How to Master the Business of Photography
Photography businesses have been sprouting all over America in the last decade since the introduction of digital technology has made it more accessible to more artists and business people. With how much competition there is in the market these days, it is only but right to master the business of photography for one to turn that weekend hobby into a full-time money-earning passion.
Below are a few tips and tricks on how to ensure your photography business rides the tide of the times instead of sinking into the abyss with the rest of the amateurs:
Create a Business Plan
If you are serious about your business and you want it to succeed, you need to know your destination in terms of how you want your endeavor to do in the long term. Creating a business plan makes what is similar to a roadmap towards success since it allows you to see where you stand and lays out where you need to be in terms of your business. But what are the contents of an effective photography business plan?
The sturdiest foundation of a good business is the presence of an actual demand. An existing demand is convenient, but creating demand can be an option as well. This is especially useful if you are trying to sell something that you are particularly passionate about but it is not perceived as a need by others.
Before opening up a photography business, ask yourself first: is there a need for photographers in my area? Who will be my clients? Are these people willing to pay for professional photography? If they do, how much will they be willing to shell out?
Identifying how much of a business opportunity you have will give you an idea of your business potential. You’ll also have a glimpse of how much work you may need to put in to create more demand to keep your business going.
To be able to say that one has mastered the business of photography, there has to be excellent execution of the business plan. The execution itself should be detailed in the plan for you to have a basis on what and how to follow through.
In a nutshell, the execution covers everything that an entrepreneur needs to do in order to convert the above-mentioned opportunity into a real business. It should cover marketing, sales, operations, goals, and standards as well as a specified measure of how you want your goals to be met.
Costing and Funding
Equipment alone can set you back as high as $10,000, if not more. Knowing this, you need to include in your business plan a detailed estimate of how much your overall business needs to get up and running. And of course, since you will be considering the initial and running cost of your business, you might as well also consider where you will be sourcing your capital.
If you have enough in your savings account to get things started, that is all well and good. However, such is not the case for many aspiring entrepreneurs. Many times, borrowing from family and friends, or loaning from a bank is the best bet a potential business owner has to put everything up. The source of your funds should also be stated in your business plan.
Having borrowed the money externally, or having spent what fortune you have in your savings account, your next concern will most likely be how to pay everyone back. That or how to get your own money back into your pocket.
The obvious answer to that is revenue -income that is substantial enough to free you from the bonds of loans and let you exponentially expand your photography business. Your business plan must definitely include the prices of the different services and products your business will offer. This will set a standard among your clients and ward off any confusion when it’s time for them to pay up.
Invest in the Right Equipment
Since it’s a photography business, a lot of the quality of your service will rely on the quality of your equipment, on top of the skills needed to execute the service.
For example, the most sought after piece of equipment in good photography is the best lens for every situation. While investing in a single lens of excellent quality may work out for studio photography, that might not pan out well. You might be covering events that may take place in the outdoors, under different lighting, weather conditions, and even have variations in the amount of movement.
Be ready to splurge out a large chunk of your initial expense on equipment. This will typically include cameras and parts, lighting, studio space, computers with relevant software, and transportation among possibly many others.
Market your Brand
After coming up with a business name, you would want to put your business out there for the public to take notice. This is where your selling skills come into play. Lucky for you, there are several easy options you can do to advertise your business in a way that reaches more people.
What is great about social media advertising is that the platforms usually provide you with a list of demographics that allow you to narrow down your market to that population that is most likely to buy your service. You might not be looking at a person who is actively seeking photography services, but your ad will surely pop out for people into events planning and the likes.
Another thing to invest in is a highly effective website. Unlike in social media, people who visit your website are likely to be actively looking for someone to photograph them or their event. Think of it as your store where you display and dispense your products. Make sure to design your site as fitting as possible to your business and as reflective as possible of your character.
Let your work speak for itself. Since your business deals greatly with visuals, having a portfolio where you can showcase some of your best work is a great way to give potential customers a glimpse of your skills and style.
Putting yourself out there online is one thing; building a personal network of clients is another. Collaborations among businesses with photographers are fairly common since these generate a symbiotic relationship where both businesses flourish.
Having ties with caterers, event planners and stylists is a good and profitable experience. It also wouldn’t hurt to collaborate with other photography businesses, especially when handling large scale projects that demand extensive manpower and cover long periods.
Keep on Growing
Everything does not end after having established a photography business. Experiment with new methods, try out new equipment, enroll in a masterclass. Mastering the business of photography is a constant undertaking that entails consistent learning and growing in terms of skills and personal style.