Are you the one that always shows up at the party with a camera on your arm? Have you been taking great digital photographs for years, and your friends and family tell you to turn it into something more? Are you an amatuer photography ready to make money with your camera? Start with these basic steps.
Choosing Your Focus
There are many different niches within the photography industry in which you can choose to make your living. Some photographers choose to specialize in just one area. Others combine several areas to make a successful studio. When you first start, you may have a variety of interests. But over time, choose to focus and you'll see more success. Ideas for niches include:
- Advertising Photography
- Aerial Photography
- Baby Portrait Studio
- Business Portrait Photography
- Children Photography
- Commercial Photography
- Corporate Photography (annual report, business, editorial, industrial)
- Editorial Photography
- Event Photography
- Family Portraits
- Fine Art Photography
- Grandparent Photography
- High School Seniors
- Landscape Photography
- Modeling/Fashion Photography
- Nature Photography
- Panoramic Photography
- Pet Photography
- Real Estate Photography
- School Photography
- Sports Photography
- Stock Photography
- Travel Photography
- Underwater Photography
- Wedding Photography
- Wildlife Photography
How do you choose a name for your photography business?
The name you choose will impact your business for the life of your business. It’s something you should give careful consideration to, and choose not only for your current desires, but also for continued growth down the road.
Start by answering a few questions. What type of photography will you specialize in? What type of client will you market to?
If you have a well defined niche, and know you will be catering to this niche indefinitely, you may decide to choose a business name that is representative of that niche. Many companies, such as Glamour Shots and Kiddie Kandids, have become household names because of their focused marketing. They are known for one type of photography, and they do it well.
If you are starting out as a sole entrepreneur, and will be covering a variety of photography specialties, you might be better off naming your business something more generic. A good choice would be to use your name or a generic word combined with the word photography, i.e. Kim Smith Photography.
Keep in mind that as a business owner, your goals and desires may change over time.
One prominent photographer spent over ten years as a wedding photographer. Slowly, he developed a desire for less traveling, less weekend work, and moved his business interests into the senior photography market. After becoming one of the best in this niche, his interests once again began to change. He slowly changed his desires into baby photography, and is now an exclusive photographer for babies and new moms. His business focus changed; but his business name never did.
Once you have several ideas in mind, its time to make your name official. Even though there is a lot of room for creativity when choosing your photography business name, there are three things to consider before choosing one officially.
First, is your proposed name available? As a minimum, you must register your name with your local State government. Most state governments will research their database, and verify that no other business in the state is doing business using your selected name. If it clears, you will be able to register it with the state.
Second, will you be trademarking your name? A trademark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and allows you hold your name, symbol, or other distinguishable mark without infringement. This can be of benefit if you are thinking of operating in more than one location, or will be traveling to other areas with your business.
Third, is domain name available for you to design your website? Your domain name should match your business name as closely as possible. People will type in your business name into search engines when looking for you; imagine the consequences to your business if a competitor’s site is displayed instead.
Once your name is official, you are ready to start your business.
Tips For Getting Leads Into Your Photography Business
Every business needs it. Every business owner makes it his or her top priority goal. It never changes, from the moment you start your business until you close the doors for the final time. To survive, your business must bring in leads that ultimately turn into good quality, paying clients.
But how do you bring them in consistently? What methods do you use?
Well that all depends on how much business you need in your studio.
Let's say that you want to photograph thirty weddings per year. How many leads you need to generate those thirty weddings would depend on a number of factors:
- How much do you charge for your weddings?
- Do your leads know and understand your pricing before they contact you?
- How good are you at turning leads into sales?
If your leads are pre-qualified, have a lot of information on you and your services before they contact you, know and understand your pricing, and have a strong referral, you might only need thirty leads to book your thirty weddings.
But if your leads come in with little knowledge of you or your services, they call in 'blind' from a vague advertisement with little information, and don't match your criteria for your ideal client; you may end up having to meet ten to fifteen prospects before turning one of them into a client.
Which would you rather have for your business: thirty prospects turning into thirty clients, or 450 prospects turning into thirty clients? Obviously, your ultimate goal should be the first option.
Lead generation is all about reaching out to your prospects, and turning them into clients. The better you understand your customers, the easier it will be to connect with them. The better you define your perfect client, and the better your marketing strategy to reach your perfect customer, the easier your business will be.
Once you have your client defined, you can begin reaching out to connect with them. There are hundreds of ways to connect; choose methods that work for you and your budget. Consider options like:
- Networking events
- Trade journals
- Direct mail
- Brochure placement
- Door hangers
- Card decks
- Email advertisements
- Banner placement
If you've enjoyed this series, please visit my additional resources to learn more about building a successful photography studio.
About the Author
Vision Business Concepts Inc Denver, Colorado. I'm a professional photographer, online marketing strategist, small business marketing coach, author, trainer and mentor. I love helping people build up small businesses, and turn them into successful ventures.