Photography is an art that most creative consider as a hobby. Nowadays, photography is a popular profession and one of the most competitive fields to break into. Since camera gear is more affordable, user-friendly, and available on almost every smartphone, everyone’s a photographer.
If you’re a creative photographer that might want to turn your hobby into a profitable business, be ready to face tough challenges. This issue raises the need to do thorough research and create a realistic plan before opening your own business.
In light of this, we asked 10 professional photographers who have a well-established photography business to share what they wish they had known before starting.
1: Get A Photography Business Plan
Like any other business planning process, you need to organize your thoughts on paper. The document should serve as a blueprint, describing what your business entails and how to make it profitable. It should formulate things like expenses, ownership, cash flow, and competition. You’ll get there much quicker if you start outright.
2: Secure Your Startup Funds
There’re several essentials needed before you launch your business. Professional camera gear can cost beyond $10,000. Other requirements include a business license, insurance, a studio space, editing software, and a website if necessary.
You can gather funds from your savings, and if it’s not enough, you may need assistance. Borrowing from family and friends could be your first option, or apply for a bank loan. Remember to lay out how you’ll spend the funds and repay every coin.
3: Create A Successful Marketing Strategy
The best way to grow your photography business is to invest more in marketing. Show people that your work is interesting and valuable. Maintain a blog that showcases your talent, tips, and opinions.
Use social media platforms like Instagram to create a stunning online presence filled with enticing images. To ensure there are no grey areas for using a picture, you must have a photo release form. It’s a contract between the photographer and the entity that takes part in a photo.
Creating a photo release form may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Most standard photo release forms launched by CocoSign are free for download.
4: You’re An Entrepreneur
Getting into the photography business is more than just being a photographer. Having outstanding photography skills are crucial, don’t get me wrong. But you need to have many other skills like marketing, sales, management, accounting, and taking in the burden of financial risks.
As a business owner, you’re responsible for starting the business, including acquiring a photography business license. Check with your local officials to find out the requirements before you start charging for your services.
5: Invest In A Killer Website
Once you decide on your brand name, you’ll need a website. There’re dozens of free website templates on the internet; still, your website should be impressive, so it’ll be better to have it professionally designed.
Your website’s primary purpose is to showcase your work. Keep your site organized by categorizing your galleries of photos and videos accordingly. Providing contact information is also a must.
To display your work, you’ll need to get copyright protection that defines who owns the right to a photo. That is why having a photography contract becomes crucial. Check out the free photography contract template and more at CocoSign to protect your rights.
6: Networking And Referrals.
Photography is a people business. You need to network your heart out and let people know about you. Join groups, clubs, collectives, forums, and you’ll get referrals. Word of mouth referrals often increase your booking rate. Most people tend to trust a recommendation of a friend more than an ad or image on a site.
7: Create A Pricing Plan
Come up with a pricing structure that’ll fulfil your goals. Find out how much you’ll charge for your services and what one hour of your time is worth. Adding some of your prices on the website will help manage potential client expectations.
Don’t be afraid to think and dream big. You need to add some aspects to the business to raise more revenue. If you’re a wedding photographer, try out maternity and infants’ photoshoots, commercial, and portrait photography. It helps generate more money as well as develop off-season income. To make your scope expansion much more straightforward, visit CocoSign; you’ll find different types of photography contracts, including videography contracts.
9: The Risks The Photography Business Faces Can Be Significant.
In the photography business, about 20% of what you do is taking photos. The other percentage is consumed by admin, marketing, finance, etc. It’s vital to get professional experience at least to understand how to price and market yourself profitably. Otherwise, you’ll run your business to the ground and struggle to make ends meet.
You’ll face risks no matter how careful you are; accidents do happen. Getting equipment and camera insurance will help you replace a cracked lens. At the same time, photography insurance will protect you from potential lawsuits.
10: Legal Problems Are Everyday Encounters
Capturing images isn’t a problem. It’s how you use the image that matters. Some companies don’t allow anyone to take a picture within their premises. Additionally, public places seem public but are actually privately owned, which raises problems.
If you don’t have a property release form, the property owners can slap you with a lawsuit. You’ll find more details about real estate contracts at CocoSign.
Getting into a photography business requires more than what you could think of. You’ll encounter challenges along the way, others you have no clue about. If you find yourself in limbo, the above tips can help you through it. As for the contracts, CocoSign offers free downloadable templates that you and your client can sign online.