Making money from photography is a steep but brilliant mountain to climb

You are a professional photographer as soon as you sell a print or get any money for your photography. Excellence at that level entails taking on tasks and responsibilities, some of which also apply to amateur photographers. However, it is much more than many people imagine.

Years ago, someone told me that cemeteries were full of people who were invaluable to their work. At the time, I worked for a scary boss. Over time, it became stressful so I left. Do you want to be your own boss and do what I did, turn what you love into a business?

Part of being a professional photographer is running a business. If you’re self-employed, that means doing all the tasks that some companies would split between multiple people. In addition to your core business, you will be an accountant, administrator, marketing and advertising executive, website builder, social media campaign manager, IT specialist, administrator health and safety managers, printer cartridge replacements, as well as janitors emptying bins and sweeping floors. As soon as you hire an assistant, you also become the director of human resources. Most of those jobs don’t generate revenue, but are essential. It requires a degree of organizational competence to stay on top.

No matter how multi-skilled you are, some rivers will be too difficult and deep to cross. You may need to hire an accountant, website developer or lawyer to write your terms and conditions. If you are too busy, you can pay someone to empty your trash.

An online presence is essential for a business and any amateur looking to promote their work should consider that as well. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a powerful website. This should represent both you and your business and should be visually appealing. It should also be easy to navigate, providing detailed information about your photography training services. Use high-quality images and videos to showcase your work and services.

It’s not enough to have a website. You must update it regularly, otherwise it will sink into oblivion. It’s one of those consistent items needed for search engine optimization (SEO). Don’t pay attention to emails that promise to get you first place.

Taking the time to improve search engine optimization (SEO) will help you appear at the top of search engine results. I’m sure you can see a dilemma here: people are trying to do it. Regularly updating your site and having people link to it from others is an advantage.

Many of the same promotional methods are still in place today, just as they were hundreds of years ago. It’s mostly word of mouth. Your reputation will spread if you provide your customers with good quality products and services. It’s not as immediate as social media; If someone has had a good experience with you, they will tell one or two others. However, if the experience was bad, they would tell ten.

Of course, these days, word of mouth means social media. Creating social media accounts on the platform is essential. Depending on your business type, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter can all help promote your business. Remember to share your work there and post updates on upcoming events and the success of past ones. Take the time to interact with your followers.

Connecting with other photographers and industry experts also helps. I have submitted work to other photographers when I have been asked for services that I am too busy to undertake or are outside my area of ​​expertise. Likewise, other photographers have submitted work my way. Connecting with other photographers and industry experts is a must. But invest your time in connecting with the right people. It makes no sense to contact people from across the country when most of your work is local to you. Joining photography groups and clubs is well worth the effort.

One should not just network with photographers. Contacting other local businesses and organizations can also boost your profile. However, consider attending national photography events if you need to expand your network even further. I made some valuable connections at the UK Photography Show and brought me extra income.

I don’t like receiving marketing emails, so I don’t send them. Moreover, I don’t have time to do that. However, many successful businesses build email lists of potential and current customers, and email marketing keeps them up to date. It works, but receiving unwanted emails is annoying. Beware, unsolicited email laws are very strict in many countries and you can’t spam other people if they don’t want you.

Offering free sessions is a great way to find new customers. Many photographers offer free portrait sessions and customers buy prints. If photography training is your thing, taking people for short photo walks, giving talks, or helping out at a photography club is a great way to promote yourself. It is not free. Encouraging your existing customers to refer their friends and family to your business can work well. Give them a discount to do so and a coupon for their friend.

Can you write? One way to keep your website up to date and noticed by search engines is to write articles. Share your expertise and pass on valuable information to your potential clients. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you give away knowledge, people will assume you have more to offer when they come to the training.

Cross-promoting other businesses in your area can be helpful. I’m not suggesting you advertise to your direct competitors, but wedding photographers often share links with other wedding providers, while some partner with boutiques. camera goods for a discount. Amateur photographers sometimes have blogs and will showcase and be recommended by others.

It is important to know when you are succeeding and why. Therefore, it is essential to monitor your advertising campaigns and see their impact. You can track your website visits using Google Analytics, and Meta has a number of valuable tools, including Insights, accessed through the Meta Business suite.

Sometimes, things go wrong. Having backup processes in place is essential. We should take precautions to reduce some of the high risks. For example, what would you do if you were a wedding photographer and woke up the morning of the event and was sick? Do you have someone you can call to cover you? Do you have a second camera? Does your camera have dual memory slots in case one card fails? Do you replace memory cards and cameras before they die? Does your vehicle have a breakdown service? Do you have a backup for everything?

There is another thing to consider: adequate coverage. Business insurance is expensive, and you don’t just have to protect your equipment. Sometimes I bring portable studio equipment to the venue and one time the flash head explodes and catches on fire. What if that fire spreads to the building I’m in? I also heard a horror story about a photographer who took a step back and knocked over someone standing behind him. This person fell, hit his head and suffered brain damage. The photographer’s insurance is not sufficient to cover damages already awarded. Others have camera equipment covered by their home insurance, or so they think. When it was stolen, they came in to claim, and the insurance company found out that the photographer had done some paid photography work, and that invalidated the cover.

Before starting a photography business, you must make sure that you are the right type of person for the field. That means very little income for the first year or two. You will have to work late into the night and start early the next morning. When things go wrong, and they will, you have to be able to accept that failure and fix it. Running a business requires a degree of organizational skills. In addition, you must have a personality that others find agreeable; someone I met many times tried to start a photography business, but it was a constant uphill struggle. Why? He is known for his abhorrent racist views; so no one will use him.

To set up and succeed in business, you have to love what you do. While controlling money is essential, it’s not about chasing it. Income is just a natural by-product of your work. Providing your customers and clients with a high-quality service is all it is about. It’s hard work with long hours, but nothing better. For me, making a living spending time with great clients, sometimes going up a snowy hillside or on a stormy beach at dawn, enjoying a wedding or party, or playing with light effects. Creating in the studio is nothing short of amazing.

So if you are thinking of changing to a professional, you will have money to live on for a few years until you build your business to make enough profit to feed your family and friends. motivated to work from early morning until late at night.

Have you considered going into business? Have you done so and do you have any advice to give to others? What advantages and pitfalls did you find?


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