Whether photography has been your long-term passion, or if you’ve only just realized how great you are with the camera, one thing is for sure: you are now ready to take the plunge and launch your very own photography business.
Isn’t that exciting? Just imagine: you’ll have the possibility to make a living by doing something that you love, and that you’re seriously good at. You’ll be able to travel the world, meet a wide range of people from all walks of life, and enjoy the freedom to be your own boss and set your own working schedule.
Of course, getting there isn’t the easiest feat, but it’s definitely possible. Want to know how? Simply read on to discover our step-by-step guide to starting a career as a professional photographer.
1. Make a Detailed Business Plan
We know that writing a business plan doesn’t sound like the most thrilling or creative of activities, especially for an imaginative mind like yours. But it’s necessary, and you’ll thank yourself later for that.
If you’re not familiar with business plans, then hop online and do a bit of research. You’ll easily be able to find information on how to craft the best plan for your specific business venture.
In general, a business plan features sections such as your trading name, initial budget, forecasted expenses, marketing ideas, staff requirements, and legal bits. You don’t need to write everything in huge amounts of detail, and you don’t need to rush it. You can start by putting together some rough ideas, and then go back to your draft to flash it out when things become a bit clearer.
If it’s taking you longer than you had anticipated, don’t be tempted to skip this step and just jump into the thick of it, or you’ll set yourself up for trouble.
2. Figure Out What You’re Really Great at — and Stick With It
The fact that you love taking photos doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a specific area that you are particularly fond of, and good at. Did you enjoy being the main photographer at your cousin’s wedding? Or perhaps you preferred that job opportunity taking snaps of your local wildlife?
Whatever it is that truly moves you, that’s what you should focus on with your photography business. Whether it’s wedding, newborn and family, wildlife, jewelry, fashion, live music, sports, or anything else, pick your niche and stay with it.
This will enable you not only to practice what you are genuinely passionate about but also to become a true expert in that specific area. It will also make it a lot easier for potential clients to find you when they’re looking for a particular type of photographer, as opposed to a more generic type.
3. Invest in Good-Quality Photography Tools and Equipment
Now, you might not like to hear this, but it’s true: if you’re serious about turning your photography hobby into a full-time job, then you’re going to invest a fair bit of money into exceptional photography tools and equipment.
This is probably going to be one of the most expensive aspects of becoming a professional photographer, but you’ll soon realize how important it is to your credibility, talent, and success.
If photography has been your passion for a while, chances are that you already own some equipment. Before buying anything new, run a thorough review of what you have, and decide what you can keep and what you need to upgrade.
4. Be Ready to Do Some Studying and Keep Learning
Photography is one of those areas that is constantly being updated, refreshed, and innovated. To keep up with the fast pace of change in the photography world, you will need to do a bit of studying, as well as be willing to continue your learning process over the years.
A professional photographer with plenty of experience and a good qualification from a reputable photography school or course has a huge competitive advantage and immediately comes across as more reliable, knowledgeable, and talented.
Do you already have a relevant certification? Brilliant. Don’t rest on your laurels, though: you’ve got to keep experimenting and staying in the know when it comes to the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities within the industry.
The Creative Force photo studio blog is a goldmine of awesome tips, resources, and inspirations that can help you stay ahead of the game.
5. Offer Friends and Family Free Photoshoots
Yes, you want to make money with photography, but if you are at the beginning of your journey towards becoming a professional photographer, you’re going to need some help at putting together a portfolio.
At this stage, you might not find actual, paying clients yet, so have a look around and gauge whether any of your friends or family members might be willing to help.
How? Offer them the possibility to take part in free photoshoots, if they allow you to feature them in your website and portfolio.
6. Design and Launch a Beautiful Website and Stunning Portfolio
Speaking of websites and portfolios: you’ll need both. A well-crafted, polished, and user-friendly website is crucial to present you as a professional, expert photographer to your niche.
A portfolio, of course, is going to work as your retail window: you’ll want to showcase only your very best, most inspired, and most stunning photos. Don’t be afraid to be a bit extreme when picking what goes in and what stays out of your portfolio. Remember, it’s business, after all, and sometimes you’ve got to be a bit ruthless.
Don’t overcrowd your portfolio: try to keep it snappy, eye-catching, and memorable. It will help you make a great, long-lasting first impression on your potential clients.
7. Give Some Thought to Prices and Packages
Once you have sorted out all of the previous bits, you can start thinking about what exactly your photography business will offer. Will you specialize in seasonal photoshoots? Will you offer individual packages? Will you provide deals and special offers to clients who buy a specific package?
Consider your rates, too. If you have no idea where to start, take a look online and find out what the average photographer in your area charges for their services. You don’t need to replicate that, just use it as a guide. Ultimately, you are in charge, so you decide how much your photo services are worth.
8. Take Advantage of the Power of Networking
Especially in the beginning, when it’s very normal not to know enough people who might be interested in your services, one aspect is incredibly important: networking. Check out whether other photographers in your area are organizing any events, and attend them.
Speak to people both on and offline, make new friends and connections, share ideas and doubts, and just generally put yourself out there as much as possible. Even if we live in a digital age, word-of-mouth can still be your friend, so make sure you take advantage of it to expand your reach and make your name and work known far and wide.
9. Be Bold and Creative, but Stay Humble Throughout Your Journey
Photography, especially in certain areas of the United States, is a very competitive and crowded industry. To stand out, you need to showcase a fresh talent coupled with a unique business proposition.
This is the time to unleash your creativity, to be bold and daring, as well as proving full confidence in yourself and your skills. Remember, though, being a great, gifted professional photographer doesn’t absolutely excuse you from being a kind, pleasant, and humble person.
Clients love to work with professionals who are awesome at what they do, while still demonstrating respect and humility.
10. Remember to Sort Out All the Legal Bits
Last but not least, the final step to help you launch your photography business is probably not as exciting as the previous ones, but absolutely mandatory. You’ve come this far, and you’re almost ready to start working with some new clients, but you need to ensure that you are doing so legally.
Check the specific law in your state, and make sure that you are fully compliant with all of them. If in doubt, it’s worth hiring an expert, or even getting on the phone with a friend who is in the legal business.
With the peace of mind that you have ticked all the legal boxes, you can now finally jump into your new, amazing business venture.
What Are You Waiting for? Start Your Photography Business Today!
Taking beautiful, creative photos doesn’t have to be just a hobby, it can become your full-time job. If launching your very own photography business is your dream, then why keep waiting? Stop dreaming, and start turning this into a reality.
Making a living out of your true passion is priceless. With our expert but easy-to-follow tips, you’ll be able to set up your own business as a professional photographer.
Just remember to do the necessary studying beforehand, and don’t be afraid to invest some money into pricey but excellent photography tools and equipment. It will all pay off once you get into the swing of things!
Did you enjoy this article? Then head over to our website, where you will be able to find even more awesome content on business, fashion, lifestyle, and more.