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How to Set Up a Successful Photography Business

Posted By: Steven Conway | Posted On: January 11, 2019 6:15 am
If you have always wished to set up your very own photography business but have little clue as to how you're going to make the dream a reality, this simple guide will give you all the key information needed to get up and running.

The photography industry is highly competitive and standing out from the crowd can seem impossible when your business is a small drop in the ocean. Initially, you may believe that all you need is a quality camera and a good eye for detail to get clients knocking at your door, but unfortunately, getting work isn't that simple.

Being a professional photographer isn't as easy as many expect, but following these useful strategies will give you the best chance of setting up your new photography business efficiently.

Here's how:

Decide what type of photography you'll be offering
While you may have covered a wide range of photography during your training period or with past clients, you need to decide on a specific area of photography to focus on. For example, businesses look for specialist photographers to photograph their products for leaflets and websites, while magazines will request a different style of photo for articles.

You don't necessarily need to go into business relations if you wish to keep your photography personal, as you may be more comfortable with portraits, model shoots or weddings. Set a clear goal for the type of photography you are going to concentrate on and see how much custom you receive.

In the digital age, the need for sufficient marketing is a necessity for business success; even more so if you're a photographer. Clients are likely only to book you if they can pinpoint examples of your previous work to get an understanding of your specialism and what makes you different. Unfortunately, many clients won't take your word that you're 'good' and will demand some hard evidence of previous achievements. This is where effective marketing comes in; whether it be via a press release detailing a fantastic new opportunity, social media posts or the creation of a website.

Websites can cost a significant amount of cash and will become one of your most expensive marketing techniques within your strategy. You can expect the creation of a website to cost anywhere between $300- $10,000 (dependent on the design and upkeep) which is an eye-watering sum if you're a freelancer and unsure when your next paycheck will come in. Press releases, on the other hand, are ideal for conveying your personal achievements and performance, as well as educating potential consumers about your goals. Not only that, but a single press release could stimulate business growth through building connections with reporters and businesses who may require your photography services for future projects.

Create a business name
Your choice of business name will become the image of your brand, so it would be worth choosing a name that relates to the type of photography you do, so you are found easily online and stand out to those who require your specific services. Be sure that your business name is in keeping with your field of photography' for example, if you're dealing solely with businesses, opt for sensible and practical; whereas if you're focusing on kid’s portraits, you may wish to go for a fun and playful brand name.

Purchase the necessary equipment
As within many businesses, clients will only be willing to pay for your services if the professional has the necessary equipment to deliver good results. Alongside your camera, you will also need to invest in a range of other equipment to ensure your photos are of the highest quality and to the client's satisfaction.

Photography equipment doesn't come cheap, so you may need to consider your financial position before making any purchases. However, you could opt to take out a loan to purchase your entire range of equipment within a matter of days. Regardless of your credit history, bad credit loans could be the answer you're looking for when it comes to financing your equipment. You're going to need the likes of a backdrop, photo editing software, flashes, batteries, lenses, and studio space to deliver a suitable and professional service for the client, which will come at a great cost.

Licensing and protection
Dependent on where you live, it may be required that you register for a business license with your local or state government. It would also be worth taking out the correct insurance, so you're fully protected in the event of your equipment getting lost, damaged or stolen. Such instances may force you to have to close the business due to financial difficulty if you can no longer carry out your job.

Knowing what to charge is an aspect that many new photographers face upon first starting out. Due to your lack of experience in the business world, you don't want to price yourself out of the market, nor do you wish to undercut yourself so that you're working for little or nothing. Never work on a job where you're losing money or eating into your expenses.

While the job may only take you a few hours on location, remember, you also need to consider the time taken to travel to the job, the hours spent editing and outgoing costs on insurance, equipment, the upkeep of marketing and hiring an accountant to fill out your tax returns.

If you're still unsure about how to price your services, it would be worth browsing online to research competitors and get a rough idea as to how much you should be charging.

Customer contracts
Being self-employed means you need to take care of your personal finances and there may be unfortunate instances when clients cancel on you last minute or are late paying their invoice which could leave you in financial jeopardy.

Before agreeing to any job, your clients should know how much the cost of your services will be and how much needs to be paid upfront. The information should be displayed on a contract form which must be read and signed with all of the terms and conditions contained within it. Within your terms, clients should be aware of how they can use your images (should there be any restrictions).

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