What All Professional Photographers Need to Do as Their Own Boss

Living the dream of running your own photography business is rewarding. However, the business end of things can bog any good entrepreneur down. Professional photographers might not even know where to start with bookkeeping, marketing and figuring out factors such as insurance. 

What Do I Need to Start My Own Photography Business?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 110,500 professional photographer positions with a 17% growth rate through 2030. If you’re looking to break into the field or ramp up what you’re already doing, now is a great time to open or expand your photography business. 

Professional photographers should focus on several aspects of running a business if they want to thrive. You need more than a camera and a Facebook page Your images likely already speak for themselves. Now, focus on these professional photographer musts to run your own photography company. 

1. Backup Files

Much of your photography work will be digital. More than likely, you use a DSLR camera and upload images to your computer as you fill up storage discs. It’s vital that you backup everything a couple of times. 

If your computer crashes or a file becomes corrupted, you won’t lose important work or precious memories you’ve captured. Set up a program that backs up your photography files every night. Invest in an external hard drive for an additional backup.

backup files photographer

Photo: Lenharth Systems

2. Be Mindful

Running your own business as a professional photographer brings a lot of added issues you must deal with. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through deep breathing and meditation. Fortunately, there are various apps you can download to your phone that will remind you to take a minute and be more mindful.

3. Find Insurance

As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to figure out insurance for your healthcare needs as well as your business. You may be able to buy an umbrella rider to cover your business. Talk to your personal insurance agent to see what’s available. 

For healthcare, consider whatever company you were with when you worked for someone else. Call and see if they allow individuals to insure themselves and how much it would be for the same coverage. 

Another option is buying insurance on the government marketplace. If you are making under a certain income, some of your costs may be subsidized. 

4. Seek Passive Income

Passive income is where you do the work once and reap the profits for a long time. Around 20% of households have passive income of some type. One of the best ways professional photographers can grow their income over time is creating a balance of photo shoots and residual income.

passive income for photographers

Photo: Tim Sullivan

For example, you might take commercial stock photography in your spare time and upload to sites such as iStock and Deposit Photo. You could write a photography book, invest in a building where you have studio space but rent extra room to other businesses. There are many ways to build a passive income for your business. 

5. Automate Marketing

Professional photographers need fresh clients to bring in a decent income, but if they’re working it is hard to find the time to market effectively and seek those new clients. One thing you can do is automate your marketing efforts.

Use scheduling apps to plan out social media posts. Ask your customers to give you a shout out. Schedule ads for the rest of the year and just renew the ones that work well to bring in new clients.

Find a Mentor

If you want to take your professional photography business to the next level, seek someone who has built a success brand. While another photographer would be your best source of inspiration, any business owner can help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship.

Read next: Make Money with Photography: 11 Ways Photographers Can Earn Additional Income

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