5 steps to start your photography business
Like most photographers when we start out, you’ve probably been thinking about starting your photography business for good … and you’re probably still not sure where to begin.
AND THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY, I KNOW HOW OVERWHELMING IT CAN BE!
Now, if you’ve finally decided that you’re going to commit 100% and show that inner, «bad» voice that says from now on you will be your boss, this post is going to help you get ready!
First of all, I’m so proud of you! You’re about to do one of the most wonderful and challenging things you’ve ever done and I can’t wait to support you all the way!
IF THERE’S ONE THING I WANT IS TO SEE YOU SUCCEED, THAT’S WHY I’M GOING TO SHARE 5 STEPS FOR YOU TO START A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS FROM SCRATCH.
It is very important that you go step by step, without skipping stages, be realistic in your goals, BUT you must work, set deadlines, work on your business, do not leave things to chance.
To start with photography business I propose you these 5 steps, as your indispensable, your bases.
#1. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND …DISCOVER YOUR TASTES.
Always carry your camera with you!
The only way to build your portfolio is to practice a lot, taking lots and lots of pictures.
The more you practice, the more you’ll learn and the sooner you’ll get your clients for sure!
Taking photos in manual mode, using the right light, getting a nice composition, and all of those subjects can be intimidating, but practicing will help you become more comfortable with the subject matter.
Taking pictures of a variety of things will also help you discover what you really enjoy capturing:
- Are they babies ?
- Stunning products?
- Interior design?
- Weddings and events?
- Children and family photography?
Remember the most important thing, no one is an overnight success, no matter how it looks on Instagram.
You have to work hard, prepare a lot, and I assure you that you will find success!
#2. INVEST IN YOUR EDUCATION
Free information is amazing, but your time is so valuable! Invest in something that will propel you in the direction you want to go, it’s ten times faster.
So find a mentor, sign up for a workshop, buy that course you’re dreaming of or join a membership.
Your path will be much easier when you have someone holding your hand through the process, rather than trying to do it all yourself.
- Sort out your workflow
- Learn editing
- More advanced techniques
- Study everything you need to make your work more professional.
Here is a Free Video «How to have a tidy workflow in Lightroom».
Don’t panic anymore about what equipment you need, how to discover your style, or what to tell that annoying client because he says he knows someone who knows better, or what’s cheaper and «delivers more photos». Be guided by someone you know can help, advise and accompany you on your photographic journey.
We all need mentors! Of course, me too!
And I tell you that I take about 5 or 6 new courses every year, and I always learn something new that makes my work better.
#3. NAME IT, GIVE YOUR BUSINESS AN IDENTITY!
Once you’ve decided what kind of picture you want for your business, name it something that makes your heart sing (this could be as simple as your name) and it becomes real, it begins to «exist».
Not only does it make your new business legitimate, but it also creates a new responsibility for you.
It’s now a business you must make work and you’ll be more motivated than ever to make it happen!
Make an identity for your brand:
- A domain with your name (most website platforms offer this service).
- A professional logo that represents your style (a designer is the right person to help you).
- Find a color palette that identifies you, that you like.
- Start making your photos beautiful using an edition that characterizes and distinguishes you.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I assure you it is part of what will make you the photographer you want to become.
Here is some of my stuff, my logos, my colors, my logo, my fonts.
#4. PREPARE YOUR MARKETING
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to be everywhere at once.
But you definitely have to have at least the basics!
- You should have
- An Instagram account just for your photography business
- A Facebook Fan Page
- A website, one of the most important things you should have, as it’s your digital showcase to offer your services and show how professional you are (in another post I’ll talk about this topic)
- Define your niche, values and pillars of your business ( what you offer, how you offer it, your promise)
- Find your ideal client
Think and find out who is and where is that ideal client.
Is it a mom on Facebook? Or a girlfriend on Instagram? Is it a brand that wants photos of your products?
Find that customer, get to know them, get their email and send them content you know they’ll be interested in.
Not only will your website and social media serve as your portfolio and your voice, but emails will make it easier for people to get to know you, find you and recommend you to other clients!
#5. TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A PHOTOGRAPHER … WITH CONFIDENCE
I know it’s stressful to announce to the world that you are doing new business, but as a photographer, word of mouth marketing is very effective! Many times I’ve had «friend of a friend» refer me to sweet new clients who have then gone on to become new clients for years.
And you want to know a little secret, if you follow #2 and also carry your camera everywhere you go, the conversation will probably come up naturally anyway when you’re out and about! People will start asking, «Oh, you’re a photographer!» and bam, you’re already promoting yourself to others without much effort. ; )
BONUS: SIMPLIFY, SYSTEMATIZE AND AUTOMATE!
