Event photography isn’t always as easy as, snap, print, sell. To be successful, or in other words make money, from event photography, you must be prepared and strategic. In fact, creating a business and marketing plan, plus a strategy for funding and paying expenses, should always be thought about to prevent pushing your cash flow into the red. Shooting photos and helping people build memories may be fun, it may even be a dream come true, but you must remember that you are running a business.
Here we take a look at best business practices for event photographers and how they can help your bottom dollar
Do Your Homework
It is imperative that before you take your first picture, you understand the true cost of doing business. Then tailor your products and services accordingly. For a portable event photography solution, check out options like the BizziBOX. For catching sharp images of a ball hitting a bat, you may need a high-end dSLR camera.
Find the Cost of Doing Business
You may be surprised by the actual cost of doing business as a photographer. Many photographers underestimate their outgoings including expenses, such travel, parking, and wear and tear of equipment which can’t be taken for granted, and add up very quickly. Visit the National Press Photographers Association’s Cost of Doing Business Calculator for help determining costs.
Charge Appropriate Rates
Once you know the costs of event photography, you can determine an appropriate rate for your services. Try not to make the mistake of setting your rate too low, whether it is because of a shorter span of experience or lack of confidence. This is a mistake. If you are capable of doing the job, there is no reason your fee shouldn’t be similar to that of other event photographers.
Ensure Every Event is Profitable
Set your rates based on the numbers you found from the calculator and what you feel you are worth. Then start estimating the profit you will need each month to support yourself. Each event needs to have the appropriate revenue to create a profitable and sustainable business for yourself.
Don’t Eat Costs
If you are hired by a venue, make sure they reimburse your cost for parking, passes, and any other ad hoc costs you may incur. You may also want to look into digital service fees, an expense charged for digital image processing.
Remember Those Pesky Taxes and Receipts
Talk to your accountant to find the best path for you. But most likely you will want to file your business income through your personal return if you operate a sole proprietorship. As you earn more income, you will reach a point where this plan changes. Again, speak to your accountant. Remember, you will need to keep receipts for all business expenses. Look into setting up separate business accounts and credit cards so your personal and work finances do not get mixed up.
There are so many things that can go wrong in life. You will want to have your equipment—and yourself—covered. Many venues require a certificate of insurance to even come onto the premises and photograph. Imagine the hit you will take if your equipment is damaged and you had to give up events while it were being repaired. Do not rely on renter’s insurance to cover your equipment, as it often does not cover pro-level gear. Look into business insurance, which will also cover equipment theft.
Look at What Works and What Doesn’t
At least once a year, take an in-depth look at your books and determine what sold best and what didn’t sell at all. Cut your losses and focus on what will maximise your profits. Always strive to better your business.
While there are plenty of ways to help the business side of your event photography succeed, we all know that success does not begin and end with the finances. Truly successful photographers possess talent and work on their skills. They know how to make subjects feel special, and they make each experience a good one, no matter the event, location, or challenge.
Create a Marketing Plan
Just like you would develop a financial plan for your business, you should also develop a marketing plan. Decide who your target market is. Be as specific as possible, and don’t be afraid to identify more than one group. Outline how you will reach these groups to alert them to your services and how will you present your business. Defining your brand can make or break a new business.
Market Your Service at Events
If people don’t even know you are at an event, they will certainly not buy your product. Be sure that your location is in a highly visible area, and do everything in your power to draw attention to your services: Distribute cards, posters, and any other promotional materials you can think of. Don’t be shy!
If you come off as moody, grumpy, or just plain mean, no one will want to have their picture taken by you. Be nice. Smile. Show that you are approachable and friendly. You don’t have to be a clown on top of being a photographer, but don’t be shy about talking to people and building relationships. Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to build a clientele. Chat with parents and customers to learn what they like and need. You may even book a new gig during casual conversations.
Be a Professional
Show up early to set up and check out the venue. Make sure all of your equipment is set up properly, and you are prepared for the unexpected during your event. Look for any potential problems with lighting or otherwise. Dress appropriately, yet comfortably. Don’t ever let a lack of professionalism detract from your bottom line.
Create a Sense of Urgency
People are procrastinators. If you give them the option to wait on buying from you, they will. It is a common marketing trick to create a sense of urgency for your customers by setting a deadline of some sort. For example, you can only offer printed photos at the event as opposed to offering online purchasing after the event. Or offer a limited-time discount. This sense of urgency will secure more sales for you and guarantee lasting memories for your customers.
Make the Process Easy on Customers
However you choose to run your business, make sure it is easy for your customers to find, interact, and buy from you. With equipment that operates as simply as the bizziBOX, you can simply shoot, load, and print. No need to create a difficult process for your customers to follow. Because when it comes to making memories, everyone wants to have a positive experience, not a frustrating one.