New book

Photo Nuts and Post is the third installation in the Photo Nuts series and it just launched!
Written by professional photographer, Neil Creek, it gives you the tools you need to make processing work for you. Even if you have experience in editing, you can always learn new tricks.
To celebrate, they are offering 33% off if you buy today -Click here to read more!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Seven essentials to starting a photography business

Photography is not a cheap business to start.

A lot of people think that all you need is a good camera and talent and you are good to go.


The truth is, there are many investments to make when starting a photography business. This is probably true with most start up businesses. It takes money to make money-plain and simple.

But, what do you really need to start a photography business?

There are many hits and misses in the photography field. You have to experiment with products and you might end up with purchases you find out your don't need. There also are many people out there trying to cash in on the growing amount of newbie photographers out there, so it's hard not to get talked into unnecessary products.

That being said, let's talk about the bare essentials...

1. Gear

Having the right equipment goes without saying. You will need a good body and at least one good prime, though you will want different lens for different situations-and I haven't met a photographer yet that could stand just having one lens! ;)

If you are setting up a studio, you'll need the proper lighting equipment which can be purchased inexpensively if you do your research. I found a great deal for under $400 on Amazon.

I would recommend a good flash as well. Depending on what brand you use, there are many off brand flashes that are compatible with your camera.

2. A Way to Connect with Potential Clients

If you want the world to know you are open for business, you will need a website or blog. Almost everyone these days has at least a blog or Facebook. It's our way to let people know we exist. For businesses, it's an extension of their storefront, or for people working from home, it is their storefront.

There are inexpensive blog platforms, or even free ones (I still believe in Blogger). Especially when you are just starting out. If you want to invest in themes, or hire a designer, that's cool too.

Once you figured out the route you want to take, you'll need to think of a good domain name. Using your business name is the best route. After you set up your website or blog, start writing. Add lots of photos to showcase your work. Submit it to search engines and connect with other businesses related to yours.

3. Invest in Marketing

Marketing is a must for any business. There are many free marketing routes (a whole other post) but, you really need to invest in a good marketing source until your business gets rolling.
A cheaper investment are business cards. Vistaprint is awesome, as well as Moo Cards (I love Moo!) Hand them out to everyone you come in contact with. I know this will be hard at first, but once you get used to it, it will come naturally. You never know who might be your next client!

4. Get Insured!

Yes, there was an exclamation point there. It is very important to get yourself insured. You never know what might happen. Even if you don't do weddings, things can go wrong.

5. Editing Software

Even the best photographers use some kind of editing software. If you are into actions or textures, you will need to invest in editing software. There are expensive ones, like Photoshop, and there are more reasonable software like Paint Shop or Lightroom. What you choose is mainly your taste and what you can afford. Photoshop does have a lot of free help on the Internet and many assume that everyone uses Photoshop, so they gear products towards that product.

6. Training
I suggest ongoing learning. This does not have to be expensive. For every paid training out there, you will find double free help. I cannot afford $400 for an ebook, can you? Check YouTube-this has taught me a lot.

7. A Computer

Having a computer is a must. You don't need a Mac, but it has to be able to handle big files. I actually have three computers now, but I started out with one. You can find good deals at Walmart or eBay if you wait for sales.

One last tip: Make sure you invest back into your business and start a savings for unexpected expenses, like broken camera lens or marketing.

Don't let these steps discourage you from starting your photography business. Have fun and though it's an investment initially, soon you will reap the rewards!