7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Photography Business
Start With Why
Why did you even pick up the camera in the first place? What role has photography played in your life? Your earliest memory with a camera? Your favorite photograph as a child? Why? There should be a reason behind every single aspect of your business. You need to be able to defend everything you do. What makes your business differ from the rest? Why do you do what you do? Figure that out first and then begin to think about branding. Invest in a graphic designer and design your business around who your ideal client is.
Pricing: Know Your Worth
Pricing is difficult. You are worth what you say you are worth. At first, it may be hard to even fathom charging people for your services. Do it. Do not offer discounts and do not be afraid to raise your prices when appropriate. Your time is money and you need to determine what that is worth.There will always be photographers at higher and lower price points that can serve a wide range of clientele. Just because a prospective client is not able to afford your investment, this does not mean you need to lower your worth.
Invest In Yourself
Invest in your education early on. Personally, I love love LOVE Amy & Jordan Demos. I have purchased all of their education materials, templates and guides. Take a look at my work when I first started versus now, the difference is remarkable. I could not have done it without them! Yes, that means late nights after work if you work full time. It means binge watching photography webinars instead of Netflix. Commit an hour each night. Even 30 minutes will make all the difference and isn't as daunting, especially when you're tired. Make a conscious effort to build your business each day. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie will change your perspective on life! I am not much of a reader, but this book is so worth it and definitely keeps your attention. The lessons in there are invaluable.
Ready, Set, Shoot RAW
Learn your what that means. Learn your camera. Be so stinkin' good at shooting manual that your photograph is next to perfect on the back of your camera. It wills save you HOURS in post production. Learn how to "batch edit" in Lightroom as soon as you can! When I first heard about shooting RAW, I thought, "Why go through all of that pain when you can just let the camera figure it out for you on auto?" You can do SO much with an image if it is shot RAW. This has been especially handy when sunset sessions went a little later than expected and we lost light with every passing minute. You'll thank me later! ;)
Consistency Is Key
Editing. Posting. Experience. All of it! Find a "style" and stick to it. Are you more of a light/bright/airy or a dark/moody photographer? Post often on social media. It may seem annoying, but believe me -- people notice! Just because you may not be getting engagement (likes, comments, etc) from it, doesn't mean that no one is seeing it. Use apps like Plann to help you visualize your Instagram grid before posting. Another helpful organizational tool is being able to schedule posts for a Facebook business page. Build an experience worth raving about and deliver it every. single. time.
Community Over Competition
It's easy to compare yourself to other photographers and it may seem like everyone is picking up their cameras these days. It's easy to get jealous of others who seem to be doing better than you. Clients prefer different styles and experiences. That's the beauty of photography. Connect with a few other photographers in your area that are in the same stage of their business that you are and bounce ideas off of each other. It will help to keep you accountable and constantly generating new ideas during your "dry seasons".
Call It What It Is
You are a photographer. Call yourself a photographer. It's going to feel awkward at first, but own it. Bring it into conversations -- you may be surprised how it may bring you potential new clients. ALWAYS have business cards on you. I've lost track of how many times I've missed opportunities for not having a business card handy to leave with a potential client. Just last week, I was getting my eyebrows done and found out my esthetician just got engaged and showed interest in wedding day services. And guess what? I didn't have a card on me. Missed opportunity. Don't let that be you!