According to statistics, if you start a business today, it has a 75% chance of failing within two years. Of those that manage to survive, only 20% will reach five. We are not even talking about reaching a decade…
I know, I just took away your desire to start your photography business… No wonder.
But it doesn’t always have to be this way. It is proven that most new businesses fail due to poor planning .
Seen from the other side, you have a better chance of succeeding if you have prepared a good plan of action.
But photographers are artists, and we don’t care about business … unfortunately.
Luckily, if you are thinking of becoming a professional (or improving your project), I am going to tell you how to start a photography business as a teenager summarized in the seven most important points of the plan.
Let’s go there!
Starting a photography business checklist
(1. Preparing the basis of your project
If you have been thinking about professionalizing your work for a long time, your head will be full of ideas and plans.
Now is the time to put all this on paper and give it order and meaning.
Before starting with the plan itself, you need to do a small study in three points that will be the basis of your entire business and will help you see everything more clearly.
(2. Define the objectives of your photography business
You can’t know how to create your business if you don’t know where you want to go.
One of the most famous and used techniques to define these objectives is known by the acronym SMART. Following this technique means that your goals will be:
• S pecific (Specific): The more defined your objective, the better results you will have.
• M easurable (Measurable): You must have a way to measure the progress of your work.
• A chievable (Possible): The objective must be within logical possibilities.
• R ealistic (Realistic): You must have the necessary elements to achieve it (time, resources, knowledge …)
• T ime-Bound (Possible in time): A period of time to achieve that realistic. If it is very short, you will feel overwhelmed, very long and you will lose sight of the objective.
An example of how to organize SMART goals for your photography business can be the following:
• Sessions you want to do in a month
• Income you want to achieve
• Number of budgets to make
• Number of clients in your portfolio
(3. Decide which photographer you want to be
Photography is a huge sector and, to succeed, you must choose your position within it.
The first thought you can have is “the more types of photography I do, the more I can earn.”
But it’s not like that.
The more specialized your job, the more professional you will be, and the more you can charge for it.
Clients have been shown to appreciate when a photographer offers only one specialty . Doing it this way helps them get to know you in your field and know who to turn to on future occasions.
Wanting to cover too many areas of photography will lead you to waste time exploring and working on each one, and this, not specializing in any of them. The more specialized your job, the more professional you will be, and the more you can charge for it.
Once you know what your sector is within photography, everything you do should be in that direction to achieve the best results.
This point may be interesting for you to do together with point 1 of the next section, when you know the business possibilities in your area.
(4. Identify your ideal customer
The most important part of this section is knowing which clients you are targeting .
And because? Because not knowing exactly who your ideal customer is will ruin your business.
Always keep in mind that the more identified you have with your ideal client, the better you will understand their needs and the more effective your marketing plan will be.
Every client has a pain point that you must find and take advantage of in order to achieve results. For example, the pain point of my food photography clients is not having or not being able to offer a palatable image of their dishes.
Create a list with the following data about your client:
• Man or woman
• Place of residence
• Your income level
• What are your tastes?
• Why do you need your photos?
• Is it accessible by you?
This point is vital in order to create your future marketing plan and achieve the best results with the least possible effort.
The more identified you have your ideal client, the better you will understand their needs and the more effective your marketing plan will be.
Photography Business plan
Now that you have these two points identified and defined, it’s time to start with the real plan on how to start a photography business as a teenager.
Business plans are usually technical and complicated to read booklets, since they are usually proposals that you have to deliver to specialized people.
Forget it, this plan is, for now, just for you.
Write it in a way that is easy for you to read and understand , but does not miss any details.
Everything is ready, now start with the four points that will define your new photographic business.
Doing things differently from others is the only way to stand out .
Before making any further decisions, take some time to study your local competition, how other photographers work, and what services they offer.
Create a list that contains the following data:
• Main photographic needs of your close clients
• How many nearby photographers offer the same services?
• Calculate the size of your target customers
• What percentage of this audience can you reach?
• When you have all this information, make sure that your services do not overlap with those of other photographers in the area.
In this section you have to describe all of your strategies that you plan to use to advertise your services.
Focus on how you are going to make your personal brand gain notoriety, how to get your services to customers and the platforms you will use for it (Facebook, AdWords …)
More and more photographers are taking advantage of social networks to jump to fame, which is why they have become a powerful marketing tool. In this article I explained how to use social media for small business.
Besides, you will have to create a small monthly budget that you will allocate only for this purpose.
Another good marketing idea is to reach out to acquaintances who can help you reach your target audience.
How much money does it take to start a photography business?
Well, the unpleasant point comes… We have to talk about expenses.
Every business has some expenses, some more, some less … But you are going to have to spend yes or yes.
Fortunately, the photography business is not too complicated . You will not need (at least initially) to hire employees or have a large infrastructure, so this section will be relatively simple.
In any case, if you do not have experience in these cases, it may be useful to have an agency or an accountant to guide you.
You will not need (at least initially) to hire employees or have a large infrastructure.
The most important aspects to note here are:
• What are your fixed costs
• What material should you buy
Flashes, camera, tripods or work tools, such as software, presets …
• Monthly subscriptions
Any specific monthly payment, such as subscription to LR and PS, online course websites …
• Your initial investment and where it comes from
Write down how much you plan to invest to start your business and what is its origin.
• The price of your work
Prepare a price list for your work. Cost of each session, for photos, for general service …
• What are you going to live on until the business is profitable
It is difficult for your business to be profitable from day one. Write here how you will do to survive until you earn real money.
Your growth plan
And we come to the final step on how to start a photography business as a teenager, where you have to think about the future of your business.
When everything starts to work, how will everything grow? At what point will you need to hire someone? Where will you find it and what features should it have?
Although this point may vary depending on the progress of your business, try to detail it as much as possible. You will always be on time to correct things.
Remember that the more detailed your business plan is, the further you can go with it.
If you see that you have the opportunity to do so, modify it and make it as serious and professional as possible to present it to a possible investor or financial institution in order to obtain subsidies or aid.
These potential investors are always looking for projects with passion and options for the future , so do not be afraid to extend everything you need in order to impress them.
And you, are you going to start your photography business now?