Have you ever wondered what it would take to take your love of photography and turn it into a professional career? In this article, we aim to show you how to launch your own photography business, whilst providing you with the tools to make this dream a reality.
Step One: Business plan
Anyone who is serious about starting a business, should have a plan. Yes, it is important that you have got the skills to do the job – in this case take professional photos – however, you need to have business skills too to ensure your business becomes a success.
For this reason, you need to create a business plan. Here is what a typical one looks like:
- Summary of your business – this should include an outline of your services and what makes you unique to other businesses, so you can assess your commercial viability.
- Aims – what are your business goals? What do you hope to achieve in the first five years of your business? For instance, do you want to open your own studio, or create niche products/specialise in niche offerings I.e. photo booths, for special occasions?
- Business objectives – these are statements which you will use to measure the success of your business (meaning they are more important than your aims). These should be smart objectives that are realistic and achievable.
- Finance – you need to be clear on your finances and what you are using to fund your business. So you need to ask yourself – where is this money coming from; how do you plan to manage your cash flow etc.?
In other words, your business plan will show the projected route of your business, so it needs to be detailed.
Step Two: Unique selling point/photography specialism
Most professional photographers specialise in a particular service. This can vary from landscape photography to family portraits to wedding photography. Now as you can imagine, with every photographer having a unique selling point, you will encounter a certain amount of competition. Yet this doesn’t mean you can’t make your own mark.
With vision, commitment and an impressive portfolio (proving your talent), you can build a successful business in your chosen niche. The key is learning how to understand your customer demographic (their age, gender, income, occupation, wants, needs, etc.) and using this knowledge to attract more business.
Step Three: Create a portfolio
Your portfolio is your chance to showcase your skills and show prospective clients what they can expect i.e. the quality of your work and your photography style. That is why it is important to use your portfolio to your full advantage, so you can keep those commissions coming in.
Tip: when creating your portfolio make sure it is accessible both in print and online. This will ensure that it is seen by a wider audience.
Step Four: Marketing
The key to succeeding is ensuring that you have always got a steady flow of customers – whether they are returning ones or new ones – as regular customers will mean regular cash flow.
Now when you are first starting out it can be hard to decide where to spend your limited budget. However, by first ensuring that you have got a strong business plan and that you have thoroughly researched your customer demographic, you can more confidently assign cash to your marketing campaign as you’ll know who to target.
Still before you do any marketing, try researching your various marketing options – social media, PPC ads, stands as wedding fairs, brochures etc. – so you can determine which is the best route for you.
Step Five: Continue developing your photography and business skills
The market is constantly changing, so not only do you need to keep on top of your business skills; you should also continue to strengthen your photography techniques. From acquainting yourself with the latest technology and photography equipment, to taking business courses, you can develop your skills in a number of ways:
- Online photography courses – these are great as they can help you to develop/hone your skills from the comfort of your own home. They can also offer you the flexibility to explore other specialisms as courses range from basic photography to more specialist ones.
- Online business courses – similar to the photography courses, you can build up your business knowledge and complete these courses in your own time and at your own pace. During these courses you can learn how to: write business plans; seek funding and analyse business projections.
- Local business support – these are offered by the government – through local authorities – and are designed to offer businesses free support on how to create business plans, find out about funding and develop their business skills/tools.
Tip Six: Stick with it
Combine all of the tips above together; persevere and stay strong, and you can make your dream of becoming a professional photographer a reality.