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How to start a professional photography business

So you have a digital camera and are thinking of turning your photography hobby into a successful business. But where do you start? From a logo to a website, blog site, domain name, email account, business cards, camera equipment, lighting equipment, and accounting software — you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. The question is, what should you do first?

Identify the one action that will have the greatest impact

There are many things you need to do when starting any new business. The hardest part is knowing what to do first. Although, several things may be important, think to yourself, “What is the one thing that will have the biggest impact on launching my business?” For example, hiring a great accountant is important, but without any clients or revenue, this step will have little impact on launching your business.

The biggest impact on photography business

Get a website! Getting a website will have the single biggest impact on starting a photography business. Of course, word of mouth and referrals will bring you business. But, for example, if someone referred you to a business, what would you do first? You go online and check out their website! Times have changed, getting a professional-looking website is not difficult or expensive. There are many beautiful template photography website companies. You just upload your own photos and content You can even change the look of a website without any graphic design skills. After all, many of these companies help you set up your domain name and email account. These companies charge anywhere from $6 – $50/month on average. (Once your business is more established you may want to hire a professional to design your website/blog site – see Branding below).

What content should the website contain?

Be sure to include your business name and location. So often I see photographers forget to give their location! Don’t have a studio or a physical address? All right. It is only important to include the city and state/province you work in This is important to Google You want to see your website when someone searches for photography services in your city! For example, a potential client might type “Windsor wedding photographer” into a Google search. You want to make sure you mention on your website that you are a wedding photographer in Windsor!

Also, don’t forget to provide your contact information – email and telephone number. This is ideal on your “Contact” page and at the bottom of every page on your website. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you!

Finally, write a little about yourself and what kind of photography you do. People can’t hire you if they don’t know what you do!

What images should I put on my website?

Many new photographers worry that they don’t have enough photos for a portfolio page. Don’t worry! Less is often more. If you are starting a wedding photography business, keep some wedding-related photos. Don’t have many wedding photos? Try this: Go to your local florist and buy a beautiful bouquet. Then take some nice detailed photos of it. Ask a friend if you can take some detailed photos of her engagement ring and wedding band. Gradually, your portfolio will grow as you get more clients and you can add more images. If you are starting a children’s portrait photography business and you don’t have many photos of children – ask a friend if you can take their child’s photos for the website.

I am in no way suggesting that you lie to clients about your experience level. These are some ideas on how to get supporting images for your website. Plus, getting out there and taking more pictures is great practice in photography!

Unsure of your company’s identity? What about branding?

You always hear about people who haven’t started their photography business yet because everything behind the scenes (branding, logo, studio, etc.) isn’t perfect yet. They are afraid to start until everything is perfect. Chances are they’ll never be perfect—and they’ll never start. The more photos you take, the clearer your style and your company’s identity will become. For example, you may decide you only want to photograph newborns, only to discover from experience that you don’t have the patience. And you realize later that you really excelled in the fast-paced world of wedding photography.

Something to think about

There are many simple/simple website templates that you can choose from if you are still discovering your style and brand. You can later refine your website’s style. Look at established companies – they always update their website style! Don’t wait until everything is perfect behind the scenes to start your photography company. You can just wait forever! Build your website, because it’s the one step you can take that will have the biggest impact on moving your photography business forward. Good luck!

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