10 Tips To Tell You How To Start A Photography Business By Finding Your Photography Niche

 

10 Tips To Tell You How To Start A Photography Business By Finding Your Photography Niche

Sooner or later, most photography enthusiast give some thought to how to start a photography business. Unfortunately, there are a few challenges that doom us to failure. One of the biggest challenges that we bring is our failure to make the distinctions between our love of photography (re: our enjoyment and passion for photography) and the business of photography (understanding buying and spending habits of people that are photography customers).

For example, many of us think that because our photography work is so good, that we shouldnt have that much trouble selling it. We, sometimes, mistakenly, think that great art and photography sells itself. Big mistake! Great photography does not sell itself. In the business world, nothing sells itself nothing! Knowing this is critical to start a photography business.

Our failure to make the distinction between our passion for photography and our desire to be in the photo business is also evident in how we try to tell people about what we do. For example, photography customers dont care what type of equipment we use. They dont care how many mega-pixels we have, nor how much our equipment cost us, nor what brand of camera we use. Photography customers (current and potential) want to know that we can, and will, produce the highest quality photography work for them.

Think about it, the mechanics that repair our cars dont tell us what tools that they use. The chefs in the restaurants that we patronize dont tell us what type of pots, pans or stoves that they use. In those businesses, it is already established what customers want and how best to give it to them. In other words, other businesses do a better job of understanding their niche. In order to start a photography business that is consistently successful and growing, we must be clear on what niche we are offering and how to sell the benefits of our niche to the customers.

Another mistake that we budding photography business owners repeat is failing to specialize (know our photography niche) in what we do. As photography enthusiasts, we enjoy shooting any and everything. As photographers, thats just fine. However, when we start a photography business, we, mistakenly, try to be all things to all people we take every photography job offered us.

One of the obvious problems with this approach is our failure to recognize how it drastically cheapens the value of what we do as skilled photographers, in the eyes of the customers. Mistakenly, we want our customers (current and potential) to know that we can photograph anything after all, were very versatile photographers! What the customers actually see is that were not versatile photographers,were just someone with a camera thats available to take pictures when they call us. Serious photography customers (re: those that can afford to spend regularly) want to do business with specialists photographers that know their photography niche.

Successful wedding photographers are clear on this, as an example of my point. Their primary customer (usually the bride) has dreamed about her wedding day for most of her life. She isnt looking for a vesatile photographer. She wants a wedding photographer that can make her look as good, happy and beautiful as she has been in all of her lifelong dreams of her day - her wedding day. Theres a special skill to this type of photography service. In fact, this niche has more to do with well developed people skills, in my opinion. Successful wedding photographers that are clear on these nuances are more successful in business.

Do your research

  • Inventory Your Photo Collection Take a look at your photo collections. Determine what it is that you 1.) shoot the most; 2.) shoot consistently well; and 3.) enjoy shooting. Identify your and categorize the photos into various niches, i.e. portraits, sports, glamor, pets, children, landscape, etc.
  • Research The Photography Markets Do internet searches using the words photography niche. Also, use the type of niche that you think your photos fit. For example, event photography niche, wedding photography niche, etc. Also, a good source to help identify some of the photo markets is The Photographers Market. This is a book that is published annually and claims to provide photo buying contacts and information. Online searches are the most useful, in my opinion. Books by author and photographer, Dan Heller are good places to get a better understanding of the vast world of photography, without all the artsy-hype, in my opinion. He also has a very informative website DanHeller.com
  • Identify Real Markets Find out what type of photography (of your specialties) your customers currently are purchasing. What type of photography is selling? At some point, youll have to balance the realities of the different niches. There can be some factors that arent consistent across all photography niches. For example, some niches require longer workflow (workflow is the post production process of taking photos) periods and tasks than others. Higher quality portraits normally require photo editing which is time-consuming. Event photography requires the processing, packaging and delivering (presenting) of photos. True story: I went through my large photo collections and found that I had a very large number of outstandingly beautiful flowers. I cant begin to tell you my disappointment when I found out that there is virtually no market of photos of flowers it seems that everybody has them already, everybody! Lesson learned identify real markets.

