By ZUBAIR DANIE
While photography could be accounted for as a full blown course in any offering institution of learning for professionalism, the field equally provides a platform for individuals whose passion it is to project images as a form of livelihood.
The socio-cultural aspect of Nigerians that play host of events like: wedding, naming, graduation, burial amongst others, serve as a veritable market for a photoprenure to thrive in making money while also enjoying his or her passion. But, for a successful business in photography, the followings must not be under-rated:
- Hone your “shot taking” skills
The first step to starting a photography business from home is to hone your shot-taking skills. If you don’t want to end up being a road side photographer, then you need to invest in knowledge and photography equipment. Equipment like shutter speed, white balance, photo editing and aperture.
To get some training, go learn from a professional photographer or enroll in good photography school. You can also invest in learning how to add creativity to pictures using graphic design software..
- Hone your entrepreneurial skills
You may be the best photographer in the world but if you lack the ability to market yourself effectively, if you lack entrepreneurial skills; you will achieve nothing. To succeed as a photographer, you must know how to sell your skills and control your finances.
You must know how to negotiate business deals and contract; and most importantly, you must have strong emotion control. Running a photography business entails meeting different people with different characters, so you must have people skills and know how to deal with complaints.
- Get the Needed Equipment to Start a Standard Photo Studio
The equipment or tools needed to start a standard photography business are
- Digital camera (Nikon)
- Studio lights
- Photo editing softwares
- Flash soft box
- Generating set
- Curtains and stools
- Memory card
- Card reader
- Shutter speeder
- Laptop (strictly for business)
- Printer Hifi
- External flash drive
It is always advisable you go for an open area because the location of your business determines how profitable your business will be. When choosing a location, especially for those doing business in Nigeria; you should try to get a store or rent a large office in an open area like Ikotun, Onipan, Yaba, Bariga, and Surulere.
Your studio could be anywhere but being by the roadside is the best. This will make it much easier for people to locate your business; and you won’t have much stress getting customers
- Create a Brand for your photo studio
That’s where the real money is. The reason why Coca-Cola Company still remains the largest beverage firm in the world is because they have created a unique brand for their company. Don’t run your photography business like a road side business. Handle it effectively. Create a brand for your photo-shop. Make it REAL GOOD such that people walking past by will want to stop in.
- Plan for future expansion
Moving equipment here and there, might be expensive and difficult, that’s why it’s advisable to rent a large room or building that has room for expansion. So take your time when choosing a location for your photography business.
You shouldn’t rush into choosing a particular place because you may take a decision that might harm the future of your business. That’s why you see so many road side photographers today with 1 shop, I camera, and a very old desktop. Think big but start small. Plan for expansion. It’s important.
I strongly believe that as you follow our guidelines, and improve more on yourself, you will be successful in running your own photography business. You won’t find out how lucrative this business is, until you try… It’s that simple!
How to Ensure your Photography Business Booms!
If you want to scale up your business, outperform your competitors, and stay on top even in the midst of fierce competition, here are few tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your customers satisfied
Without customers, you won’t be in business. Some customers can be very stubborn. In fact, you may come across the mad ones; but whichever one you come across, treat them nicely. You must also ensure they are always satisfied. If they are not satisfied with your job, then take several shots … and have them pick one perfect shot!
- Learn photo editing
If you are not good in photo editing, then pay someone to teach you. If you can’t make your customers look good in their picture through photo editing, then you will have a big problem; and they will never patronize you again.
- Try to beat deadlines
How to Market your Photography Business Effectively
Below are just a few tips for promoting your photography business, i recommend you read the more in-depth marketing ideas for photographers.
- Be Ready to Attend Special Occasions uninvited…
That’s the best way to get new clients. When attending events like this, drop your business card, and some samples to give prospects an idea of what you are capable of. I think I missed this: it is also important you get an ID card, as it makes you look official.
- Create an Online Presence
The easiest way to get thousands of referrals without lifting a finger is through blogging. It doesn’t cost much to start a blog. All you need is dedication.
- Advertise your business
Everyone around you should know you’re a professional photographer. Your colleagues, friends, and loved ones. In fact, hand out brochures, flyers and business cards. Advertise via Facebook, and channel the traffic to your blog.
- Look for busy environs with creative backgrounds
One of the easiest ideas to getting started is to visit a children’s clothing store in one of the busy shopping centers, or the children’s department in one of the large department stores.
Sell the manager or store owner on the idea of your setting up in a corner of the store or department, and taking pictures of the shoppers’ children. He can even strike a strategic alliance with you and promote the fact in his advertising campaigns that you’ll be in the store taking pictures for special prices during certain hours; perhaps on Friday evenings and throughout Saturdays, thereby attracting customers into his store you.
