Tips for Building a
by Ann Springer
Anyone with a camera and
a love of photography can claim to be a professional photographer, but these
tips will help you stand out from the competition, build your business, and
improve the quality of the images you shoot.
Be an Expert Shutter Bug
Read up on everything you can about photography; utilize the Internet, your
local library, and any other information you can get your hands on to become an
expert on the craft. Study every word of the instruction manual that came with
your camera. Understanding how to properly use all of your camera's bells and
whistles can save you time and frustration when you’re trying to capture that
perfect shot and it’s not turning out the way you want.
Examine good photography; try to dissect what makes it incredible and how the
photographer captured the image. Then grab your camera and practice replicating
these techniques. You can find examples of good photography on websites such as
www.nationalgeographic.com, www.gettyimages.com, and
Take your camera everywhere you go and shoot as many photos as you can. Build
your portfolio with shots of points of interest in your area and with pictures
from trips and vacations. Try volunteering as the official photographer in any
organizations you belong to. Not only does this give you great practice and
exposure, it also helps to build your portfolio.
Ask fellow photographers whose work you admire to give you feedback on your
photos. Others who have encountered the same issues may be able to offer
suggestions based on their own experiences. You can also take classes at your
local photography or art school -- or at a community college -- to take your
knowledge of composition, exposure, and lighting to the next level. It's also
beneficial to learn how to navigate your way around software such as Adobe
Invest In Your Business
- photo by Ann Springer
To launch a photography business, you’ll need a few basic items. These include a
high-quality digital camera (a minimum of 8 megapixels is recommended), a
reliable computer, and photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to
sharpen and crop your photos.
You’ll want to shoot on location until you can afford a studio and
the materials required for indoor or studio shoots. Look for locations with
rustic backgrounds, such as barns, and landscapes with depth. Parks, waterways,
and other natural areas make great backdrops without overshadowing your focal
Celebrate your first paying jobs by investing your profits back into your
business. These are the items that will take your photography business from
small potatoes to steak and potatoes.
The first way to invest in your business is to purchase additional camera
equipment. Additional lenses, filters, and lighting equipment can give your
photos that extra professional edge that a do-it-yourselfer can’t otherwise
obtain. This will also help you to justify the prices you charge.
Your second priority is to create a business name and logo. Plaster your name on
the CDs you produce and on glossy business cards. Post business cards in
scrapbook stores and other local businesses that might attract families and
other potential customers. This will help you present your business with
confidence and presence. The return on investment from these small details can
Build a blog or a website that showcases your best work. You can use your online
portfolio to categorize the work you’ve done. Make sure you include your web
address and blog on your business card.
The most essential part of a business' success is making a profit. Any new
business must dedicate a certain amount of time, energy, and money to building
and retaining clientele.
The easiest and cheapest way to publicize your new business is to tell everyone
you know that you’ve launched a photography business. Dole out business cards
like candy and let your enthusiasm lead you to referrals. Send out emails to
regular and prospective clients to advertise your business. This is a great way
to build your clientele and receive repeat business from existing clients.
Offer your services to charity auctions and fundraisers to get your name in the
community. Setting business cards out near displays of your best work at an
event like this allows you to advertise to everyone in attendance while still
supporting a great cause.
A final tip: sell your top quality work to stock photography websites such as
Google or Getty Images. Search the web for other businesses and organizations
that are seeking photographers and set your rates at an entry-level price until