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Digital Artist
Joe Diamond
Posts: 258
Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania


Im a designer for some time but working with different photography in time i started to see the flaws. Im planning in making a studio and buying some equipment but i dont know the steps for finding clients. This is a total new field for me. I looked on internet but I didnt find any impressive advices or tutorials. Can anyone help with some advices for starting photography as business?

Thank you,

Joe Diamond
Feb 03 13 12:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 4,743
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


What you don't know is very important.

There is a saying about photographers.

When amateur photographers get together, they talk about equipment. Advanced photographers talk about techniques. Professionals talk about getting clients, reducing costs, increasing the number of sales and increasing the dollar value of each sale.

The most successful photographers may not be the best photographers - but they are likely to be the best marketers.

Unless you are prepared to cover your living expenses for at least a few years, photography is a business that's often best entered gradually, starting on a part-time basis. That's the way I did it - both times.

You'll learn ways to find clients as you go. They often involve advertising, cold calls and networking. When clients begin finding you, it's time to start thinking about photography as a full-time occupation.
Feb 03 13 12:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fullmetalphotographer
Posts: 2,533
Fresno, California, US


In someways you have this backwards usually you have clients and business plan then build a studio. Build it and they will come only works in the movies. Ok be realistic figure at least 3 years before the studio profits.

You need to have a realistic marketing plan and a targeted clientele. Then you need to go into community and introduce yourself through different functions like business chambers.

Look at the competition, ask yourself are you better, not cheaper but better. Why would a client choose you over the competition what can you deliver that they can't?

I would worry about those things before gear or opening a studio. Because right now you can't answer the most basic question how can I find my customers.
Feb 03 13 12:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kent Art Photography
Posts: 2,545
Ashford, England, United Kingdom


I have no idea what the market is like where you live, and I wouldn't like to apply American (or British) business models to your circumstances.
Feb 03 13 12:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Phil Drinkwater
Posts: 4,698
Manchester, England, United Kingdom


I always try not to be too harsh with these questions but having a flair for business is pretty important and, if you're asking these things, you have key skills missing which will likely make it very hard to succeed.

I say this because I don't want you to waste a ton of money finding out yourself.

At the very least do it part time and see how it goes...
Feb 03 13 12:58 am  Link  Quote 
Digital Artist
Joe Diamond
Posts: 258
Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania


Im asking because i have dozens of models some pretty famous who ask me if i can travel and create some concepts but they cant afford to pay my expanses for coming in US.  As earnings, my digital services cover more than a decent photography. I was asking about the steps because im living in East Europe and i dont know how this works in US.

Thank you.

Joe Diamond
Feb 03 13 01:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Thyronne
Posts: 1,353
Huntington Beach, California, US


I spent some time in Bucharest a few years back and had better clients and more business than I do now in Los Angeles.  You really should take advantage of the local market before you try to expand.  If they want to work with you, they can come to you.
Feb 03 13 02:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Kirk
Posts: 4,309
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Joe Diamond wrote:
Im asking because i have dozens of models some pretty famous who ask me if i can travel and create some concepts but they cant afford to pay my expanses for coming in US.  As earnings, my digital services cover more than a decent photography. I was asking about the steps because im living in East Europe and i dont know how this works in US.

Thank you.

Joe Diamond

This is the key issue right here. 

You have people requesting you to provide to them a service, but at a price which cannot cover your costs let alone leave you with something for your time and effort.  If you can figure out a way to reduce your costs or spread them over many such clients then perhaps you can make this work.  Otherwise, you need to stay away from folks offering to pay less than the cost of your services.

Ask yourself why folks are requesting you to fly to another continent...do you have something which is so unique that it cannot be found more locally?  If so, then identify it and leverage it into being able to command a price which makes sense for your costs (and required/desired profit).  If not, then there is nothing to be leveraged and people are just asking you to do the ridiculous.

Also realize that models are rarely clients.  Working models typically don't hire photographers, but rather are hired by clients who pay both the photographer and the models.  Be wary of starting a business which is based on treating other talent as customers.

