How To Start a Photography Business in South Africa
If you’re thinking to start a photography business, you probably have a lot of questions. Is it worth the work? What are the pros and cons? How much money can you earn? What equipment do you need? Should you specialize in a particular type of photography? How can you get clients?
There is much to consider
Still, if you love taking pictures and are willing to work, it’s possible to make a living from your passion. As Walt Disney once said: “All our dreams can come true if we dare to pursue them.”
- In this article, we will take a look at how to start a photography business step by step.
- The Pros and Cons of Starting a Photography Business
- Hobbies and business are two very different things.
- So before you turn your passion into a livelihood, take a moment to consider the pros and cons of starting a photography business.
5 Advantages of Starting a Photography Business
Earn money with your passion
The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
If you decide to start a photography business, you will have the opportunity to spend much of your time doing what you love – taking pictures.
Find meaning in your work
Photographers are hired to capture and preserve special moments forever. Whether the subject is nature, family portraits, weddings, etc., photographers can find a lot of meaning in their work.
Meet new people
Whether you meet people at weddings, in your portrait studio, or on location taking pictures of wildlife, photography can be a great way to meet lots of new and interesting people. Most cities even have active meetup.com groups, which meet up regularly to socialize.
Running a photography business can provide a lot of flexibility for you and your family. Unlike a traditional nine-to-five schedule, you are in complete control of your schedule. This makes it easier to prioritize childcare, vacations, and time with loved ones.
Do you love to travel and discover new places? Many photographers make travel a regular part of their work. Simply book clients in the places you would like to visit.
5 Cons of Starting a Photography Business
Commercial Photography Team
- Expensive Equipment Costs
Depending on how much equipment you already have, it can be expensive to buy everything you need to start a photography business.
- Fickle customers
Some clients can be difficult or exhausting. Also, some events can be stressful and bring out the worst in people. For example, if you decide to photograph weddings, you may come across the occasional “bridezilla.”
- Unsociable work hours
Many photography sessions take place outside of normal business hours during evenings and weekends. This can make it hard to spend time with friends and family who work or go to school during the week.
- Inconsistent income
As with any small business, revenue is not always consistent and it can take time to develop a regular workflow. When you start out, you will likely experience ups and downs in your income.
- You could spoil your passion
As mentioned above, hobbies and businesses differ in many ways. Turning your hobby into a business can take away the fun and spontaneity, and photography can end up looking like a tedious job.
- Photography Business Ideas
The most successful photographers specialize in a particular type of photography. Why? In short, specialists are more sought after than generalists.
Think about it: if you’re getting married, would you rather hire a general photographer or someone who specializes in weddings?
So before you start your photography business, take some time to decide what type of photography business you want to run.
To help, here is a list of nine common photography business ideas.
1. Wedding photography business
Wedding photographers are needed to help capture and preserve each couple’s big day wedding photography.
2. Portrait photography business
Families, actors, models, and businessmen all need a portrait photographer from time to time.
3. Real estate photography business
Real estate agents, property managers, homeowners, hotels, and even local tavern hosts need stunning photography to help them market their properties.
4. Travel Photography Business
Travel photographers provide stunning photos of countries, cities, magazines, blogs, hotels, and tourist attractions. These photographs may be used for entertainment or promotional purposes.
5. Event photography business
Event photographers are needed for birthday parties, graduations, corporate events, and religious celebrations.
6. Food Photography Business
Restaurants, food brands, and advertising agencies often use food photographers to showcase their products or menu items.
7. Fashion photography business
Designers, magazines, and runway events need fashion photographers to capture and promote the latest styles and creations.
8. Sports photography business
Sports photographers specialize in capturing the excitement, action, and drama of sporting events.
9. Product Photography Business
Businesses that sell products need presentable photos to use for marketing and sales.
What do I need to start a photography business?
If you’ve been a hobby photographer for a while, you may already have most of the equipment you need.
Still, you should consider whether the quality of your team is high enough to produce work you can confidently charge for.
Also, you may need to purchase some additional equipment and services to run your photography business.
Here is a list of everything you may need to start a photography business.
Let’s start by going over the equipment you’ll need when setting up a photography business.
1. Professional camera
Of course, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a professional-grade camera. Before you buy a camera, be sure to do plenty of research on the best make and model for your type of photography.
2. Backup camera
As a professional photographer, it is always a good practice to have a high-quality rear camera. That way, if you’re ever in the middle of a session and something goes wrong with your camera, you can continue with the session.
Imagine if you were hired to photograph a wedding and your camera broke during the vowels!
Every photographer needs a professional set of lenses to capture their subjects. Again, be sure to research the types of lenses best suited to your style of photography.
Tripods are a vital piece of equipment for all photographers. They not only help keep the camera steady but also allow you to take many photos of a subject without disturbing the frame.
5. Camera bag
Professional-grade cameras and lenses don’t come cheap, so be sure to protect them from damage with a special camera bag. These bags also make it easy to organize and access your gear while on a session.
