Creating and running a portrait or wedding photography business is simple - not always easy, but it is not complicated. You may wonder what you actually need to start a successful photography business. You may wonder what is most effective and what will bring you the best results.
So, here are six essential tools for running a photography business.
1. Your Camera: I am going to shock you. Because I am going to say you can use any camera for your photography business, as long as you are able to create great results for your clients with it. You may have heard many photographers say that the photographer creates the image and not the camera. This is true. If you know how to use your equipment well, you can produce great photographs. Know the limits of your equipment so you have inform clients on what you can and can not do. I started my photography business with a consumer grade camera, a Canon Rebel XT. I knew that camera like the back of my hand. It was slow and I did some post processing to the images to help out. However, my clients raved about the photos I created with it. You don’t need the most expensive equipment to create great photos when you are starting out. I recommend listening to this podcast from Dane Sanders. He discusses what is actually means to be pro and his guest has great insight into this topic.
2. Professional Website: There are many easy, non-technical ways to create a stunning website. And you do not need a huge budget or an expensive designer to make it happen. For example, this website was created for a crazy $8/month - not set up, no designer. If you are not a web design expert, keep it simple and close to the template you start with. You can always hire one later once you have more income.
3. Email List: You should have a way to contact all of your potential clients or past clients easily. Email does just that. Imagine being able to get in touch with everyone who is interested in your photography with just a few clicks of a button. Special events, sales and empty appointments just filled up! See the resources page to get an email service provider.
4. Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are a photographers best friend. Before social media, word of mouth was a lot harder to come by. Your clients may have hung your photography on their walls and maybe it started conversations when they had visitors to their home or when the topic of photography happened to come up in a conversation. However, now with social media your client’s walls are virtual and their friends can come visit 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Let that sink in for a minute….
5. Business Cards & a Smart Phone or Tablet Portfolio App: When you are offline and you meet a potential client, you need a way to keep in touch. You also need a way for them to remember you. Having a portfolio available on your phone allows you to make your photography a point of interest in a conversation; it gives them something tangible to remember you by because they were touching and feeling your photos, so to speak. A business card gives them a way to contact you when they get home.
6. A business bank account: Having a way to manage your business finances separately from your personal stuff is going to help you every month and also at tax time. You will also be allowed to accept payments in your business name.
7. Legalize it: Make it official with a business license and the IRS. Its the law. Requirements differ depending on where you are located, start by checking with your local government office. Many have information available on their website and just require a few forms to be filled out and submitted.
Tip: When you are first starting out with your photography business, don’t waste time tinkering around with every social network, business tip or the newest and latest marketing trend. Start here and in your spare time branch out.