The number one question I get asked is: HOW DO I START A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS?
I wish I had an easy answer! If you were to ask 10 different photographers, you’ll likely get 10 different answers, but today I’ll attempt to condense my answer to three big steps. The process is long and often frustrating, but I hope to outline a little of what you might want to do if this is your career choice.
Malcolm Gladwell asserted in his book Outliers that in the careers of the gifted, innate talented played less a role than preparation played in their careers. He also asserted that professionals pour 10,000 hours of practice into their craft BEFORE they distinguished themselves in their field. The thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it.
What this basically means for anyone wanting to pursue a long-term career in photography is you need to pick up your camera…and never let it go. Start logging those practice hours because that’s the foundation to success.
Here’s a few ways to practice:
a. Give yourself a weekly photo assignment and stay true to practicing (EX: low light situations, backlit, wide apertures, wide apertures and moving subjects)
b. Ask your friends to pose for you and slowly build your photo portfolio.
c. Reach out to other new photographers and set up a shoot to swap head shots and learn from each other…as well as get a good bio photo for your website.
2. Post Photos on Facebook
When you’re starting a business, the key is to get people to: 1. Know you’re there; and 2. Talk about you.
Both these things can be accomplished well using photos, so be sure to set a pattern in how you approach this. The best thing is to keep continuity in posting your work so be sure to plan ahead to ensure you have projects in the works as it encourages you to stay the course and practice before the shoot to ensure you’re ready to raise the bar before the following session. That might’ve been the longest sentence ever.
Of course you’ll tag the subject of the photo, but don’t hesitate to write on the makeup artist’s wall and upload a picture to display her work, too. There are multifaceted conversations happening in social media, so be sure to think of how to best leverage each one. I also upload a story and slideshow to the clients’ Facebook walls using +Sites to ensure their friends can view more of my work without having to leave the comfortability of their viewing environment.
3. Get a website
If you want to be a professional, you need to act like one. In this day in age a website is a way for people to immediately get a sense of your photo style, ability, and personality. No where is this done more effectively than with a solid website. Yes, this requires an investment, but I believe it’s best to allocate funds in a way that will build your brand. You can rent a lens…rent a camera…but you can’t rent your brand.
If you’re not tech saavy or have thousands to invest on a custom design, there a plenty of options for those just starting out. My good friend and graphic designer Promise Tangemen offers stellar Showit website solutions for those who are looking for a solid place to start. You can customize the website design as your business changes and update photos with all the practicing you’re doing.
One of the most frustrating things about starting a business is that it takes time. Lots and lots of time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll likely make mistakes and take a few missteps along the way, but if you keep these three things in tact, the ball will start rolling. Sure, it’s a small ball and the rolling will be slow, but it’s still a moving ball. Dude, do I need to quit with this metaphor or what?!
Of course, this is merely a general outline of what must done, but if you’d like more information on how I got the ball rolling (last reference, promise!), you can check out:
*Top Five Business Mistakes I’ve Made
*What I Wish I Knew When I Started a Photography Business
*Nut and Bolts of How to Start a Photography Business
*How to Create a Website Reflective of You
*How to Invest in Your Photography Business
© Jasmine Star. This post cannot be republished without permission. Stealing makes me sad.
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