Do you love taking pictures? If you’re good at it, you can turn your talent and hobby into a photography business. Working professionally as a photographer can be quite lucrative if you have the expertise for it and follow some simple procedures.
Hone Your Skills
The skills and competencies that you’ll need to succeed are of two types, technical and business. Technical skills refer to all the skills that are directly related to photography, taking pictures, editing, retouching and so on; basically they are skills that you’ll need as a photographer, whether you own your own business or were working for another party.
Business skills are skills not directly related to photography but are necessary for all businesses. Example are marketing, sales, customer satisfaction, networking etc. You would need both types of skills to succeed as a new entrant into the industry and as such, you must ensure that you develop yourself along both lines.
In this article, we’ll assume you are technically savvy enough to produce pictures of a professional standard.
Get The Best Gear
While there are many things that you have to do from a business perspective to ensure that you succeed in the photography business, the most important thing you need is the right equipment.
Obviously, the first item on your “must-have” list is a high-quality professional camera. While there are so many options out there, try and determine the kind of photography you’ll be doing, and base your choice of a camera on those requirements. Other equipment that you should look into getting are lenses, protective carry cases and tripods.
Aside from a great camera, you should also look into getting yourself a computer, preferably a high-end one. In actuality, having a high-spec computer can be more important than your camera. You’ll need a computer to contact clients, view and store your photos, as well as the all-important job of editing, retouching and resizing images to your clients requirements.
Make a Business Plan
Once you have your kits sorted, you’ll need to move onto the business aspect start making a plan. Even if you’re not looking for funding from the bank, you should have something written down that can guide you on your path to growth. Your plan can be anything, a vision board, a list of aims and objectives in your journal or even a simple Google doc that you can keep editing as you make progress.
Whatever it is, your business plan should answer a few simple questions. Are you starting solo, or as a partnership, and if so, do you need a legal structure. Starting a business and ignoring the legal aspect is just asking for trouble. Also, consider your vision for the future, are you planning to expand or remain a small, exclusive service business?
If you’re having trouble writing out a plan, check out this excellent sample plan for ideas
Have a Marketing Strategy
Customers are the life of your business, and if you’re going to be successful, then you need to figure out a way to attract customers. A great way to do this by building a portfolio. A robust portfolio helps to prove your worth and expertise to customers.
Volunteer to help your friends and family with any photography needs they have, visit local businesses and magazines and offer your services. The goal is to produce a collection of excellent pictures that can be shown to potential clients. Also, you should get yourself a professional website to display your work, as well as leveraging social media to create awareness of your business.
If you follow these steps, as well as network with other photographers around, you have the best chance of succeeding as a professional photographer and business owner.