In capturing moments of beauty and importance, photography enables people to look back on memories in a way otherwise not possible. For those who have an eye for detail and enjoy capturing memories that will last forever, it may make sense to look into becoming a professional photographer.
Of course, there’s more involved than just buying a camera and pressing the flash button. It takes creativity, hard work, and a solid plan to achieve success in the photography game. Before heading into the field, here are some crucial steps to follow to set up and run a profitable photography startup.
Write a photography business plan
Like with any new business, those aspiring to go into photography need to write a photography business plan. This is useful for outlining strategies and objectives and breaking these down into clear goals and concrete tasks. Business plans help potential loan advisors, investors, and clients to see the photography business as a whole and determine whether it’s a serious venture or not.
In general, all business plans should cover several points, such as an executive summary, a financial plan, and a development plan of products and services. An executive summary is a short, clear overview of the business, which establishes what the business is, how it can fit into the market, and ways it will stand out from competitors. A financial plan outlines budgets, incomings, and outgoings, as well as projections for the future success of the company.
Think about startup costs and equipment
For professional photographers to make money from their venture, they need to spend cash in the first place. With any startup, the initial stages involve a ton of outgoings before the first customer jumps on board. This includes photography software and equipment, and marketing and accounting costs. Understandably, these costs can quickly stack up.
This reason alone makes it vital for financial forecasting to be included in the business plan. This enables photographers to think about the one-off costs involved in the process of launching a business, as well as the ongoing monthly and yearly costs linked with running a photography company and making it a success.
The photography industry doesn’t revolve around specific qualifications. Instead, photographers must gain as much experience as possible. Once they do this, they can build up a portfolio that can cement them as a professional within their field. Some professional photographers take a college or university course which can develop their technical and transferable skills.
To attract clients, the more experience photographers have, the better. There is specific software that photographers need to master too, such as Photoshop. This can be used to edit photos and really bring them to life. It is likely photographers will have an endless number of photos that need to be edited. To reduce file sizes and keep everything in one place, learning how to convert jpgs into a PDF can be a huge help.
Register the business
After creating a business plan, establishing startup costs, and gaining relevant experience, professional photographers must register their business before it goes live. Deciding on whether to operate as a limited company or a sole trader can be difficult. However, there are comparisons that can make this process easier.
Many professional photographers work on a freelance basis, and on their own. For those who choose to create a limited company, registering the company name with Companies House is essential. To avoid the risk of a lawsuit, a quick internet search can establish whether a business name has already been taken.
Carve out a niche
There’s no doubt about it – photography is a highly competitive industry to go into. To stand out from the crowd, it makes sense to choose a photography niche to work in. Focusing on one specific type of photography enables photographers to build their skills and become the best in their field.
Some niche photography business sectors to specialise in include portraits, wedding photography, sports, and commercial photography. The list goes on and on, so it’s important to look at every option available. If there is one niche that doesn’t work out, simply move on to the next.
Professional photographers need to work out how much they should charge for their services. Obviously, this can be a tricky matter. Certain factors can make it easier to come up with a price range. This includes the amount of experience the photographer has, what qualifications they’ve attained and the demand for their services in the area.
It’s good to check out rival photographers. Visiting their websites can help pinpoint how much they charge for their services. Make sure not to undercut rivals by too much. While it may seem a good idea to drop prices to lure clients in, professional photographers need to earn a living. What’s more, customers may associate low prices with low quality.
Pay attention to marketing
Every company needs customers. Without an audience, a business will fall flat on its face. It can be challenging to find a steady stream of customers to keep a professional photographer’s diary busy, and of course, profits rolling in. The best thing a professional photographer can do is use effective marketing strategies to spread brand awareness.
The internet is a powerful tool for this. If used correctly, customers can quickly find the business, the types of services on offer, and whether they want to buy into the brand. Professional photographers need to begin by creating a website and blog. Next, they must head onto social media and create a Facebook business page. Billions of people across the planet use this platform. This can only be a good thing when it comes to attracting customers and growing an audience.
Take out insurance
When the photography business is up and running, it’s time to think about protecting the entire operation, which is where photographer insurance comes into play. Because of the expensive equipment photographers use, they need to be well looked after. Should a device break, this can be financially troubling, especially if there isn’t much money in the bank to cover costs. Photographer insurance covers the business should something go wrong.
The great thing about photographer insurance is it puts the business owner in charge. They can choose excesses and cover levels that are suitable for their needs. There’s even the possibility of saving money on policies over time.
Consider outside help
There is a lot of graft that goes into setting up and running a photography business. While many are happy to ride solo, others may benefit from seeking outside help to keep things running. This may involve hiring a freelance financial advisor who can provide guidance regarding the day-to-day running of the business.
Some professional photographers aren’t great with words. To build an audience and get people talking, hiring someone to write content and social media posts can be an excellent way to drum up interest.
A professional photographer uses a collection of photographic equipment. These are used to capture people, objects, and events for commercial, records, and art purposes. For those who want to take their passion for photography to the next level by turning it into a full-time job, it’s important to follow the steps above.