Digital cameras and the internet have revolutionized the world of photography. No longer is expensive equipment and years of experience required to make money taking pictures. Now all that is needed is an entrepreneurial mindset and a little determination. Here are the basics of starting your own mini-photography franchise.
-Invest in the Right Equipment
The right photography equipment can not only improve the quality of your work but can also save you time as well. Even if you are working on a tight budget, you should not base your purchases solely on price. Look for products that offer the best value, which means finding those that provide the best features for the least amount of money. The most important equipment you will need is a camera, computer, editing software, and possibly a bag to carry everything in.
-Gather Samples and References
As in any business, you will have to provide your customers with some proof that you are a competent photographer. You can do this by building samples of your work and providing references of past customers. If you are just starting out, then offer to take pictures of friends or family for free. Combine these sessions with some artistic or outdoor shots to show a variety of your talents. Put it all together in a portfolio or brochure you can hand to your clients. Just don’t skimp on the quality since this is the first impression they will have of you.
-Market Your Services
Finding the best way to advertise can be difficult, especially if you are on a budget, but the key is to be creative. Start by designing your own business card with a memorable photo on the front. Pass these out to everyone you know and leave small stacks of them in public places. For mainstream exposure, use online classified sites that let you can post your services for free. Of course, a website is also helpful, and this can be done easily by building a blog. Some photographers also use their blogs to post new photographs of their work.
-Develop a Niche
When you are first starting out, there will be a period of trial and error while you learn what sells and what doesn’t. Eventually, though you should find some specific niches that you enjoy focusing on and that play to your talents. Since a lot of your customers will be looking for a precise type of picture, you can increase your sales by becoming an expert in a particular category. Some examples of niches include nature, sports, and business pictures. The key is to find a profitable niche that has very few competitors so that you can dominate it without much resistance.
Getting paid to take pictures is the dream of many amateur photographers, and it is certainly an attainable one. By treating your hobby as a business, you can build a supplemental income stream while doing what you love. Just remember to do your research and start slowly before you get too far over your head.