Many aspiring entrepreneurs struggle with turning their passions into profits, and photographers who are looking to transition from hobbyists to business owners are often no different. To find success, you need to know how to avoid failure. In this post, we’ll discuss a few dangerous pitfalls to sidestep when launching a photography business.
This may sound counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t price your services purely on your experience level, even if you don’t have much professional experience in photography. Most beginning photographers make this mistake because they don’t have the confidence to price their services at a fair and reasonable rate. Failing to price yourself properly can cause your business to topple before it even gets started.
Instead of calculating your rates based on your experience, determine your prices based on how much you want to make.
A successful business is a profitable one, and if your business isn’t profitable because you’re too worried about your lack of professional experience, it will fail before it even takes off. Factor in all your expenses and taxes, and determine how much revenue you need to generate to make a decent profit. This doesn’t mean that your prices need to be sky-high when you’re just starting out; it means that you charge enough so that your business can succeed. As you rack up more experience and skill, it will make sense for you to charge higher prices, as you will have more leeway to do so. Just make sure that your rates when you first start out are respectable, as this will help your business survive the beginning stages.
Many rookie photographers make the mistake of investing a large slice of their earnings into newer technology and equipment that they believe will help them be a better photographer. While it’s not necessarily a bad idea to invest in better equipment, it’s not something that you should worry about if you’re especially strapped for cash. Think of it like this: if the equipment doesn’t help you make more money or help you command higher rates, there is almost no point in making the investment.
Your business needs to be predictable. There should be reliable processes in place that can ensure that the job gets done right, and that the customer is satisfied. If you don’t know what to do in each stage of your business operations, things will be chaotic.
From the moment a potential client contacts you, there should be a system in place that that provides an answer on what to do next.
For example, let’s put together a simple client conversion system- Once a potential client contacts you, follow these steps:
1.Ask a series of standard questions that will help to get a better idea of what the client wants.
2.Scheduling a phone to discuss, in great detail, how you can accomplish the project
3.If you haven’t spoken to the prospect for a period after that phone call, call back or send an email to follow-up to see if there were any additional questions or concerns.
4.Once the client has decided to use your services, send an invoice to complete the sale.
Having a system like that is a good frame of reference from which you can operate your business. Often, you’ll find photographers who do things differently with each client they deal with, which can cause confusion, create inconsistency, and impede progress on a project.
While you may have the capability to shoot photos for anybody, it’s not something that you necessarily want to do. The problem that many fledgling photographers have is that they try to serve anybody that’s willing to pay for their services, but they’re unable to attract clients in significant numbers.
Instead of trying to serve everybody, determine your customer and dial in your marketing to focus on that type of customer.
This is why there are different photography disciplines. Some of the more successful photography studios will focus on one type of customer—whether they shoot weddings, models, families, or graduating students. Follow these tips for understanding your target base:
Answering those questions will help paint a better picture of who you’re trying to target, and how you can go about closing them.
Once your business starts to take off, keeping up with demand can be quite challenging. Although this is a great problem to have, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of tools available to help you with your editing process. For example, MCP Actions creates photoshop action sets to help you streamline a wide variety of workflows.
You’re going to make mistakes when starting a photography business. However, if you can avoid the major mistakes, your business will stand a much better chance at surviving the inevitable growing pains.