Being a genius photographer doesn’t necessarily guarantee a profitable business in photography.To think about photography from a business perspective, you not only need talent and artistic vision but also a competitive edge and business know-how. A business plan with clear strategies and smart tactics will help in growing your bottom line. Here’s how:
Determine your target market
The following are the most elementary questions that need to be answered to identify your potential clients and establish a foundation for your strategy.
Types of Photography: Photography is a broad art. It has various categories like photo-journalism, documentary, action, fashion, art, portraiture, advertising, travel or forensic photography. Try to answer “What type of photography do I find most interesting?” You may stick to one photography specialty that you are passionate about or simply choose to focus your photography business in one of the various categories at which you excel.
Products and Services: The question is “What are you selling?” Photography services or photographs, art or memories? Keep in mind that photography is a skilled base service. The end product, the photographs, forms only a fraction of the costs while a major share of the costs is for the creative talent of the photographer.
Competitive Market Analysis: The field of photography is wide and competitive. Research the marketplace and look for those segments that are under-served.
Get your Equipment As the cost of photography equipment is quite high, when buying the necessary equipment, make a judicious selection based on priorities, budget, space availability and kind of photography that you do. Purchase high quality core equipment. For equipment that will be used infrequently, buy at lower cost or consider rental sources.In addition, identify the office equipment that you will need such as computer, telephone, fax, scanner, office furniture, etc. Do not forget to take a sufficient insurance cover on your equipment.
Finalize Suppliers For a long term business goal, start developing relationships with your film, processing and camera equipment suppliers. If you are not planning to develop your photos yourself, select a reliable photo lab based upon the quality of work, their ability to meet promised deadlines, and the ability to get a complex order correct.
Price your Services Considerable thought has to be given to pricing strategy. Setting too high a price might throw you out of the market while setting a lower price might make it difficult for you to meet overheads. A good reference point would be professional organizations for your specialized branch of photography or books that quote ballpark prices.
• For advertising photography, include basic daily fee to cover the overheads, your creative fee plus a reasonable profit. Your overheads are all the out-of-pocket expenses associated with the shoot like film, props and the services of hair stylists, makeup artists and models.
• If an assignment involves travelling, then you should add travel and food expenses.
• For retail photography, you are expected to quote an all-inclusive price for a product. For example, a wedding assignment, you can set a flat fee per hour of coverage; for portfolio, you can fix a price per package that depends on a set number and print size.
• Stock photographs are priced on a per photograph basis.
Start Networking Marketing is an essential aspect of any business. Hence in addition to a portfolio, your own website and advertisement in yellow pages make sure you:
• Look into professional organizations in your area, join photography groups and participate in local exhibitions and fairs where you meet a lot of potential customers. • Offer to teach a photography workshop in your community. Remember word of mouth marketing is not only free but also reaches the target customers within no time.
• Collaborate with local art galleries and museums where you can distribute or display your work.
A photography business involves an investment of lot of time and money, hence make sure that you’ve carefully researched and thought about all the practical aspects that you’ll need to handle and the challenges that you’ll need to face.