New photographers, although talented artists, often struggle as they star their own small businesses for a variety of reasons. One of the most common struggles, though, is learning where to invest their money. Knowing where to invest in your photography business can help lead you on a path of exponential growth. The steps you take during the infancy of your business are some of the most crucial.
The initial gear: I wanted to quickly discuss gear before discussing further investments. Although some may see gear as an investment, monetarily speaking, it’s also a truly essential part of your job – at least your initial gear is. No gear? No job. For that reason, I don’t consider the purchase of an initial camera + lens + flash an investment (it’s more of a necessity).
You have a camera body, you have a lens and a flash… add to that a whole heaping pile of talent and a heck of a lot of motivation… so what now?
Now that you’ve got your basic equipment you need to put yourself in the clients shoes. Why the client? Because thinking like a client will help you prioritize where you want to invest further and keep you focused on elements that will bring you success. When clients begin their wedding vendor search they often start out online. Most clients will see your website before ever meeting you in person and this means that having a unique and well functioning website is crucial. Once a client is on your website, they start looking at your photos. When they see something amazing, it makes them want to contact you. The common themes here are branding and education. No matter what elements you deem important in your investment, you’ll notice that branding elements as well as education elements are probably near the top of your list.
I’m a big believer in establishing your brand as early on in your career as possible and for that reason, I recommend investing in your website. Whether you choose a do-it-yourself option such as WordPress and Prophoto or decide to hire website designers to make you something extraordinary is up to you and dependent on how much money you have to invest. Nothing makes a photographer look more amateurish than a sloppily put together website with no discernible theme or brand.
Aside from your website, I recommend investing in education. Find local wedding photography workshops or even online education resources and learn, learn, learn! Challenge yourself on a weekly basis – pick up your camera and practice those skills! As you continue to improve, your portfolio will become filled with works of art and you’ll be able to charge more for your services.
Branding and education are two major areas that you should be investing into when you first begin your photography business. When you take proper and sound steps at the beginning of your career, you’re setting yourself up to walk along the path of success!