5 things you need to know about starting a photography business

October 23, 2014

Creating your own business can take a lot of hard work, and learning how to start a photography business is no different.

Learning how to handle the administrative aspects of starting a small business is just as important as honing your craft. Here are five things to think about when starting a photography business.

  • Set a budget Learning how to manage your cash flow is important for a small business. Lenses, cameras and editing software are necessary investments for photography businesses, but being mindful of what you spend your money on is also important. While it may seem tempting to empty your wallet for every new product on the market, it’s wise to do your research before you commit to any business purchases. Having the necessary equipment needed to take great photos is important, but if that new attached flash doesn’t noticeably improve your final images, it may not be worth the money.
  • Monitor your time You should be mindful of how you spend your time, especially if you work from home. It’s easy to get caught up editing a new batch of photos for hours upon hours, especially when your workspace is your computer desk at home. Creating a work-home divide is important and sticking to a schedule is a great way to keep your time in check.It’s also important to take into account how many hours you spend working on a particular project, including the time it takes to drive to and from the shoot, photograph the event, edit the photos and manage the bookkeeping aspects of the business. This can help you figure out how much to charge for each project and how many projects you can realistically handle at any given time.
  • Practice makes perfect If you choose to start your own photography business, your clients will want superior quality photos that are much better than what they could have done on their own. Practicing your skills, including understanding how to handle your camera in different settings and lighting, is fundamental as a photographer. Photography software is also important so that your photos can be elevated to the next level, so mastering these programs is key.
  • Build a portfolio After practicing your trade, it’s beneficial to build a portfolio featuring all of your best work. Posting your best photos on your own website can be a good way to gain exposure and create an easily shareable link for future referrals. Make sure your clients sign model release forms before posting any images onto your site.
  • Market your business Having a good marketing strategy is necessary if you want to keep a steady stream of clients. Whether you have a referral incentive program for past clients to help spread the word, or you post your most interesting photos on social media to generate buzz, nothing is better for your business than getting prospective clients excited about your work. Creating a client list which details birthdays, anniversaries and anything notable about each client can also be a great way to add a personal touch to your business relationships. Sending these past clients something for their special days will set you apart from the crowd and your clients will likely think of you the next time they need to have their photos taken.

Starting a photography business can be incredibly stressful. From faulty equipment to accidental mishaps, the potential disasters can seem overwhelming to any new business owner. Having photographer’s insurance can make that burden seem a little less daunting. Joining a community that caters to photographers, in order to network with those in the field, can also be beneficial. Tell us! Have you started, or are you thinking of starting your own photography business? What are some of the struggles you've faced along the way?