Establishing your own successful photography business is an ambition that goes beyond solely taking photographs. There is a multitude of separate responsibilities to grapple with if you intend to make your mark in a competitive, crowded market.
A passion for photography and a sound business acumen is the foundation to build your business on, but then you must address the finer details to maintain a thriving trajectory. Martin Jerge, a freelance photographer who operates his own company in Los Angeles, California, has shared a few beneficial tips.
Find Your Niche
Early on, as a photographer, you will be accepting any gig that comes your way, regardless of whether you are experienced with the subject matter or not. And you cannot take a tough stance on the budget either, so avoid negotiating for the time being. Martin Jerge stresses that this is temporary, as you will later distinguish yourself by choosing an area of specialty and constructing your reputation.
It’s up to you to identify where you are most effective and, after you are recognized for your particular expertise, be it weddings, real estate publications, or entrepreneurial brochures, you can begin upping your charges. You’ll quickly learn that your raised prices will be crucial in offsetting the various other costs that are on the horizon.
Invest In Suitable Equipment
This might be the most significant decision you commit to because a great photographer realizes that quality equipment will hugely elevate the end product, Martin Jerge says. Perform research, consider how much of your budget you can allocate for equipment, and buy the best that you can afford.
Deliberate, then determine what camera and lens will complement your field of expertise. Select a computer and photo editing software as well. When the business expands, you will have the luxury of purchasing better equipment, deciding on the necessity for studio rental, and confirm what type of lighting you will require.
Business And Brand
As for the business itself, you will need to concentrate on various aspects at once, starting with the planning phase, which entails what services you will offer, financial projections, marketing tactics, a pricing structure, and how you will be a distinguished option for prospective consumers.
From there, you will confirm your business structure; two of the more popular options are as ‘sole proprietor’, easy and low in cost, and a ‘limited liability company’ (LLC), which provides better protection for your personal assets.
Finally, you will pick a name for the business that befits your specific photography and represents a unique brand image, Martin Jerge says. Paperwork — in the form of a business license or permit as outlined by your city or county — is all that is left to complete at this point.
Insurance And Incidentals
Your business might be an official establishment, but now you have reached the steps of insurance policies and incidentals. Some of the major areas to consider insurance in are: equipment, building, indemnity (security against a financial loss), and liability (yes, accidents do happen, so protect your livelihood and find a policy that covers mishaps with clients or their property).
Many photographers, having made the leap to being professional, will, for the first time, experience matters like payroll, value-added tax, and a host of other tax questions. Martin Jerge recommends that you hire a reputable accountant for these duties if it is all rather overwhelming.
Conduct and present yourself professionally on each assignment because it will generate a cumulative effect in the amount of future work you receive. Word spreads fast about one’s reputation, so do your utmost to ensure that you are given positive reviews and referrals: dress appropriately, have all of your supplies prepared, be respectful, and arrive punctually and well-organized.
Show similar courtesy in the initial interactions by responding to emails and phone calls promptly, as well as explaining the expected work schedule. Want clients to entrust you with their projects? Play the professional part and show that you are worthy.
Perfect Your Portfolio Presentation
To display your credibility further and justify those increased fees that you are experimenting with, you should have an outstanding portfolio for clients to access. It is meant to convince consumers, sell them on the idea that you are a proper, professional choice who specializes in what they are looking for.
Although it might prove a difficult task, you ought to invest substantial money into creating a professional portfolio since it will help you make a great impression on clients and relieve any concerns that they have about paying your pricey fees. It could be years before you build a stellar portfolio, while editing and refining comprise an ongoing process.
Survey Your Competition, Advises Martin Jerge
As you gain experience and come into your own as a photographer, take note of what your competitors are accomplishing. A photography business is a constant work in progress, Martin Jerge says, and you should continuously strive to improve your brand, or risk producing a stagnant product that fails to measure up to your competition.
Look at their online material, portfolios, and the methodologies that are being incorporated. You might learn a thing or two that can benefit your photography business and ensure that now and in the long-term, it is up there with the best of them.
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