This is not an easy path and requires much consideration, however, if you plan and structure your business according to certain formulas, you will soon understand that all falls into place, and suddenly the systems are running itselves. Your job to drive the business, ensuring that the system is always well maintained and runs smoothly. The same situation is when you own a car, you have to see it is serviced regularly in order for it to perform efficiently.

Running a tight system on a small budget

A successful business starts with sitting down and planning from the core. As far as photography, it is essential that you are professional when communicating with clients or pitching on a new job. Secondly, your ability to maintain that clients business and establish sound future work relationships. This process will open doors to new opportunities through word or mouth and other. The latter is often overlooked, so keep this in mind.

Depending on the genre of your photography business, you will require certain short- and medium-term objectives to be fulfilled. Below is a list that you should consider first up:

The Marketing Plan and Mission Statement

Identify your audience and the target market. Make sure you are clear on your services and what exactly you are providing as a photographer. This is important, as often one can miss the point and get side tracked. Focus on the mission statement as to what your business is about, and what you are providing as a service. Do not over promise, stick to what you good at and able to deliver.

Costing structure

Know your rate for the services that you provide, and stick to it. Remember to ensure that this rate is a formula based on your overheads and costs in relation to being competitive. You never want to be the cheapest, nor out price yourself. Make sure you are accountable for all your running costs when adding the margins to the services that you offer. Understand that each genre is costed differently. Understand the genre and make sure you cover everything.

See example from the link attached

Job sheets

Basically, this is your billing schedule per job, based on hours and workload, according to your costing structure. This will assist in the overall planning for the job to ensure delivery is met in accordance to commitment to client. This will provide a clear and over all picture of your workflow, placing attention on both time verse billings.

Job bags

Each client has different needs that are based on their brief. As certain jobs are more intense than others, they will require more planning and consideration. For this reason, it is a good idea to track the progress and movements of the job to ensure all is in order and running to plan. A good paper trail is always the best form of communication when it comes to fixing a stressful situation.

Invoices and Stationary

Your stationary needs to be consistent, as this is your Brand and ID. Make sure all your contact details are clear, along with your business number for tax purposes. All headings and descriptions should be easy to understand when the client is reviewing the bill and individual breakdown of costs. Make sure you are clear in the terms and conditions which will need to accompany all your stationary. As all jobs are actually contacts, both the client and yourself need a transparent and agreeable understanding of what is on the table. This is to protect both parties from any misunderstandings down the line.

Additional stationary to consider

Again, depending on your line of photography, you might want to consider contracts that enforce copyright, should you have opportunities to earn royalties when images are used multiple times on different media. This is a great revenue stream. Finally, there are model release forms for photographers shooting fashion or “people’ for commercial use, and buyout agreements for usage and ownership of images. 

Once you have the above in place, then start the ball rolling with your website SEO and social media marketing, you will now be in a position to operate fast and effectively in a professional manner. I hope this has been helpful.