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How to Avoid Your Photography Business Failing

African american photographer man working at photography studio very happy and excited doing winner gesture with arms raised, smiling and screaming for success. celebration concept.

Most small businesses fail within the first 12 months of starting – this is down to varying factors, but it’s possible to avoid some of the common pitfalls if you know what they are.

I’ve outlined 5 ways to avoid your photography business failing.

While this isn’t a guaranteed checklist to get yourself out of trouble, it will make you aware of the reasons photographers find themselves struggling to begin with.

Value Yourself Correctly

When starting a new photography business, it may feel right to start cheap and build as you grow – this is the wrong thing to do. If you market yourself as a cheap photographer that’s what people will remember you for.

You may be able to offer services and products for cheap when running it as a side business but when your full time you need to increase revenue to cover all the costs. Value yourself correctly by charging the fee your skill, talent and experience deserves.

If you saw two photographers online; one with prices starting from £100 and another from £1,000 – who seems the more skilled and talented?

Don’t undervalue yourself or you’ll end up barely covering costs, or at worst losing money. Do a complete audit on your fixed and variable costs so when you give prices you know you’ll always have a profit and build the business gradually.

Portrait Of Smiling Female Photographer Standing In Studio With Camera And Lighting Equipment

Invest in Photography Training

When you are making a little bit of money instead of buying more camera equipment (that you may not need) invest in your own training as a photographer.

You can never stop learning about photography, new lighting techniques, online courses, business mentoring, marketing workshops, improving your photo editing workflow, or subscribing to automation tools. Either way, there are different ways to make the quality of your photography business better, without spending money on a lens.

While it may not seem as fun to spend money on a non-tangible item but the time it can save and the new skills you will learn could earn you extra money.

Better photographers can justify charging more as their skills and experience grow. Just because you’ve got a nicer camera (though you may not be maxing out its full capabilities) isn’t grounds for charging more. The increase in prices needs to be evident in your work to your customer.

They don’t care about what kit you use; they do care about the end product they’re paying for though!

Photographer with apprentice in photo studio

Learn Business Acumen

You’re not just a photographer when running your photography business, you’re also;

  • Director of Business
  • Marketer
  • Admin Officer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Email Executive
  • Accountant
  • Web Designer
  • Customer Relations
  • Business Spokesperson
  • and more!

 

This means you’ve got multiple plates to keep spinning on top of taking the photos to avoid your photography business failing. Seek out small business seminars to attend and surround yourself with other business owners to network with. Though your businesses may be different the struggles can be similar.

You don’t have to be an expert in business, as there are many online web tools to simplify doing taxes and banking for example, but it is important to keep on top of all these jobs regularly.

Create yourself a schedule of tasks to do each month that cover marketing and finance for example. As your business grows you may be able to afford an accountant to keep track of the numbers which removes one job from your role, but when starting your photography business expect to do the dirty work yourself.

Embrace these jobs as passionately as your shots to avoid your photography business failing.

Photographer Journalist Working Studio Agency Concept

Find Your Photography Business USP

Being a photographer isn’t a rare job, hundreds of thousands of people start a photography business, but what makes ones successful is having a clear USP.

A USP (unique selling point) is what separates your photography business from competitors. In a saturated market, even a small USP can make a difference. I recently saw 2 photographers offering a photo critique – not particularly innovative – but they did it drunk! That instantly caught my attention, and though the quality of the critiquing when drunk is questionable it still got me interested in their business and looking at their other products/services.

While I’m not suggesting becoming a drunk photographer, I am saying to avoid your photography business failing you need to find a USP that makes people react, click, message, or hire you.

Dog photographer with a dog
  • Multi-lingual photographer (great for overseas work and global mentoring)
  • Small-scale wedding photographer (only shoots weddings under 40 guests)
  • Film portrait photographer (family photos exclusively shot on 35mm cameras)
  • Kitchenware photographer (product photographer specialising in kitchenware only)
  • Boast your experience (point out how many years, awards, and qualifications you have if it separates you from the competition)
  • An all-round specialist (a dog photographer who also trains, boards and breeds dogs)

 

Either way a USP should be assertive, but with the skill to back it up. It should also benefit the customer in some way. Being different doesn’t count for much if it’s not something your target customers care about.

Woman photographer making business portraits for handsome bearded man on red background in photo studio. Work of a photographer. Backstage photo

Use Online Automation Tools

Spending more time than needed on tasks that can be done through automation means you can direct your attention elsewhere to avoid your photography business failing. There are tonnes of automation web tools available for scheduling email campaigns, social media posts and even website updates.

Work smarter, not harder as the kids say and use services to send clients photos using online galleries like PicTime where they can order prints and design their own albums.
While you can’t automate the art of taking photos (yet) most other jobs can be outsourced or save you time by using specific online companies.

Close up storyboard content planning of production media of the Blogger or Vlog and the laptop and camera on the desk work

Pixifi, for example, is a management software designed to help photography businesses handle online photoshoot bookings, viewing schedules, client contracts, creditor payments and leads on a single platform.

Platforms like Canva helps you design and schedule all your social media posts. You could spend a day putting together your content, posts and videos and sit back as the views, comments and bookings hopefully roll in.

While you may not use automation tools immediately it’s good to do a ‘time-in-motion’ exercise throughout your normal working day. See which jobs take you the longest and if you can automate it for less than it costs you to do it.

Top Web Tools for Photography Businesses by iPhotography.com

How to Avoid Your Photography Business Failing: Final Words

In summary, I hope these tips to avoid your photography business failing give you an idea of the hurdles that you might face in the future – hopefully not though! It’s prudent to expect ups and downs but making provisions and investing correctly in your photography business will give you confidence that you’ll only enjoy success.

Bookmark this article about building a photography business so you can find it again in the future. If you’ve got any other questions about photography chances are you’ll find the answers in our other articles and tutorials below.

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