To get started in your photography business (and in any business), I’m a firm believer in simplifying and systematizing as much as you can from the beginning!
My life 6 years ago would have been MUCH easier if I had created a system for everything I needed to do to grow my business. From client management to your weekly marketing tasks, start mapping out every task you do and create step-by-step workflows.
📆SIMPLIFY: Use calendars (agendas, google calendar, apple calendar), there are applications for this as well as Trello.
🗒SYSTEMIZE: Make a systematic work schedule, divide your week into work and rest days (to be productive, you have to rest). For any job you have to be disciplined, and even more so when it comes to art.
🖥 AUTOMATE: Leave days to study, others to prepare photos for your networks, write beautiful texts, schedule your sessions, make a company email (it can be in google suite, on your website), use platforms like Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit to manage and automate your mails.
Be inspired, create, order, grow.
This way, you have one process for everything, which will not only make your life easier, but will make your customer experience more sophisticated and professional!
And if you’re not sure where to start, I’ll share some marketing tricks that have changed my life in an upcoming post, don’t miss it. For now I’ll leave you with these two marketing tactics, the most basic ones that everyone should be doing. I know they sound simple (because, honestly, they are), but they are two of my oldest marketing strategies!
Marketing 1: Instagram
First of all, Instagram!
I know I told you this was all basic, but I’m just telling you that out of the last 6 family sessions I did, 4 of those families found me on Instagram!!! WHAT!!! YES!!!! That’s awesome!!!
It’s crazy, because I’m posting photos only twice a week, since due to COVID19 effect, I haven’t been able to go out and take new photos and because of Instagram’s crazy algorithm, the likes are much less than before! If yours is like this too, don’t worry! Instagram is making a lot of changes, but ultimately, it’s a great showcase for our work!
SO IT MUST BE BEAUTIFUL, CONSISTENT, ORDERLY.
✔️Choose your best photos.
✔️Make a tidy biography.
✔️Be consistent in posting.
✔️Show what you want them to buy from you.
✔️Put covers on featured stories.
✔️Write «nice» in posts.
✔️Use some hashtags.
If you want to show (and you should!) your personal life or show yourself, use Stories (in another Post I will tell you which are my favorite Apps to make Instagram stories), but keep your feed clean, tidy, beautiful and showing what you want them to see of your work.
Marketing 2: Word of mouth
Secondly, word of mouth is STILL one of the best tools we have as business owners.
Yes, over-deliver, provide an excellent product or service along with a wonderful customer service experience, you must be an excellent photographer,
- Your work should also speak for you,
- Professional quality
- Creativity in your shots
The editing of your photos, that are distinguished from any other (and of course the photos taken with cell phones), that when they see your photos proudly say who took them, ie go by word of mouth!
Your clients will tell their friends! If your client receives a better service than they expected, they will be surprised and will want to repeat their experience with you!
I have clients with whom we are already friends, I have been their family photographer for about 4 or 5 years, and there is nothing more gratifying to see how their children grow, how each year they enjoy their session more, and how we already have a real relationship of friendship.
Plain and simple, be nice, really CARE about your clients, do a great job and people will rave about you and tell their friends.
These are not just marketing tips for photographers! You can apply these marketing tips to all creative businesses!
I’d love to know what you think!
Are you just starting out as a photographer? Have you prepared your brand? If so, can I help you?
Tell me below in the comments!
Hello! I’m Bernardita Aguirre
I am a Chilean photographer and I help photographers to find their unique stamp and families to capture priceless moments.
I studied pedagogy at the University, but I have dedicated almost all my life to the artistic area, and I have been able to unite my two passions and turn them into my work: teaching and the art of photography!
I will share with you my methodology, my art and my photography. If you want to learn with me I offer several courses that can help you.
Some courses that may interest you
MASTERCLASS "5 must-haves to get started in Photoshop"
MINI COURSES OF FINE ART EDITION
Sí, soy mamá de 5 y soy fotógrafaNo sé cómo lo haces, ¿Son todos tuyos? ¿Se puede trabajar y tener 5 hijos? Estas son sólo algunas de las preguntas que me hacen a diario y la verdad es que sí, yo he podido ( y tu también puedes) y soy muy feliz. Pero por supuesto no...
Consigue retratos fantásticos con estos 3 lentes¿Te pasó como a mí? El tema que más quería probar y aprender desde que comencé era el retrato. Pocas cosas hay más expresivas que el rostro de una persona. Y a través de nuestros retratos podemos llegar a conmover a...
El arte de editar en Photoshop¿Te ha pasado que tienes una toma espectacular y al llegar al momento de editarla no sabes que hacer? ¿Quieres usar Photoshop pero sientes que es muy complicado? ¡Estás en el lugar indicado, quiero ayudarte!¡NO TE PREOCUPES SÉ LO...