How to start out as a professional photographer

By: Sarah Adams

Date: 30 August 2018

How to start out as a professional photographer

Do you want to love what you do? Well, if you're thinking of becoming a professional photographer, chances are you will.

We recently surveyed 300 pro photographers - and an overwhelming 98% of them told us they love their job. Naturally, we wanted to know why.

Capture those magic moments

The main reason, perhaps not unsurprisingly, was being able to capture their clients' special moments and make customers happy.

But there were more practical advantages to going pro - such as being their own boss, the flexibility of being self-employed and having a good work/life balance. Of course, the creative side of the business gives them a buzz, too.

But there's a lot more to running a successful photography business than simply taking a great picture. In fact, only 20% of your time is spent shooting on average.

Get a head for business

The rest is taken up with the admin side of things. Marketing, accounting and finance, contracts and permissions, insurance - there's a lot to get your head around when you start up.

And 62% of the photographers we surveyed admitted that they didn't have enough experience in the early days, which made getting a business off the ground a lot harder.

Despite this, 7 out of 10 still recommend becoming a professional photographer as a career choice. What's more, they were kind enough to pass on some tips for anyone thinking about switching careers, or those just starting out.

1. Make a business plan

The top tip from the professional surveyed was to draw up a business plan. As well as your financial projections, it needs to outline the details of your business, your marketing strategy and the services you'll offer.

2. Find your niche

The market for professional photographers is already saturated. You need to stand out. So, the second most common piece of advice was to not try to be a jack of all trades. Tempting as it might be to take every job that comes your way - especially in the early days, when money's tight - don't try to please everyone.

Clients will pay more if they see a level of expertise in a certain field. So, pick a genre and an approach, and you'll have something to build your business on.

3. Charge what you're worth

Pricing can be a challenge. If you charge too much, you'll put customers off. Our photographers' advice on this was to set your price point appropriately for your level of experience and field, but don't under-sell yourself. If clients start trying to negotiate, hold your ground.

There are guides available to help with pricing. Read them, then pick a starting point that makes you a profit, and try to stick to it.

4. Know your kit

Lastly, tempting though it is to splash out on new, flashy equipment, make sure you know the kit you've already got first. Don't stop playing around and exploring what it can do. So often, your existing equipment can achieve so much more than you realise.

Copyright © 2018 Featured post made possible by Sarah Adams, Small Business Insurance Expert at PolicyBee