So you want to start a photography business……. This is all well and good but have you really taken time out to think about it? There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of keen photographers out there with the same thought. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of keen photographers out there who, like you, has the equipment, the knowhow, the techniques and skill to capture commercial and professional looking images.
Many people seem to think the only things to consider when starting a photography business is the equipment needed, however this is very short sighted.
If you want to start a photography business you need to go into it with your eyes wide open and appreciate not only the amount of competition but also the quality of the competition. Digital cameras and equipment are superb bits of kit and they have made photography much easier than it was in the days of film cameras. Sure, you have to know how to use a digital camera properly to capture commercial photos but digital cameras, professional spec lenses and all the other advanced bits of equipment had made it far easier, and because of this the amount of competition has increased tenfold.
If you want to succeed as a professional photographer and make a living with your camera it is important you work out the services you are going to offer before you start your photography business to make sure you don’t waste time, effort and money targeting the wrong market.
Before you start a photography business you need to critically analyse your photography skills and work out where your particular skills are and focus on those. For example, whilst you may prefer taking landscape images you may find that your portrait shots are superb whereas your landscape photos are mainstream and not out of the ordinary. If this is the case it would be madness to try and earn money selling landscape shots, and you should focus on portraits to make some money. This doesn’t mean you should give up landscape photography altogether, as we all like to improve our photograph skills, it just means that the market you should aim your portrait services at should be the portrait photography market.
Before you start a photography business you should identify the market in which you can earn the most money, and this is not always the largest market. The wedding photography market is huge and there is a high demand for wedding photographers all over the world. Despite the large number of potential clients the wedding photography market may not be where you are going to make the most money. With loads of photographers trying to coin in on the lucrative wedding photography market it is saturated and there is a lot of competition, and the more photographers you have to compete with the smaller the chances of being contracted for the shoot. If you want to maximise your earnings you need to look at the market that will allow you to make the most money.
Before you start a photography business you need to identify the main competitors and find out what you are up against. Check out the classifieds in your local area, do an online search, ask the workers at your local camera shop. All of these will provide valuable information about the photographers in your niche in your local area.
Once you have identified the competition you need to research each one of them. Find out their particular style, where possible look at some of their photographs and ascertain why they work, why they are popular and why people pay for them. It is important not to copy or replicate your competitor’s style as doing this will not make you stand out. What you need to do is see how you can improve on their style and take photos with your particular stamp on them.
Before you start a photography business you need to know how much the competitors in your niche charge for their services. Contact local photographers and ask for quotes, or if you want to lay low ask a friend or family member to get quotes on your behalf. Price is a key driver in winning photography contracts and it is crucial you don’t set your prices too high and price yourself out of the market. Similarly, you don’t want to undercut the competition too much and set your prices so low the profit margins are so small that taking on the photography shoots is not worth the time and effort.
Winning work as a professional photographer requires a lot of advertising and promotion, so where and how to advertise your services is something you need to think about before you start a photography business. Advertising isn’t cheap and advertising using the wrong medium in the wrong place will end up an expensive exercise with no reward. Many people fail to appreciate just how important advertising is when starting a photography business, or any business for that matter, so you need to make sure you are not one of them. Effective advertising will lead to more photography jobs and minimise your advertising spend.
Before you start a photography business you need to:-
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.