Income From Photography
By Ray Baker
Starting a Photography Business: A Guide for Photographers
Anyone with the right camera equipment, and the necessary skills can set up a home business, marketing photography. You need only to convert a room of your house into an office, and then you can work immediately.
With modern technology in the form of SLR digital cameras, you do not even need the room for a dark room. You need only to have a personal computer and a photo-editing program. The standard is Adobe Photoshop.
It is not necessary to clutter yourself with equipment you do not need. You can hire equipment on and when you need it basis. You have the freedom to work part time for a while until you can devote yourself full time to photography. All you need to be is a serious photographer. There are two types of photographers that makes their living from photography, the serious photographer and the very serious photographer. You can always bookmark this link and then you can quickly access just about all you'll ever need from here.
Whilst the technical skills needed to make a successful photographer have never been easier, other aspects have changed the business. The market for photographs of virtually every type has widened, the world seems to have an insatiable appetite for photographs. However the price has fallen as the marketing net has broadened. Photographers are needed in many more fields. For instance many people use car web sites, they simply did not exist ten years ago, and they sell their products as a result of photography. Cameras used by scuba diver's are now an excellent quality, and whilst they are initially expensive, they have forged a new market. People celebrate special occasions more with photography, than they did years ago. The travel and advertising markets have a greater need for landscape, travel and nature shots.
It is now easier than ever to turn your dream into reality and create a worthwhile business out of an engrossing hobby. However in today's modern world there is more to it than simply pointing a camera, and shooting a picture. You need to be aware of marketing techniques, and here marketing simply means transferring ownership of a product, in this case an image from a buyer to seller. You also need to be aware of any local gaps in the market in your local area. You should also try to be on top of your competitor's prices, to undercut an existing photographer is one choice, but to neglect to value your skills and not charge enough to cover your overheads is another matter entirely. Remember this, its an important point.
Use your skills to the best advantage of the business and define what you want from it. Writing a business plan helps to keep you focused on the areas you specifically want to exploit. A business plan helps you to define your goals and strategies, it will be changed and updated, but it will help you, to keep things in perspective. You can then refer back to it when things become confusing or complicated. Everyone's business plan will be different, as every objective will be different, but there are certain common factors that make up a good business plan which will help your business grow. It allows you to develop a professional attitude to your business, which not only helps you to increase your earnings, but also help you to finance your business.
For the photographer it should include, your business name, or your own, with full details of the proposed location of the business, a copy of your logo, as well as details of your copyright notices. What is the form of your proposed business (sole ownership, partnership, Limited Liability Company or Corporation). This should be followed by a table of contents, which focuses on a logical order. There are resources that will give you further details on such as profitable-photography.com
Included after this should be the type of business you intend to pursue, in a fair amount of detail, and it should contain the services you intend to offer. This section should include any future goals or avenues you would like to explore, stating your clear objectives. This is so you can check at a later date whether your objectives are on course, or if you have become sidetracked.
If you envisage at any time you may need financial help, then you should include your personal business history.
You should also state a clear and concise marketing plan that should demonstrate how your business will differentiate from the businesses of your competitors. You should be able to establish whom your customers will be, as well as where your market will be, as in wholesale or retail or a combination of both. You should also be able to determine how long this type of market will be available to yourself.
The next section should clearly define your opposition, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This should include the ways you may be able to exploit any gaps in the market in the specific area where you live. A section should follow this on how you intend to market and promote your individual services.
A financial segment should be included as to how you intend to manage the day-to-day bills of the business. How you intend to price your services, and what factors influence this pricing structure, which includes a section on your competitor's financial structures. This means a fair amount of detective work as well as homework. Get your friends to ask from quotes from the local competition. Or try an even more direct approach, tell your competitor's that you intend to start a new business, and that you do not want to undercut them, as this reduces the cake for everyone. They may well offer to help you construct a pricing structure that ensures everyone's livelihood. It is in their interests to help. Not everyone will be cooperative, but it may mean you can get a truer picture of the market factors that govern your area.
Make a list of all the equipment you will need in your first year, as well as how and where you intend to purchase. Note any difficulties that may arise in obtaining your supplies. Note whether the prices of your supplies have a seasonal fluctuation, that may help you influence you when to buy. You should make a note of any local licenses that will be necessary, as well as any zoning restrictions, that may restrict the growth of your business. Your neighbours may not be thrilled at a procession of customer's to your door, check whether they can restrict your services. Make a study of all your business insurance requirements.
The final segment should be devoted to how you intend to finance the growth of your business, as well as isolating what your financial needs will be. This should include a projection on your future earnings, as well as an accurate assessment of your outgoings'. This should be assessed on a monthly basis for the first year, and on an annual basis for the following three years. An important aspect of the financial statement is an assessment of the break-even point of your business, in other words the minimum you will have to take to pay your expenses.
The purpose of this documentation is to allow you to enunciate what the core elements of your business will be, in doing this it should help you to be able to quickly evaluate the success of your business objectives. If you are not clear on your objectives then you cannot possibly make a plan to bring about the success of those objectives.
Supplied courtesy of Ray Baker. You can download Roy's guide on starting a profitable photography business here.
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