Moving From Hobby To Business With Your Photography

The statistics overwhelmingly show that people love their cameras.

  • 77% of U.S. households own at least one digital camera.
  • Almost 120 million cameras were sold in 2009, with digital SLRs having a 30% growth in sales.
  • The average consumer takes 72 digital photographs at each event they attend.
  • They share 55% of all photos taken by email.
  • And 40% post their images online at sites like Facebook and Snapfish.

So why not take something you love anyway and turn it into a business? Maybe not a full time business, but something you can make money at here and there.

Increasingly, that’s what the photography industry is facing.

As a business coach to photographers for over 8 years now, I’m seeing more and more people making the jump. Though this site is filled with information and ideas on building the business, here are the 7 things you need to do right now to put this into action.

1. What are your goals? Do you want to photograph a few family and friends on the side, and make enough for a nice night on the town once in awhile? Or do you have hopes of turning this into a full time, successful career? Knowing this up front will dictate how you approach your business.

how to turn a hobby to a photography business

2. Choose the right name for your photography business. Once you know your goals, come up with a name that helps you meet your goals. The larger you want to become, the more time you should put into naming your photography business. A small business may only register it with the state or your local area. But a studio with larger goals should secure the domain name, and register a trademark to block others from using it too.

3. Look at it like a business. Find mentors in your specialty or niche. Want to go into weddings? Find a few where you love their work; follow them online, attend their classes, and meet them at tradeshows. Use them as your guidance to grow.

4. Get proper camera equipment. Sure you can show up at a wedding with a consumer grade digital SLR and a lens or two. But what if you drop the body, or the lens freezes? To be a professional, means great equipment and plenty of backup. You don’t always have to buy – why not rent lenses until you find what you want and can afford.

5. Use tools and software to give your photography an edge. There are many things that can help you become better at photography by being better at the business side. Photoshop is a definite must for photographers. Expand from there. We’ve been ACDSee to manage our workflow for years. Or how about online management tools that can help you with everything from having an online photo shopping cart system to allow you clients to buy online, to a site that manages your appointment calendar.

6. Practice your photography. Because most consumers have access to fairly decent camera equipment, you’re competing with a ton of amateur photographers. You have to not only stand out from the crowd, but completely WOW your potential customers. How can you create something beyond what your competitors are doing?

7. Price your photography like a professional. There is so much more to pricing your photography than choosing a random number. You have to take many things into account. Will you be able to afford better camera equipment? Is the rent of your studio covered?

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