If you have passion and talent for photography, then you also have the potential to start a successful business. Photographers are in high demand for a variety of different types of work, whether that be portraits for families and couples, event photography, photography for magazines and online publications, or something else entirely.
With some focus, planning, and dedication, you can develop your own photography business and make money doing something you truly love. Before starting your photography business, here are some tips to help you succeed.
1. Decide What Kind of Photography You Want to Pursue.
Having a niche makes it easy to market your business to the appropriate demographic, so you should decide what kind of photography you will specialize in before starting. Think about the types of photos you are best at taking and play to your strengths. Are you good at working in groups?
Consider photographing weddings and local events. Prefer portrait work? You’ll likely succeed at projects like engagement shoots or senior yearbook photos. This is a big decision, so take your time and keep your mind open to new possibilities.
2. Start by Working Part-Time to Build Your Client Base.
It’s going to take some time before your business is financially sustainable on its own. You’ll be most successful if you can build up your portfolio and connect with potential clients before you’ve made any big investments. All you really need to get started is a high-quality camera that you love and some good editing software, which you likely already have if you really enjoy photography.
Dip your toes in the water by doing some shoots for family and friends, and ask them to spread the word about your new photography venture. Over time, you’ll slowly start to fill your schedule with photo projects, and you can transition into working full time when it is financially sustainable.
3. Promote Your Business Online.
As a new photographer starting a business, social media will be your best friend. Create pages on Instagram and Facebook specifically for your photography, and share them with family and friends. Showcase your best work using high-traffic hashtags to gain followers, and don’t be afraid to join online photography groups where you can network.
You can also use platforms like WordPress, Weebly, or Squarespace to create your own website, where you can post an in-depth portfolio and provide booking information. Online advertising is one of the quickest and easiest ways to spread the word about your business and gain more clients.
4. Continue Studying Your Craft.
Just because you’re ready to transition into the professional world doesn’t mean you should stop trying to learn more about photography and how to improve your skills. In fact, you’ll probably want to take even more time to study different types of photography, techniques you can use to take better photos, and tricks to help you take pictures efficiently.
You can learn many ways – taking classes in person, enrolling in an online course, reading photography books, or working with a mentor. Improving your photos will help you stand out and attract the attention of potential new clients.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out to Potential Clients.
Once you’ve acquired a few photoshoots through word of mouth, it can be tempting to rely on your existing network instead of searching for new connections. This is a common mistake, and it can result in a stagnant business instead of continually growing.
Look for people, companies, or events that you think could benefit from working with you as a photographer and reach out to them. You might surprise yourself with the new clients you can find by actively seeking out new projects.
6. Track Your Expenses as Soon as You Start Making Money from Photography.
As a self-employed photographer, you’ll need to report the money you make and pay taxes on it each year. You’ll also be able to make deductions for work expenses. If you haven’t been self-employed in the past, the tax aspect of working for yourself can be confusing.
You can save money by keeping careful track of the money you make and spend right from the beginning and then doing some research on deductions you can take.
Starting Your Photography Business is Challenging
Starting your own photography business can be challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Working for yourself doing something you love is very satisfying and will allow you to improve your skills, set your own schedule, and enjoy being creative every day. So get to it!