I get emails consistently from guys and gals who want to know
“How do I start a Photography business?”
There are many many many tips and tricks to this (many I am still learning). However before anyone jumps in and adds the word “photography” permanently to their name…
here are five things you need to know before you become a photographer…
1) It’s hard work.
This is the biggest misconception about being a photographer (in my opinion). What people see is you show up with a camera….laugh and have a blast shooting for an hour, and then in a few days see these beautiful images splattered all over Facebook. What everyone doesn’t see is the hours of marketing, answering emails, EDITING (no we don’t go home and burn a disk straight from our camera), bookkeeping, making contracts, burning disks, ordering prints, delivering photos, etc. etc. etc.
In all honesty….if you aren’t willing to do these things 90% of the time, you won’t be able to consistently shoot (the thing we get to do about 10% of the time)
2) You can’t be a sensitive cry baby.
Since photography is more of an “artsy” business, its hard for people to remember sometimes that it IS still a business. And with owning your own business you have to be okay with rejection, and a lot of it. Some people will not like your photos, some people will tell you that you are too expensive, some people will tell you that they are glad that your childhood pet got ran over by a car….
People are people. You have to be confident in YOU and YOUR WORK, to make it doing this.
3) You need to be good.
What I mean by this….
You need to be able to consistently produce good quality photos before asking people to pay you.
Its EASY to call yourself a photographer. But before you invest in equipment. Invest in yourself. Learn camera settings (yes….like manual). Watch video tutorials and be a second shooter for some photo shoots. Don’t be insecure and never start, but be diligent with learning and working on your craft before you ask people to pay you.
4) People will want you to work for free…….a lot.
I have gotten a lot better about this. But especially in the beginning when I was more insecure, I gave away A LOT of free shoots. Now this was good at first because I shouldn’t of been charging at the beginning because I sucked. But as time passed and strangers started contacting me for photos….it was hard to make the shift (especially when its friends or family you feel very weird, almost bad to charge).
That’s one of the biggest mistakes I could of made. You are a business owner. You are working. And photography is WORK. <——-Read this over and over.
There are still times I do things for free.
Now its because I want to….not because I feel like I have to. If others are not valuing you and your work, you aren’t valuing yourself enough.
Put a price on it. People who expect you to work for free do not truly care about you or your business.
Harsh? Maybe. But its the truth.
5) Be okay with it taking a long, long time.
I have been a “photographer” for a few years. In all honestly it has taken me until recently to have consistent business.
I say that not to be depressing, and hopefully it wont take YOU that long, but I am just keepin’ it real! There have been many times where I have considered quitting, especially in the beginning.
The key to being a full time photographer is to not give up when you are just a part time photographer.
Be tuff. Stick with it.
6) You can do it.
Okay I just broke a rule. I said there were five things, and here is the sixth one….
I know, I’m such a rebel.
But really. With any business….with any dream...if you want it bad enough…it CAN happen. Read, invest in your mind…realize your potential.
Well. Those are the five (um, six) things that I believe people need to consider before they get a camera and make a Facebook page. I absolutely love what I do. Photography is very rewarding, but realize the reality in the work and persistence that it takes. Again, this is a small list- but hopefully it will help you clarify if this is truly something you want to dive into.
Wish you the best~!