Many people love photography and would like to go into business for themselves as photographers. But, the difference between those who are successful and those who simply end up in failure have a business plan in place. The reason is that you need to determine some very basic aspects of your business that will take some research so that you succeed. All of the best technique and striking photographs in the world will not help you if you are not able to decide upon your target market and basic pricing. These are elements in your business plan.
In order to determine the importance of a business plan and its key parts for a successful photography business, we spoke with Daniel Doyle Pleasantville. Doyle began his successful photography business in his studio in Queens, NY that focuses upon studio head shots of actors and musicians in New York as well as event photography. His event work spans concerts, weddings, families and children. He has made such a name for himself that he is now tutoring young photographers to follow in his footsteps. He majored in art at Ohio State University. Doyle is now opening a new studio in his home town of Pleasantville, Ohio. +
Why a Business Plan?
According to Doyle, to succeed in the very competitive world of studio and event photography, excellent technique that grows and evolves is a prerequisite. But, one cannot succeed without a business plan as well. As Entrepreneur Magazine states, you have to know some foundational information, such as how much you should charge for your work and what niche you will pursue. If you don’t know such basic information, your business will likely be doomed to failure.
Key Details to Flesh Out in a Business Plan
Some of the key points in creating a business plan for a photography business are as follows:
If you fail to do the marketing analysis steps, you will likely fail to find the niche that you can profitably serve. As Entrepreneur Magazine stated, you have to first identify who are the targets for your products. Expert Photography explains that this is the stage where most businesses fail because they decide everyone is their market. You have to narrow down who is realistically going to buy your photographs for the price you will need to charge in order for you to make a profit and a living. It is too expensive to have “everyone” be your target market.
Are there enough of your target market customers in your area? For Daniel Doyle Pleasantville photographer, he first decided that his local market was too small for him to begin as a startup, so he made his business flower in a larger market area first, so he could get established. For example, if you have decided to do studio photography and portraits, your biggest target market in most areas will be families who have children, but Doyle was able to find entertainers in Queens who needed publicity head shots that were unique. This is what earned him a solid reputation in his area.
Here you will carefully delineate each type of product that you will carry as well as formats, such as digital and print and dpi resolutions. Are you offering prints, albums or files online?
Who is your competition, and how can you differentiate yourself from what they are offering? As Expert Photography suggests, you really don’t want to try to succeed by being the “low price leader.” Leave that for Walmart.
How do you get your name to clients?
Wedding photographers can work with bridal boutiques and hair salons. Portrait photographers, like Doyle, worked with entertainers who were trying to get a start in the industry. His unique head shots helped market his business to other entertainers through word of mouth. Commercial photographers pay for space in directories and work through production companies.
Will you be able to work from home? Will you rent a studio when necessary? Do you already have all of the equipment you need, or will you rent some as needed?
How will you pay for everything you need to operate your business for the first three startup years? Expert Photography suggests you need to have back-ups of everything for emergencies. Imagine if you were in the midst of a wedding shoot and your only camera body seized up on you.
SWOT and Timeline:
Do an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Create an action plan to address every part of this analysis over time as well as a timeline of how you will roll out your business.
Since photography is such an enjoyable hobby, there are many who would love to go into business for themselves in the field. As Daniel Doyle Pleasantville knows from his own personal experience and success as a photographer who has one successful studio and is opening a new one, a business plan that is fully fleshed out is the only way to be able to achieve success in the crowded field.