Photography can be one of the most fun and creative ways to make some extra income. And while it may or may not have been a hobby for you before, this is a business that’s relatively affordable, as well as can be done on your own time. And luckily for you, I’m going to walk through the initial steps you should take to get started. Check them out below:
Get Your Finances In Order
One of the first things you should do if you’re looking to get into photography is to take a look at your financial picture and assess your affordability. As this is a small business you're starting, you’re going to want to know the equipment you’ll need off the bat, as well as how to market yourself. All of this is going to require an upstart cost, which will include your runway and any potential roadblocks you might face along the way.
To begin, make a list of all of the equipment you currently have but might need. Additionally, look into estimated costs for travel and how to manage timing and money with that. It might not be a bad idea to talk to other photographers to see how they might hack costs or even financial items they try to plan for. While it’s not the most expensive business to start, this won’t be cheap, so make sure your money is right before you reach out to others.
File An LLC
As with any business, you’re going to have to file an LLC to be in good legal standing. This also gives you a streamlined approach to handling your finances, as everything can be taken care of from your business accounts, with what’s left going to your personal account. Plus, taking care of tax writes off is much simpler with an LLC, saving you (and your accountant) quite the headache.
Expense What You Can
One of the best parts of being self-employed/owning an independent business is the ability to write off as much as you can for expenses. This includes anything from the best satellite internet provider you can find to your phone bill to even your gas and equipment. Anything related to your business can more often than not be written off, so it’s important to keep track of everything you can, as well as work with an accountant on ensuring everything is sound.
Practice As Much As Possible
If you’re eventually trying to make photography your full-time job, then getting as much practice in is going to be imperative. This includes working to take as many different styles of photos as you can (I.E: portraits, candid, composition, etc.), and challenging yourself on the elements of each. Additionally, getting your editing game down is a must, as it’s what’s really going to bring the photo to life. If you’re not familiar, try checking out some tutorials on editing, as well as study what some of your favorite photographers are doing. All-in-all, this is where the meat and bones of your business are, which means you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time on it.
Instagram Is Your Best Friend
Perhaps the biggest promotional tool you have in getting your photography business together is Instagram, which will be the hub for both showcasing your work as well as networking with new clients. According to HootSuite, the platform boasts nearly 500 million daily active users, which is a pretty staggering figure. Start looking around at different sectors of the photography industry, including weddings, fashion, or even events to see where your niche might fit in. Additionally, follow accounts you find exciting or could potentially be customers or partners. The overarching goal here is to develop relationships, as well as showcase your work.
Know Your Worth
Finally, one of the hardest aspects for a new photographer is knowing exactly how much you should charge. Starting out, a lot of people in creative services offer up their work for free. However, this can set a bad precedent because when you receive referrals, these folks are either going to expect the work for free or at a ‘discounted’ rate. Instead, compare yourself from the average, then work from there. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the median rate around $16.38-$25.10 per hour, which is fair for a mid-range photographer. As you might be a novice, I’d recommend staying around the $15 per hour range, and charge a flat rate that factors in the time to take the photos, edit them, as well as any incidentals along the way.
What are you most excited about in launching a photography business? Comment with your answers below!