It’s time once again for another question! It’s week two and I’m going strong! I’m going to try to keep this as a regular feature as long as the questions keep rolling in :)
This week I will be sharing my response to a fairly often asked question from new photographers looking to start their own business.
“I truly appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. As you know I am making an attempt to get my feet wet with photography as it is an art I’ve grown to love. I am interested in taking all kinds of photographs such as weddings/engagement, portraits, sports, and real estate.
What advice could you give me as a beginner? How do I go about shooting my first wedding, etc. and given that I am just starting out what should I charge my clients?”
Thanks so much for your message! You actually have quite a few broad questions that I unfortunately can’t answer for you :(
Each of the things you mentioned are very different and have their own challenges. I don’t do sports or real estate photography so I can’t really provide information there. I do specialize in portrait photography and I offer weddings as well. Both of those areas can be fairly good business in themselves once you know what you’re doing.
My most immediate suggestion would be to practice in each of those areas you mentioned to see which you absolutely love and are good at. It would also be beneficial to research how profitable each would be. From there you’ll have a better idea of what would be the most beneficial for you to specialize in. It’s much better to be a master of portrait photography than it would be to be a mediocre wedding, portrait, sports, and real estate photographer. Having a specialty or niche also enables you to be more direct and effective with your marketing.
Before beginning any business though, it is imperative to know what you’re doing. As a beginner, I honestly wouldn’t suggest trying to begin a business at this point as you may end up frustrating yourself more than anything. Since you are still learning, now is a great time to practice as much as you can, get to learn your equipment, develop your eye, and find your photography style. Once you get to a point where you’re able to consistently produce good images, then you’re ready to begin accepting money. Starting out, I do suggest charging a lower “portfolio building” rate to let potential clients know that you’re not selling yourself as a cheap photographer. This also makes them aware that if they choose to come back in the future, the rate will not be the same. Pricing is a whole other conversation though with many different factors involved… There are tons of helpful resources online to assist you in deciding what you should charge when you’re ready.
You don’t get great overnight so don’t get discouraged when you see someone else’s work and it’s awesome. Let it inspire instead of intimidate and push you to learn/grow that much more. I think the most valuable thing in anything is to love what you do. I am now in the 5th year at this professionally and I’ve learned tons of lessons during that time, but it always comes back to your passion. If you’re passionate about photography it will keep you inspired, push you to try new ideas, and always strive to improve. And if you don’t feel that way about photography that’s okay- maybe that just means you still haven’t found what your true passion is yet :)
Hopefully this helped!
If you have a photography-related question that you’d like to see answered here, email me! Let me know what you think of the new feature :)