Feb 03 13 04:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim McSmith
Posts: 626
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom


Some good advice here. Be wary of those trying to motivate you because most of them wont have a clue how the industry works. You have to work it out for yourself and the best way is to start real small in your local area and build gradually from there. Keep costs low and try shooting models outdoors rather than have a studio or just learn how to convert your lounge into a makeshift studio. Don't go to any expense on the back of bad advice from well meaning idiots.

I should add this is a bit like those who tell a young woman they're so beautiful they could be a model. Sometimes they do it with good intent and other times maliciously knowing that the modelling industry is full of pitfalls for the unwary. Either way, it can work out really bad for you.
Feb 03 13 04:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
redbanana
Posts: 775
Lexington, Kentucky, US


Yet another person looking to make it big quick in this industry. You know how you make it? Hard work spread out over time. There is no get rich quick solution to photography I don't care how many workshops you do or how expensive your equipment might be. Rule number one to any business (but especially to photography) is know your cost of doing business. Only then can you set a price structure that allows you to make a profit in your work. If you are out there undercutting the market because you are new then you only make things worse for you in the future.
Feb 03 13 05:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
afplcc
Posts: 5,956
Fairfax, Virginia, US


I don't know the market in Romania so I'm hesitate to say "this is the answer."  But just scanning the thread, you've got some EXCELLENT posts in here so far.

Here would be my advice:

1.  Improve your business skills.  Having a successful photography business is more about business skills (managing money, billing, marketing, making smart investments, knowing when to not spend, managing cash flow) than it is about photography.  I know lots of brilliant amateurs.  I know many fulltime professionals who's work is "okay" but they make a decent living.  Success in the photography business (in terms of income and steady work) has very little to do with your skill as a photographer.

2.  Pick a niche.  Trying to be the photographer who does everything is almost a guarantee of failure.  For instance, here in the States, I have one friend who does weddings (this is 85-90% of her business).  Another who does dog photography (95% of her business).  Another who does kids' sport teams (85% of his business).  Another who does photos of the elderly (75% of her business).  Another who does baby and toddler photos (70% of her business).  Another who does business interiors (90% of her business).  Another who does stock photography (60% of his income) of mostly still life and objects/props.

3.  Figure out your expenses.  Then that tells you how much you need to charge and how much business you need to generate.  I can't tell you the number of amateurs who get $500 USD for shooting a wedding and view it as "found money."  Until they figure out that in order to pay rent, utilities, food, health insurance, gas, car payment, clothes they need to shoot 5 weddings a month at that rate just to pay expenses and that's without a salary.

Then once you've figured out how much business at what rate you need to bring in, look at if you have a business plan to get those clients.  If you're assuming you're going to shoot high-end weddings of $10,000 USD per event and do 1 every 2 months, are there enough of those in Bucharest that you can compete for?  If not, that's not a realistic market to base a business on.

Ed
Feb 03 13 05:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Al Lock Photography
Posts: 15,235
Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand


"Photography as a business"

What kind of business? What clientele? What type of product (as in, what type of photography)?

I'm a commercial photographer. I don't do weddings, I don't do editorial, I generally don't do fashion (except catalogs), I don't generally do events, I don't do concerts, I don't do.... you get the idea. Yet, there are plenty of professional photographers within a few kilometers of me that do all those things.

You want to find clients? You have to define what your ideal client is and what sort of work you are focusing on.  You need a business plan, just like any other business.

And although I suppose it is possible that there are photographers making a good living shooting models where the models are the clients, I think it is probably pretty rare.
Feb 03 13 07:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
1k-words-photograpy
Posts: 275
Leesburg, Virginia, US


Probably the best advice I ever got about photography as a business was this:
You are not prepared to be a professional photographer because your friends and family ask you to take their pictures. You are prepared when people you don't know want to pay you to do it.

