Thinking about starting a photography business? We’re kicking off a brand new series called The Photography Business (re)Start – for anyone looking to start a photography business (or, maybe just hit a “reset” button on the one you already have!!). You’re in the right place if you are looking to set up a business the right way for long-term success and sustainability.
There’s a free guide that goes along with the series you can grab that right here [insert link]. It contains even more details on the steps-by-step instructions to starting a photography business from the ground up. You’ll get answers to common questions like “do I need to file for an LLC?” and “What’s the best way to name my photography business?” Today we’re going over 3 key steps you will have to take as you begin your photography business journey.
Steps To Starting Your Photography Business – Part One
1. Naming Your Photography Business
Naming a photography business is often one of the first decisions you will have to make when you start. And for some people, they may choose to rename their business at some point due to a name change or other life changes.
You have two main options when it comes to your photography business’ name: You can use your name, or make something up (after you verify that the name you have in mind isn’t being used somewhere else/violates a copyright of some kind.) Many photographers choose to use their own name as their business name (raising my hand right now!) because photography is often a personal-brand business where your clients will be speaking with and working with you primarily as the owner.
It’s important to ask yourself if you are building a personal brand. A personal brand is one that revolves around YOU as the primary face of your company. In most cases, this means your name, or a variation on your name, will be what you use.
If you think you may want to create a photography company outside of a personal brand and one that could potentially be sold later, or include associate photographers that wouldn’t be you, then naming it something without your name is something to consider. Examples of this are: Element Wedding FIlms, or Gracefully Yours images.
Other considerations: You will also want to consider the length of the name as you decide. It can be hard to remember long names, and some social media platforms do not support more than 15 characters for your name handle.
The last consideration should be search-ability and availability. You want to be able to be discovered in search engines (like Google search) and of course, the name needs to be available for use. In the guide for this series, I have a great resource for you to check across multiple platforms (IN ONE CLICK!) to see if your potential name is available on multiple networks.
2. Choosing Your Services & Pricing
The next area you’ll need to make some decisions on as you start is what kind of photography services you will offer and the pricing. This is where it can be easy to get hung up on what other people are doing or over-thinking things.
Remember, you aren’t married to your service offerings or prices. You can build these out to the best of your ability, try out some offers, and adjust as you go. The reason this is important to think about is because as you begin your photography business and start putting yourself (and your photos) out there, people are going to reach out and you want to have a well thought out response (like a services brochure) etc.
Decide where you will offer sessions. Do you plan to offer sessions outdoors, in parks, or inside of people’s homes? Or maybe you have a studio space that you can rent as needed.For pricing, I have a few photography-specific resources that will help you craft a starting price that will make sense for your current stage of business.
Just like I said with your offers, your pricing can and will change! You’ll learn the 3 considerations to take on in the video I linked above, but the first consideration needs to be your own costs of running your business and your income goals.
3. Crafting your ideal client + Target market
When first starting a photography business, it can be almost a silly question to ask “who is your ideal client?” because most photographers will freely admit “anyone who pays me!” and I completely get it. You have to start somewhere and many of us will shoot for free and do lots of different session types to get our feet wet and see what we like. After all, how will you know what sessions you like most unless you get out and try them?
So when I say “ideal client” or “target market” this is about having a vision and direction for where you would ultimately like to be in your photography business. Even if you’re not there currently, that’s OK!
I would love to continue this conversation about branding and marketing and how you can grow your own
Here are some questions that might help:
- Ideally, what kinds of sessions would you like to photograph and be known for?
- Ideally, what would the clients see in your work that draws them to you?
- Do they value printed goods?
- What does your ideal client like to do with their photos after you deliver them?
So there you have it. 3 questions (that you’ll find are sometimes NOT simple to answer.) Your answers to these three questions will have you on your way to starting a photography business that will have the foundation to last.
Be sure to grab the guide HERE so you can follow along with the series and get the complete checklist of items you’ll need to complete as you grow your photography business!
What’s Ahead: Part two of The Photography Business (re)start series will cover marketing and visibility aspects as well as some legal considerations and tips.