How to Start A Photography Business Like A Pro, From Day One: Part 1
So, you want to start a photography business like a professional. The decision to start a business by following your passion in photography could be somewhat overwhelming. It is also at this stage that most newbies in the game start off on the wrong foot. This article is going to guide you on the steps to take so that you can hit the ground running as regards running your own successful photography business.

 Sit Down and Think It Through

The first thing you should do is to sit down and count your costs. Do you really want to build a business around photography? You need to be doubly sure that this is the path you want to travel down on, probably for the rest of your life. You will not become an overnight success in this business – such a thing only happens in Hollywood movies, my friend – but if you put in the hard work, you will be a success. It is a freeing and rewarding venture, one that continually builds your confidence with every action that you take.

This is where you need to also determine your preferred photography interest like landscape or portraits, etc. Remember the “jack of all trades” thingy? Being niche–focused enhances your value and authority in your chosen field, therefore, make up your mind on the way to go before you launch out into the deep.

Getting Equipped for the Business

If you are confused about the type of lens and camera you should buy at this stage, it is perfectly understandable. Most professional and highly successful photographers walked this path as well. You do not need to break the bank just because you want to launch your photography business.

If you own a camera already or can borrow one from a friend, then that is good enough to start with. The good thing about cameras is that you can get high–quality ones for cheap from neighbors or friends around you. Most people that go on vacations usually have one or two cameras with them, though only a few would use it once or twice and then do away with the photographic equipment.

Funnily enough, some people will want to divest themselves of their cameras when they need money. You can ask your friends, families, neighbors or even go online (e.g., eBay, etc.) to search for these practically brand–new, yet low–priced cameras.

If you can, try and get your hands on a new (or almost new) full frame DSLR camera with an unadulterated prime lens.
List of the most essentials to get you started on your journey into photography:
  • Camera
  • Lens
  • SD Card
  • A computer which is necessary for editing pictures
Then, you should start practicing. Practice, they say, makes perfect, so practice as much as you can to perfect your shots, angles, etc.
Take Random Shots Everywhere You Go

This follows where we left off in the previous tip. You should go out every day and capture random moments of the day. Not only will this help you sharpen your photographic skills or edge but will also help in boosting your confidence. This is perhaps, the number one factor that every budding photographer needs in truckloads.

By taking shots, you try out the different settings on your camera, composition techniques, angles, etc. Don’t be afraid to take pictures of friends or lovebirds roving in the park, but remember to ask for their permission, of course.

Take Time to Learn the Basics

Taking your camera everywhere you go also gives you the additional opportunity of learning the basics about the camera you are making use of. It is crucial for you to be able to change the settings or control every aspect of photography equipment, though it is not too important. Learning the basics at this period before you get swamped with massive orders is crucial since your output, in the end, will show you off as a professional.

The internet is rife with information about cameras and stuff like “Aperture–Priority Mode” or AP, “Manual Mode” or M, shutter speed, etc.

Get and Register A Business Name
Choosing a business name may be a bit difficult for you since you are not sure whether or not you should go with your personal name or a catchy designation. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing and using either a personal name or great appellation for business. This is a crucial move or step that must not be taken with levity since your name will virtually become your brand and what you are known for.
Find out the pros and cons of making use of personal names or memorable names for your business. Then sit down and ruminate on the best one that fits your line of photography. Remember, your business name can make or mar your brand, so think well before you settle on a particular business name.

If you have a mentor or follow someone who is a success at photography, check them out and determine why they chose the name they bear for their photography business.

Start Building Your Local Network by Volunteering Your Time
Okay, the truth is, people will not magically appear at your doorstep to ask or hire you for your photographic skills. The best way to become known in any field of endeavor – especially photography in this case – is to start volunteering some of your time by taking photographs of others. This is important, especially if you decide to focus on family photography or portrait business.

Start volunteering and showing up at local events like the school sports competition, community festivals, etc. and take photos of friends, families, etc. You can take it a step further by offering your services to a local business in your area. Your greatest asset in this field is “word of mouth,” and this is why showing up in social circles will pay off a great deal.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage:  
You will agree that social media has transformed the world in more ways than anyone can count. This is why many organizations have an online presence in some of the most popular social media platforms today. There is no better place to build and grow your portfolio than on Facebook and Instagram. First of all, both platforms are free to use, and secondly, most of your friends, relatives, family, etc. already have several accounts on these platforms. On Facebook, you can choose to separate your personal account from your business (fan page) account (highly recommended). Instagram has no such issues. You can start building your portfolio by posting or uploading your photos recurrently. Post anything – from flowers, animals, kids playing in a park, ancient buildings, etc. – and let the world see your handiwork .
If you want to maximize or make the most of social media for your photography business, the following quick tips are for you to always keep in mind:
  • Be as real as you can, for nobody likes photos that come with boring or drab captions which is very common nowadays. For every picture or group of photos that you post, let your audience know why those pictures matter to you as a person. People are emotional and will always react positively to sweet memories. Do not play on people’s emotion, however.
  • Develop a thick skin. This is very important because people will also judge or criticize some of your photos. Expect this even from your closest friends. But know one thing: whatever anyone thinks about your photos – good or bad – is about them, not you.
  • So, do your best, be as civilized as possible, ignore people who appear not to support you and focus on those that do.
  • Post your photos on a regular basis. This will keep your audience engaged as much as possible. You should also encourage your audience or friends to share those photos with their own friends and associates. Who knows which photograph will go viral and push you to the limelight?

Create A Photography Blog

Blogging has evolved since the first one popped up on the internet a few years ago. It is an excellent way to keep you busy taking breathtaking pictures and posting them regularly.

Blogging further cements your online presence by showing how dedicated you are in your field. It helps to keep you on track while building faithful followers or audience who will be interested in your success.

Consistency matters when it comes to blogging; if you chose to post your photos once every first day of the working week or twice weekly, please be unswerving when doing so. This will make your audience to eagerly look forward to your next photo–post, and possibly bring a visitor or two along with them, thereby growing your followers organically without you spending too much money on ads.

You can go further by creating a website for your photography business, although this is not an absolute necessity. It is just a way to enhance your credibility in the eyes of your prospective clients. You can hire a web designer to design a photography website for you at a relatively low cost.
This is perhaps the most crucial aspect of your photography business: when do you start charging and what should you charge. We will be discussing the following issue in the next post: "How to start a photography business like a pro, from day one: Part 2."

Watch out for it; it promises to be exciting and informative!

August 12, 2018 — Bryan Dunn



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