If you are an avid photographer with a perfect shot, choosing photography as a career may be the greatest choice of your life. But wait, you must not rush to quit your job to start a photography business; have a proper business plan first and then step into the world of the photography business.
Remember that money can be great when you have it, but it can also be a great frustration when you’re trying to build a business with very little or no money. In most of the cases, the photography entrepreneurs fall under the latter category and a well thought photography business plan can help you start up on a tight budget.
In order to develop a proper photography business plan, you must know what it takes to start such a business. Let’s discuss the minimum requirements for a photography startup.
1- A digital camera; of course the price varies, but if you’re a passionate photographer, you may already have one. In case if you do not have one, you must invest in a good digital camera, for which you may ask friends and family to fund your startup.
2- Access to a computer with internet connection.
3- A dedicated telephone; your personal cell phone can work perfect.
4- A well thought business plan with clearly articulated business goals.
5- Attractive photography business cards.
6- A positive attitude.
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Please note that there are a lot of things which are not in the list, for instance, there’s no website, no framed prints, no albums, no studio, no office etc.; because you can start a good photography business without these too. And, you can have it all once you have a positive cash flow that you can reinvest for business growth.
Don’t worry if you have seen a photographer starting up a business with a big studio in a busy commercial hub. As a fact of the matter, whether you are starting out, or just growing your business to the next level, money is always needed to build a business, but having too much money cannot guarantee success. The mindful spending of whatever the money you have, guarantees the success!
How to Start Photography Business with Little or No Money
Step 1: Making the Big Impact Investment with Little Cash
From the list of basic items needed to start a photography business, you should identify that a good digital camera is the only big investment you need to make. If you already have one, you are all set to go, but if you do not have one, you better fund your startup from your personal savings, friends & family, cash advance loan, installment loan etc. and buy one.
Step 2: Name it Rightly
Business name is of utmost importance for all kind of startups, and so it is for a photography business. You may name it after yourself, localize it or add some glamor to it, but make sure it is not taken already and duly register it with the local authority. Do check this guide on naming photography business the right way.
Step 3: Getting Online
A website is a great way to build your portfolio, but being on a tight budget you may not want to spend money on website design & development. Alternatively, you can start a free website with Wix, which you can move to your own server later.
A Facebook/Instagram page is a must, and it doesn’t cost anything except your time to create a page with appealing photos in it. Send invitations to your friends and have initial followers. Spend some money on advertising your Facebook page and getting followers from targeted locations.
Step 4: Offer a Giveaway
Giveaways are the best things to attract the target audience. Start thinking of giveaway ideas and you will find hundreds. Here are a few for your reference.
- Engage people on your Facebook page to like, share and comment to win a free photoshoot.
- Cover an event (wedding/seminar etc.) and tag the people in the photographs on Facebook/Instagram and they will love to share your work with their network.
- Get in touch with local businesses, i.e. restaurants, coffee shops etc. for partnership opportunities. For instance, the restaurant runs a promotion whereby it is giving away free photoshoot by you for customers who spend minimum $100.
Step 5: Do not forget to Distribute Awareness Material Whenever Possible
Let it be meeting a new guy at friend’s office or while you are a long metro trip. Take the opportunity to talk to people in a friendly manner, tell them about your work through your photographer business card and ask them to get in touch via Facebook/Instagram or phone.
Here’s a detailed article on how to get more clients for your photography business.
Step 6: Invest in Mindful Advertising
While there are cheap marketing opportunities like social media and word-of-mouth, having the money needed to make an investment can help to propel your business forward, so do look for advertisement opportunities that cost less but can bring more revenues. For instance, innovative car adverts, bus stop advertising, etc.
Step 7: Make sure not to Miss the Calls
With all the above, you will get your phone ringing at least and now it’s your ability to turn their interest into need. Be nice, have awesome packages and go out of the way to deliver if it is needed. Offer add-ons and treat your every customer as a special guest.
Remember that in today’s world’ it’s the excellent customer service that brings in more customers through word of mouth.
The Bottom Line:
Starting a photography business is not as difficult as it may seem, but please take a moment to check your local laws concerning self-trading businesses. These laws vary from country to country and even state to state, so it is important to check the details in order to avoid legal complications.