From Hobby to Profession How to Turn Your Love of Photography into a Successful Business

If the idea of turning your photography hobby into a full-time gig makes your eyes sparkle and you feel excited then it is time to turn your love of photography into a successful business. Photography is a great way to make some extra cash as a hobby. But there is a whole lot more to know about it if you want to start as a full-time photographer.

Everybody starts somewhere; even the most famous and successful photographers began as a hobbyist. Some people make the transition and become full-time professionals in a matter of months. Regardless of how swiftly you do it, there are many concerns you should be taking care of when thinking of photography as a serious career option. 

Let’s start off with some challenges to turning your love of photography into a successful business:

Be Ready to Take The Rejection

The biggest hurdle in any profession is rejection. And when you’re starting as an entrepreneur you might have to face rejection on a daily basis. You might take your portfolio to a gallery, and will return with embarrassment. As an entrepreneur, rejection is just an occupational hazard. When we all know photography is art, and art is subjective. What looks amazing to one person could turn another person’s nose up in disgust. 

Tough Competition

These days almost everyone is calling themselves a photographer. We all have cool smartphones with sweet cameras, we might use them rather than go to a professional. Let’s try a different perspective here, for instance, a bridesmaid comes to you now she has three choices. She’ll happily hire you, hire one of your competitors with lower pricing, or she’ll find a friend with a DSLR to do the shoot for free. The same goes for galleries too. To turn your photography hobby into a profession, you need to learn not only to face the competition gracefully but also how to stand out from everyone else. 

Your Bank Balance Will Be Null

As a photographer, some small business expenses you should include:

  • Maintaining and Repairing Existing Equipment
  • Purchasing New Equipments
  • Transportation and Associated Expenses
  • Legal and Insurance Fees

Then there are lenses, gears, and gadgets that you’ll need, to compete and fully explore the art. Once you’ve bought all these you will think that your bank account finally has some time to grow. But sooner you’ll find yourself forking out money on workshops, books, and classes. 

Take Care of Your Health

All sorts of backaches and pains can be challenging. Photography professional kits weigh a lot and working and moving in different locations, often in some hazardous environments is quite common. If you can afford it, hire a helper or an assistant to help you carry your kit. Not only your physical health but starting as an independent photographer can also affect your mental health. There is a variety of mental health problems photographers could face:

  • The Fear of Unknown Future
  • Burnout from Redundant Tasks
  • Burnout from Photography Jobs
  • Not Having Enough Personal Time

Mental health problems can go beyond stress and anxiety. Taking care of mental and physical health is essential for photographers, it can save your life and business. 

Marketing of Your Photography 

Getting visible, both online and offline is a major marketing challenge every photographer faces. While almost every photographer uses the social media mix, far fewer leverage the ability of publicity. If you’re a proactive photographer and pitch your work to relevant media, this can lead to visibility on a grand scale.  

Tips to Turn Your Love of Photography into A Successful Business

So what if you’re still in the ‘let’s not put a label on this’ phase, but you’ve been shooting for a while, for family and friends who have seen your talent and helped you make it official? We realize it’s a scary step to take, but with a little bit of the right execution of management and strategy, you‘ll be on a beneficial track to an autonomous photography career. 

Plan Your Business ( Nail Down A Practical Goal )

When thinking of officially launching your photography business, you need a plan with a goal to reach somewhere. We’re not suggesting you do a SWOT analysis or any other complicated business plan. The one most important thing to consider when turning your hobby into a professional business is actually creating a business. You need to change the way of doing things. For starters, once you’ve created your business Instagram handle and have all the photos of you and your dog, it’s time to think about the logistics of making this work. 

  • Your Business Name

Branding! Yes, your business needs a name for many reasons. Your business name is the very first thing a potential customer will notice about your business. The business name is a perfect way of establishing your brand position, what kind of work you offer, or your stand in the industry. 

  • Your Audience

Who is your target audience? If you decide to offer real estate photography, how will you plan to offer your services? See there’s no step-by-step instruction guide to follow to get your target audience. Your clients can come from anywhere, maybe you’re taking a walk in the park or conducting an online introductory class about photography. In this situation use Picktime, a free appointment scheduling software for photographers to make your life easy. Being a photographer means you’ve to be at many places in a single day, with Picktime taking a quick glance at your dashboard for all of your booked and free time slots. Sometimes it could go like, your vibe attracts your tribe! So it’s not always necessary to meet every client in person. Using Picktime schedule an online half an hour coffee date with them and you’ll know if they’re right for your tribe.

  • Your Services and Prices

For some professionals, it might be a little early to decide on packages and prices. A great way to start this is to work backward. Start with understanding your cost of living, your business costing, profits, margins, and taxes you’re paying. With this many expenses and very little capital, it could get messy when you have to meet every client and understand their needs.

Use an online appointment scheduling software Picktime, with a personalized booking page only for your business. Some key features of Picktime that could help you in your savings:

  • Online Calendar

When you’re busy at some wedding shoot and can not attend the other clients, with Picktime on your right hand your customers will be able to book available slots with you without you having to interfere. 

  • Book Now Button

Leave your old-school excel sheets and use Picktime to store all your customer information. Picktime also provides a personalized button. Embed their well-written code into your website and the book now button will be visible to all your website visitors for ease of booking the appointment in one click. 

  • Rescheduling

Whether you’re one man army or have a team of assistants managing schedules is the key to running your photography business niftily. Keep track of your business that is at more than one location with the ease of canceling, rescheduling, and freeing up your time slots.

Build Your Portfolio

Without a solid portfolio, no one will know what you can do. So after deciding on a business plan the next step should be to create a well-constructed portfolio. Your portfolio will do the selling for you online and offline, so make sure to use your best ideas and images. If photography has been a hobby for you at the initial stage, chances are you’re swimming with some beautiful images to show to your potential clients. The key here is to make sure the images you choose represent your skills but should be angled towards the work you’re hoping to score in the future. 

Pick Your Niche

What really brings you joy? Whether you like to jam at a wedding or surreal still life it is? Specializing in some particulars will help your clients know what to expect from you, and help you shape your brand to attract similar-minded clients that appreciate your work. 

The more you shoot, the more experience you get, and the more you’ll get a sense of what lights you up. To build a successful photography business it’s important to understand that not everyone is your client. Instead of spending time and energy on everyone, funnel that time into people who truly want to work with you. Believe it, you’ll find dream clients who want to work with you and only you.  

Marketing and Branding

If you haven’t thought about this yet, it’s time now. With a business name and logo, you will also need some branding and marketing. When you’re trying and starting for the first time, it might not make sense to outlay your savings on any expensive marketing method. But uploading pictures on social media, and attending and organizing events could open a window of endless opportunities. Take help from some of your connections to secure your name in the big league. 

Work Freelance and Generate Leads

You’re advertising on Google and Facebook or searching job boards for opportunities. You have to start somewhere to find work. Try approaching schools, nearby clubs, galleries, event companies, and anything even remotely related to that you’ve heard of, and start serving as a freelancer.

Getting clear on what it takes to make the transition of photography from a hobby to a profession is a big part of managing your perspective on what’s important for you. The important thing is that you’re doing what you love or at least trying your best for it. Take all the time you need and believe in yourself. These baby steps are just as important as the big ones!

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