How to Start a Successful Photography Business


Gear Focus

Apr 3, 2020

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Has photography grown into more than a hobby or weekend passion for you? Then maybe it’s time to consider starting your photography business. Starting your own business sounds intimidating, but it’s not as difficult as most people think if you just go through the right process. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to start a successful photography business.

First Things First, You Need to Plan

Starting a business of any kind involves a lot of groundwork early on. To start, you should set a few goals and ask yourself, what do I want to achieve with this business? Everyone’s goals are different; some may only want to do wedding photography on the weekends. Alternatively, some of you might want to do client work and do photoshoots for major brands. Once you’ve identified the purpose and some goals of the business, you should get a sense of what you’re getting yourself into. Start doing some market analysis and find out how much competition you have locally. You should get a sense of the number of competitors, the services they offer, and their pricing if it’s available. Performing market research will help you narrow down your pricing to be competitive and identify opportunities in the area. For example, you might find that there are dozens of wedding photographers in your area, but no one offers corporate work. Right there you found a major opportunity that could result in a lot of business. Next, you’ll need to make your business a legal entity by giving your business a name and choosing how you’re going to file your business. Many small and beginner photographers file as a sole proprietorship or an LLC, both of which have their own advantages, disadvantages, and startup costs. Once you’re a legal entity, consider opening a business bank account to keep business finances separate. You don’t need to open a business account right away, but you should open one once you see an increase in clients. Trust us; a business account will save you once you’re in tax season.

Make the Business Official with a Name, Logo, and Website

Now that you have your business’s name, you get to do the fun part (aside from the photography itself): create a logo and website. There are several routes you can take here. Certain photographers like an extensive website with plenty of information, and a list of their gear, and so on. Others may prefer a simple website that shows off their work alongside some pricing information. There are pros and cons to both options, so it’s really up to you and your personal style. Whatever you choose, just make sure the site is authentic to you as an individual and as a business. Similarly, your logo should be simple yet identifiable. Potential clients should be able to easily read your logo and know exactly what you’re about.

Decide What Services You’ll Offer and Their Prices

Of course, you’re going to offer photography services, but what else can clients expect from you? Are you just going to take the pictures and send them to your client as-is, or are you going to edit all your work? We’d recommend the latter, because although your clients aren’t photographers, they can tell if you edit your photos or not. Some photographers also decide to offer videography, though you don’t have to. Most photography businesses will offer their services based on packages. For example, many corporations need headshots of their staff, and you could offer your headshot package. For instance, you could make a package of six headshots for one hundred dollars (hint: market analysis will help you with pricing). You’ll probably offer wedding packages as well, since weddings are a common way to make money as a photographer—especially in the beginning. This is where video comes in, because more and more couples are asking for a video of their big day. If you offer video services, you can charge more since you’ll have that competitive edge. As you can see, we can’t stress enough that you need to do your fair share of market analysis. If you don’t, your services might be either overpriced or underpriced.

Check Your Gear

To be a successful professional photographer, you need solid and reliable gear that aligns with the services you offer. Luckily, you don’t need to purchase every piece of gear if you do some side jobs, since there are plenty of places to rent gear from. However, every professional photographer should have at least two cameras they can work with. The reason you should have two is because things can go wrong. For instance, let’s say you accidentally drop your camera and it shatters; your client still deserves what they paid for, especially if that client is a couple getting married. They can’t postpone the wedding because your camera broke; they hired you to capture their big day, and they’ll expect you to be prepared for anything. Since you’re a professional photographer, you’ll be responsible for staying efficient and getting final photos out in a timely manner. That said, you’re going to need reliable post-production tools such as editing software, and a reliable computer or laptop. Many photographers who start their own business find that they need more gear than they originally thought, and we all know that gear gets expensive quickly. One way to save some money on the necessary gear to improve your business is purchasing used gear from a trustworthy online marketplace.

Begin Marketing and Building Relationships

You’re going to need customers to have a successful business, and the best way to do that is by developing relationships. Every lasting relationship requires trust, and your customers want to see that you’re relatable and passionate. Once you’ve had several happy clients, you should ask them to write a testimonial for your website. You could offer an incentive for customers to write positive reviews by offering a discount or something free. In other words, you need to develop a marketing strategy and make yourself known and available to the community. Since photographers communicate their work through photos, social media is one of the best ways to market your business. Plus, most new businesses have a limited budget, and social media marketing costs are very low compared to other marketing channels. Photography is an art that won’t go out of style anytime soon, and many people love to see their memories captured in a photo. Whether you’ve been a photographer for four years or forty years, you can successfully start a photography business. You have the choice to decide if you want your business to become your career, or a business that makes you money on the weekends. However, if you follow our guide to starting a successful photography business, you’ll be on your way to making money through your passion. As we mentioned before, you may need a backup camera, or additional camera gear to help you exceed in your craft. To save money you can buy a digital camera online through a trustworthy marketplace; for the best product possible, turn to Gear Focus. Here at Gear Focus, we’re run by photographers, for photographers. We love the craft just as much as you and we wanted to make buying and selling new and used camera gear easier for photographers. Our online marketplace has lower seller fees and a targeted market to help you buy and sell from your fellow creatives. Check out our extensive inventory today! How to Start a Successful Photography Business

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