Ten Tips To Assist You To Identify Your Niche

  1. Identify specialties that fit your style:
  2. Determine if you have the necessary equipment for the niche
  3. Do you have identifiable and specific skills in this niche area can you articulate them?
  4. Who is your target audience
  5. What type of photography do they purchase the most
  6. Where are they taking their photography business currently your competition
  7. What will be different about your services
  8. Does where you live support your preferable niche
  9. Is your niche stock photography or assignment photography do you know the difference
  10. What is the future potential and tendencies of your niche

Fortunately, the internet makes this information just a few clicks away. The information isnt difficult to find and learn. Knowing your niche increases your confidence tremendously. Truly know your niche and your photography business will follow!

 

How To Start A Photography Business Knowing When Youre Really Ready And Knowing Other Differences

Heres a question: How do you know when youre ready to start a photography business? Answer: When you know that you know (the doublespeak is for emphasis) the difference between your artistic photography skills and your understanding of business. Knowing the difference makes the difference between success and failure when you start any type of business, for that matter.

Tip #1

Think about it, the art of taking pictures is getting easier and easier especially with the advancement of technology. Digital technology has made photography so easy that it appears that everybody and their brothers and their sisters are photographers! Such ease makes photography a very popular attraction and very compelling to start a photo biz.

But, what many budding photographers fail to realize and take seriously is that: Business is Business. Whether selling teddy bears, cell phones or photography, the business principles are the same. And they are basic and simple (not easy simple). Successful photographers arent necessarily the most skilled. They understand and practice the basic and simple principles of running a photography business. They also dont confuse the quality of their photography with the need to plan, market and operate their photography business.

Dont be confused! You must consistently produce top-notch quality products and photographic services. Constantly improving your skills is critical. So is the learning and consistent practice of business principles. If you dont consistently practice the necessary business principles, budding photographers that do know the difference and practice the principles will get the customers and the business that should be yours. If you fail to practice the principles you will fail at your photography business attempts. Period. You will be another charter member of the starving artist club! Theres a reason why theyre starving!

Once you do start a picture-taking business, every day that youre in business theres opportunity to grow and prosper, and the chance to stagnate and fail. Your being clear on the difference between photography practices and business practices determine the success of your photography business more than your photographic skills and talents. Be sure to spend as much time developing your photography skills as you do your business (marketing, self-promotion activities, for example) skills and you will find success.

Compliment vs Reality Tip #2

Most budding photographers have this experience: a good friend, family member or neighbor sees a photograph and raves how good it looks and how valuable it should be! Somewhere in their raving they proclaim, you should sell that, youll probably make a lot of money! Red flag warning! What is given as a compliment of your photograph is instantly translated to your having a diamond that you can sell and that will change your status in life. Heres a test: the next time you receive such a compliment, do this: thank them and then ask them how much are they willing to pay you for the photo? I promise you that the same expert that just raved about your valuable artwork will pass on the opportunity to grab up your valuable artistic photo. In the photography business value is determined by other criteria than a compliment or two. Knowing the difference contributes to your success in business.

Develop your knowledge and skill and your confidence as a photographer will dramatically increase. Likewise with business: develop and practice basic business principles and your confidence as a successful professional photographer will dramatically increase. I promise.

Research Builds Confidence Tip #3

Do your research. Go online and read the available research on the business of photography. Read before you buy. Online research is just a click away. Take your time. Take advantage of free and easily available information online. If you choose to buy something offered, determine what goals you want to accomplish and ask yourself will what youre buying help you to really meet your goals. Avoid the resources that promise and guarantee you that you can make $200 $300 a day overnight - for obvious reasons. Also, there are no secrets that the pros dont want you to know! There is information that you do not know now. But, isnt information that is unknowable or impossible to find out theyre just unknown to you at this time. Do your research. Besides, if theyre for sale, how secret can they be? Do your research

In the business of photography, it is more profitable to specialize. Specialization (also referred to as your photography niche) is how your customers will find you. Another development of technology is how customers those who can afford and are willing to spend money for photography find the photography that they buy. They look for something specific (in photographer speak that means photography niche). Go online and do a search on photography niche and take advantage of the information available. Remember, read before you buy; there are no secrets that the pros dont want you to know; and great photography does not sell itself. In the world of business, nothing does.

