Many people choose to start a photography business because they love taking photos, and hey, who doesn’t want to earn money doing something they love? Photography can be a rewarding career, but it’s more than going out and taking photos, it’s a business too. If you’re considering this creative and challenging career path, we look at the steps you have to take to realize your dreams and some of the equipment you’ll need to get there.
Here’s What You Do Before Starting a Photography Business
Pick A Niche
One of the best ways to get business doing photography is to pick a niche and market to those people. Both companies and individuals need photographs for a variety of reasons, whether it’s for a brochure, a website, or a wedding. Instead of being a ‘Jack of All Trades’ with photos, picking a niche allows you to develop expertise, which puts you in higher demand and means more money. Some examples of niches are wedding photography, portraits, image photography, food photography, and nature photography.
Develop a Business Plan
Remember when we said you have to treat your passion for photography as a business? Well, here’s where you get your first taste of that. A business plan outlines the details of the business, including what you offer and what sets you apart from competitors. A good business plan also includes financial projections and how you’ll market yourself. When developing a business plan, it’s a perfect time to figure out what fees to charge, and one of the best ways to do that is to figure out what salary you need to live on comfortably. If you need $50,000 per year, then you need to book 26 weddings at $2,000 per job to meet that goal. Also, the cost of equipment, supplies, and your time must factor into your fee structure.
What Structure Is Best?
When we talk about the business structure, we mean if you’re setting it up as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability corporation or LLC. Many people starting their businesses set them up as sole proprietorships. Still, many experts say setting the business up as LLCs offer you more protection if you have troubles like bankruptcy or legal issues.
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Remember that in a business like photography, you’re selling more than photographic services, you’re selling yourself. Even if you decide to give your company a name instead of using your own, people will remember you when you go out to do a job. So, since you’re a brand, you must be a brand people like to use. When you go out to a job, dress appropriately, make sure your vehicle is clean, be on time, and make sure all of your batteries are charged, and your gear is ready to go so you’re not fumbling around missing crucial images. Also, it’s wise to send out thank you gifts — even if just a card — to customers to help bolster your brand. Should you decide to name the company, hire a graphic designer to come up with an eye-catching logo, and then create business cards and other promo materials around that logo.
What Equipment to Buy?
One of the negatives about starting a photography business is the high startup cost. Photography gear is expensive. You can easily drop $5,000 or more on just one lens, which is challenging starting, and you’re not making much money. However, many pro photographers say to plan on spending $10,000 to get your photography business off the ground, and to build slow and smart. Some of the necessities you need right off are:
- Two cameras
- Lenses of varying lengths
- Two flashes
- Memory cards
- External hard drives for photo storage
- Photo editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom
- Photo printer for selling prints
Of course, the list of equipment you can use for photography is never-ending, but the above-mentioned will be enough to get you started.
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How to Print Photos
While many people are content sharing photos online, there are just as many who want a physical photograph that they can frame and hang on a wall. You can make more money by offering high-quality photo prints to your customers, but you need a high-quality printer for that. While it’s tempting to purchase a cheap inkjet printer, you’re better off spending some money on a professional printer that gives you professional results. Offering vibrant, sharp images that people can buy is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors.
So, which printers provide the best quality for the money? There are three wide-format printers from Epson that produce professional-grade printed photos: The SureColor P9570, the P7570, and the P20000.
The SureColor P9570 is a printer designed specifically for photographic applications, and it offers the latest image and color technology, making it a printer used in proofing print jobs because of its color accuracy. The P9570 prints images up to 44″ wide and handles a variety of media including cut sheets and rolls, plain paper, photo paper, and even 1.5 mm thick poster boards.
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The SureColor P7570 is similar to the P9570, except it prints images up to 24″ wide. Like it’s bigger brother, the P7570 gets high marks for color accuracy and print speeds, making it an excellent tool for fine art photographers. If the previous two printers don’t print images large enough, then the P20000 is the one for the job, as it prints up to 64″ wide.
This printer offers a newly designed engine that prints aqueous photos at high speeds. The 9-color UltraChrome Inks provides four levels of gray as well as a dark gray for ultra-smooth color transitions. Regardless of which printer you choose, you’ll get stunning, high-quality prints that your customers will love and pay handsomely for.
Starting a photography business is fun but also challenging too. You’re competing with other pros as well as everyone who has a smartphone or cheap DSLR and fancies themselves a photographer. However, by shooting for quality instead of quantity, paying attention to the little details that others overlook, and conducting yourself as a professional in all of your dealings, you can make this business work for you and make money too.