Setting up your own photography business is easy, you don’t need office space, and can be done from your own home. However, this is not the easiest type of business to market, especially if you are new to the business. Often you need expert contacts to market this type of business, and your newness to the business precludes you from these contacts unless, of course, your surname is Eastman.
Don’t underestimate the power of marketing, because it’s a tool that can make or break your business. Marketing is the commercial aspect of transferring goods from one owner to another. Without this tool you are lost but don’t despair, there are effective ways you can explore to successfully market your business.
First, you need to decide what type of business you are going to set up, there are only two basic types – assignment photography and stock photography.
Assignment photography covers tasks that you have been assigned to photograph. In other words, you have a specific goal to photograph. An example of this type of photography is covering Mr. X’s wedding. This type of photography is the bread and butter of photographers, but it is unlikely to win a Pulitzer Prize photography.
Photographs will have a limited application in the case of Mr. X’s wedding; No matter how technically perfect those photographs are, they will have a limited appeal. They are simply not marketable outside of Mr. X’s family sphere.
Stock photography, as the name suggests, you have stock photographs and you need to market them. You took photos without a buyer. This type of photography is very speculative, and you can waste a lot of resources. Depending on whether you are using an SLR camera or a digital camera, you may need to invest a lot of time and or film. Non-professionals think these photographs happen when you are in the right place at the right time. Although in reality, there is an element of convenience in being in the right place, who can forget the child on fire from napalm running from a village in the Vietnam War; Often they are one particular photograph taken out of a series of hundreds. While these photographs are often more exciting to take, they can also be frustrating, and you may never quite get the photograph that “says it all.”
There are effective ways to market these stock photographs, which are wonderful for beginners because you don’t incur marketing costs. There are several stock picture libraries online. You submit your images to these libraries, and then they sell the rights to reproduce them to others. The price structure of this type of photography depends on its content and where it is sold. It can go on the front page of an encyclopedia with half a million prints, and it can go on someone’s personal website. There will be different rates for the type of image and its market. The library will deduct a percentage of your commission for marketing and, of course, profits if your photos sell.
Most photographers will incorporate this type of business to varying degrees when they start out. There are several ways that you can boost your marketing profile without actually spending any money. Joining a local photography society is one way, another is to visit your local town hall and see if your local chamber of commerce has a group of professional photographers. Another more involved way to market your business and bring it to a higher profile in the local community is to offer free photography lessons. Yes I know chances are you are working from home, but why not offer to do it at a local school.
The debate over digital versus SLR cameras is still raging, and it seems like it will be for some time.
It’s still fair to say that most photographers want great imaging in a compact affordable package. Advanced design techniques for digital cameras now provide a viable alternative to 35mm film, but one of the drawbacks of marketing such film is the time spent creating digital photographs at home. Home improvements often don’t offer a professional finish. Now there are photo development agencies online that will give you great photos. You upload the photographs to your chosen site and they print them and forward them to you. This way you can ensure a crystal clear print of your instructions. Kodak Gallery lets you share your prints online later with storage space, which means you don’t have to scan your photos. Be sure to check out our other articles for great hints and tips for every step of your business development. Make your business work for you!
Although marketing is a very important aspect of business, it does not compensate for the lack of quality. Sharp clear prints sell, and others do not. Make sure you invest in good-quality basics, such as a tripod. There’s no need to invest in products you’ll use once a year, rent them if you need to, especially when you’re just starting out. Even if you’re using digital, it’s still true that the lens is more important than the camera. Make sure the equipment you buy works for you. The extra time spent asking questions before you buy will pay dividends later in terms of saving money. Everyone wastes money at some point or another, but planning ahead and doing research can cut it down considerably.