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Starting a Photography Business: A Guide for Photographers

So you've made the decision to make a profitable business out of your photography hobby! A professional photographer has to manage a lot, but you won't find a more satisfying type of business than something which you already enjoy doing. In this guide, you will find some advice for managing various aspects of starting and running a photography business.

First, you should always have a business plan. It isn't enough to simply say you're going to sell pictures; think of your market. What kind of photography will you be doing, and who is your target customer going to be? How much can you get for your work? So, how much can you afford to spend on business expenses and still turn a profit? You might try to look for a business mentor here; somebody who knows the ins and outs.

Don't be afraid to modify the business plan later as you go. It will be a dynamic record of your goals and what success you have with them. Your business plan should be flexible enough to keep going even in the face of adversity. These might be times of decreased business or setbacks in your market that will keep your goals from getting fulfilled. Your business plan should have enough flexibility to bent with the vagaries of fortune without breaking.

Now, let's look at one aspect more closely: How much should you charge? You should first make sure that you can cover your business expenses - although some leeway is allowed at the beginning because it's to be expected, eventually you have to be making more than you spend! After covering raw expenses, take a look around your market. Do you have a lot of competition, who are charging very cheap? You can compete either on quality, price, or services. By 'services' we mean specializing in a niche all your own.

Of course, you should have a snappy portfolio of your excellent work, and hopefully a reputation in the market proceeding you, so that people have a reason to think your work is worth any money at all.

On the spending side, make out a budget for your new business, and be sure that you have made it realistic. You will need to spend some money before you'll be able to make money. You may have to temporarily take on a large debt at the beginning. Be sure to budget for marketing, staff and services, and legal needs. As you go on in your photography business, your prices will start out low but after a while it's time to keep your prices up to date. Keep an eye on your competition, making sure that you are not charging too much or too little.

Now, consider your marketing strategy. Trying to get your business noticed in today's Internet era will feel like swimming upstream through molasses, but you've got to persevere! Look at your advertising material. Does it give the right impression about your business? Is it all the information correct? Does it answer the questions that the customer would naturally be asking? Will it get you some exposure? Would potential clients remember your name after they view the ad? Get some feedback from family and friends. Test different strategies and see what works.

Of course, you will need a website, there is no question about it. You will probably want to hire a professional designer. Since photography is a visual medium, you will want to be sure that your website makes you look good.

You may choose to use an advertising agency as well. For selecting an ad agency, get recommendations from other photographers or anybody else you know with a small business. You should pin the ad agency down on results; how many eyeballs per week, how many customers will they send you per dollar spent?

The above are only suggestions and we both know there's much more to starting a successful photography business! Notice I used the word successful there. That's because there are things you must look after to make sure your business doesn't become a 'lemon'. You get my drift I'm sure... Anyway, it costs nothing to check the link below where I explain what free valuable bonuses you get in plain English.

You can see the free bonuses that come with my 'income from photography' eBook here

...stay well and press on,

Ray Baker
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