July 31, 2014
Oh hey there, New Photographer! I sure hope you’re in good spirits today. I hope today was a good day for you and that you’re keeping yourself busy at pursuing your dreams. I loved reading tips and tricks to starting my photography business when I first started. Hell, I STILL read them on how to continue to keep my business up! So here you go, here are 10 tips from me and my trial and error over the last couple of years:
1- Every photographer has to start somewhere. Usually you’re not going to be able to start out with a pricing structure in place. You need a portfolio and in order to get one, you have to shoot a lot. Ask your friends and family if you can do a complimentary session for them. Tell your friends to tell their friends that you’re offering complimentary sessions. The more you shoot, the better you’re going to get.
2- If you’re unsure of what camera you should purchase and you’re unsure of whether or not photography is going to become a full time thing for you, buy a starter camera! I started with a Canon Rebel XSI (now called the Rebel T3i). Once I knew I wanted to go full time with it (within 2 months), I purchased a Canon Mark II.
3- If you’re going to be charging people regardless of what my first tip mentions, then you need to get a business license! You don’t want to get in trouble with your city’s treasury office because you don’t have one. In Virginia Beach its only $40! Get one!
4- Start a Facebook business page. Social media can be really irritating at times but it SO totally helps in starting up a business. It helps to get your name out there, to showcase your work, and to obtain more business! While Facebook has started to throw out options for paying to ‘boost’ status updates or obtain more likes (instead of organically growing your following), you don’t have to! For the most part, it’s still FREE, and free marketing is amazing! Work around it, learn how to really get your stuff out there and post often! The more you post, the more people will see you that you’re working and be able to check out your work!
5- Create a logo and branding that you love! This has been a huge issue for me throughout owning my own business and my new website that I love and all of my new branding just launched!! I finally have a website, logo and branding that I love, after almost 2 years of not really knowing what I wanted! Your branding says so much about you! Pick a designer you love and go from there. I have a few designers that I adore if you need me to point you in the right direction :)
6- Create a website! Again, you’re going to need a good designer, but there’s nothing like having your own little space on the web just for you and your beautiful work! How else are people going to find you?!
7- Introduce yourself to other people in the industry. Work with them, talk with them, make yourself known in the industry by others so you can help each other out. When you do a mentoring session with me, I enter you into a private Facebook group full of all of the girls I have ever mentored. It’s a ‘safe place’ to ask questions whenever you need to, headshot swap, location scout together, etc. It’s a group of super sweet girls who just want to see each other succeed at this. If you’d like to be entered into it, email me about a mentoring session!
8- Chances are, there are other photographers work that you admire. Shoot them an email and ask them if they do mentoring sessions! Mentoring sessions are a great way to continue to your education and learn some tips and tricks that you could find useful. I know that mentoring sessions totally saved me and were more useful than ANYTHING I’ve ever done for my business. I do mentoring sessions if you’re interested! You can read more about them here! :)
9- Find a ‘style’ that suits you. It took me a while to understand what I wanted my work to look like, but once I obtained my own style and was CONSISTENT with it, I started getting more and more bookings. Clients will know what to expect from their images when they work with you. My clients know that if they book me on a sunny day, there’s going to be sun flare shots in their gallery. They know that their images will be bright, airy, and classic, because thats my style! They never have to wonder what the images will look like and they trust me in taking beautiful images for them. So — find your style, and remain consistent.
10- Start blogging! Once people know who you are, know what you’re like in your regular every day life aside from shooting, they feel comfortable with hiring you. I have booked so many clients that show up for their session and say “I feel like I’ve known you forever by reading your blogs and your ‘meet jami’ page on your website!” and that…means the WORLD to me! :) I know it can be super scary at first to allow people in, but be vulnerable. Allow people to see the TRUE you! I promise it’ll get you further than you think!
**And an extra tip just because: Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re going to have days where it seems like this dream will never happen for you. Keep pushing. With any dream, it takes work. I once felt like this would never work for me, but I’m living proof that if you work your ass off and just keep pushing no matter WHAT, it does work. OH and don’t mind all of the negative assholes in the industry that ‘bark’ at you. You just keep doing you and prove them all wrong. And remember, I’m cheering for you!!
Design by West + Free Co. Photography by Jami Thompson Photography