And here today a few tips for those of you who want to make a living at photography.
- First: I recommend it wholeheartedly. You can get up when you like and apart from the 17-hour days seven days a week, it’s quite relaxing. No, seriously: if it is your passion, what better way to make a living?
- Go the extra mile for your customers. Photography is a service business. Under-promise and over-deliver.
- But do get a calculator. In business it is always tempting to say “yes” to everything. And you should. But… calculate how long it will take. A client just asked me to change a word or two on a web preview. result: I had to re-sort the images and re-do the entire upload. Three hours’ work. These three hours need to be paid by someone, somehow. Avoid underestimating your workload.
- Resist the urge to buy, buy, buy. If it is a business, it is a business. You need to invest a bit, for sure. Camera, lenses, backup camera, speedlites, and so on. But do they all have to be bought at once? Consider renting equipment for shoots. Buy when you can self-fund the purchase.
- Market your business. if no-one knows you exist, you will not live well.
- Keep your books. Pay your taxes. Again, it is a business, as the sooner you start running it like one, the better. Use discipline. Weekly summaries, regular tasks, daily to-do lists, and so on all make for a good business.
- Check what your colleagues are doing. If they are all doing portrait shoots for $80 and you charge $400, you’d better be good. if the reverse, you may want to charge more (remember the calculator).
- Market. Did I mention that? Photographers spend much more time selling and marketing than shooting. Fact of life!
- Don’t do weddings until you are ready. Wedding photography is the hardest type of photography there is. Shoot with an experienced pro a number of times until you ar eready – the day is so important, it is worth doing well.
And importantly, before you do too much else, grow your skills so you are worth it. Learn how to do it well. Take courses. Henry’s School of Imaging comes to mind for a start, to learn the camera and the basics and specific techniques. Then add advanced courses like our Advanced Creative Light course (the next one is this Saturday, July 26, and there are several spots available: see http://www.cameratraining.ca/Mono-Day-2.html)
And don’t forget: enjoy!