For business purposes, go online and do a search on different business topics that you want more information about. For example, do a search for photography marketing or marketing for photographers or amateur photography tips or how to sell photos online or how to start a photography business etc. etc. Read before you buy.

Know And Start Where You Are And Be Sincere Tip #4

Start where you are with the equipment that you have. If you dont have a photography studio dont take on photography jobs that require a studio. Dont be all things to all people remember, specialize (research photography niche youll be head and shoulders above the majority of your competition). If you feel that you have to purchase equipment to take on a job thats a red flag that youre not ready, yet. In successful photography, the profit is in the photography niche and your understanding of that simple difference.

Doing your research will prepare you for one of the biggest challenges most photographers have pricing. The challenge of knowing exactly what to charge stops most of us in our tracks. It shouldnt! Do your research. Search photography pricing, for example. The information is available and most of it is free. Remember, read before you buy.

In my opinion, there really is no one criteria needed to start a profitable photo business. However, my experience has convinced me that self-confidence is the most significant asset a photographer in business can possess. You develop that self-confidence by knowing what you know and knowing what you dont know and being crystal clear on the difference. Confidence is gained by knowing the necessary criteria needed and knowing that you possess the knowledge and skills to consistently accomplish tasks in a satisfactory manner.

Research, develop and practice both your photography knowledge and skills as well as your photography business knowledge and skills.

Finally, when vaudevillian, George Burns, was asked what was the secret to his successful career, he responded sincerity, be sincere even if you have to fake it!

Specialized Styles of Photography

Outlined below is a list of genres that call for specialized treatment in the process of creating outstanding photographs. These thematic approaches will be discussed in detail here, though there are few more categories and sub-categories in thematic photography like ad messages, corporate brochures, under-water photography and so on.

Wildlife photography

Landscape photography

Sports events

Photo-journalism

Fashion photography

Black & White treatment

Shooting Celebrities

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is often assumed to be an exciting and high adventure genre of photography. In reality it is extremely challenging and wildlife photographers find themselves at the mercy of inclement weather and sometimes even face danger. Here are some suggestions for this specialized form of photography.

Understand the life form that you plan to photograph in terms of living habits, habitat and behavior. In other words you need a perspective on a day in the life of your wildlife subject. Books and online research will throw light on your subject. The importance of getting acquainted with the behavior of the animal is a lot more important when you have to shoot dangerous jungle animals that can attack like lions or tigers or even bears. Animals will become aware of you when you enter close to their habitat but will usually not attack if you keep your distance. But you have to be clear on the distance at which an animal will begin to feel threatened by your presence and decide to attack you.

It goes without saying that you cant expect any kind cooperation from your subject! You have to fit yourself in, place yourself in a vantage point and have your camera set and ready and then wait for the right moment to take the shot that you are looking for.

You may have to wait many days before you can capture the right shot. Your subject could not care less if the light is diminishing or the light is at its best. You may have perfect light conditions on a particular day but your subject may not be in the right spot for you to take the shot.

You need telephoto lenses to shoot from a distance and other camera features like Center-weighted metering. The Center-weighted meter allows you to meter the wildlife subject at the center of the frame and vary the size of the sensing area based on the dimensions of the subject and its distance from you.

Landscape Photography

Taking landscape pictures within a city from atop a building or on the beach is one type of landscape photography. But if you want to get closer to nature and shoot unique pictures of nature and environment in remote locations like wild forest area or mountain ranges, then you have your task cut out for you just like a wildlife photographer. You need the spirit of adventure within you in order to travels around to different places and scour different regions for landscape opportunity.

