9 Useful Tips on Starting a Photography Business

9 Useful Tips on Starting a Photography Business

freelance photography tips

Here are some great tips on what you need to know when you are starting a freelance photography business.

It doesn’t matter whether you intend to sell all your photos online or whether you intend to sell your photos or services locally there is something you need to set up and understand before you start and will learn more about as you become more experienced.

You need to know not only the photography side but the business side as well.  This brings with it, it’s own challenges and skill sets that you need to have in order to become successful in your chosen field.

There are several important areas that you need to be able to do.  These include your portfolio, marketing, web design, legal aspects, office admin and accounting.

9 Freelance Photography Tips on Starting a Freelance Photography Business

Specialize in One or Two Areas

It is a good idea when you start out to concentration on a specialist area as you will get to be known in that particular area.  While it isn’t always possible to pick and choose if you are choosing to take photos in a lesser demand area and you may need to also expand and take photos to top up your income especially in the early days try to keep your website and portfolio in the area that you want to be known in, if necessary have more than one portfolio to cover the different areas.

Create a Quality Portfolio

It is vital that you have a quality portfolio that you can show clients.  This should be an actual portfolio that they can look at in their hand and not purely online.  Make sure that it is well laid out and displayed with a quality folder and quality pictures. Quality meaning not only the pictures themselves but they should not be dog-eared or have fingerprints on them.  Your client should feel they are the first to see them and that they are special.  Use larger images and nor 4x6s.photo portfolio

You Need to Sell Yourself & Your Skills

Not everyone is good at this but you need to sell yourself and your work for people to believe in you.  It’s no good going, Oh that could have been better, or that bit is a bit blurred.  Your work needs to shine and you need to have confidence in it and your ability to give your future clients what they want.  If you are not it will show.  If you cannot do this then perhaps work on your confidence.  Believe me, you need this if you are selling face to face.

You, Will, Need to Learn Business Skills

When you become a photographer it is hopefully because you love photography.  The irony is that as a photographer most of what you will need to do isn’t photography but business. Depending on your budget you may not have an accountant, a secretary or any of the people you need to run the background of your business.  You may need to do it yourself.  This flies in the face of the advice given by highly successful businesses who recommend that you delegate the work, and that is true when you can until then you need to be able to do it yourself.  80% of the time you will be marketing, doing admin, accounts chasing payments, etc.

This flies in the face of the advice given by highly successful businesses who recommend that you delegate the work, and that is true when you can until then you need to be able to do it yourself.  80% of the time you will be marketing, doing admin, accounts chasing payments, etc.

Make Sure You Get a Written and Signed Contract

business contractI cannot emphasize this enough. it is vital that you both know what is expected of you and what they are getting and how much it will cost and what they own or don’t. If you don’t you are leaving yourself wide open.

When Appropriate Make Sure You Get Money Up Front

If your client is serious they should pay a deposit or you could find yourself doing work and not getting anything for it. (note: this depends on your business model)

Have a Great Website to Show off Your Work and Be Seen

You should have a great website where people can find you even if you only work in the real world.  This is essential for you to be found and a great marketing tool.

Your Mindset Makes the Difference

You need to believe in yourself your abilities and your business mission.  This will come through in everything that you do.

Legal Aspects Cannot Be Avoided

Legal aspects can be a minefield.  You need to know who owns the copyright and when, when you can use a particular photo and for what.  You need to know when to use model release papers.  When you can or cannot use photos of buildings (Did you know for example that you cannot use pictures of the Sydney Opera house for commercial purposes without paying them?).

Then there are the business expenses and government payments for expenses and taxes etc

You can’t be expected to know everything but you should know as much as you can if you are to avoid problems later, you can also learn as you go. Check and double check your facts with the right authorities.  If you are selling online you may also be subject to laws that are different from your own country.