If you’ve been tossing around the idea of going full time with your photography, here are some of the most important things you’ll need to know about running a portrait photography business.
1. Photographers are all about Customer Service
The first and probably most important thing you’ll need to recognize as a portrait photographer is that you’re basically in a customer service job: which means you’re going to have to know how to interact with people and be super friendly. As a photographer, you’re the main image for your company, and people base their recommendations off of not only your work, but their experience with you.
2. You’re Also a Salesperson
When you’re just starting out, you should know that the only way to make money in photography is to know how to market yourself. Your position as a photographer is also a salesperson, because you are selling a service and a product. The reason you see people who are taking horrible pictures and still making money, and some who are taking amazing pictures not making any money is because marketing is a such a crucial part of being a photographer. Knowing how to market yourself successfully makes all the difference in making photography your career or your hobby. In the Photographer Overnight program we teach you everything you need to start bringing in enough in photography to make it your full time job.
3. Get Ready for Constant Change and Improvement
As most professional photographers will agree, you will discover that your photography is always changing and improving. Six years from now, you’ll likely look back at your work and be both embarrassed at your old style of work and impressed at how far you’ve come. Making changes in your business is a good thing, and constantly striving to improve your skill is essential.
4. Organization is Your New Friend
If you’ve always been an unorganized, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person, you’ll have to learn how to be organized. You’ve got model releases and contracts to be signed and filed away, print orders, portrait appointments, editing workflow, website development, networking and marketing to worry about. In order to make a decent wage, you’ll have to track your time spent on all these tasks along with all the expenses of advertising, website, camera gear, gas, and more. I remember the first time I sat down to figure out how much I was actually making per hour, it was pretty sad. If you’re not sure how to go about adding everything up, we’ve made an easy hourly wage calculator that does all the work for you, so check out the video for that right here!
5. Glean Wisdom from Other Photographers
you will find there are photographers who love to share their knowledge and skills with you, so soak up all the knowledge you can get. Attend local seminars or classes that are available to you, get on Facebook photography group discussions, or follow helpful youtube channels like mine. (Hint, subscribe to my youtube channel for awesome tutorials that will take your photography to the next level.)
6. You’re Gonna Need Some Thick Skin
There will be people in your life who think your photography is worthless, and your ambitions are a joke. People will tell you you’re not good enough, you’re using the wrong equipment, your photoshopping is all wrong. Just be ready to step right past those people and go after your dreams. The only people you need to impress are your clients, so go the extra mile to do just that.
7. Hook Your First Time Clients for Life
Every first time client is an opportunity to create a lasting friendship and a lifetime client. Be genuinely interested in them, find out the look they are going for in their pictures, value their input and ideas. If they enjoy their experience with you, they will not hesitate to hire you again next time they need a photographer.
8. Always Put Your Client First
If there is a misunderstanding with money, or if you make a mistake, apologize freely and go the extra mile to make the client happy even if it dents into your profits a little. It’s more important to lose a couple dollars or spend a little more time making the client happy now if it means having a repeat client down the road.
9. Shoot What You Love
If you feel like photography is starting to feel like a chore, take a step back and focus more on the things you enjoy. If you can’t stand taking family portraits, but you have a passion for baby photography, you might switch gears in your business and focus on becoming a birth photographer so you can capture a storyboard of that special event for your current family clients instead.
10. Fan Your Photography Fire
There will be times when you feel like quitting for one reason or another, but just remember the reasons you got into photography in the first place. Sharing your artistic talents with others is rewarding in many ways, but can also be frustrating or stressful. Remember the compliments people have given your work in the past and hold on to those so that dissatisfied clients or criticism from others doesn’t bring your whole world crashing down. Try to let the negativity in your life roll off your shoulders and focus on doing what you love.
Run Your Business the Smart Way!
Don’t forget to check out the other tutorials on our site, or learn more about how the Photographer Overnight program will help you focus on making more money doing what you love.