Steps to take before starting a photography business

In the years ahead, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job opportunities for photographers to increase by 13%. However, with affordable digital cameras readily available on the market, more people can easily take their own pictures, which, in turn, reduces the need for professionals with equipment and a good eye.

As a result, graduates of photography schools may want to take a cue from the average consumer and embrace that do-it-yourself attitude. Instead of looking for some sort of full-time photography gig, you can invest in the right equipment and start your very own business. The BLS even says that employment prospects for self-employed photographers will increase by 15% by 2020.

Now, you may have the best camera and a stellar portfolio, but you’re lacking a master of business administration or just a plain old business degree in general. Does this mean you can’t start your own photography business? Of course not. Here’s what you need to know if this sounds like a path you’d like to go down:

Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?

Do you consider yourself to be an independent person? Can you come up with solutions to problems on the spot? Do you like taking risks? These are all characteristics the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says entrepreneurs tend to have. Of course, you don’t need them to be successful in business, but having them certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Create a business plan

If you think you’re ready to start taking pictures for hire, you’re going to want to come up with a business plan, or what the SBA calls a roadmap to success. When you sit down to write this document, you’ll be covering your goals for the next three to five years, as well as how you plan to achieve each one.

Make it official

You may be exciting about your business, but there’s still much work to be done, including legal work. Hold off on ordering those business cards with your company’s name and logo on it until you incorporate and register it, while also obtaining the right licenses and permits. Also, remember that all that money you’re going to make has to go somewhere, so start a bank account for your enterprise. Taking these important steps will ensure your photography business is on the right side of the law.

Get all the right equipment

Are you going to snap pictures at weddings? Maybe you’re just going to shoot portraits. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you have every piece of equipment you need. If you want customers to take you seriously, you can’t be cutting corners or using outdated gear. You may also want to get all that expensive equipment insured, especially if you’re always on the move with it.

Is this everything you have to do to launch your very own photography business? Of course not, but it’s certainly a good start. So what do you think? Does this all seem doable? Let us know what your career aspirations are in the comment space below.

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