As a budding entrepreneur looking to start your own photography business, you should give proper focus unto your branding activities. Business branding is a necessary exercise and something that you will have to pay full attention to because from here on your business logo and name will be everywhere.
Business name and domain
You will need to establish your business name and domain name very early, almost as soon as you decide that you would like to start your own business. A business name must be easy to remember and relate with the work that you do. A lot of photographers use their name such as – Rick Gersten Photography, which is a good way to go. Having your name as a part of the business name is lot more personal.
A likeable and easy to remember domain name is a difficult thing to achieve as well. Most people spend days to even weeks of sleepless nights before getting to book something that they like. If your name is a part of the domain name you may have a much easier time with it.
Next comes the business logo and styling. This is so that people can identify who you are and what you do.It is imperative that it is an easy to remember design. If you take a look at some of the most popular brand logos around, they are very simple to remember. The Microsoft logo, the apple logo, HP, there are many examples around.
Another thing that you should pay attention to is using as less colors as possible in the logo. Always look at a logo and visualize whether it will print ok in black and white.If yes and it satisfies the simplicity thing and the other parameters I wrote about, then it is a good logo. Next print your business cards, letterheads and brochures with your business name and logo. I would even go the distance to put up a sign in front of my home so that prospective clients can know that you are a photographer.
The quintessential business card
Photography business is about 90% marketing, branding, administration and the rest of the things and only 10% of actually shooting photos. As alarming as it may sound this is true. It is like every other business. As such, not being prepared at all times is a sin. There are far too many professional photographers or budding professionals who travel without a pack of business cards with them.Well it is the same thing as traveling with a set of lights or without your C-PL filter with you. In many ways your business card is your first serious branding effort to get a new client. It should yell out your contact details and above all carry a link to your online portfolio.
I wrote about the need to make a proper plan in terms what should be your pricing structure in an earlier article. You should also make a business plan as to how much you need to make every year. This will ensure that you can set your eyes on the type of work that you would want to do rather than accepting anything and everything that comes your way.
Of course at the beginning of your career you will find it extremely difficult to choose because you are basically working to meet your expenses, but soon you will find that the flow of work has increased. That is the time to be choosy.
A business plan is about setting goals. Every business has a goal, just like every human being ought to have one; at least that’s what I learnt at school. Let’s say that at the start of your career you set a goal that you would do 50 weddings a year at ‘A’ amount of dollars each. After a couple of years, as your business grows, you could reset the goal to say 20 weddings a year at ‘A x 4’ amount of dollars each.
Scheduling and delegating
A problem that most photographers face is to squeeze time out for everything that they need to do. Between shooting on assignments (portraits, commercial shoots, weddings), traveling, scouting for locations, editing, branding, hiring and doing all the other stuff that’s necessary to manage their business they somehow lose a grip on their own life. It always feels as if they are out of breath, barely making it. In the middle of all these they lose time for themselves and their loved ones.
It thus becomes extremely important, after a while to start delegating work to others. Letting go of important and key aspects of his / her business may sound a bit daunting. But it’s a necessary step and that’s how all business grow. One of the key aspects that a photographer has to think about delegating is assigning other people with the task of editing their photos.
Editing is an extremely time consuming aspect of your photography business. Notwithstanding, you cannot simply overlook the importance of editing and post-processing your images. Things like color correction, skin retouching, teeth whitening, removal of blemish and other unwanted elements are just as important as having shot a sharp and meaningful image.
Thankfully, there are many companies and individual photo editors who will be happy to do your photo editing chores.
Another thing that a photographer has to assign to someone is shooting. Yes I am referring to someone who can go to a wedding with you and work as your second shooter. The most important reason why a photographer prefer not to use a second shooter is because s/he is unsure whether the style of that individual is going to match theirs. A second shooter is a professional, who works for you. S/he could even be an intern or a trainee who assists you on a wedding and gets the shots that you didn’t get time to make.
Let’s face it a wedding day is like a complete chaos. Everything happens at a break-neck speed and there is simply not enough time for you to ponder and think. You have to have a list made ahead of time and follow that meticulously. Your second shooter helps you to get the shots that are on that list.
Let’s say that you personally prefer to shoot candid wedding photography. Your clients want you to do your thing but they also want you to get those group shots and posed shots which are necessary. A second shooter can help you get those while you do your thing.