10 Tips To Tell You How To Start A Photography Business By Finding Your Photography Niche

Sooner or later, most photography enthusiast give some thought to “how to start a photography business.” Unfortunately, there are a ‘few’ challenges that “doom” us to failure. One of the biggest challenges that we bring is our failure to make the distinctions between our love of photography (re: our enjoyment and passion for photography) and the business of photography (understanding buying and spending habits of people that are photography customers).

For example, many of us think that because our photography work is “so good,” that we shouldn’t have that much trouble selling it. We, sometimes, mistakenly, think that great art and photography “sells itself.” Big mistake! Great photography does not sell itself. In the business world, nothing sells itself – nothing! Knowing this is critical to start a photography business.

Our failure to make the distinction between our passion for photography and our desire to be in the photo business is also evident in how we try to tell people about what we do. For example, photography customers don’t care what type of equipment we use. They don’t care how many mega-pixels we have, nor how much our equipment cost us, nor what brand of camera we use. Photography customers (current and potential) want to know that we can, and will, produce the highest quality photography work for them.

Think about it, the mechanics that repair our cars don’t tell us what tools that they use. The chefs in the restaurants that we patronize don’t tell us what type of pots, pans or stoves that they use. In those businesses, it is already established what customers want and how best to give it to them. In other words, other businesses do a better job of understanding their ‘niche.’ In order to start a photography business that is consistently successful and growing, we must be clear on what niche we are offering and how to sell the benefits of our niche to the customers.

Another mistake that we budding photography business owners repeat is failing to “specialize” (know our photography niche) in what we do. As photography enthusiasts, we enjoy shooting any and everything. As photographers, that’s just fine. However, when we start a photography business, we, mistakenly, try to be ‘all things to all people’ – we take every photography job offered us.

One of the obvious problems with this approach is our failure to recognize how it drastically cheapens the value of what we do as skilled photographers, in the eyes of the customers. Mistakenly, we want our customers (current and potential) to know that we can photograph anything – after all, we’re very versatile photographers! What the customers actually see is that we’re not “versatile photographers,” we’re just someone with a camera that’s available to take pictures when they call us. Serious photography customers (re: those that can afford to spend regularly) want to do business with specialists – photographers that know their photography niche.

Successful wedding photographers are clear on this, as an example of my point. Their ‘primary’ customer (usually the bride) has dreamed about her wedding day for most of her life. She isn’t looking for a vesatile photographer. She wants a “wedding photographer” that can make her ‘look’ as good, happy and beautiful as she has been in all of her lifelong dreams of ‘her day’ – her wedding day. There’s a special skill to this type of photography service. In fact, this niche has more to do with well developed ‘people skills,’ in my opinion. Successful wedding photographers that are clear on these nuances are more successful in business.

Do your research.

Inventory Your Photo Collection – Take a look at your photo collections. Determine what it is that you 1.) shoot the most; 2.) shoot consistently well; and 3.) enjoy shooting. Identify your and categorize the photos into various niches, i.e. portraits, sports, glamor, pets, children, landscape, etc.
Research The Photography Markets – Do internet searches using the words “photography niche.” Also, use the type of niche that you think your photos fit. For example, “event photography niche,” “wedding photography niche,” etc. Also, a good source to help identify some of the photo markets is “The Photographer’s Market.” This is a book that is published annually and claims to provide photo buying contacts and information. Online searches are the most useful, in my opinion. Books by author and photographer, Dan Heller are good places to get a better understanding of the vast world of photography, without all the ‘artsy-hype,’ in my opinion. He also has a very informative website – DanHeller.com
Identify ‘Real’ Markets – Find out what type of photography (of your specialties) your customers currently are purchasing. What type of photography is selling? At some point, you’ll have to ‘balance’ the realities of the different niches. There can be some factors that aren’t consistent across all photography niches. For example, some niches require longer “workflow” (workflow is the post production process of taking photos) periods and tasks than others. Higher quality portraits normally require photo editing – which is time-consuming. Event photography requires the processing, packaging and delivering (presenting) of photos. True story: I went through my large photo collections and found that I had a very large number of outstandingly beautiful flowers. I can’t begin to tell you my disappointment when I found out that there is ‘virtually’ no market of photos of flowers – it seems that everybody has them already, everybody! Lesson learned – identify ‘real’ markets.
Ten Tips To Assist You To Identify Your Niche

Identify specialties that fit your style:
Determine if you have the necessary equipment for the niche
Do you have identifiable and specific skills in this niche area – can you articulate them?
Who is your target audience
What type of photography do they purchase the most
Where are they taking their photography business currently – your competition
What will be different about your services
Does where you live support your preferable niche
Is your niche ‘stock photography’ or ‘assignment photography’ – do you know the difference
What is the future potential and tendencies of your niche
Fortunately, the internet makes this information just a few clicks away. The information isn’t difficult to find and learn. Knowing your niche increases your confidence tremendously. Truly know your niche – and your photography business will follow!

