Do you always have a camera with you? Do your family and friends turn to you for photos for family events? If so, you might be able to turn your interests into a full-fledged photography business. But before you start charging for your services, you should come up with a business plan to be successful.
Think About Marketing
To do well in the photo business, you need to market your services. It’s hard to get paid if you don’t get hired. Getting a degree in marketing can help you be successful. You’ll learn skills for promoting yourself online and in person. Many students choose to take out private student loans to pay for school. You might think that you have to get a family member or friend to help you, but it’s possible to take one out without a cosigner as well. Use your professional and personal networks to let people know about your business. Look for events like trade shows geared toward your niche. For instance, if you take portraits of pets, go to cat and dog shows. And if you’re a wedding photographer, look for wedding shows in your area. You’ll need a website as well. Ask your subjects for their permission to post their portraits online. Then get social media accounts set up.
Creating Your Business Plan
There are many reasons an individual or business might hire a photographer. Companies need product pictures while real estate agents need images of their homes. Individuals want their weddings and other events photographed, and families always want portraits. Come up with a business plan that lays out all the details of your new company, like how you’ll stand out from the competition, the services you’ll offer, marketing techniques, and financial projections. This is the time to determine what you’ll charge. Start with thinking about how much you want to make each year. For instance, if you want to make $50,000 each year and believe you can do about 26 weddings, you have to charge almost $2,000 per wedding. Remember this also needs to cover travel, the cost of your equipment, supplies, and the time you spend going through the pictures later.
Ensure That It’s Legal
You’ll have to file some paperwork to officially establish your company. The first step is to come up with a name. Make sure that it fits the kind of photography that you do. For example, if you take pictures of kids, you might come up with a fun name. But for a premium wedding photography company, you’ll need a more professional name. You might need to check to make sure that your desired name isn’t already trademarked. Once you’ve decided on a name, you’ll need a business permit or license form your county or city. You might need to collect sales tax if your state requires it. Check with your state’s tax office for the right forms so you can legally collect and pay sales tax. After you’ve followed these steps, set up an account under your photography business’ name.