Starting a photography business can be challenging, but a few tips will help the process go smoother. There are three general categories to consider—general business practices, photography specific considerations, and marketing.
General Business Practices
Creating a great professional photography business means getting the business part right! For this, you will want two things: a business plan and an accountant.
A good business plan includes the structure (is it a one-person operation or a team), identifying your target market (who are your clients), organizing the finances for the business (do you need a loan), and establishing a long-term vision that includes diversified streams of income.
A good accountant can help set up the business and show you how to use tracking software to easily track business transactions. And, when it comes time to do your taxes, you’ll be thankful for money well-spent on an accountant.
Another important consideration for your photography business is insurance. Most homeowners’ policies won’t cover photography equipment used for a business, so you’ll need to find coverage that will. You’ll also want General Liability coverage in case someone gets hurt or breaks something on a shoot.
You might also need Commercial Auto coverage if your auto insurance doesn’t cover you when you’re travelling for business. You don’t want to be in an accident and find out you also have to pay to replace damaged photography equipment.
Photography Specific Considerations
One of the most important considerations when starting a photography business is your equipment. You must have what you need to take photographs as well as to process and store them.
You need a good, durable camera and an appropriate lens for sure, and then, depending on your niche, you may need other equipment as well. Make sure you have the appropriate equipment and you know how to use it.
Equipment also includes post production software. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are the favorites among professional photographers. You also want to make sure you can back up your work. An external hard drive or online storage is a must to ensure you don’t lose what you worked so hard to produce.
Membership in the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) can be a huge benefit for your photography business. PPA membership can provide you with discounts on goods and services, legal advice, and insurance as well as insight into industry trends. At $27.92 per month, it’s affordable too!
Marketing is the name of the game if you have your own photography business, and that means an online presence. You’ll need a domain name, web hosting, and a photography blog. These are relatively inexpensive to purchase and set up.
You can purchase a domain name for less than $15 per month, but watch out for hidden fees. Be sure to read the terms of service carefully.
PC Magazine recently compared the best hosting sites in 2019. On the hosting site, you store your website’s files as well as deliver them to your readers’ browsers. Be sure to research these invaluable services for the one that is best for you.
Finally, the photography blog or a portfolio website — think of this as your storefront. This is where you will show off your expertise and convince potential clients to use your services over those of a competitor. WordPress offers one of the easiest blogs on the internet to use and they offer all kinds of marketing analyses. Once you get this set up, you’re ready to go!
You might be a good photographer, but if you want to increase your chances of having a successful photography business, you’ll need a good business structure, insurance, the appropriate equipment, a PPA membership, and finally, an online marketing strategy.
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