Kalem Aquil is a ‘semi-burnt-out’ photographer that dispenses free, unsolicited (yet, very good and accurate) tips and advice to budding photographers that want to take their photography business to the next level. He dispenses such advice to budding photographers such as “where to start,” “what to charge,” “how to know if you’re really, really ready,” etc. etc. etc. He dispenses his free and unsolicited advice here [http://www.marketing-for-photographers-and-photography.com/amateurphotographytips.html]. Subscribe to his free ezine, the “Best Amateur Photography Tips Digest [http://www.marketing-for-photographers-and-photography.com/amateurphotographytips.html],” and receive a Bonus Special Report – “How To Build Your Own Successful Photography Website.” Click here [http://www.marketing-for-photographers-and-photography.com/amateurphotographytips.html] to subscribe.

Starting a Photography Business Will Be Easier With These 30 Free Tips

When you’re a keen photographer and you have the desire to spend your working life doing something you enjoy such as photography, it would be a shame if you didn’t pursue it further wouldn’t it? You really don’t have to join an institution or pay thousands of dollars to get started either. You simply need the passion to learn and persist. Most great photographers who rely on their trade to survive don’t even know they have these traits because they love what they do and they simply can’t stop.

It’s true that there is wealth to be made in photography and I’m not going to down play that or make a pitch to the opposite because in every case, it’s been up to the individual. Meaning – it depends on what mode of photography they choose, how much time they put into the business, do they have a commercial bent, are they more artistic than usual etc. All these points come into play when success in a photography business or studio is questioned.

I don’t want to create any false hopes by that last paragraph because success will require some hard work, tolerance and patience. These next thirty tips should help you along the way. There is more detail available on this subject matter at the link at the bottom of this page.

Where can I obtain information on building a photography business?

1. Always do some extensive research before starting out a career with your own photography business so that you understand the pros and cons involved. Some ideas include subscribing to a good magazine related to the photographic industry such as Professional Photographer, Camera Arts and Photo District News. Besides that, the internet is the biggest source of information and can provide you with a plethora of career opportunities or even more information on starting a photography business.

At which level do you want to start your photography business?

2. This is the trickiest question that a person interested in starting a business encounters. It is very important to decide what kind of photography business you want so that the relevant requirements and (sometimes) finance can be muscled up.

When is the best time to start a fully-fledged photography business?

3. After deciding on what you need and any extra necessary equipment that is needed to set up the basic infrastructure, you will need to consider carefully your main tool – the camera, be it digital or film. You must also consider carefully a reliable, high-quality PC and good relevant software to manipulate your photographs with special effects. If the business is being undertaken on a massive scale then maybe a developing lab needs to be planned and established.

o What kind of venues will yield real income to your business?

4. A newly established business in photography requires an assured location or a beat (working locally), as in journalism. For instance, wedding photography, sports related photography or developmental photography. Once established, business can also be diversified into many more fields.

o Building a photography portfolio

5. It is always important to compile a good portfolio as far as photography is concerned. A portfolio must contain a collection of pertinent photographic work that you believe to be impressive. Make sure that photographs are unusual in character and are from diverse fields. Your portfolio must be able to impress the client in the very first meeting.

6. Don’t keep all the photographs that you have in your possession. Only keep your best work in the folder so that you don’t embarrass yourself or find yourself having to explain photographs that aren’t relevant.

7. Showcase spontaneous photos that you believe are of good quality. You’d be surprised how many people respond favorably to peoples expressions when they are good shots.

Basic apparatus required

8. A canvas background of at minimum 7-9 foot and the background colors should be either navy or white as minimum requirements to start with; a well-branded studio lights system such as that of Norman & Speedtron; certified picture manipulation software such as Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop, etc.

Is there a need for establishing a makeup studio as part of your photo studio?

9. Makeup and photography often go hand in hand. Wherever makeup is involved it is often referred to as trick photography because makeup is capable of completely transforming an individual’s personality, and sometimes relevance to a product in the case of advertising photography.

What kind of photo-editing software available in the market?

10. Photo-editing software through which special effects and complete changes to a photo are possible and can also often save the need for a re shoot.

11. Some of the photo-editing software that are popular includes Photoshop CS; Photoshop Light room, iPhoto, i View Multimedia, MediaPro, ACDSee, Corel and Picasa.

Is storage and treatment of photographs crucial in building photography business?

