How To Start A Photography Business

How To Start A Photography Business

Let’s think about this, you carry a camera with you everywhere you go, or at least your knowledge of photography is up to a pretty high standard. You’ve practised with different styles of photography and you know what the difference is between lens attachments and why good lighting either makes or breaks an image when shooting special occasions. Well why not turn your hobby of interest into a career?  Even though you may be a great photographer who knows their stuff, you should do your research and plan your business strategy for greater success, rather than jumping straight into the idea of becoming a freelance photographer. So, in today’s blog post, we’re going to tell you how to start a photography business, including all of those nitty-gritty details that you need to consider.

Pros & Cons - Let's start off by taking a look at the pros and cons when talking about how to start a photography business shall we? That way, if you’re still deciding if the freelance photography business is for you, these next few sentences may help you to decide which side of the fence you are on. So, of course the first obvious thing that’s a bonus is the fact that you’ll be getting paid to do something that you enjoy, also you’ll have a flexible schedule that allows you start working around another job, and build into a part-time or full-time business of your own! You’ll also meet new people, who could lead you towards other potential clients which will fuel your business and if you choose to, you could photograph weddings which may require you to travel to a different destination. It’s quite an exciting job!

There are of course points to consider on both sides of the coin. When discussing how to start up a photography business from scratch, there will be a few blows to your finances. For example, it can be expensive to start if you don't already own your equipment and if you’re not a people person, who has great customer service skills, you may find that this career path is not for you. Customers can be extremely picky and difficult to work with, especially at high stress events such as weddings, so if you’re not great at turning a negative into a positive or being patient and obliging with tricky people, then this may not be the career path for you. Also, it’s a fair point to bring up that many events take place at weekends, so you'd be working when your friends/ family are likely to be off work. The income will also be inconsistent, especially at the beginning as you are developing your business and improving your skills. It may take you some time to build a steady income, so it may be best to have a part time job on the side while building up your photography business. The last basic one that we can think of is the fact that turning a hobby into a business can take the joy out of the activity, so you may want to consider how much becoming a freelance photographer means to you.

Photography Services - When considering how to start a photography business, you’ll need to consider which services you will offer. You can take portraits or photograph wedding ceremonies, also factoring in the possibility of shooting a wedding reception parties or perhaps just carrying out a photo shoot before the wedding of the Bride & Groom. Think about what your photography packages are and how much they’ll cost your client to hire you.

Develop Your Business Plan - The business plan outlines the details of your business, including the services you offer as a photographer, how you’ll differ from the competition out there, financial projections, and marketing strategies. This is a good time to determine your pricing structure. Your pricing needs to take into account the cost of equipment, supplies, and travel, as well as your time so, this is something that shouldn’t be rushed into. It does need some thought before you jump into the business industry alone.

Business Structure & Marketing Materials - The easiest and lowest cost option is sole proprietor; however, creating a limited liability company (LLC) will offer greater protection of your personal assets should you run into legal problems? As for the topic of marketing materials, you should consider printing out business cards and brochures and then build a website for your wedding photography business. Get permission from your subjects before posting their photos online.  Also, set up social media accounts so that you can be found easily online.  

Business Name & Establishment - The next obvious thing would be to create your business name. What you name your business will become the brand image, so choose a name that fits the type of photography you want to do. If you want to do wedding photography, you’ll want something that sounds professional or elegant. Once you have a business name and set up your business structure, you’ll need to obtain a business license or permit as required by your city or county. Although you may take photos using a digital camera, since you’ll be giving people prints, you’ll need to collect sales tax if you live in a state that charges sales tax. Your state’s comptroller or tax office will have the necessary forms and information on how to collect and pay sales tax. Once you have your business license, you can open a business bank account and go from there!

Equipment - This is probably one of the most basic things when thinking about how to start a photography business, but hello? Photography equipment will need to be purchased if you don’t own everything you’re going to need already, so it’s time to get shopping! If photography is your hobby, you may already have much of the equipment you need; however, you’ll have to assess if the quality is high enough to charge for services. Along with a camera, you’ll also need lenses, flashes, batteries, photo editing software, quality photo paper and packaging used to deliver the photos to clients. You may also need lights and screens to control lighting.

Wedding photo editing service

Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. To get started with our wedding photo editing service, you can create an account here. 

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