Learn how to start a photography business. We’ve got the tips and tricks you need to get started today.
How to Start a Photography Business: Starting your own photography business can seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. When you follow these 5 steps, you’ll be well on your way to starting and running your own photography business.
How to Start a Photography Business
When deciding how to start a photography business, it is important for you to understand your target audience and their needs. What do they need from your services? It’s best if you have previous experience in photography before starting on your own, but with today’s technology, new businesses are emerging that never needed actual hands-on experience before.
Step 1 – Pick a Niche! Before you can start your photography business, you need to pick a niche. For example, if you’re interested in doing family portraits, then you might want to specialize in that area. If your interest is primarily fashion-oriented photography for teens, then that could be another niche for you. Your niche is what will set your business apart from others out there and it will also help shape your future marketing strategy.
You don’t have to decide on a niche right away; in fact, you should spend some time researching different niches before deciding which one best fits your style. However, once you’ve made up your mind about which niche(s) interests you most, go ahead and move on to step 2. After all, you don’t want to waste any more time than necessary on something that isn’t going to pay off in the long run.
To be successful, these new companies must deliver top-notch products or services at affordable prices. There are several things you will need before opening your business: a website, photos of past work, and testimonials from clients who were satisfied with your work. Once you have those items completed, promote yourself through social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. You can also get involved with local organizations and create partnerships with other photographers.
Be sure to keep up-to-date with technological advances in photography so you can meet client demands. You may want to consider joining professional organizations like PPA (Professional Photographers of America) where you can network with other professionals and gain knowledge about current trends within your industry. If you would like more information about starting a photography business, check out PPA’s guide Starting Your Own Photography Business.
1) Evaluate your Goals
Are you trying to grow your social media presence? Be financially self-sufficient? Maybe you’re just looking for more clients or an additional revenue stream. Whatever your motivation, make sure it aligns with your professional goals and makes sense for your particular business. If it doesn’t, keep looking until you find something that does—unlikely as that may be.
Once you’ve got something that works for you, get started on your plan. 1. Write down what you want to accomplish: In photography, those goals might include photographing weddings or corporate events; increasing followers on Instagram; growing sales from your online store; etc. Then write down when you want to accomplish each goal and how much money you need to make in order to achieve them (e.g., $10K per month). Now start working backward from there—to figure out how many weddings/events/whatever else will give you enough money.
That will tell you how many clients you need to book. 2. Determine Your Costs: Next, work out exactly what it costs to run your business on a monthly basis—and then do some research into similar businesses in your area to see if they charge roughly the same amount for their services. This should give you a good idea of what price point will cover all of your costs and still leave room for profit at least on paper. 3.
2) Work out how much you will need to earn from this business
It’s not always easy to work out how much money you will need from your photography business. For example, some businesses require lots of startup costs, whilst others can be started for very little. Work out how much money you will need for things like business cards, marketing material, and cameras and lenses. Consider how much time you want to spend on your business and make sure that any extra costs don’t take up too much of your time as well.
Then add 20% as a buffer just in case anything goes wrong! (That’s a general rule that many small business owners live by.) If you plan carefully before starting your photography business, it will save you stress and disappointment further down the line. The next step is to set yourself up as self-employed: When setting yourself up as self-employed, there are three main areas where you should focus: taxes; expenses; and insurance.
As a photographer who works independently, it is likely that your tax status will be sole trader or limited company (depending on whether or not other people are involved). As such, all profits are classed as self-employment income and subject to Self Assessment Tax (SAT). You may also have VAT payments if you sell products rather than services.
3) Establish your target market
Chances are, you don’t want to start a photography business that focuses on newborns, family photos, and weddings; but chances are also good that you’re already at least competent when it comes to these types of photography. So what type of photography do you want to focus on? Find something unique and compelling about your style (as well as something marketable).
You can be niche-y or broad—whatever works for you! Once you identify your target market, focus your marketing efforts there. It might seem counterintuitive if you’re just starting out—but knowing who your ideal client is will make finding him or her much easier. Plus, you’ll know how to position yourself so that clients feel comfortable working with you. (For example: If they have three kids under five years old, they probably won’t hire someone who doesn’t specialize in children’s photography.)
By doing some research before launching your business, you’ll save yourself time and energy down the road. You’ll get fewer weird calls from people looking for portrait photographers because they saw an ad somewhere that said photoshoot specials and less stress overall because everything will go more smoothly.
Plus, focusing on one area makes it easier to define your value proposition. Your expertise becomes clearer and more obvious right off the bat—which helps potential clients understand why they should work with you instead of someone else.
4) Create a Website & Price List
Think about your brand, how you want people to perceive you, and what kind of clients would best fit your business. Are you an edgy studio with modern looks and darker tones? Or are you more of a traditional studio that goes for classic portraits with bright backgrounds? You need to know who your ideal client is before moving forward; otherwise, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to find them. You can’t become successful unless you know who it is that you’re marketing yourself towards.
Once you’ve established your target market, start creating your website. Use photography as a way to entice visitors into learning more about your services or products. Include portfolio pieces, examples of work that’s similar to what they’d get if they hired you, testimonials from past clients, etc. Make sure that everything on your site is professional-looking and easy to navigate—you don’t want potential customers getting frustrated and leaving!
When you have a rough draft of your website ready, take some time to price out your packages. It’s important to set prices that reflect your worth and show value for money. If you charge too little, clients might question whether or not they’ll receive good service; but if you charge too much, clients might think you’re out of their budget range. Decide what price points will work best for each package and then create those packages on your site accordingly.
5) Market yourself – The Tipping Point
One of Gladwell’s most powerful concepts, The Tipping Point describes how things go from obscure and unknown to wildly popular almost overnight. For businesses, social media is one of those tipping points that you can use to your advantage. Setting up an Instagram account and using hashtags isn’t enough. Make sure you have a specific hashtag for your business that fits into your personal brand so you can track how successful certain images are on your feed.
These social experiments will show you what kind of posts work best for building an audience, which tags get the most engagement, and what times of day perform best on social media. Use these tips and insights when crafting future content—your audience will thank you! Create Content – You need to create high-quality content regularly if you want people to keep coming back.
If you don’t have time or money for a professional photographer, try asking friends or family members if they would be willing to take pictures of your products in exchange for free products or services. Just make sure they know exactly what it is they should be shooting and where to find it. Also, posting too many photos of yourself won’t help build trust with potential clients; stick with product shots instead!
Also Read: How to Start a Dropshipping Business
Ultimately, it’s up to you how you structure your business. The steps outlined above are simply guidelines for the process, but what matters most is that you follow through and create a path for yourself. There will be challenges along the way—that’s unavoidable—but remember that hard work pays off.
Be diligent, and persevere until you see results! If you need help, feel free to reach out at any time: we’re here to help photographers just like you start their own photography businesses.