Top 10 Things I’ve Learned My First Year as a Professional Photographer
This post is way overdue, but I figured that as I go along in photography journey, I can update you guys on my progress.
As some of you may know, I am a professional photographer and I have been booking clients for a year. I’ve learned so much so far and I would love to share what I learned with other photographers or those who may be interested in photography.
I am self-taught and unfortunately have no mentor, so I want to share information about photography tips for new professionals. This series will be called, “Building My Photography Business” and this is the first post in the series.
It’s so important to learn from our mistakes, so these are the Top 10 Things I’ve Learned My First Year as a Professional Photographer.
1. Under Promise Over Deliver—Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Once you’ve said it to the client, THEY WILL REMEMBER AND HOLD YOU TO IT.
2. Make sure you scout locations and check them out before shooting there—You have to make sure there aren’t any rules against photography, dangers to the client, and that lighting and areas are good for a photo shoot.
3. Keep in constant communication with client—Nothings worse than your client not knowing your time frame for previews, editing and delivery of images.
4. Set up in person meetings—Personal meetings will allow you to do just that–get personal with your clients so that they can get to know you. Once they photo shoot date arrives, they will be more relaxed and have an idea of what’s to come. Also, the formal procedures can be taken care of such as the deposit, contract signing, and introduction to the client guide.
5. Go over, word for word, contracts and pricing—Clients won’t understand the legal jargon placed in your contracts unless you explain it to them. Handing them contracts without going over them will only create confusion and it will come back to bite you in the “you know what.” Make your clients KNOWLEDGEABLE and educate them on your services and contracts.
6. Make sure taxes are taken care of all around—Pretty self-explanatory. The last thing you want is the tax man knocking on your door for an audit. Keep all receipts for your business and make sure you understand the tax rules for your state.
7. Price yourself according to your time + expenses—The market is saturated with photographers who underprice themselves. I was guilty of this when I first began. Now I understand that I need to charge for my talent, time and business expenses. You will be amazed at how much you’re selling yourself short. Charge what you are worth. *Bonus-Pricing Calculator
8. Market through several forms of communication such as email, social media, in person, over the phone—Shooting friends and family are great, but it won’t keep your business going. You have to get out there and meet people and make new connections.
9. Don’t sell yourself short—Don’t allow people to talk you down in price. Stand your ground. If they don’t agree with your price, apologize, but let them know you aren’t the photographer for them and recommend or refer them to someone else. It’s hard at first, but trust me; you’ll find someone who is willing to meet your price.
10. Choose your clients—You are allowed to not accept every client who comes your way. If you’re a professional photographer and you are trying to build a brand, this is the most important rule of them all. Choosing the wrong clients can ruin your reputation. Choose wisely. *Bonus-Book Yourself Solid (Teaches how important it is to choose the right clients for your business)
Want to learn more about the client-photographer relationship in my “Building My Photography Business Series”? Take a look at my post about it here
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