You’ve probably noticed a pattern around here if you have been listening to recent episodes. We’ve been talking a lot about “why we think you should go for it” and “getting out of your own way”.
If all that talk has got you pumped up, you might be saying… Well “now what”? How do I actually become a photographer? Since there is so much to unpack about the subject, we figured we’d address the topic starting with five basic tips that we think are important when starting out as a photographer.
Let’s get started!
We think it is very important to start off with professional equipment. When you are financially planning what it takes to get started in your photography business, this may be one of the most expensive parts. Don’t worry. It takes proper equipment to do your job correctly and all of this is tax deductible in the future so try not to stress too much about this.
Here is a quick break down of what you will need along with a price estimate based on a little google search.
-camera body / there is obviously a large variety to choose from so the pricing is all over the place. It’s also not a bad idea to find gently used equipment. Expect to be somewhere between $2000-$5000 on the camera body alone.
2. Name your Business
Grab some scratch paper and keep it with you so that you can jot down little ideas. It’s never a bad idea to start your new photography business under your personal name. It’s simple and you can always change it in the future after you’ve spent some time figuring out what direction your new business will lead you in. You’ll also want to check and make sure there is a domain name available as well as a social media name. If so, secure this domain right away.
*note: you do not have to start building a website at this point. In fact, we do not recommend that yet.
3. Register your Business
At this point, you’ll want to register your business and obtain all appropriate licenses. This will vary from area to area and will also depend on where you plan on doing most of your work. Some special licenses may be needed to shoot in parks or protected areas. On today’s podcast episode we encourage you over and over to follow the rules. Be a part of the solution, not the problem when it comes to shooting in places like National Parks. Giving photographers a bad rap isn’t cool. Also, if you are reading this and didn’t listen to the episode, we also discussed how important it is NOT to get intimidated by this step. Don’t skip it or get hung up on it. Often times, creative types do not want to handle paperwork or go through the trouble of getting things like this squared away and they tell themselves they will just do it later. Chances are, you will not. So keep this as step 3 like we are suggesting before you move on to the fun stuff.
4.Build a Portfolio
This is the fun part. This step serves multiple purposes. Not only are you doing the obvious, building your new photography portfolio, but you are also gaining experience. This is the time we recommend that you do work for no charge. When money is involved it comes with a certain amount of pressure. We recommend leaving money our of it while you are experimenting with how your shoot will run, how much is involved from start to finish, and allowing yourself the space to get creative. All of that will also teach you what you need to know for the next step. Which is …
5. Set Pricing
Be ready to receive payments (legally)
If you’ve taken your time building your portfolio and you’ve followed the other steps, you’ll see that you need to charge appropriately. If you listened to the episode we also mentioned photography etiquette. Under cutting your completion isn’t a great move. If you feel that you aren’t as experienced as your competition, just remind yourself that you have followed these steps which means you have spent money on equipment, you’ve paid for other expenses that involve making your business legal as well as securing a website, and you you’ve gained experience while building your portfolio. If you’ve done all of this we hope you have the confidence price yourself somewhere that lines up with your competitors.
Listen to this podcast at https://open.spotify.com/episode/7cKgdFviPuY3BzXrY43u56