Most of us aspire to earn a living doing what we truly love. Oftentimes, though, this can be a difficult thing to achieve. In most cases, people choose a career based on income and personal aptitude, but some manage to turn their hobbies into full-time, profitable businesses.
There are several common hobbies that you can make a career of, and photography is the one people usually opt for. If you carry a camera with you at all times, and if you’re everyone’s go-to person when it comes to taking pictures, then you might want to consider earning money from your skill. In this article, I’ll share some tips on what it takes to start a home-based photography business.
Choose a Genre to Focus On
These days, it seems as if everyone has a camera. People can learn how to take pretty decent photos by following how-to guides that can be easily accessed online. But with the overly-saturated photography market, what can you do to distinguish yourself?
Instead of being a jack of all trades, narrow your focus and find your field of interest. If you specialize in a certain genre of photography, it’ll be easier for you to stand out and become a sought-after photographer. Choose between shooting landscapes, food, portraits, etc., and go for your favorite one! Grow your skills in the selected area and do your best to be at the top of the game, as that will surely bring you more business engagements.
Develop a Business Plan
Before you embark on the adventure of starting your home-based photography business, make sure you prepare a business plan. It’s important to set both long-term and short-term objectives, as well as to determine what to focus on. Don’t hesitate to write all of this down, as it’ll not only help you stay disciplined, but also make it easier to recognize any possible pitfalls in your plan. Furthermore, if you should ever look for investors, it’s always good to present them with a written business plan. They’ll want to learn about your vision and the strategies that you’ll follow on your quest of conquering the world of photography.
Come Up With a Business Name and Structure
Try to come up with a name that will best reflect the genre of photography you want to do. Go for something that’s memorable and that people will easily recognize you by. Make sure to check if the name is trademarked though, in order to avoid possible legal issues.
One of the things you need to decide on is the legal structure for your business. There are several types to select from, such as the sole proprietorship, the limited liability company (LLC), etc. Choose wisely as this further determines how your company will be taxed and how it will operate. Furthermore, you’ll need to obtain business licenses and permits, so consider getting legal guidance through this entire process to make the best possible decisions.
Create a Portfolio
To secure more work, don’t forget to build a compelling portfolio! Showcase your skillset, achievements, and the projects you’ve worked on. If you’re not that experienced and you didn’t have too many clients before, reach out to your friends and family to shoot portraits of them, or take pictures of still life, etc., depending on the photography genre you chose to focus on. A portfolio will accentuate what you’re best at and it’ll help you demonstrate to others that you’re fully qualified for the job.
If you decide to build your website using WordPress, you’ll find a plethora of themes available at the Qode Interactive market. You can use them to showcase what you’re best at and to effortlessly make a photography website that’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
Set a Pricing Strategy
Before you kick things off, it’s important to decide how much you’ll charge for your services. It’d be helpful to analyze the market a bit and make a price comparison with your competitors. Take into consideration all the time you’ll spend not only shooting but also editing your photos. Be careful when it comes to cheap clients though! Some may try to take advantage of the fact that you’re a newbie. But at the end of the day, you need to make a living out of your work! Keep in mind that you’re running a business and don’t hesitate to let clients know just how much effort you put in your job. Try to find the optimal price range and stick to it!
Invest in Your Gear
Photography equipment is expensive, and that’s why it’s important to decide what you really need when starting your business. There’s no need to immediately go overboard and get every lens or gadget available. Invest in high-quality lenses, as that will improve the quality of your photos. Make sure to get enough memory cards as well, and get higher capacity ones. Also, if you’re into the studio, sports or nature photography, don’t forget to get yourself a tripod. This extra bit of kit is super useful in all sorts of situations, such as shooting in low light, in windy weather, for long exposure photography, etc.
Market Your Services
Invest your time and energy into marketing! Work on it each week as it can greatly contribute to your business success. Make sure to identify your niche and be social savvy! Harness the power of social media, regularly post updates, engage with your crowd, and set up a website and pick the theme for your photography business.
Also, don’t forget that others can sense your enthusiasm. When you’re genuinely thrilled about your work that also reflects in the way you communicate with clients. Your interactions with them should always be positive. If they’re happy with the photographs you made and also with the professional relationship you’ve established, they’ll likely recommend you to others. And there’s no better way to grow your business than through word of mouth.
To Wrap Thing Up
To turn yourself from a shutterbug to an earner takes a lot of commitment and obstinacy to keep going. It may take you some time to get your fledgeling business up and running, and you may struggle with income at first, but build your reputation slowly. Connect with various organizations, offer free services to charities, sell your pictures online… The most important (and often hardest) step is putting yourself out there! Don’t be afraid to reach out to other professional photographers either, as they could share some useful advice with you. Hone your style and be self-disciplined. Building a successful home-based photography business is not an easy feat, but it’ll finally enable you to live your dream!
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