If you’re looking to turn your passion and hobby into a business, then there are certainly worse fields to go into than photography. There are many different types of photography businesses to make your way in. Whether you work as a wedding photographer, portrait photographer, product photographer, or you sell photos to online websites and publications, you need to make sure that you’re equipped to run it like a business and not like a hobby. Here is how you can start making that evolution.
Ensure you have enough to invest in the setup that you need
As a photography business, you have to ensure that you’re able to produce professional quality photos. Aside from your own skills, this might also mean ensuring that you’re working with the best equipment. Investing in a good camera setup, lenses, and the other photography equipment you need is a must. So, too, is working with high-quality image editing software such as Photoshop. As such, you might need to think about how you’re going to acquire the funding necessary to create the business that you operate, which might involve saving up enough money or applying for a loan. Make sure that you have a set budget to get the business up and running as well as a business plan to outline how you’re going to make it profitable.
Find your niche
We’ve already looked at some of the different specialties you can find your role in as a professional photographer. There’s nothing to stop you from adopting more than one specialty either, but it’s a good idea to have a main genre to serve as your niche. A unique selling point can be very helpful in reaching specific sets of customers, so offering your services as a more general photographer is not always the right path to take. Advertise yourself as a specific kind of photographer, whether it’s a sports photographer, property photographer, landscape photographer, or otherwise.
Bolster your niche with special services
Depending on the type of services that you’re offering, you can also make sure that you’re able to offer services that others do not, with services and equipment that might be specific to your business. For instance, if you’re providing landscape or scenic photography services, then equipping yourself with a drone (and getting a license to use it commercially) can help you take photos that ground-bound photographers simply wouldn’t be able to. Similarly, if you offer product photography, then having your own studio space and props that you can use to stage your photoshoots can help you offer a lot of convenience to your customers. Think about your main niches and what you can invest in to make sure that the client is more likely to choose you than others.
Protect the tools of your trade
Anyone who invests any amount of time or money into photography can tell you that it’s an expensive path to follow. The camera and lenses themselves cost a pretty penny and, as a professional, you may rely on lighting and staging equipment which costs money as well. Losing that equipment even temporarily is going to hurt, but if you have no financial protection for it, it’s going to hurt a lot more as you will need to buy replacements. Making use of services like photography insurance can at least make sure you’re not left in the lurch. You don’t want to be left having to pay immediately for replacements and, indeed, you might not be able to afford to, so insurance can ensure your business doesn’t have to halt while you get together the money you need.
Ensure a high-quality website
Of course, regardless of the quality of photography that you offer, you’re going to need a way to show your clients what, exactly, you can do. Your website is going to be one of the main tools when it comes to marketing online. You should consider working with industry specialist website designers, choosing those who have experience in creating websites specifically to showcase your photography. It’s important that your website accurately explains the services that you provide, as well. A lot of your clients aren’t going to have any experience of working with a photographer before getting in touch with you, so it’s a good idea to outline what, exactly, they can expect.
Build a portfolio worth showing
If you’re looking to seriously start running a business that’s built on your photography skills, then it should go without saying that you should be able to demonstrate those skills with a wide range of photos that you have shown before. Make sure that you carefully put together a portfolio that shows off the relevant skills to the services that you’re offering. For instance, if you’re offering wedding photo services, then you should try to make the most of your portfolio relevant to weddings. As you get more work, you can use your past photoshoots as the main convincing factor of your skills, but you should already have a full portfolio before you’re trying to sell your services to anyone.
Don’t be idle in promoting your business
One of the best things about a photography business is that you produce a product that is inherently easy to look at and attention-grabbing, providing that you are good at your job. For that reason, you should be taking advantage of the visual draw of your business and use social media as one of your main promotion tools. Aside from allowing you to share your work directly with your community, social media also enables those who like your work to share it, expanding your reach significantly if you’re able to hit the nail on the head with your photography. Of course, social media should not be the only promotional tool you make use of, but it can be one of the most important ones nowadays.
Keep it safe
The photos that you take are more than just a product that you sell, they are the lifeblood of the business. Not to mention, they are the property of both you and the client, which you can’t share without their permission. As such, it’s essential to make sure that you invest in any security measures necessary to stop anyone from accessing the photos you take without your permission. Keeping your photos on Cloud servers that can only be accessed by password can ensure that not anyone can reach them, while also making it more convenient for you to access them when you’re out and about.
Foster good word-of-mouth
While you are hopefully going to be finding plenty of business through effective marketing and advertising, one of the best branding tools that a professional photographer can have is good word-of-mouth. If you have a client that is especially happy with your services, you should encourage them to share their feelings about your business on social media or with friends. You can even incentivize this with things like discounts on future photography services if they can successfully introduce their friends or family to the business. It’s not just the photos that matter, for that reason. Your level of personal service and professionalism when handling clients are important skills to work on, as well. A rude photographer can be more of a hassle to work with than a bad one.
The tips above aren’t going to guarantee you immediate success as a professional photographer, but they can certainly ensure that you don’t make many of the mistakes that can hobble others that have tried to make it before you. Start implementing the tips above today.