Questions from Readers of ATP and ATP Members
How do I make quick money now then make more money later?
As we discussed in the making money chapter, you can make quick, easy money with portrait photography, selling framed, limited edition prints or canvasses in clubs, stores or cafe’s etc, or work some local events and functions. Maybe hire a local hall for the day, set up a mini studio, offer cheap or free portrait sittings (limited the numbers to create desire) and make your money from any reprint orders.
Keep doing this and use the money to expand your business by buying new equipment, advertising and moving into new markets or niches.
How much would it cost to start a small photography business?
It all depends on how quick and how big you want to go. You can spend as little as the price of a camera, lens and speedlight or you can invest in a whole new studio and viewing room. I suggest taking it slow at first until you know the market and what areas of photography you want to concentrate on.
You may think you want to shoot weddings but after two or three, you may decide that events or portraits is more for you. Don’t go too mad until you are sure.
So, to answer the question, you could set up a photography business with less than £1000 ($1600) that would get you started with urban/outdoors portraits:
- Basic DSLR and lens – £500
- Speedlight – £150
- Media cards and accessories – £150
- Website hosting – £various
If you needed anything else and your budget is tight, rent it!
What are the common pitfalls that new to the industry could avoid rather than learn the hard way?
Easier just to list a few…
- Thinking you need all the latest equipment, gadgets and gizmos (including software)
- Sourcing and using the wrong suppliers (look for the cheapest whilst retaining quality)
- Spending/wasting money on the wrong type of advertising
- Wasting too much time waiting for “the right moment” to start your business
- Not buying the best kit you can afford straight away (camera and especially the lenses)
- Listening to the “naysayers” or negative attitudes around you
- Copying others…be inspired yes, but try to create your own style and business
- Thinking it will be easy
- Not watching your budget and/or accounting for taxes and expenses
- Employing people too soon
- Pi**ing people off in your industry…word travels fast, be nice
- Trying too hard and running before you can walk
At the end of the day, use your common sense and as I mentioned way back in the beginning, if something feels wrong it probably is…go with your gut instinct and don’t try to scam, con or rip people off.
What are the best qualifications to obtain, which ones are recognised and accepted?
This all depends on a few factors:
- What niche you want to break into
- Where you live
- Personal preference
There is no right or wrong course or qualification out there but the only qualifications you really need are:
- Experience (comes with time)
- Will to succeed
- Ability to listen and learn
If you really feel that a few qualifications would help your progress, look to maybe a City and Guilds in Photography because “When people see City & Guilds on your CV, they know it stands for high-quality training. Lots of people have said that their City & Guilds qualification was the reason they were offered their job”.
I would also recommend possibly joining one of the many clubs and associations out there. Most are now recognised as professional bodies within the photographic industry by suppliers and clients alike so it really boils down to personal preference.
Many offer mentoring and a certification process as you progress through various stages of qualification. Here is a short list of possibilities in the UK:
- The Royal Photographic Society (Recommended)
- Master Photographers Association (Recommended)
- The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers & The British Professional Photographers Associates (SWPP and BPPA – Good)
- Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA Recommended)
…and the US:
Where to get enough start-up money to sustain in those first years.
See the section on Financing and Business Plans
What is needed to start a photography business?
If you read this whole section, you should know that by now!
Next Page – Close of Business