- Create an eye catching background or wallpaper
You will need a sheet or plain piece of material, or some sort of imaginative set for a background. But this can be easily made or built yourself. You should also have an eye-catching poster that calls attention to what you are doing and the prices you’re charging. Unless you’re a commercial artist, you should spend the money to have this sign made for you by a professional.
- Create a print coupon or receipt
When you take a person’s picture, regardless of whether it’s an “in-store” set-up out on a golf course, or along the street; you give your customer one of your coupon-receipts and tell them their prints will be ready either immediately of in a couple of days. They fill in the information part of the coupon and give it back to you, retaining your “business card” portion of it. When the prints are ready, you can phone the customer and remind him of the picture he snapped.
Most stores, golf courses, bowling centers, and other retail merchants will be glad to handle the picture delivery for you, because it brings the customers back into the places of business, and provides another sales opportunity for them.
- More Legal ways to make money as a photographer without a studio
- You can dress a helper in a clown suit, and take pictures of the kids in his lap or with his arm around the kids. You can put up a sandwich advertising board on a helper and let him stroll through the shopping center advertising the fact that you are in a Kiddies Clothing store taking pictures.
- You can also start and promote a “Baby of the Year” contest where you can take pictures of the babies, display the pictures on a “show board” and offer $100 cash plus a merchandise prize in a big drawing at the end of the year.
- You can also set up a booth in the mall and promote “Instant Snapshots.” Be a Roving Professional Photographer and take candid shots of shoppers and promote a “Shopper of the Year” contest. Work with a clown, have him get friendly with the kids, and ask if they would like to have their pictures taken with him.
Build and inexpensive and portable set, such as an airplane, a race car, bucking bronco, hand-shaking scene with a famous person or “balloon figures” and take pictures of the people standing in or on these sets.
- You can go out to the golf course and take pictures of the golfers teeing off. Get over to the bowling centers and take candid shots of the bowlers in action. Do the same thing wherever there’s a sports event taking place. Be on the spot and ready whenever there’s an opportunity to take team pictures.
You can follow, or hire someone else to follow a Little League team through its season, taking candid and action shots. You then arrange the best pictures in a photo album with the team’s name and year on front. You should be able to sell one of these albums to each member of the team.
- There’s also the idea of “just strolling through the park” on a Sunday afternoon. You can take candid and interesting pictures of couples, children and people in general spending time with their relatives. Keep tabs on the announcements of new births. Send advertising literature to the new mothers, and follow up with a phone call effort to set up photography sessions.
- You should also keep tabs on the engagement notices in the weekend papers. Send your sales literature to the brides-to-be, and follow up with phone call efforts to take the wedding pictures. Set up a household and business photo inventory service.
- With this idea, you contact the insurance companies and determine if they will approve and endorse photographs you take of their policy holders’ household, personal, and business property in loss claims. Most will, and from there; working either with the help of an insurance agent, the agency itself, or on your own, you can contact owners of property and sell them on the idea of you taking pictures of the household goods they have insured.
You take the pictures; a pictorial inventory of everything they are claiming or would like to claim on an insurance policy and then identify the pictures, giving one set to the property owner and the other set to his insurance agent or company. Picture inventories of household and personal property is still a new thing, but everywhere it’s been introduced, it’s definitely proven to be a super money- maker for the people willing to get out and hustle.
- Check out a photography franchise
If the idea of starting a photography business catches your interest, you might want to check into a going franchise operation that gives you a complete business manual, operations guidebook, and ongoing consultant services.
In conclusion, once you decide that using your camera to generate extra income is what you’re going to do, you need to get out and use your camera. Start taking pictures, and allow yourself the opportunity to build, grow and make money doing what you love. Give yourself a chance, and you will quickly begin to think of hundreds of ideas for taking pictures, merchandising ideas for promoting your services, and sales angles for increasing your profits.
The important thing is to get started; regardless of how small your startup capital is because this is an idea that can produce new concepts for profit every day of the week. An idea that can be fun, as well as financially rewarding for you! Now that you have got the idea and the plan, the rest is up to you.
|EQUIPMENT||MARKET PRICE (=N=)|
|Studio Rent (Depending on Location)||150,000.00 (P.A)|
|Digital Camera (Nikon)||89,000.00|
|Photo Editing Software||7,230.00|
|Flash Soft Box||1,880.00|
|Generator Set (Small)||50,000.00|
|Curtains (A Set of 3 colours)||6,000.00|
|External Flash Drive||3,000.00|
|Total Cost Estimate||573,910.00|