Beginner’s Checklist Before Starting a Photography Business

Photography may be your passion and we can’t blame you for it. If you’re thinking of taking this passion a few steps further into starting your own freelance photography business, we have a few important tips and recommendations you should consider before plunging in.

What Kind of Photographer Am I?

Freelance photographers can be  roughly divided into two main categories although many photographers dabble in both:

Assignment photography– photography projects or assignments ordered by a client: weddings, portraits, family celebrations, commercial, food, pet photography etc.

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Stock photography– photography that’s shot for the purpose of being sold and can be licensed for specific use through stock photo agencies. There are multitudes of websites that distribute stock photos where photographers make a living by selling their work.

Write your Business plan

Whatever photography business idea you have, all abstract notions and great initiatives need to be formulated into a tangible plan. Writing a plan will help you think out what your goals are and identify the strategies that will help you reach those goals.  There are tons of online resources to help you write your plan and figure out how factors like the market, your goals and the budget you’re working against all come together. Have a look at these sites for guidance:

How to write a business plan

Sample: Photography Studio Business Plan

Your photography business plan for 2011

Beef up your Portfolio

Being able to present concrete examples of your work is crucial for landing new assignments. Clients will always want to see proof of your talent so they can be sure they wull be getting their money’s worth. After you’ve created your business plan and know what kind of market you’re aiming for, the portfolio you create should be directed to that market.

If you have not yet completed enough freelance projects to create a rich portfolio, start by choosing your best existing photos to showcase.  It may be a good idea to set up a few projects for free, in order to get more great photos ready.  Start with your family and friends and see what kind of photography services you can offer them. Another option is to set up a limited time offer of 50% off any photo shoot and spread the word on your Facebook profile.  Minimal fee projects are a great way to get more photos quickly. Finally, find more tips to help you beef up your portfolio on

Brand your Business

Start with a name for your photography business. Whether you give it a company name or use your own name, you need to get a logo designed and then a business card to pass around. You’re a part of a creative industry and your business’ personality has to show it, so don’t hold back.

If you’re looking to get a logo and/or a website design at an affordable price, make sure you check out the Wix Arena. The Arena is a market place where savvy Wix users offer their professional services for affordable fees. You can connect with web designers, graphic designers, as well as SEO specialists. Being Wix experts they know exactly what you need and can take you from business logo to integrating a shop cart into your site.

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First Steps in Marketing your Business

Once your portfolio is complete and your business is branded, it’s time to start making marketing moves. Landing work through word of mouth is a great way to promote your business but it’s not always available, especially when you’re just starting out. If you have a budget set aside for marketing, it’s a great idea to go with Google Adwords or Facebook ads and get potential clients to your site.

The web is a wonderful place for low or no budget marketing as well, so long as you’re willing to invest some time and hard work.  Social media can drive your business far once you really get into it.  Find ideas and tips on this great article on social media marketing for small businesses.

And to get more marketing ideas to think about, have a look this post on 75 Big Marketing Ideas for Small Marketing Budgets. Once you start browsing through it, you’ll definitely land on a few concepts you can start implementing fast.

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