10 Tips for Starting a Photography Business
Running a photography business is 80% admin, 20% photography.
For most of us, our photography businesses are born from a passion for capturing photos. And our friends tell us that we could totally charge for this, and turn our passion into a paying job.
And isn’t that the dream?? To love what you do for work, so much so that it doesn’t even feel like work anymore?
Well I have good news and bad news for you.
The good news is that YES - you can do what you love, and make a living from it. And it won’t feel like work.
The bad news? You’re only going to spend 20% of your time doing what you love. Because when you turn your passion into a business, it stops being a hobby and you add a whole pile of admin and paperwork to your to-do list.
Most people are surprised to find out that running a photography business is 80% admin, 20% photography. Yup - I spend less than 20% of a month photographing and editing photos for clients - the bulk of my time is spent on answering emails, preparing social media and marketing content and resources (posting to Instagram and Facebook, preparing email marketing campaigns, blogging, updating my website), managing my finances, etc, etc, etc.
And when you’re first starting out, you’re likely to spend more than 80% working on and in your business while you start to build a portfolio and wait for work to start trickling in.
If you’re anything like me, the first place you’ll turn to is the Internet. When I first launched my business 5 years ago, and I was trying to find information on the interwebs, it was so frustrating that basically every resource I could find was for Americans. And when we’re talking about things like laws, finances and taxes – gosh, Australia and America are like chalk and cheese.
Lucky for me, I’m a total nerdburger and I really love the admin side of things. It’s lucky for you too, because this week I’m launching a new blog post series, and sharing some of my best tips and advice with you on how to start and run a successful and profitable photography business - for Australians! Although some of the advice in this series will be universal.
Some of the best lessons I’ve learned from my experience as a lawyer, and from running a profitable business over the last five years, are going to go live on this blog for free over the next few weeks, things like:
How to register your business as a legal entity;
Some basic accounting and bookkeeping principles;
How to value your time (and price accordingly);
Understanding business insurance;
Legal stuff (contracts, model releases etc);
Understanding Australian copyright laws;
Designing an awesome customer experience for your client;
Meeting your Ideal Client + Designing your Brand;
Writing it all down (and how to create a business plan).
Why am I sharing this for free? One of the most important things to me is cultivating a spirit of community, not competition. There’s enough work for all of us, and the more we learn from and support from each other, the more we connect with each other, the happier and more fulfilled we will be (or so I believe). Being a photographer is about more than having a camera and taking a photo, and the business skills and knowledge you need to run a profitable and sustainable business aren’t easy to come by.
This information is only the basics, and a great foundation for all photographers considering booking in a mentoring session with me (the more you know of the basics, the more time we can devote to deep diving into your creative skills + your mindset).Also, no one gets it right 100% of the time - the most important thing is that you show up, and that you pick yourself up every time you stumble and fall.
So if you’re ready to turning your hobby into a business, then strap yourselves into your office chair (make sure you have a cup of tea and a notebook handy), and get your nerdburger on!