Great photographs require great lighting. While natural lighting is usually best, you’ll need some lighting equipment or reflectors to help you take great pictures when there isn’t enough sunlight.
If you are planning to start a portrait photography business, you will need to create or purchase some backgrounds.
Depending on the type of photos you plan to take, you may want to get some accessories. For example, if you’re an event photographer, you could round up some party accessories like oversized glasses and fun hats.
9. Reliable car or van
As a professional photographer, your livelihood will depend on your ability to provide quality service to clients. In other words, being late (or not at all) because your car broke down is very bad for business. Make sure you have reliable transportation for you and your team.
10. Study space
Depending on the type of photographs you plan to take, you may need to purchase or rent a studio space. Alternatively, you could create a small study in your home.
You’ll need a reliable computer to market your business, edit photos, and manage your photo files.
12. Editing Software
You will also need some professional photo editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom to adjust your photos.
If you use a desktop with a large screen for photo editing, you can also invest in a laptop for on-the-go editing.
14. External hard drive
High-quality digital photos can take up a lot of space on your computer’s hard drive and this can slow down your computer. Instead, invest in an external hard drive to store your photo files.
15. Photo printer
If you plan to offer prints to your customers, you may want to consider investing in a photo printer. Alternatively, you can locate a local printing service to use when you need to print photos for clients.
16. Smartphone with a quality camera
Although you’ll need to use your professional-grade camera for the shots, you can use your smartphone to capture behind-the-scenes content for social media. You can use this content to promote your photography business.
17. Mobile Photography Apps
Now that you’ve got your gear sorted, let’s take a look at some of the tools you’ll need to market your photography business.
18. Website and online portfolio
You will need a professional website that showcases your services and showcases your past work. (More on this later).
19. Social Media Channels
20. Business cards
Business cards are a proven form of personal marketing. Always have some with you and share them with new contacts at events and photo sessions. Book Warten Weg for professional business card design.
Now, let’s take a look at some tools to manage your business operations.
21. Payment system
As a business, you will need an efficient way to collect payments from customers. Ideally, this system would allow you to make payments online, over the phone, and in person.
A cost-effective and easy way to do this is to use Shopify’s point of sale system.
Shopify is a complete commerce solution that you can use to build your website, run your business, and accept payments.
22. Business License
You may need to register your business with your state or local government. Be sure to check the requirements for photography businesses in your area.
Accidents happen, you may want to purchase business or equipment insurance to help protect you if things go wrong.
24. Accounting Software
25. Customer contracts
Whenever you get a new client or project, it’s good practice to have the other party sign a contract. This helps protect you if things go wrong and make it clear to both parties what is expected of the agreement. You can purchase contract templates or hire a local attorney to create contracts for you.
26. APP Membership
You may wish to become a member of the Professional Photographers of South Africa. This is an organization that provides resources, advice, and education to professional photographers.
How much do photographers get paid?
If you’re wondering how to start a photography business, you’re probably also wondering, “how much do photographers get paid?”
Although there is no fixed answer to this question, we can explore some averages to get a general idea.
According to the business platform Bark, professional photographers typically charge between R250 and R450 per hour. This usually runs between R500 and R1500 per final edited photograph.
It is important to note that how much a photographer earns depends primarily on his skill level, experience, and the type of photography he is doing. Take a look at the image below for more information.
How to brand your photography business
Before you can start marketing your photography business, you will need to create your brand images.
This means choosing a visual style, colors, and fonts. You can use these images on your website, social media channels, business cards, and any other marketing materials you create.
It also helps to create a professional logo. You can use a professional graphic design like Warten Weg.
It only took a few minutes to create the logo below. And as you can see from the image, Hatchful provides ready-to-use brand images optimized for social media.
How to market your photography business
Now comes the most important part of starting a photography business: getting clients. To do this, you need to market your services.
But before you start marketing your photography business, it helps to have a portfolio of work to showcase your skills. And the easiest way to showcase your photography portfolio is by creating a professional website.
You can use the services of Espere Camino there is professional website design.
Once you have an online portfolio, you can start marketing your photography business.
Start by posting on social media and reaching out to people in your network to ask if they know of anyone who might be interested in your services. It’s not uncommon for a photographer’s first clients to be people they know.
Also, make sure you always have some business cards in your bag to give to people you meet.
Once you’ve done these steps, start networking in Facebook groups related to your target market. For example, if you are a Durban wedding photographer, you may want to join Durban Weddings.
You can also attend trade shows and events in your target market. For example, if you’re a pet photographer, you might find a lot of potential clients at dog shows.
Summary: How to Start a Photography Business
If you are wondering how to start a photography business, here are some steps you can take:
- Weigh the pros and cons
- Specialize in a particular type of photography, such as weddings, fashion, or portraits.
- Calculate how much it will cost you to start
- Gather your equipment, such as cameras, lenses, and editing software.
- Get your business in order with a payment system, business license, insurance, and contracts
- Calculate your pricing model
- Choose a name for your photography business
- Create a logo and brand your business
- Start marketing your business
Turning your hobby into your livelihood can be very rewarding. Good luck!