Planning to make a living off photography? Here’s 10 things to consider before diving in.
Wear Multiple Hats
Simply knowing how to click great photographs is not enough. You would need to be well versed with marketing, accounting, book keeping, social media, PR, designing, etc.
Each of these departments play a crucial role in spreading the word about your newly founded business and eventually help you gain profits.
Know What You’re Good At
While you may shoot weddings, sports, candid, portraits, etc. it is important to know which type of photography you excel in and enjoy the most. Marketing yourself as a specialist in wedding photography, for example, makes your name the first to pop up in people’s minds when deciding on a photographer for their wedding.
Avoid Unnecessary Gear
While buying a new lens or bag might make your life easier and improve photographs, it doesn’t necessarily improve business. To begin with, camera accessories are expensive. So a calculation to check whether you can afford it and whether you really need it is
You don’t need the best equipment to be the best photographer in the business.
Understand that and you’re halfway there.
The all-important Communication
People trust the word of their friend more than an ad in a newspaper or magazine. It is important to meet photographers who are already in the industry, or telling your friends about your business and work.
People ask photographers they know to do projects they might not specialize in. In such cases, they give the contact details of someone they know who specializes in that area. Be that person they would refer people to!
Taking on the Small Projects
Don’t let your ego come in the way of shooting small projects which pay less.
Carrying out the small projects are the stepping stones to attracting the big clients which pay well. It is also through the smaller projects that you can learn and do better.
Remember that Corporates are much less forgiving when it comes to goof ups.
Going Beyond the Necessary
It is a common practice to spend on thousands of fancy business cards, brochures, paper, etc. While it is important, it is rarely the deciding factor for people to hire you to do the job. Keeping in simple, acceptable and fresh is all that you need. Anything beyond that, like distributing a coffee table book to showcase your work to clients, might cause a serious dent in your business.
Read up on Photographers
Reading up on photographers who specialize in the same field as you will help you understand the work that has already been carried out. There are numerous blogs, websites, books, forums where you can learn. But don’t stop there…see how you can differentiate yourself from others so that you earn an identity of your own.
A website or blog is a good (and cheaper) alternative to printing brochures.
Investing time and money on one will get you a following from different parts of the country and if you’re lucky, the world.
While printing a brochure has its own charm, very often it is not possible to print a hundred pages as the cost would be exorbitant. On a website, however, you can upload however many pictures you want for a fraction of the cost!
Intelligently think of how much you are going to charge your clients. Initially, charge a lower sum in order to get more exposure and experience. As your business increases, you can gradually increase your price.
Getting featured in photography magazines or websites that revolve around the area that interest you will take you places. Showing clients the number of times you have been features in a wide range of magazines will increase your value!
This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Better Photography.