It is tough to firstly identify the right spots, you may have to explore for days before you find an idyllic panoramic landscape to shoot. You then have to wait for the right light conditions while braving the weather and the rough living conditions. In terms of equipment, landscape photographers need to go in for a variety of wide-angle lenses since this type of lens is capable of lending depth in the photograph. A wide-angle zoom lens is useful in this type of photography because of the range of focal lengths it can provide while fine-tuning a shot. But there is also the need for telephoto lenses for certain shot though not of the high focal length required by sports photographers. Landscape photographers usually go in for telephoto lenses with focal length less than 300mm (a telephoto lens has a focal length greater than 50mm, a wide angle lens is less than 50mm, and a standard lens has a focal length of 50mm).

Sports Events

Those who have made a career of photographing sporting events have a different style of operation to capture the high action of dramatic moments in a game. The length of the lens, the location of the photographer taking the shot and the need to limit blurring are the three critical aspects in sports photography.

Sports photographers use a telephoto lens. This type of lens magnifies the subject. The focal length to choose from in telephoto lenses varies from 60mm to 1000 mm. A lens with a high focal length can give you a wider visual area which is a necessity when you photograph field events. Sports photographers by and large prefer 35mm cameras and use focal lengths of 300-600mm especially for field events like soccer.

The location where photographers position themselves to take different shots is directly responsible for capturing the relevant high-points in a match. It also helps if you have a good knowledge of the sport. This ensures that you identify the right moments and are alert and ready when a memorable situation occurs during the sport. You can get the right shots if you are able to move around and use the right location in different points in a game. However, quite often the areas of movement are restricted for photographers and the best way to tide over this problem is to use a lens of focal length in the region of 600mm to enable shots of the far end of a court or field. Though a good location is usually described by the angle and distance from the court or field, the other aspect of a good location is also the play of light from your vantage point. Most photographers have the task of avoiding shadows caused by the quality of light. The intensity of color in a photograph is reduced in dull light conditions while bright sunlight can create shadows in certain angles.

To limit blurring and capture action during a special game moment, you need to have fast shutter speeds at your disposal. A 35mm camera that is generally favored in sports photography can provide the high shutter speed necessary for action shots. Besides shutter speed, the speed of the film also plays a role. Higher film speed enables higher shutter speeds. A film speed of 100 is inadequate in sports photography. You need a 400 and above speed film.

The autofocus mechanism in is also useful in sports photography especially when manual focus is difficult to achieve quickly in certain sports situations.

An interesting technique called panning is applied in capturing action shots. You have to avoid holding the camera still when you shoot action. A rule-of-thumb is to hold the camera steady but move it along with the action rather than attempting to hold still. This steady movement of the camera along the path of motion of the player; incredibly, has the effect of minimizing blur. On the other hand, you will get a blur if you hold your camera still while the action is taking place. This technique is actually based on sound scientific principles.

It should also be mentioned here that the art of sports photography actually goes beyond capturing action or high points in a game. The readers who view these photographs in newspapers and magazines want to see player expressions, the thrills, the disappointments, the concentration that players display is something that readers find captivating and it becomes a talking point. Readers also like to see crowd reactions and reactions of family members of the players in certain critical game situations. To cater to the public sentiment, a photographer has to also attempt to click these special poignant moments during a game by capturing reactions and facial expressions.

Photo-journalism

Photojournalism is a different ball game altogether. It is visual storytelling. It has a strong social and cultural context and is a visual form of reportage based on newsy and current affairs topics. Being in the right place at the right time and understanding the situation as it unfolds helps a photojournalist deliver reader interest material. The objective is to usually pick up contemporary topics and portray a visual story that creates an understanding on the pattern in which people live their lives or social changes that impact them in different walks of life. Photojournalism also lends credibility to the written word and can support a public interest story with visual proof. The visuals complement the written reportage on the story.

A visual representation of contemporary situations is a powerful way to make a point and the photographer who is into photojournalism has to be a firstly aware of the socio-political and cultural scene of a region to be able to shoot the relevant pictures. The equipment required by photojournalists varies by the type of story they pursue. If a photojournalist is picking up images of a town or if the photography is the type that portrays cultural and historical sites, or if the task is to follow the campaign trail of a political leader, each of these require a different treatment.