You are also making the crucial mistake of assuming because you take a more technically correct photograph that it is the one that a customer will buy. Thats nowhere near the truth. When I cull photos from a shoot I usually leave in 10-15 that aren't my best shots along the best shots but have content I know the customer was interested in. You would be amazed how often those pictures sell even tho they have soft focus or more shadow than I would like. On a paid assignment being a photographer is about recording what the customer wants moreso than what you want.
Feb 03 13 07:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
365 Digitals Exposed
Posts: 725
Perris, California, US


Joe Diamond wrote:
Im asking because i have dozens of models some pretty famous who ask me if i can travel and create some concepts but they cant afford to pay my expanses for coming in US.  As earnings, my digital services cover more than a decent photography. I was asking about the steps because im living in East Europe and i dont know how this works in US.

Thank you.

Joe Diamond

Are you planing to open your studio in your area. Or in US? to work in US you need a work Permit for this you will have to get an special VISA.  This is only if you're planing to come to US, or else, Customs will ask you why are traveling with Photography equipment if you're just visiting as a Tourist,   Don't forget to Report to IRS your earnings before going back to your country. 

On the other hand Photo  Retouching  and Photography is a total  different field, working with flashes/strobes. takes some time to master. but is  something you can  accomplish  with practice,  Also try to  network with Photographers in your area.

you can also ask your Potential clients from US to fly to your studio, if they can't afford  to bring you here, That's another Option. good luck.

Feb 03 13 07:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,060
Salem, Oregon, US


i think many people spend a lot on gear and training and maybe a studio and then they sit there all alone waiting for the phone to ring. they did the easy parts. the hard part is getting lots of people to pay you money for your service.

i think the best many can hope for is simply to break even on expenses. unless they are amazingly talented or well-connected or hot or charismatic or all the other photographers in town died of plague.

i think the ones who do best are good at selling (both themselves and their work). they could probably sell anything, not just photography.

it's great to follow your dreams but don't follow them into ruin.

around here weddings are one way to make money although it's highly competitive which makes it harder to charge high prices unless you are someone they just can't live without.
Feb 03 13 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,574
Albany, New York, US


Joe Diamond wrote:
Im asking because i have dozens of models some pretty famous who ask me if i can travel and create some concepts but they cant afford to pay my expanses for coming in US.  As earnings, my digital services cover more than a decent photography. I was asking about the steps because im living in East Europe and i dont know how this works in US.

Welcome to the Internet.

I'd take what people say w/ a grain of salt. So many people want the other guy to travel but aren't willing or isn't able to shell out the all-important money to do so.

Feb 03 13 08:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 11,533
Atlanta, Georgia, US


You want to start a photography business and you are not a photographer???

popcorn
Feb 03 13 09:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John M Hoyt
Posts: 344
Greenville, South Carolina, US


AJScalzitti wrote:
You want to start a photography business and you are not a photographer???

popcorn

I want to be an astronaut....

Feb 03 13 11:45 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Misfit Amy
Posts: 11
Zagreb, Grad Zagreb, Croatia


I suggest a strong webpage with good SEO, a brand with a story behind it, networking your ass off, making a give-away contest in cooperation with a magazine or some wide spread media. wink
Feb 03 13 03:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim McSmith
Posts: 626
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom


Misfit Amy wrote:
I suggest a strong webpage with good SEO, a brand with a story behind it, networking your ass off, making a give-away contest in cooperation with a magazine or some wide spread media. wink

LOL! I love this bit, 'give-away.' Has that familiar ring to it.

Feb 03 13 04:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Right Poes
Posts: 798
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US


Joe speaking as a fan of your digital work I would like to encourage you. I came into photography myself through having already been working with retouching and decided I could do this as easily as anyone else. I was dead wrong! but my persistence has been paying off more and more as I go along. So will yours. even if your already one of the more impressive digital artist in the business, your photography skills will help your digital work go to new places.

Learn your camera, learn lights, never ever learn your limitations.
Feb 04 13 11:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,060
Salem, Oregon, US


to me it's all about learning how to get a good performance from your llama/customer. everything else is secondary. it's photographer as coach, director, stand-up comedian.

Right Poes wrote:
Learn your camera, learn lights, never ever learn your limitations.

Feb 04 13 11:04 am  Link  Quote 
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