What does it take to start a photography business?

24 04 2010

It starts with the desire to make it happen. For many people, photography is a passion. They love photographing – but the idea of creating a business out of that passion can be overwhelming. Where do you start?

The great thing about a photography business is you can start part-time, and work it until you are comfortable making it your full time career. Many of today’s top professional photographers started part-time out of their home before it transpired into a full time career.

The one thing every professional photographer did when they decided to start a photography business is decide to make a business out of their love for the industry.

To go into business for yourself, you’ll typically need to start with the following five things.

1. Set up your business. Going into business for yourself is fairly easy. But you must do a few things with the government to announce your intent to become a business. Every state has a Secretary of State office that allows you to file the necessary paperwork. You’ll have to register your name with the state, and request a tax identification number to collect payments from your clients.

Another resource for starting business owners is the Small Business Administration. Every state has offices available to answer your business related questions, and in many cases offer classes to help you get your business off the ground.

2. Choose your company name. This is how your clients will find you, so it is an important choice. Many photographers choose to use their name. This strategy is great if you’re planning on branding yourself, and become known for one type of photography. If you plan on having photographers work for you, you may wish to come up with a more generic name, to encompass a wide variety of photographic styles.

3. Plan your company branding. Branding is the way your customers identify with you and your products/services. It can involve the color of your marketing material, the logo you use for your company, the tag line you use on your marketing, the 30-second commercial you use to promote your business, and overall appearance of the way you present your business. While branding typically comes over time, spending time now discovering what your business to say to the world is time well spent.

4. Create a business plan. Yes, even the smallest studio, even a studio just starting out part time, needs a business plan. Your plan defines what your business will do, how it will grow, what it will sell, and the direction it will take over the next few months and years.

When you start a photography business, you have a clean slate with your direction. Your business plan begins filling in the lines, and providing you with direction. A formal business plan is created with the thought of getting financing to start the business. If you have no desire to gain financing at this time, a lighter business plan is possible.

Above all, you plan should cover:

=> An overview of the services you provide
=> A description of your ideal client
=> The ways you will market your business
=> Your goals set up in monthly and yearly format

5. Ask for help. The best businesses in the industry, the most successful photography studios in existence today, asked for help. They hired accountants, lawyers, business coaches, marketing consultants and website designers. They realized early on that they could get more done if they hired people to do things for them. Pricing Your Photography: How To Set Your Prices To Build  A Six Figure Business

Lori Osterberg owned and operated a high-end wedding photography business for over 18 years, and was one of the premier studios to have an online portfolio in the 1990’s. She understands the nuances of creating a successful studio, and how to build an online presence that will allow you to photograph anywhere in the world. Now she helps photography studios market their businesses, and helps create online tools to help photographers achieve success. Visit her site and sign up for her free ezine at www.VirtualPhotographyStudio.com

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