When you consider photography, or any hobby, as a potential business, the first thing you need is a business plan. In this plan, you will be able to define your business, what you want to accomplish and how you will achieve your goals. The plan can help you organize your thoughts and can also act as a motivator in making your dreams a reality. There are qualified individuals who can act as mentors to you and also develop customized plans to address your specific needs. Think of the business plan as your own personal encyclopedia; one that you can use to document all your planning, strategies and financial matters down to the price which you will charge per photograph.
The fundamental aspect that you need to look at when you start your business is how much you are actually planning to charge per photograph. This should be a prominent entry in your business plan along with calculations on how you arrived at this figure. When trying to determine what price to charge per photograph, you will need to consider several factors: broadly, they can be grouped into your startup costs and the price per photograph that your competition charges.
A good starting point is to evaluate the competition. What are other photographers charging per photograph? It will make sense for you to research the prices of photographers who have very similar profiles to you. They should also be fairly new to the business and offer similar services as you. As you progress and your business grows, you can continue this habit and ensure you remain competitive by either matching their price or bettering it.
If you make a name for yourself and your photography becomes more sought after, you will be at an advantage to charge a premium for the services you provide. In reality, however, you will probably want to lower your rates so that you can beat the competition by offering a better service for a lower fee. If you position yourself to cater to a niche market with a higher demand and you find less photographers in your niche, you will then have an opportunity to raise your price per photo.
One other important aspect to consider when you embark on a photography business is your finances. You will need to consider all costs involved from setting up to delivering a finished product to a customer. Document all fees incurred; daily running costs, both fixed and variable, and also be on the lookout for any hidden costs that can creep up.
When starting out, try to begin on a realistic budget which you feel you can manage. Bear in mind, however, that to launch and maintain a successful business you will need to have sufficient funding to ensure your business grows. This means having a marketing budget. You may want to focus more on the marketing as your sales pick up. Be vigilant that your marketing budget is utilized in a very efficient manner so as to maximize your exposure to your target markets. You will constantly need to market both yourself and the unique nature of your photography in whatever theme you choose.
Include details such as a business description, name of business, experience in the field and any qualifications you hold in your marketing strategy. Provide an insight into your technique and what you are capable of in some sample photographs. Include pricing details for your services and where or how you can be contacted. Your contact information is very important. Without this, people will not know how to reach you. Here are some things to consider:
1. Does your marketing material project your name and services in a compelling manner? Look at all your material and make sure the correct message is being delivered to your customers. Does your material answer some of your own questions if you were a customer that is considering the services of a photography business?
2. One mechanism of marketing your business and yourself is your website. How user-friendly is this website? Does it take several clicks for a user to navigate through to a particular page? One of the things you can include is a professionally presented profile of yourself. Information like this needs to be available to the customer at the click of a button. In this day and age, time is a very precious commodity and customers will rarely have time to waste navigating through a bad website. Make sure all important information is at the customers’ fingertips; otherwise they will go elsewhere.
3. Do you present all your services to the customer in a conveniently accessible manner? Are your contact details prominently displayed in your website and any advertisements that you put out? If you have outsourced your advertisement creation, then take a look at the advertisements before you publish them. Having the opinion of your friends and family is another economical way to ensure the advertisements are presentable and appealing.
4. If you are contemplating on using an agency to promote your business, then take the time to research the agency beforehand. Have a trial period during which they try to sell your photographs; evaluate them at each step they take. To ascertain if you are achieving the results that you require, go back to your business plan. See if your targets are being met. Additionally, you may get reviews of the agency you are trying out from fellow photographers.
5. Keep a watchful eye on the prices you charge for your photographs. Do not let unforeseen losses in revenue prompt you to charge very high prices. Your business plan should take into consideration potential challenges and times with lower sales. A good safety net is to have another source of income to ensure your photography business has all the support it needs during its infancy.
6. Your business plan should never be just a static document. It should be a dynamic, living document which you review and update throughout the milestones of your business. It can be a great way of documenting your experiences so that any errors you have made will not be repeated in the future. It is ideal to keep your focus on your goal.You can gain more knowledge at Profitable Photography Business. It’s dedicated to coaching you in starting your own photography business but places a strong emphasis on profitability issues & guidelines. You can also gain many photography resources(some free) from Photography Equipment & Resources