Fashion Pictures

A fashion photographer needs to be a creative thinker with a good eye for aesthetics and the ability to use sound judgment in implementing out-of-the-box ideas. Fashion photography is meant to render an elegant, stylish effect on readers so the mundane and the run of the mill shots will not work. Each photograph is a piece of art in itself and has to be original.

Creating an impact in fashion photography requires the photographer to take a leap in imaginative thinking and to create images that are different and unusual. The treatments that have been tried over the years range from the surreal to muted black and whites, to geometric shapes to brilliant color schemes. A fashion product has to be portrayed creatively while at the same time conveying style and classiness. A fashion photographer needs a high level of visual sophistication combined with ideation skills. It also helps to try and understand the psyche of models that fashion photographers have to regularly interact with, in order to get the best out of them. Your choice of camera and accessories will vary depending on whether you shoot indoor or outdoor, light conditions, theme of the picture, etc.

Black and White Treatment

The black and white effect is used by artists and fashion photographers to create abstracts or classy other worldly images. The camera equipment required in black & white is not very distinct from other types of photography but the key actually lies in the processing and printing quality. This is an important area of emphasis in black & white photographs in order to get the desired effect.

You will need an assortment of lenses for different situations such as a combination of wide-angle lens as well as a standard lens. If you want large prints, you may need a camera with a high-resolution digital image sensor for sharpness of large format prints. The resolution should be more than 3 mega pixels.

Whether you develop your photographs in the darkroom (traditional film based camera) or process the pictures digitally (digital camera usage), when you develop the picture yourself you have the leeway to heighten or reduce the contrasts in tour picture based on the type of impression and visual impact you hope to create. You can also scan from traditionally processed negatives onto a computer and then process the images digitally.

To fine-tune the images digitally you need some basic knowledge of Photoshop software. Without manipulating the main picture in any way, you can enhance your black and white images by fine-tuning the contrasts. Photoshop assists in optimizing the images. The principles are the same as those used in a traditional darkroom. Using Photoshop you can apply various techniques like dodging (you selectively lighten a certain portion of a photo), cropping, optimizing density and fine tuning the contrasts. Fine tuning the contrasts is important in creating the right effect in black and white.

The print quality is another important factor in creating high impact black & white photographs. If you intend to print digitally processed images, you need a good printer and long lasting ink in your printer. You should also use photo quality paper to print your images.

Shooting Celebrities

Celebrity photography is challenging and the same time an exciting, glamorous field. When you deal with celebrities, firstly you have very little time to work within. There is always a time constraint even after you pin down a celebrity for a photo session. You have to therefore have good infrastructure and be ready with the necessary equipment. You have to plan the shot and adjust your camera, before asking your celebrity to pose.

Celebrity faces are well known so the key lies in attempting to capture something a little different, to create a different perspective. You need to build a good rapport with the celebrity and have to persevere to get the right mood to capture the real essence of the person. If you are photographing the celebrity for an ad, then the strategy behind the ad has to be considered to blend in the celebritys expressions and posture to suit the requirements of the ad.

To sum up, the discussion Wildlife photography requires you to brave rough conditions and thoroughly understand the habitat and behavior of the animal. The relevant and useful tools in your camera system are the right lenses and center-weighted metering if you are into shooting wildlife. Landscape photography requires you to be a wandering explorer, constantly seeking out those spectacular scenic settings. You mainly need wide-angle lenses in your camera system to demonstrate depth and scale in your picture. Sports events need a good vantage point and if you want to freeze the high action in the game, you have to learn and hone the skill of panning. Wedding photojournalism calls on your social and political consciousness and is the art of visually unfolding a story, while Fashion photography requires ideation and out-of-the-box thinking. The impact of Black & White treatment can be heightened during the processing phase using various techniques and, Celebrity photography is not all glamour. Capturing the right mood and the essence of the celebrity becomes the key to a good shot and you often work within time constraints.

It is apparent that different photography streams each have their own specialized approaches and style of treatment. Your mind-set and your interests should influence the path that you choose as a photographer.

Author: Christopher Haslego
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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