Starting a business is scary and exciting all at the same time. Avoiding photography business mistakes from the very beginning will help set you up for success.
There is so much to do, buy & organize, the lists seem never ending. I totally get it! When I first decided to dip my toe into photography I was a cosmetologist and a hair and makeup artist. I knew I wanted to try my hand out and see if I was any good but I was so nervous that if I started doing my own photography no other photographers would ever want to work with me ever again.
I was SO nervous that I would be horrible and no one would ever hire me. That is a legit fear for most of us I think… Am I right? I mean you invested hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars into camera gear, editing software and everything else that is included when starting a photography business.
If I had to go back and give myself advice based on what I have worked through and what I know now, these are the biggest mistakes I would try and avoid.
- Try and avoid buying gear with Credit Cards: This is a big thing for A LOT of people. You get so excited about starting something new and you feel like you need the biggest and the best. Yes I know how it feels. My hubby bought my first camera (Nikon D-90) with our tax return and I was so grateful. I have heard such horror stories of people buying everything with credit and finding themselves in really bad situations not being able to pay things off. Save your money, buy what you need and avoid unnecessary fluff.
- Stick to a style: This may sound hard and sometimes it can be. I feel like I found my style pretty quick on. I love bright and bold colors full of fabulousness and magazine worthy posing. As time went on I dabbled in other styles of shooting and editing and I found myself in a (creative crisis) I forgot what I wanted my business to be about and why I fell in love with it in the first place. As you and your business grow you will find changes you want to make. That is totally fine 🙂 Experiment and find what works for you! One thing that really helped me when I was in my crisis was I thought to myself what kind of photos would I want as a customer? Do I want trendy? Do I want grainy? Do I want washed out and muted tones? Do I want saturation? Do I want something classic? These are all good questions to ask yourself. I found myself always going back to the same thing. If I got my pictures done of my family and I wanted to hang them on my wall what would I want to blow up huge and show off to everyone?
- Do NOT compare yourself: Have you ever heard the saying comparison is the thief of joy? It it is one of my favorite sayings and should be yours too, if you are in a creative field. This saying couldn’t be more true. I don’t know about you but I have found myself on one too many occasions scrolling through instagram, stalking peoples feeds wondering why I couldn’t be as good as them? Why can’t my images look like that? Why can’t my business be as organized as hers? etc… Guess what. There are plenty of people getting married and plenty of people needing family pictures done for all of us. The only thing you can do is be you. If you don’t book a client because she wants a different style that doesn’t mean you should change your style to fit what people want. Your target client should be someone who loves what you do and wants to work with YOU! Just try each and every day to be the best YOU, you can be and don’t worry about the rest.
- Get organized from the beginning: Getting organized is time consuming and can be confusing. Believe me when I say being organized will help you with everything! Taxes, budgets, client experience, managing their expectations, your workflow, delivery, etc. Organizing your business from the beginning will save you so much trouble. *Get your business legal *Get business cards *Get your website or instagram all set up * get your emails to your clients written and copy and paste. It will save you tons of time! * Make sure your clients know how to prepare for their sessions and what to expect. ALWAYS UNDER PROMISE and OVER DELIVER. The worst thing you can do is promise them the world and not deliver.
- Setting your prices: This is a topic that is hard for a lot of photographers. It was hard for me too so don’t worry you can make your prices work for you. Here is the #1 thing…. FIND OUT WHAT YOUR COST OF DOING BUSINESS IS! Photographers are so funny. My favorite thing is to hear how much people say they make and your like holy crap that is a ton. But a lot of the time people don’t know what they are spending on their business and their time. YES your time is a cost. It is time away from your family, husband or kids. An easy way to find out how much you should be charging is this handy calculator —> BUSINESS EXPENSES CALCULATOR When I was first starting out I was basing my prices on what everyone else was doing. If they are making money I should too right? WRONG!If you have more expenses and you are slower at editing you may think your making big bucks but breaking everything down to an hrly wage you may be making minimum wage or lower 🙁 Get yourself set up from the beginning!
I really hoped you enjoyed this post and read something that can help you.
Logan Ut Photographer | Avoiding photography business mistakes
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