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How to Start a Photography Business
Whether you are a talented amateur photographer, or have a great deal of experience working professionally, starting your own photography business demands that you make important choices about the market segments you will serve. These choices will determine what kind of operations you must develop, how to direct your marketing, and the services you will offer clients. It is increasingly difficult to cover all types of photographic work due to the competition from specialists in these segments.
Being a wedding photographer may be for you if you enjoy the beauty and excitement of weddings, and wish to forge close connections with clients. However, it is a highly seasonal business, with the majority of weddings occurring in the warmer months. Your business plan must take this into account and show that you can survive the slow times, focusing on sales and marketing in the colder months to maximize the number of clients on the summer weekends.
Another downside of this segment is the high stress level from working with sometimes demanding brides who have been taught by the media to believe weddings are the most important day of their life and it is their right to demand perfection. A lot of client handholding and advance work will be needed to customize your plans and assure clients that your work will run without a hitch on their big day.
A corporate photography focus can lead to long-term rather than one-time clients, lowering the costs of marketing and sales over time. However, businesses will be focused on keeping costs down and may pressure you to lower prices in return for long-term relationships. Also, the work itself may be much less artistic and creative than your interests, although there is always some room to bring creativity into any photography job.
The portrait business is a highly competitive one, with amateur and low-cost providers competing with professional studios. A main requirement to serve this segment will be a studio space of your own, which will be a significant cost. However, without this space, you will be limited to location shoots and not all individuals and families will be interested in this. Within the heavy competition on price, there is still room to differentiate your work through creativity and quality at the top-end of the market. This may be the right segment for you it you enjoy the artistry of wedding photography but not the stress of events and bridal clients.
Want more tips? Here's a related article: Photography Business Plan
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