In 2019, 60 million Americans and 5 million Brits were classified as freelancers. As more people seek the ideal freelancing opportunities, there is one that has been on the list from the very beginning: photography. In 2016, the profession landed on CNBC’s list of hottest freelance jobs. Fast forward to 2019, and photography is the number one ranked freelance job for students in the UK, as well as remaining a well-loved hobby. While there have been arguments that the invention of smartphone photography and continued innovation has stifled the photography industry, there still remains a very vibrant demand and encouragement for these services as local organisations sponsor photography prizes and showcases. Even in the digital age, there is ample opportunity to turn your photography hobby into a viable business – and you can get started right now.
Build Your Portfolio Of Referrals And Test Shots
Once you have decided on the kind of photography services you would like to offer, it’s time to show potential customers what you can do. This is where a portfolio comes in. It is a way of illustrating your past work. If you are just starting out, chances are that you will not have a lot of past customers behind you. You can, however, build your portfolio using past shots of your own or by asking friends and family to let you shoot them for free.
As a rule of thumb, you want to maintain a consistent style throughout and try to include different images. It is also a good idea to vary your printing formats to include both print and digital photography shots. Although film photography is enjoying a comeback recently, many customers enjoy having digital images as well. Lastly, you should aim to include high-quality prints. This will call for the right photography tools to ensure you have the highest resolution or pixels if printed. Choose a few images with a strong impact. Remember it is not about quantity but the quality of the work you showcase to potential customers.
Take Care Of The Legalities
If you are going to launch your own photography business, there will be a few administrative requirements you will need to take care of before getting started. However, by keeping it simple, you can still enjoy your hobby when turning it into an income source. First, it is time to choose and trademark a business name. This will become vital in your business branding through your photography career. The USPO’s trademark database or Trademarks Journal (UK) can help you identify business names that have been trademarked by someone else.
Next up, decide on how to best protect yourself and your business assets. This involves deciding whether your business will take the form of a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company. Most entrepreneurs opt for an LLC since it protects your personal assets in the case of bankruptcy or legal action. You will also need to consider business insurance for photographers and your assets, including portable equipment insurance, public liability insurance and finally, professional indemnity insurance. Don’t forget your taxation obligations as a new business either. Register yourself for an EIN and research how to file your returns as a sole proprietorship.
Research Client Generation Streams
To turn your photography hobby into a successful income stream, you will need clients. For this, you will need to identify relevant client generation streams so that you can get your first client and continue to get new customers for your business. One idea is the creation of a social media presence using social media accounts as an interaction and feedback mechanism. Creating an online portfolio and business website will also help, as well as getting your business reviewed on industry feedback forums and websites. Local art shows like Twin X A’ exhibition are also a great way to showcase your work and generate new clients.
This is one of the most cited difficulties photographers face: getting their work seen. Don’t be afraid to go the untraditional route by utilising social media spaces or local art spaces in your community to launch your style and profile as a photographer. As your profile grows, so will interest and the value of your work – the key to a thriving business.