We asked members of our Collaborative Facebook Group to share some things they wish they knew before they owned a photography business. Here’s what they had to say:
Denise of Denise Benson Photography believes that becoming a legal business entity is important. Be sure to have those proper documents together!
The importance of becoming “legit” (i.e getting the right tax docs together, insurance, a website or at least social media accounts, etc). I see far too many people charging fees and not getting their business ducks in a row. I did it for a while too, but once I knew better I did better.
Anesha of Unashamed Imaging agrees that education is critical. Soft skills like humility are necessary for growth and being able to accept constructive criticism (CC).
1. Education. Like anything else you get into invest in education. People go to school for their careers so you should be open to attending classes, webinars, workshops, etc. to learn and grow.
2. Meekness: If you ask to be mentored or taught don’t attack the person who is trying to help you grow. Don’t ask for CC if you really don’t want it, but if you do then be open to it. LEARN to spit out the bones and eat the meat. I didn’t and still don’t struggle with this, but I see a lot of newbies who do.
This alone can help you progress.
Hannah Lockaby of Hannah Woodard Photography has learned how to properly set boundaries for her business as well as provide an exceptional client experience that incorporates her great customer service and professionalism.
I wish I had personally known how expensive running a business could be… and how time and energy consuming it is. Sometimes you feel like you can never turn off (answering emails at all hours, editing until far too late at night, etc.)
Something I see a lot of new photographers not realizing is that good customer service and professionalism is like 90% of the job (or more). Your pictures may be great, but you ALSO have to make your clients feel like a million bucks. A great experience with good photos will beat a mediocre experience with amazing photos every time.
Melissa Aldrich of Quiet Graces Photography has quite a few things to share with our novice photographers. It seems that knowing the cost of doing business is a recurring theme, no?
I wish I had known to run my cost of doing business from the very beginning and the list those prices immediately. Then offer a discount as I portfolio built. I have lost so many dear clients because they were offended at new prices…and the ones who have come back treat me like I owe them something.
That I could say no. Like I can and should fire clients who are not good fits for me and my style even if I need the money. Because they refer more people who aren’t my style…
I wish I had known marketing was more than social media. I still wish I had better networking abilities to arrange something with others that would be mutually benficial. But my niche seems harder than weddings and seniors to do that in.
Oh, pick a niche!
Are you starting a photography business soon? Take it from these ladies– there are some important considerations you should make before embarking on this new journey.
Are you part of our Collaborative network? Get in on these types of conversations and more by signing up here.