12. Never adopt laxity while handling or archiving photographs. You will regret it later. Storage and access efficiency will either improve or frustrate your working environment. Often older photos become more valuable with time.

How can be photographs be preserved easily apart from the conventional method?

13. Today’s cameras are highly versatile and will allow downloads and transfers from highly surprising devices including your mobile but pictures can also be stored on a CD’s, USB’s and DVD’s too.

o Choosing a Camera

14. Stick to w ell known brand. The level of mega pixel offered and quality of the zooming facility must be looked into carefully. I have my favorites but there are many equally as good as mine.

15. Most of the cameras are compatible with computers and printers and moreover, because we now use memory sticks, we are truly free to operate unencumbered.

o What kind of a website does a person need to have?

16. Your collection of photographs must be properly classified under different categories. Visual appearance of your website will do wonders for your business so take consider setting up one with semi automation where the maintenance and hard work is done for you like photostockplus.

17. Remember to constantly upgrade and maintain your website so that each time people come across your website, they will find fine something new and interesting.

o Copyright of your photographs

18. Copyright is the right protects the person who owns or who took the photographs. A wise exercise if you are looking to use some stock houses for commercial purposes.

o Why is a business card helpful?

19. In every business, visiting cards are helpful. It is extremely useful in for people to contact you after your first meeting. It must contain all your contact details. If you’re a photographer, a clever impressive graphic or a picture of yourself with your equipment is best. Your contact number or email must be easy to read. I have seen cards that have large names and pictures and the phone numbers are so small they are difficult to read. Ridiculous! Make your phone number the largest thing on the card – that’s what most people will use it for.

o Which things must be kept in mind while you plan to build a wedding photography business?

20. Wedding Photography is almost another art unto itself. There are many things to remember for a truly successful wedding shoot. I have prepared another article to deal with this in more detail and it’s all about –Wedding Photography. —

o Advantage of assignment photography

21. Assignment photography is that branch of photography where a person is engaged or consigned to capture shots of something impressive and extraordinary, such as in the case of advertising or portrait photography; this can provide you a stable income after you’ve learned the ropes.

o Advantage of stock photography

22. Stock photography is that branch of photography where there is an accumulated stock of photographs which can be sold to interested buyers, designers, adverting agencies etc. This can be a slow haul but if your pictures are well thought out, it can be the source of an ongoing income. –My favorite is istockphotos–.

o Other places where you can sell your photographic collection?

23. Art shows are the perfect platform from where your creativity and work will be really appreciated because at such places you will find some niche customers that have a sharp eye for real talent. Such places have been known to bring instant fame.

24. Winter Park Art Show at Orlando, Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, Old Town Art Show; Chicago, Boston Mills Art Show; Peninsula, Ohio, Similar art shows are held in different parts of the world and they are easy to find on the net. Simply do a Google search for “photography art show” and the name of the country you are in after adding the plus sign like this; “photography art show”+ Sweden

o Prices to be charged from the clients

25. In the initial stages of your business, don’t try to charge exorbitant amounts otherwise it will give the wrong impression and you will perhaps lose a valuable long term customer. Tread slowly. Ring other photographers and research. Five phone calls should do it.

Marketing your photography business

26. You must try to market your work at relevant places. Photographs can also be published over the internet. Publication over the internet will increase customer enquiry. Don’t forget to search for suitable local markets and get the snaps printed in a local journal or newspaper and always display your contact number prominently – always!

27. Establishing and popularizing a business is a tough call but if you adopt a proper marketing strategy. Today, Advertising is one of the most popular mediums of promoting. Ads can be placed on websites, online telephone directories, newspapers and magazines, etc. Research the right mediums before you rush in. Sometimes good deals get in the way of recognizing the right advertising vehicle.

28. You can develop a website of your own to effectively promote your photography business but one thing that must be kept in mind is never forget to include a testimonial section and gauge the response of the people visiting the website. Let them make comments.

o Career prospects in photo journalism

29. Individuals interested in setting up a photography business can begin their career by becoming a photo journalist. Appealing and unusual photographs can be supplied to newspapers, magazines, websites and the photography business is booming to such an extent that even international media organizations will offer you good money in return for rare and high-quality photographs.

30. Mainstream photographers are engaged in TV, parcels and copy services, newspapers, magazines and sketch photography. There are many more jobs also related to photography than there ever was previously and because of the diversity and flexibility of digital photography, more respect has been attached to this profession. Some of the avenues in photography apart from business are Journalism, Graphic arts, Advertising, DTP jobs, Publications and Motion Picture creation.

Go and make yourself a hot beverage and a have a long think about where you’re going to start, that is, if you haven’t already started.