If you have a talent for photography and you want to make a living from it, there are lots of ways to turn that talent into a business. You can sell prints or postcards, do freelance work with local businesses, offer portfolio reviews…the list goes on. But if you want to build your own photography brand, there are some key things that you need to get right at the outset. In this article, we’ll walk through some basic steps for starting out as a professional photographer on your own terms—from finding your niche to developing relationships with other creatives in your community.
How do you choose a specialty? The key is to focus on the things you are best at, or enjoy the most. You may have a number of skills and interests, and it can be difficult to decide what to focus on. However, there are many advantages to specializing in a niche market:
- Your customers will be more likely to find your services online, and they’ll be able to more easily identify themselves as part of your target audience.
- If you specialize in one particular area of photography, then other photographers who work in that field likely know about you—as opposed to having no idea who else is out there working in their specific niche. This can help them trust your expertise when it comes time for them to hire someone new.
- When people search for photographers online using keywords related specifically
As you start your photography business, you will need to register your LLC or corporation with the state. If you are not sure what this means, look into the process of getting one and understand the basic requirements. You also may want to consult an attorney or CPA on how best to structure your business so that it is protected against liability issues and can be passed along if necessary.
If selling products is part of your plan, then make sure that everything from logos to packaging has been registered with trademark agencies as well as copyright offices (which may require payment). If selling physical products in retail stores on consignment or online through sites like eBay or Etsy, then there are special rules for registering those items with government agencies as well which vary by product type (food versus clothing versus furniture).
Once you’ve decided on a name, logos and branding can be a good place to start. While some people prefer to leave this sort of thing up to their graphic designer, it’s also possible for photographers themselves to create the logo. There are many free online tools that allow you to design your own logo with little effort; if you’re looking into this option, we recommend Logojoy as a good starting point.
Once your site is built and ready, it’s time to get started on marketing yourself! Like anything else in life, marketing takes time but has tremendous potential payoff when done correctly—and there are plenty of resources available from books such as Tell the World You Don’t Suck: Modern Marketing for commercial Photographers by Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua and through blogs like Grey Bug Photography which offer tutorials about how best practice marketing techniques should be implemented at every stage of running a business.”
Find your people
When you’re starting out in photography, it’s easy to be intimidated by the prospect of finding your people. I’m talking about your tribe: the group of people who are interested in and invested in what you have to offer.
But what if you don’t know where to begin? How do you find those people? Well firstly, let’s start with some definitions:
- Niche: A small specialized field or area of expertise within a larger field or area of expertise; e.g., “a niche market”
- Tribe: A social unit including family-related clans that live together and share common interests and values; e.g., “the Native American tribe”
Start an email list
If you’re just starting out, it’s important to be able to reach your customers. An email list is a great way to do this. It allows you to connect with potential clients and stay in touch with them over time.
Start an email list by:
- Defining the types of emails you’ll send (e.g., newsletters, tips, promotions).
- Giving people a reason why they should sign up for your emails (e.g., exclusive discounts or sneak peeks).
- Setting up an email opt-in form on your website so users can enter their information at any time — even after they’ve purchased something from you!
Create relationships with other creatives.
It’s important to create relationships with other creatives. In the beginning, you may have a small customer base, but having a creative community around you can be vital for your success. You can find people who are passionate about photography, and also those who are passionate about similar things as you (e.g., travel). These types of relationships can help your business thrive:
- Find clients interested in what you have to offer
- Find others doing work related to photography (e.g., printing)
- Connect with other creatives who are interested in your business
Build on success
- Use it to build your brand. You’re making money, and that means you can invest in marketing yourself and the services you offer. Take some of those profits and buy new business cards, a fancy website, or even get some basic graphic design done for flyers or email blasts.
- Use it to get more clients. If people are hiring you because they like what they see on social media, ask them if they know anyone else who might need your services! Not only is this an easy way to expand your client base; it also gives people who love working with you an opportunity to get their friends in on the action too!
- Use it to improve your work. In addition to expanding your client list by word-of-mouth referrals and posting new content regularly across platforms (your website should always reflect recent work), keep improving as an artist by taking classes at local community colleges or universities wherever possible—this will help keep up with industry standards while providing opportunities for feedback from knowledgeable professionals who specialize in different areas of photography such as lighting techniques used most often by food photographers versus portrait photographers who shoot editorial pieces instead of family portraits during weekends off from school/work when everyone else wants access so badly but don’t care enough about each other’s needs because kids take over everything else instead so maybe we should just stop trying altogether rather than making some plans now before someone gets hurt later down the line…
With a little hard work, you can turn your passion and talent into a business.
You can do this. You will be able to make a living doing what you love.
You’ll get to help others through your photography and create amazing memories for them.
Growth is the name of the game in business. And so many people who start out with big dreams end up not growing their businesses because they get stuck in a rut, or they’re too afraid to try new things, or they’re too busy worrying about how much money they’re making instead of thinking about how much money they could be making if only they’d stop playing it safe and take some risks…
That’s where we come in! We want to help you grow your photography business so that together we can all achieve our goals!
So there you have it, a few tips to get started with your photography business. Hopefully, we’ve inspired you with our stories and helped you learn some lessons from our mistakes. If you are just getting started or have been trying to figure out where to go next with your business, we hope these ideas will help get you going in the right direction.