Considering turning your love for photography into a photography business? Here are a few tips for making the transition from a casual photographer to a professional.
Advertise Your Photography Business
Enlist your friends and family to spread the word, but don’t rely on them to create your client base. Once you’ve put together a portfolio of your best work and set up a website, get active on social media and get some business cards to share. Keep your website fresh by posting regularly on your blog, and make sure that you begin building an email list as soon as possible. Offer referral bonuses and run contest or promotions. Basically, don’t wait for business to come to you; be proactive in getting your name out there.
Know the Going Rate in Your Region
Depending on your experience level, you may consider initially working a few strategic gigs for free; if working for a specific client for free could result in landing a big client, then the payoff could be worth a few hours of your time. However, once you do start charging for your services, it’s important to determine just how much your time is worth. Too often, beginners are just excited to be paid anything at all, and they may underprice their work. Knowing the going rate for photography services in your area can give you a ballpark idea of what you should be charging, helping you avoid the trap of pricing yourself too low.
Meet Clients in Person
Every photographer is different, and your style is entirely unique. Most clients who hire professional photographers want to make sure that they can connect with their photographer and trust them with their big project. Meeting with your clients in person before accepting a gig helps you ensure that you’re the right person for the job and that they’re a client that you’ll enjoy working with.
Get Comfortable with Contracts
Once you’ve made a connection with a potential client, bringing out a contract can feel a little awkward. However, contracts set the stage for a professional business transaction, preventing misunderstanding and ensuring that your client knows exactly what the terms of service and consequences for breaches are. There are a ton of free templates online for photographers, which come in handy if you don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer. Make sure your contract includes things like your clients’ full names and contact information, a summary of what both you and your client will deliver, the payment schedule, the cancellation policy, and extra fees.
No matter how confident you feel in your instincts as a photographer, without a good organization system, you’ll eventually slip up. To avoid what could be a stressful and potentially damaging mistake, get used to making checklists. Have a checklist that outlines the gear that you need so that you don’t accidentally leave something out. Additionally, make sure that you have a checklist from your client of everything that they want. Note that this should also be in the contract so that if you don’t get a shot that they didn’t ask for, you aren’t liable for it.
By following these tips, you can avoid some of the most common mistakes made by photographers at the beginning of their careers.
Read this post by our friends at Pixpa to learn more about how you can start your photography business.