What you should be looking for when starting a photography business is a rough business plan that suits your personality, your goals for your business, one that enables you to be organised and motivates you to convert your dreams and theories into action. A business plan can be drawn up for you and tailored to your specific needs by a qualified business coach or you can do it yourself. A business plan gets your business off to a perfect start and includes planning everything from what you will charge for your photographs, to your finances, and marketing strategies.
Important elements of what to look for when starting a photography business that is to be included into your business plan are the prices you should charge for your photographs.
Knowing what price you should charge your customers for your photographs will be based on your costs you have had to outlay in starting your business as well as your research on what other photographers are charging. To give you a good idea of how to price your photographs, look at the prices that other photographers who are new to the scene charge, and also look at what photographers who do similar work and services to you charge. When your business gets up and running and grows to be more successful you will be able to look out for the prices your competitors are offering, match it or better it. If your name becomes well known and your photography becomes the "latest thing", then you will be able to charge your customers more for their privileged access to your services, however in a more realistic situation when your business grows, you will most likely lower your prices in order to compete with other photographers. If you find that your particular style or avenue of photography is in great demand, or there are few photographers who have a similar style of work to what you do, you will be able to charge more for your photos. There are also scenarioes where you can raise your prices for special services but there is much more on that in my eBook.
An essential factor in starting a photography business is the amount of finances you will need to run it successfully, including the hidden and ongoing costs involved with all businesses. In relation to finances, start with what you are comfortable with, but your business (in order to be successful) must be backed with a realistic and reasonable amount of funds, including the costs for marketing that is essential to build your business, and you should always allow for an increase in the marketing budget as sales pick up.
Ensure your marketing strategy is making the most of your money, getting your name and services out there. No one will know about you unless you sell yourself and display how beautiful/clever/funny your photos are. Your marketing strategies need to include a clear description of your business name, your experience and/or qualifications as a photographer, display your flair through example photos, the services you offer, the type of photographs you take, your prices, and most importantly where and how customers can find you/contact you.
What to look for when starting a photography business: Some important points and questions to consider;
Does your advertisement/website present your business name and your services in a clear and attractive manner? Ask yourself, "Would I be interested in the services that this photography business offers?"
If you have a website is it easy for your customers to navigate through, or is it like a maze? Your website can display your personality, however it must be presented in a professional manner, where customers can find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. We live in a fast paced society, often if people can't find what they are looking for within one minute on your website, they will most likely move onto another one.
How easy is it for customers to access your services? Make sure that your contact numbers/addresses are easy to find and clearly visible (to people of all ages) both in your advertisements and on your websites. Have a look at the advertisements yourself, and get your family and friends opinion too, doing this may save you money. Tip - make your phone number in larger type on our business card. After all, that's really the only reason you should keep them, so that people can quickly and easily contact you. Not marvel at the motto or pretty typeface.
If you want your photography business to work through an agency, research and trial the company/agency offers to sell your photos first. Ask yourself "Am I satisfied with the results?" In order to answer this question, you may want to review the initial goals you had for your business, and also research/compare other photographer's experiences with that same or a different agency.
You should not charge unrealisticly high prices for your photographs to make up for the loss of finances and ongoing costs in starting your photography business that you did not account for. You must start your photography business with a realistic amount of finances to support your business through the initial challenges and slow times. This may include having other sources of income to support your photography business in its infant stage.
It is essential to follow and to adapt your business plan, continually review and focus on your goals, learn from your mistakes, and to research and seek help when in doubt.