Starting a business specializing in portraiture

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Fryd
Senior MemberPosts: 1,628
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Re: Let's create a Semi-Pro Forum
In reply to spytrek007, 6 months ago

spytrek007 wrote:

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

He said he didn't want to 'make a profit'. He wants to TFP - NOT bringing a DIME in money. So no, he's never gonna pay for gear that way.

Lets clarify a few things.

I am reading a few business books. I have a business plan and I am doing research as I am going along.

Regarding not making a profit, that is not my intention. My intention is to build up my portfolio as well as form a network with relevant people in the industry. This can be with stylists, make up artists and those that provide photo printing service. Take any industry for example, to get known you have to work for nothing and still deliver outstanding work. Take web design for example. This web design market is very saturated and competitive. Now i hear new graduates doing volunteer work or projects for 6 months to a year. So how do you expect a new photographer with no portfolio to start charging from day 1?

Please do not confuse being good at what you do with being successful at it.

Web design and photography are both saturated markets.  it is difficult to make a living at either of them.

If your goal is to have a profitable photography business, then I suggest you spend your time learning business rather than photography.

There are lots of profitable photographers who have mediocre photographic skills, but are very good at business.  There are few profitable photographers who are bad at business, no matter how good their photographic skills.

If your goal is to have fun with photography, without an eventual goal of having a business, then ignore me.

Anyway back to photography, this thread has gone off topic. This thread was mainly concerned with insurance and other legal issues not on how business planning or marketing via flyers, leaflets etc. However some posts were quite useful and I have a better understanding of what needs to be done. I am researching by reading various books, one is by some author Lara White. I found her book quite useful but still have specific questions. It is by an American author so will apply to USA law. The book states that you only need insurance if your equipment is more than what you could afford to replace. So this means I would be risking myself in case i damage my camera due to own negligence.

Insurance is important.  In the states, one's homeowners, medical, and car insurance may not provide coverage for anything associated with business use.   learn your local laws to understand what you need to do in order to avoid a huge loss.

As i have been told on this thread that I need business insurance aka professional indemnity or public indemnity to cover my camera equipment and camera bags which are all worth around £1100. I have invested in a few camera bags, flash guns, filters, memory cards and so on all totalling £1100. This is around £600 on top of the price of the camera and what it came bundled with.

Then i need public liability to protect my business against claims from clients just in case someone decides to play nasty for no reason or the other. With no win no fee lawyers, this is bound to happen. Other professionals too suffer such as teachers, doctors etc.

Don't forget that when you are shooting more, your gear gets more wear and tear, and will need more repairs.  you will also need backups for all your critical gear.  If you are shooting for fun, you can wait a week while gear is being repaired.  If you are working for a client, you better be able to complete the job (and the jobs for the next week or so) if something breaks.

If you do want to have a successful photography business, go take a course on business and a course on marketing/advertising. Time and effort you put into structuring the business and marketing will provide a much higher return than anything you do to increase the quality of your photographic skills.

Keep in mind that the average consumer judges the quality of a photo solely by whether or not it's in focus.  If you want people to pay you more because you produce better images, then you need marketing to convince people that your images are better, and are worth paying more for.  Note that your images don't actually need to be better, although better images makes the marketing a bit easier.

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