The photographic industry is one of the most challenging, difficult, and competitive for start up businesses. The statistics prove it. Take this 3 year study discovered by Dane Sanders in his book Fast Track Photographer: In the 1st year, 60% of photographers give up their business. Of that remaining 40%, another 25% will fail within the 2nd year. The ones that make it are the remaining 15% who endure through the 3rd year.
That’s a staggering 85% turnover rate.
Obviously, something is wrong with the way most photographers enter into this business.
So, you want to enter this business? Do your research. In reality, the photographic industry is not about photography. Photography is the end product, yes, but it is only a small percentage of what the industry is about. The rest is about business; Real-to-life business application.
What is the greatest challenge to photographic business? Understanding that many standard business principles apply to this industry, but to a degree, business principles take on a customized spin to photography business.
It’s obvious that photographers need guidance and direction for the specific tasking involved with the photographic business.
The following list is a dream business essentials kit of resources to help you survive the 1st, 2nd, 3rd years and beyond. Remember, foundations are everything. You may need to enter the industry at a slower pace, but have the perspective that you are building your business to last.
Whether you are a naturally business savvy individual, or clueless about business practicalities, this list will assist you to not only survive the photographic industry, but to find the beauty of thriving.
1. Vision Mongers by David DuChemin
Everyone’s path to success is different, because everyone’s definition of success is different. In this book, DuChemin highlights the journeys of nine photographers who have passionately devoted themselves to their craft and their business. You will be challenged, inspired, and encouraged by their stories – and find out if this is an industry you really want to be a part of.
2. Business and Legal Forms for Photographers by Carolyn E Wright
Even a photography business is subject to the law – and those laws may surprise you. Written by a photographer, this book will de-mystify the area of photographic legalities, and give understandable and concise information for you to run your business.
Created by the successful “Becker”, the [b] school is a subscription only resource for professional photographers – or aspiring professionals. You must have a business name in use, a web presence, and a desire to get involved with industry leaders. Building relationships with others in the industry will be invaluable to you as you build your business – after all, no one else can help an aspiring professional photographer as well as a professional photographer.
4. Photographic Mentoring
Several professional photographers offer one-on-one mentor programs that will help you dig deep to discover the motivations and foundations for setting up your business. Sometimes you need more clarity than you can give yourself. Dane Sanders, Bride Inspired, Sarah Barlow, Sarah Petty and others will help you build slowly and surely toward your goals.
5. The Photographers Guide to Making Money: 150 Ideas for Cutting Costs and Boosting Profits by Karen Dorame
The opportunities to spend money on photography equipment, supplies, and investments are endless. Don’t spend unnecessarily. Be savvy enough to discern which products and services you should choose to maximize your profits – and which you should do without.
6. News fire / Google reader
If you become like your friends, then it may be safe to say that you will become like the photographers you follow. Take the time to follow and subscribe to photographers whose work inspires you. Study their work, their branding, their business practices; you will be able to consistently glean profitable information – without spending a cent.
7. Café Joy
Sarah’ Petty, a professional photographer for over 10 years has developed the program that she wished she had as a starting photographic professional. Offering both paid and free resources, Sarah’s passion and business sense will help guide aspiring pro photographers to legitimate business depth and practice. Moreover, she guarantees that her resources will indeed help you – or money back.
Developing workflow systems can be a great challenge to photographers because it requires fluid organization and clarity – outside the creative zone. DPBestFlow offers advice and guides on what it means to develop professional workflow to save time and money in your business.
If you slowly incorporate these resources into your research and tasking, you will be set on a more than solid track to any photographic business.