In a world where every industry quickly becomes over-saturated, it makes perfect sense to be hesitant to jump out on a limb and start a brand-new business. Whether you are looking for supplemental income with a side hustle or growing your business to be your main income, there is more than enough money and clients for everyone to have a hand in the pot!
Becoming a photographer takes years of learning, practice and patience. You may hear some say you need a natural ability to be creative, but creativity can be developed over time. The basic skills of a photographer:
• Attention to detail
• Networking and Communicating
• Artistic vision
When starting out in the photography business, there is no need to worry about the business aspect. Things like registering your business, getting a business license, and contracts are not necessary until you are ready to start charging clients for your work. When starting out, take your time and focus on learning camera settings, lighting techniques and posing your models.
1. Plan and Research
Before we get into the fun stuff, cameras, equipment and taking pictures, let’s do some research! It is always important to know the background of what you want to learn. Here are some bullet points to read about:
• Types of Photography
• RAW and JPEG Files
• Aperture/F-Stop/Light Exposure
• ISO and Shutter Speed
• Full-Frame versus Crop-Sensors
2. Is A Niche Important?
Shoot all that you can and let your niche find you! Why limit yourself to just one area of photography, when starting a business? Get out there and test the waters. You never know what type of photography will catch your interest.
There is portrait photography, wedding photography, stock photography, food photography, product photography, and so much more. It is totally okay to experiment until you find what fits for you.
3. Invest in a DSLR Camera
In order to take pictures, you need a camera, a DSLR to be exact. Like we spoke of earlier, this is where full-frame and crop sensors come into play. Most of the time, you start with a crop sensor, because they are cheaper. Then upgrade to full frame when your business starts rolling. It all depends on your budget.
The two most popular camera brands for professional photographers are Nikon and Canon. A great starter crop sensor camera is the Nikon D3400 or Canon EOS Rebel T7i. Both are more than capable of delivering breathtaking photos. When you are ready to upgrade to full frame, the Nikon D750 or Canon 6D MKII are equal contenders.
The goal is to choose the lens that fits with the type of photography you see yourself doing. But there are so many lenses that it is impossible to touch the surface in this one article. So, let’s go through some of the popular focal lengths that can be used for almost any type of photography.
• 50mm f/1.2
• 24-70mm 2.8
• 105mm f/1.4
• 70-200mm f/2.8
In the beginning, you do not need all of the bells and whistles. Depending on if you are focusing on studio photography or outdoor photography, the basic equipment needs are similar.
An on-camera flash is mainly useful during events, weddings or any low light situation. Godox 2X TT600 is universal and is easy to learn. This is highly recommended, because the flash attached to the dslr is normally not powerful enough to light your subject correctly.
For those who are into studio photography, a lighting kit is a necessity. Until you can afford the soft box lighting, a continuous lighting kit is a great way to start. Continuous lighting will teach you to manipulate and angle light to give you countless looks to a photo.
A game changer is the reflector, which is interchangeable to give off a gold or silver luminance and even out the light. Then a sturdy tripod to get still, clear and sharp photos. The steady the camera, the sharper your photos.
6. Processing and Editing Photos
The go-to editing software for photographers is Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud consist of different apps for creatives to create their work. Photoshop and Lightroom is for photo editing. InDesign is used to create marketing materials like newsletters, brochures and flyers. Premiere is used to create dynamic video productions.
As a photographer, get used to touching up your photos, after uploading them to your computer. While it is important to get the photo close to perfect in camera, there will always be minimal edits that may need to be done.
Another good point is the type of computer or laptop you are working and storing your photos. Over time you computer may become full, so definitely invest in an external hard drive. Computers to recommend is an Apple iMac or Microsoft Surface. Samsung and Dell computers are durable name brands to consider when considering your purchase.
7. Build a Portfolio
One way is to create mock photoshoots of the different types of photography. For product photos, use a Coca-Cola bottle or jewelry around your house to photograph. For stock photography, ask your family and friends to dress in active gear and go to a running track and take a few shots. There are so many ways to build a portfolio, you just have to dig deep and get creative.
It is not necessary to have a full fledge website, in the beginning, unless you have the time and samples to showcase. Until then, there is nothing wrong with using social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook to showcase your work to your followers. You followers can easily turn into paying clients.
8. Marketing and Promotion
Your finally ready to put yourself out there and start booking clients. You have learned your camera, taken loads of pictures of your family and friends, edited all of your best shots, your social media and/or website has content ready to view and gotten enough practice that your confidence is through the roof. Time to take the leap of faith!
To make this step simple, there are so many outlets to create business cards and other marketing materials for free!
• Canva – templates ready for you to use and customize for business cards, flyers, social media posts and so much more.
• Vistaprint – popular website to get your business cards printed, in a large quantity, for a low price.
Your marketing materials do not need to be fancy. As long as they include your name or business name, your website or portfolio link, a way to contact you. The basics can get you by until you are ready to get more marketing materials. The most important is to network when handing out your business card or flyer. The goal is to have potential clients remember you, so they also remember the card or flyer you handed them.
9. Don’t Be Afraid To Fly!
Thinking of releasing your business for everyone to judge can be nerve wrecking but remember that everyone you meet will not book and that is okay. Keep pushing and keep pitching. For every 10 no’s there is a yes! Patience is key when your job depends on another person booking you for your service. So, be presentable, personable and patient. Stay ready and continue to practice.
Make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork in order by checking with your state or county small business administration. You may need to register your name or DBA to legally operate.
We would love to know more about you photography business! Leave us a comment and tell us what your plans are to get the ball rolling on your business?
Next article to look out for: Building A Website.