally and professionally engage on social media posts and always use appropriate language.
You can make additional money for your personal photography by selling your work online. There are countless stock photo sites that will buy photos or allow you to sell them. There are also ways to sell your photography for Instagram.
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5. Clearly Defined Services and Pricing
Know your worth when it comes to setting pricing. Research what local competitors charge so you don’t over or undercharge. Estimate that it will take three hours of editing for every hour of shooting. Also consider travel and preparations, and ongoing operational costs when determining your pricing. Some photographers work on an hourly rate of $50 to cover standard costs. Use contracts with each client that clearly define the services being hired, the agreed-upon production timeline, and a clear breakdown of the total cost.