So… you’ve discovered a deep love for photography. And, the thought that you could turn that passion into a business has crossed your mind more times than you’d like to admit. Yay! That is amazing…we can totally relate to the excitement you’re feeling. You’ve probably thought of all the perks of working for yourself. (Aren’t there a ton?) You love the idea of making a living doing what you love. You’re ready to jump in with both feet.
Table of Contents
- Select A Business Name
- Buy a Domain
- Create a Website
- Claim Social Media Usernames
- Schedule Head Shots
- Set Up Your Social Media
- Set Up Systems
- Separate Your Finances
- Define Your Ideal Client
- Invest in Education
- Save for Quality Gear
- Order Collateral
- Set Your Pricing
But you’re stuck, because you don’t know where to start.
While we can’t pinpoint exactly where YOU should get started, today, we’re sharing our best tips for getting your brand new business of the ground from the strongest standpoint possible! So… let’s dive in!
Select A Business Name
First, choose a name for your business! Do a little research on Google and social media to ensure your first pick isn’t already in use. We also wholeheartedly recommend using your name in your business name, as well!
Buy a Domain
After deciding on a name for your business, purchase the domain from Google to reserve it! Doing this will allow you to be able to host a website and an email address with your unique domain.
Create a Website
And friends… do not do this yourself! Starting with a professionally designed website from a shop or a designer provides a logo, a clearly defined color scheme, and a professional-looking brand from day one.
Also, when you’re in the process of designing your website, promise yourself you will not look at any other photographers’ websites for inspiration! Just because the way they word their About Page or set up their gallery page works for them does not necessarily mean it is best for you and your future clients! Write everything from the heart, do extensive research on composing a solid About Page, and look inward instead of outward for inspiration as you design your online brand. We cannot stress this enough! 🙂
Claim Social Media Usernames
While you’re in the process of working on your website, begin reserving your social media usernames! To begin, launch a Facebook page and an Instagram profile. Be sure to also reserve a Twitter profile and a Pinterest account with your name, but don’t post on all these right off the bat if you feel it’s too much. Keep your name uniform on all social media profiles as much as possible!
Schedule Head Shots
Swap headshots with another photographer or hire a photographer you adore to shoot some headshots for you! Ensure that the style of these photos is consistent with your photography style… you will be using them throughout marketing, on all social media platforms, and all over your website and your blog. It’s also helpful to incorporate your brand’s colors into this session!
Set Up Your Social Media
Create a consistent bio for all your social media platforms! Again, as you, do so, avoid ever looking at another photographer’s bio for inspiration. You want your bio to be unique, totally you, and without an ounce of anyone else in it! There are some amazing articles on creating a bio and what it should include… here’s one of our favorites!
Next, select one headshot for all your social media platforms and upload it! You want this photo to be of your face, relatively close up, and you want people to be able to see your eyes and a big, beautiful smile! Keeping your bio and profile picture consistent will allow people searching for you to find you quickly, and it will also build trust.
Set Up Systems
Create a workflow chart that will track every step of each client’s experience from beginning to end. We use an Excel spreadsheet to do this, but don’t be afraid to try a few things until you discover what works best for you!
Also, set up a system to track the finances of your new business. Luke created an amazing, all-inclusive spreadsheet that tracks mileage, earnings, expenses, and taxes for us. (And yes… once you start earning a certain amount of money, you ARE required to pay taxes, y’all! Don’t let that surprise you… plan for it now.)
Separate Your Finances
Open a designated account for your business spending and for depositing earnings. Purchase all business-related items with only that credit or debit card, and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress hunting through receipts that include things like memory cards and makeup!
Define Your Ideal Client
Decide who you will be marketing to. Are you going to focus on families, weddings, couples, seniors, or a combination of a few of these? Decide this early on, and have a vision of who your ideal clients are. This article is super helpful for doing this.
Invest in Education
Once you know what you want to focus on, research educational opportunities to learn how to run an incredible business in that field. Photographers are always hosting workshops, conferences, and online training that you can learn and grow from!
Save for Quality Gear
Let’s face it… photography gear is expensive! Save for the gear of your dreams, and rent that gear until you can pay for it with cash. Avoid going into debt for your business… it is so worth it to wait and have that dream gear 100% paid off!
You’ll always find needs for beautiful business cards, notecards, and other paper products as you start operating your business. Ensure that each of these is consistent with your brand, your logo, and your colors!
Set Your Pricing
Carefully decide what you will start charging for your sessions. Remember that very low prices aren’t always your a new photographer’s best option, as starting with super low prices can be hard to recover from. Set prices that cause people to respect you as a business; setting them too low will cause people to choose your business for your prices, not for you.
You’re ready to go! Once you’ve completed each of these steps, you are ready to start up. Announce your business to your friends and family as much as you can, both in person and on social media. Encourage them to send people in need of photos your way, and start shooting as much as you possibly can to gain experience, grow, and to have new work to share. Never stop posting both old and new content on social media, never ever stop hustling every day, and never stop learning about how to grow your business further.
There you go, guys! These are our best tips for starting off STRONG with your brand new photography business. Also, we want to be clear that this list of steps is not all-inclusive, that these steps will vary by the photographer’s goals, and that we’re assuming this aspiring photographer already has a small portfolio of work to share! If you have no existing work yet, and you are wanting to start a business someday, you can start with photographing friends and family first.
We also want to be clear that as you become a more established business, you will need to become legitimate legally! To decide what sort of company your business should be set up as, talk to your CPA or an attorney… they can provide the best advice on this topic.
Do you have a specific question we can help you answer about starting a photography business? We want to help you out! Comment below, and we’ll respond to your question right here on the blog! ????