So you want to start a photography business huh? I imagine that’s why you’re here!
Well I’m so excited because photography is one of my passions and over the years I’ve realized just how much I love teaching and mentoring. One of my goals, that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, was to make this website more of a a teaching website. Starting today you will start seeing more how to posts and tutorials on everything photography!
Who am I??
First, I will give you a little background on myself and how I got started with photography. In 2013 when my second daughter turned 6 months old I was laid off from my corporate job. At the time I was working from home, which I loved because I was still able to be at home with the kids, but for the longest time I had dreamed about leaving behind the corporate world to start my own business. That was just the push that I needed to finally do it!
Being laid off was scary at first, but now that I look back it was a blessing in disguise. It was then that I was determined to do everything I could to remain at home with my kids. Since I already loved photography I had a huge interest in learning everything and anything I could to better myself, not just to have pretty photos for my wall but to see if I could start making a business from it.
One day I woke up and told my husband that I was going to start a photography website. He looked at me with a strange look at first, almost the same look he gave me when I first told him I was going to start a blog, but as usual he was supportive and gave me the thumbs up.
In addition to publishing more posts here about photography, I am also starting a FREE email series that will go into more detail about everything you need to get started with photography! To sign up for it click here and you will get an email once it’s ready! I’m still working on the content for it but it should be ready soon!
So back to starting a photography business. Let’s talk about starter gear.
The first DSLR I purchased was a Canon Rebel. I purchased the body alone because I already knew that I wanted a 50mm 1.8 lens. I got a camera just before our first daughter turned one because I really wanted to document her first birthday. I purchase all my photography gear from Amazon. You can see what I purchased here >> Canon EOS Rebel T5 and here >> Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.
The Canon rebel is a GREAT starter camera. I am self-taught and it was easy enough for me to learn to use manual mode. If you are new to photography and do not know how to use manual mode is then I highly recommend you also start off with a Canon Rebel. Remember I am self taught so I learned everything about manual mode from YouTube and Google and there are tons of free resources out there to learn manual on a Rebel.
I’ve never owned a zoom lens and have ALWAYS gone with a prime lens. There are many reasons for this and I will go into it more in in a future post, but trust me when I say that starting with a prime lens was a great choice for me and my business.
Here’s a tip:
Don’t purchase the kits. They come with too many things you don’t need and lenses you will want to upgrade from anyway if you’re serious about photography. I have never used a kit lens and here’s why. The aperture isn’t low enough. You want to start with a lens with an aperture starting at 1.8 at least. The lower the aperture usually the higher the cost of the lens but not always. The 50mm 1.8 is probably the best lens to start off with if you’re on a small budget. This thing retails for $125 and produces great photo quality. It is an amazing starter lens!
Start a Website
One of the very first steps into starting a business is to start a website. Now you might be thinking that you can’t start a website now, you’re just starting off. But let me tell you, starting a website right away was key to my early success. Don’t wait until you feel you know everything, you’re continually going to be learning as you go. Having a website doesn’t mean your an expert. But it is the BEST way to let everyone know about you! You can’t start making money if clients can’t find you.
By far the BEST photography platform is WordPress. It’s optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) and it’s the only way to use ProPhoto Blog which are the BEST photography website themes out there. ProPhoto Blog templates have built in portfolios and slideshows specifically for photographers. Get your ProPhoto Blog template through this link and you get $10 off!
AND if you get your hosting through Bluehost HERE (because you NEED a hosting plan to start a website), you get the BEST rate out there – I negotiated with Bluehost myself! YAY!
If you haven’t decided on a business name yet think of something that will be timeless. I used my daughter’s middle names since they are my muses of course. Having a name that you can grow with you is essential. The reason behind this is because you and your skills will grow, your niche will grow. You might want to start with families now but find you have more of an interest in photographing couples. I have seen many photographers use their name.
You Need a Blog
I’ve seen many photography websites WITHOUT a blog and I think this is a HUGE mistake. Blog posts are what keep your website current and updated which is what Google likes to see. Having a blog will help you come up in search results when someone is looking for a photographer. Google searches are where I get almost all of my business, I market very little yet the inquiries keep coming in.
If you are ready to setup your website and blog, check out THIS ARTICLE where I walk you through setting up your website!
Build a Portfolio
You need a portfolio before clients will begin hiring you. But by portfolio I don’t mean thousands of photos and sessions that you’re doing for free. If you don’t have any photos yet I want you to go outside and start shooting. Ideally you want photos your target client is looking for, so if its families you want to shoot for example, take your kids outside and start shooting away. If you have a pet and a husband, let them be your subjects. If you want to shoot maternity sessions find a pregnant friend and take a few photos. You don’t need entire sessions to post in your portfolio, you just need a small variety of photos to put on your website.
The first photos I had up on my website were pictures of my girls, some photos were of my sister and I also had a few of a friend and her little girl. Not much, but it was something and it was enough to start getting inquiries online.
By far the easiest professional editing software out there is Adobe Lightroom. If you have never edited a photo before then start off with Lightroom. It’s easy to use and inexpensive. You can pay $9.99 monthly to use Adobe Creative Cloud and you also get Photoshop with it! This is what I use. I use a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my photos. Get Creative Cloud HERE.
Don’t be Afraid
Don’t be afraid to get out there and just do it! I didn’t know it all when I started and I certainly don’t know everything now. Everything I have learned I learned through YouTube tutorials, blogs and other photography sites. I am still learning as I go. I didn’t know it all, but a few years later I have found some success. Over the past year I’ve been featured nationally, won a photography award and have been featured on People.com. I didn’t wait to start a business until I felt I knew everything and you shouldn’t either! You will continually be learning, each client and session will help you get to where you want to be.
Be sure to sign up for my upcoming FREE email series that goes into more detail about starting a business in photography. To sign up for it click here and you will get an email once it’s ready! I’m still working on the content for it but it should be ready soon!
Congratulations on starting a business!