How Do You Start A Photography Business?
You must approach the business of photography with honesty and a thorough assessment of your strengths, interests, and abilities. Then you can determine if there is a market for the products or services you plan to offer. You can also do proof of concept research in order to make sure that those markets are paying you.
You’ll then be ready to plan your business!
Most photographers approach it in the wrong direction. While they want to make money with their photos, they don’t have any interest in the business aspects of converting that income into photography. They believe that great photography is all that it takes to create a successful business.
1. Begin by taking an honest look at your current situation.
Because photography seems like a dream job, it is highly competitive. Anyone can take a decent image with modern digital technology. Everyone thinks they are great photographers. But what makes you unique?
What are the specialized skills that will make you stand out from the rest?
What knowledge and interests do you have that can be used in your job?
Which subjects and fields are you most passionate about?
Are you able to distinguish yourself from the rest?
Are you able to create high-resolution, high-quality images with your equipment?
Are you able to use your camera’s image to create a print-ready file that is commercially acceptable?
Which business experience do you have?
Which sales and marketing experience do you have?
This is where the idea comes in. First, identify what products or services you are able to offer. Then assess whether people will pay for those skills.
2. Are there any markets for these products or services?
Knowing that you can create amazing work is one thing, but knowing there are others who would love to use it is another. You need to take the time to find out if there is a market for your work.
If you don’t have anyone to buy your work, it doesn’t matter what quality your work is. Yet many photographers start their own businesses with very little market research other than encouragement from friends. You should sell those photos!
The following questions will be asked of you:
Do you know of anyone who needs the images that you love to take?
Is there anyone who will buy photos of you and your subjects?
Is there anyone who would pay you to create images specifically for them?
Is there anyone who would pay you for your knowledge or expertise?
It is a good idea to search for other photographers who offer similar products or services and then compare your offerings. This is where Google comes in handy!
Do your subjects have similar interests?
Is your technique as strong?
Are you able to present professionally?
What if the buyer were to compare your portfolio with that of your “competitor”? Who would they choose for the job? Why?
You must be honest with yourself if you want to make a living from your photography. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to make a successful business of your photography. However, your work must be at least equal to your competition.
It is important to clearly define what you are offering, who it is for, and why they will buy.
Many photographers, like many others, start with a product idea and don’t take the time necessary to test it objectively to determine if there is genuine demand.
They create a business on only wishful thinking and then wonder why it fails.
It’s easy to find keywords and search engines that will help you assess the demand for your idea.
3. Demonstration of concept testing
This is where your products and services are discovered to be in high demand. This used to require surveys and focus groups. It was expensive and time-consuming. But, these days, it is quick and simple.
Searching in Google for similar products is a good place to start. You can get an idea of the competition by looking at the volume of results. This is a great place to start. If there are too many results, your idea might not be as popular. There might not be enough demand to make it viable.
The true test is whether those who offer these services are making money. That’s easy enough.
You can see the AdWords ads to the right side of search results. Simply put, lots of ads mean that photographers are making money by offering these services. There is no money in this market if there aren’t any ads.
Although it may seem a little too simplified, it is actually quite straightforward.
Advertising that makes money is what people spend their money on. If no one is paying for a service to be advertised, it’s likely it’s been tried and failed.
You should test your idea using a professional keyword research tool to make sure you are 100% certain. Google provides a free keyword research tool. You may need to log in to your Google Account to access it, but it is well worth it!
It’s very easy. After logging in, enter a keyword phrase that describes the product or service around which you are building your business. This could be your preferred style of photography, your field of work, or the subjects that you are interested in.
However, you will receive real-time data every month from Google once you submit the form. This includes information about how many people search for this phrase and related terms each month. Search traffic is what you want to see first. It’s proof that people are actually searching for the services you offer.
Next, you need to check the CPC value. The CPC value is the approximate/average price AdWords advertisers pay to have their ads displayed alongside the search results. This is called a cost per click, which means that the advertiser pays this amount each time they receive a visitor.
While most photography terms are priced between $1 and $2, you will notice a high-profit term when prices start to rise, sometimes $5 per visitor. If the term is related to your business idea, you will also recognize that your concept is valuable.
This type of research is subjective and relative. Spend a lot of time doing it. Test some broad phrases to get a baseline, then zoom in on phrases that are relevant to your business plan.
If you can find genuine search volume, you will know that there is interest. If there are people who pay to advertise using those phrases, you will also know there is a market… which is a great starting point for your photography business!
4. Develop Your Business Plan.
Only after all of this is done can you begin planning your business. That’s the real work.
It is important to take more time planning how to market, sell and deliver your products or service. There are many options available to photographers, so take time to understand your business model and not get distracted by trying to do too much at once.
Good news! You now know that you have the skills and the product/service, that there is a market, and that people will pay for it. It should be easier to concentrate on the specific processes (sales & marketing, fulfillment, and operations) that will make your idea a viable business.
Remember, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to start a successful business in photography.
Many mediocre photographers do very well because of their business skills. While customer satisfaction is a minimum standard, you shouldn’t assume that your photography skills will make you a great photographer.
It’s not easy to find a business that is successful in photography but has a great photographer and poor business skills.
When you think about how many talented photographers dream of making a living from their photography, it is clear that you need to be as focused on your business skills and your photography.