I know what you’re thinking…
You can’t possibly start a photography business in just four steps.
And you’re right, you can’t.
However, the four tips I outline below will prove to be crucial for your success as a photographer.
Think of these as the pillars of your photography business – ideas upon which you build something successful and long-lasting.
Account for All Your Time
As a self-employed photographer, it behooves you to ensure that you maximize your time to make money.
The difficulty in that, of course, is that photography is a cyclical business.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’ll be busiest in the spring and early summer and things will slow down significantly during the winter.
Rather than sitting around doing nothing during the slow season, figure out a way to make money in a different way.
Just because you’re at the point at which you’re ready to start your photography business doesn’t mean that you don’t have to continue learning your craft.
In fact, it’s just as important to keep expanding your skill set after you start your business as it was before you started your business.
That goes for photography skills, and it’s certainly true of business skills as well.
Since running your own business is so time-consuming, it can be difficult to find the time for learning opportunities.
But you’ll be better off in the end if you carve out some time each week to learn something new or perfect an old skill.
That might be watching a YouTube video about marketing tips for photographers, like the one above by B&H Photo Video and Vanessa Joy.
You might spend a few minutes reading articles like this one to get insights on how to improve your business operation.
Take a class at a local university, find a mentor, join the local chamber of commerce…
The point is that the more effort you put into improving yourself, the more successful your business will be.
Failure Will Happen – Deal With It!
One of the most difficult things to deal with as a new business owner is failure.
You might have some images that don’t turn out well.
You might spend all kinds of time and effort on a marketing scheme, only to find that you get nothing out of it.
There will be gigs you don’t get, customers that leave you a bad review, and other calamities along the way as well.
The important thing is to expect these things to happen and learn how to deal with them in a way that helps you learn and grow as a photographer and as a business person.
For example, let’s say that on one of your first jobs your memory card gets fried and you don’t have a backup.
Yes, that’s a bad situation, and one you’ll have to work very hard to rectify the issue with the client.
However, it’s also a learning opportunity to bring backups of everything – memory cards, batteries, camera bodies, lenses – you name it.
The key is to learn from your mistakes and make moves that prevent those same mistakes from happening again in the future.
Hire Out Your Weaknesses
I can take a good portrait. I can’t manage my books.
That means I take care of the former and hire someone to do the latter.
You should do the same!
If you’re unorganized, hire an assistant.
If you need help with marketing, find someone that can help you out.
If you struggle with post-processing, there’s even people to do that for you too.
The point is that being a professional photographer means that you wear a lot of hats, but at some point, you have to be able to recognize your weaknesses and have the ability to ask for help (or hire help) to address those weaknesses.
The sooner you delegate the responsibilities you are unable to fulfill (or don’t have the time to fulfill), the sooner you’ll find your business in good standing.
As I noted in the introduction, this is by no means a comprehensive list of things that need to happen in order for your photography business to be a success.
But taking these four tips to heart will help prepare you for various aspects of being in business such that you find success with greater ease and in a shorter amount of time.
In the end, building your business will require a lot of hard work, dedication, and time. Have the patience to see things through, and hopefully, you will find rewards for all that hard work!