For professional wedding photographers seeking to establish a profitable enterprise, one of the biggest challenges they face is migrating to a full time schedule. Relying on photography to be your primary source of income can be frightening when you’re just beginning to ply your trade. So what are some of the essential things that photographers must do in order to give themselves the best chance of creating a prosperous new wedding photography business?
1) Build Lasting Friendships
It’s crucial that you develop lasting friendships with as many industry colleagues as you can. This doesn’t necessarily have to involve high pressure liaisons with a great number of people at a single event, it may simply mean asking a local wedding supplier to join you for lunch somewhere. Beyond this, look to spread your wings in the online realm; get a beautiful website to showcase your glorious work, use social media and online forums in your local area to promote your services and engage with prospective clients.
2) Dare to Be Successful
Succeeding in business requires – among other things, a great deal of courage. You must not only remain staunchly committed to participating in those oh-so-necessary networking events, but also to evolving your artistic flair and business acumen. Agree to offer friends or family a complimentary photoshoot to help you hone your skills. A positive experience for them (and great photos!) will do wonders for your confidence and your fledgling business.
Contact a magazine (online or traditional print) and request them to consider publishing your work. You can even look to get in touch with the owner of a successful blog and have your work featured; having your work published online can be a great boon for your business, especially if you have a website set up where visitors can have a more comprehensive look at your work and services.
3) Seek Excellence in Everything You Do
Whether it’s your website, personal attire, attitude towards clients or the work that you produce, aim for the highest standards of excellence in everything you do. Each of these tangible qualities plays an important role in determining how your clients perceive you and your business.
4) Ignore The Phrase ‘Shameless Self Promotion’
When your business is in the process of finding its feet, you need every shred of (positive) publicity you can get your hands on. Ignore any feelings of pretention you may feel and look to market your business through every means available; your website, your meet and greets, your social media interactions, online and printed publications and through whichever other avenue you feel is appropriate to generate brand awareness. This goes back to step 2; ‘Dare to Be Successful’.
5) Keep Evolving Your Craft
No matter how many years of experience you have, photography is a skill that can never truly be ‘mastered’. There’s always room for improvement. Thanks to the internet, there’s an abundance of knowledge and inspiration just waiting to be discovered. As wonderful as the internet is however, there’s no greater way to hone your craft and advance your skillset than to sign up for a workshop. Not only do workshops enable you to learn new techniques and enhance your raw technical ability, they also provide an ideal environment for you to mingle with fellow photographers and potentially establish new business contacts, as well. So you can consider workshops to be a kind of unofficial business networking event, too.
6) Dive in and Have Fun!
When you see wedding photographers that appear to have everything you desire to have; a thriving business, exceptional quality work, widespread acclaim and overwhelmingly positive reviews from clients, understand that this didn’t just happen overnight. Success doesn’t happen by accident. It requires a gruelling amount of work, a great deal of personal sacrifice and an ability to learn from the numerous mistakes you are likely to make when you are just starting out.
If you find yourself in a position where you feel that the stresses and demands of running your own business are simply too much to bear, just try to imagine how satisfying it will be when you too have your very own lucrative little business.
7) Down to Business
When operating a business, you must ensure that the following are taken care of:
Equipment Insurance – this helps to cover you in the event that your photography equipment is stolen (whether onsite or offsite), accidentally damaged and more.
Business Insurance – this helps to protect you in the event of physical damage to your premises, due to fire, flooding or such and also helps to safeguard you in the event that a client (or even one of your employees) suffers an injury while onsite.
Note – If you search online, you’ll discover that there are a number of insurance companies that provide comprehensive insurance coverage tailored exclusively for professional photographers. This is something you may wish to look into.
Client contracts – always have a contract drawn up for every client you do business with, which clearly stipulates what is and what is not included in the service.
Business Taxes – ensure that your business is legally registered and that all taxes owing, are payed on time. Seek professional assistance from an accountant if you are uncertain about your business’ tax responsibilities.