You feel confident in your portraits and know that you can’t keep shooting for free. Maybe people keep reaching out to you for free portrait sessions, you’re ready to start a side hustle, or maybe you’re ready to jump into a new business venture so you don’t have to keep working that 9 to 5. Well, how do you build a portrait photography business with no experience? This is your step-by-step guide.
Portrait Photography Business Plan Step-By-Step
So how do you start a portrait photography business? It’s daunting but not as hard as you may think. Let’s dive into it.
1. Build a Portfolio
This is the first step because you need to show that you have a service to sell. You have to showcase your work and make a good first impression with the portraits you take.
Your portfolio should be a collection of your very best work and it should also show consistency.
2. Choose Your Business Structure
The two common structures are Sole Proprietorship and a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The IRS has a breakdown of what each structure is and what you need to start one.
How much you charge depends on your skill level, experience and the quality of your images. The goal of starting a portrait photography business is to make money, so you have to choose a sustainable rate.
As you grow, you can increase your rates and be confident in them.
4. Start a Website and Get Business Cards
Almost everything we do is online nowadays. We order food online and get it delivered. We order products online, meet people online, do our banking online, etc.
Many times, people will not make the initial contact in person. It will be online.
This is why you need a website. Your website should have:
- Your portfolio
- An about page
- A contact page
A professional website will make your portrait photography business more legitimate and people will take you more seriously.
These things will help you communicate with a potential client the type of portraits you shoot, what you are all about, and how to get in touch with you.
For business cards, keep it simple, minimal, and classic. One side will have your logo and the other will have your name, website and contact information.
Moo offers a great variety of business cards that are high-quality at a very affordable price. Be sure to check them out and others like Vista Print, Overnight Print, and even Costco!
5. Network to Meet Potential Clients or Referrals
Building your network is important in the portrait photography industry. Through your network, you can meet people who would be interested in booking a portrait session with you or may know someone who is interested.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who want or need portraits. The need can be for work, profile photos, models, bloggers, or just to have for the heck of it!
Regardless of the reason, there is a need out there. Be sure to network and tell people that you are a portrait photographer. This will result in more clients and leads.
6. Be a Second Shooter
Starting a portrait photography business can be scary. Learning from someone who is already doing it, can make it seem more attainable.
Ask around and see if you can tag along for a shoot. Tell them that you are a new photographer who wants to learn more about portrait photography and the life of someone who does it “full-time”
Be careful when doing this, as some photographers might think or accuse you of stealing their ideas.
If someone is uncomfortable with sharing their journey and tips, just find someone else.
A portrait photography business is an awesome way to produce income while using a skill you already have and enjoy.
You can increase your revenue by shooting stock images and selling them online. This gives you the opportunity to create passive income.