The photography industry is booming with its increased and specialized demand for specific niches.
With this growing need, there has also been a subsequent increase in photographers, making it competitive for those entering the field today.
Establishing a business comes with a lot of challenges, and photography is no exception. One of the most prominent challenges entrepreneurs in this industry face is a budget constraint.
Let’s see how you can stride over this challenge and establish a successful photography business.
Start a Photography Business in Five Steps
Starting bootstrapped is something many entrepreneurs do if they don’t want to invite external investments and get funding.
It’s a wise decision as this way you won’t be pressured and can eventually seek funding or a loan at a later stage of your business when you need to allocate it to other resources.
Now, how can you start a photography business with little to no money? Let’s answer that question.
1. Draft a business plan
Photo: William Iven
Vaguely starting a business because you want to, without any planning, will not work out. A business is something you cannot jump on out of spontaneity.
Before you go ahead, it’s best to draft a business plan that tells you what you need to do, how you should proceed, and what should be your action plan.
Without a business plan, you could end up wasting your resources. But, since we want this business to work, drafting a business plan should be your topmost priority.
What do you need to include in your business plan?
This section will help you set your mission and vision clearly. It should include an assessment of your current position in the market and an analysis of local competition to see where you would stand after starting out.
Another thing it should include is your target audience description. This will give you an idea about who your ideal audience is.
There are various other aspects of a business other than photography, which you need to take care of as an entrepreneur. These include accounting, taxes, equipment, and human resources.
It’s better to map out these requirements towards the beginning to get a clear idea of what all you have and what more you need to make your business fail-proof.
– Business strategy
Your business strategy will talk about the tactics you will use to grow your business from marketing to networking and so on.
It’s like an action plan of various strategies that you can use to slowly but steadily expand your business.
2. Define your goals and budget for minimum equipment
Photo: Jakob Owens
Defining SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound helps reach your vision much faster than vague and non-specific goals.
If you’re running a business, then you know that goals keep you going. It’s best to have several micro-goals, which eventually lead up to the macro-goal.
At the same time, you also need to define your budget for minimum equipment. Once you have the initial investment for the camera and other equipment sorted, you can forget the tension of investing more money because the right equipment in the early stages can help.
However, before you set off buying the necessary, define your maximum budget after research to have an idea about the kind of money you need for it and don’t spend more than that.
Maintain your equipment with proper care so you can use it for an extended period before you need to reinvest. Once you start building up your business, you can always upgrade your equipment.
3. Leverage free courses to improve your skills
If you’re starting a business, then you probably have basic or even advanced knowledge about the skill. But the more experienced you are, the better clients you can get, so it’s essential to keep working on your craft while handling the business aspect.
Even if you’re focusing on other things, take out time to learn new things to package your services in a better way for clients.
There are plenty of free resources available online in the form of courses, blogs, eBooks, and videos that you can leverage.
4. Market your business
Photo: William Iven
With everything being digital today, the need for a website and a social media presence is greater than ever.
Whenever you want to search for a vendor, be it a wedding planner or a fashion designer, what’s the first place you look? It’s probably Google and social media platforms because that’s where the world lies.
This is why a website is essential. You can use a website builder such as Wix or Weebly to create a website, display your portfolio, build trust through a blog, and give some background about your business.
You don’t have to establish your presence on all social media platforms, but you need to figure out the platforms your audience uses.
When it comes to marketing, networking and collaborations also go a long way. Business is more about building relationships and getting work through those relationships is the cherry on top.
5. Set realistic prices and sell your services
Photo: Dariusz Sankowski
A highly common misconception with entrepreneurs is setting low rates because the competition in the market is high. While you definitely cannot charge high prices, setting up realistic prices that are not too costly and justify the amount of work you put in is essential.
If you want to sell your services the right way, it’s best to decide on a rate card and be clear on what you’re offering for what amount of money. This will ensure you have everything in one place and are consistent with your pricing.
For both you and your client’s benefit, you can also make proposals for packages that are cost-effective to the client and are beneficial to you because you’re upselling them by offering a higher package with more inclusions.
It all comes down to finding a sweet spot between what you want to offer versus what the client wants.
Every business requires effort and some time to set down its foundational course, but it’s worth it. Rushing through things will only lower down the quality of work and increase the mistakes along the way.
Failures are inevitable when it comes to starting a business, and that’s alright. Just make sure you are failing ‘forward.’
Don’t treat having less money as a weakness. Instead, treat it as a challenge to see how far you can go to make the best of what you have to make your business successful.
The most important thing is starting on the right foot because that sets the course for your journey ahead.
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.