Starting your own business: tips?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by slickhare, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. slickhare

    slickhare TPF Noob!

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    so i'm getting to that point in life where i need to figure out what i'm going to do with myself... and i'd really like to have my own photography business one day. i plan to major in business in college, possibly minor in photography. but beyond that it's all fuzzy. so i was wondering if any of you who use photography as your main source of income (or even part of it) could shed light on how to make it in the business?
     
  2. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Personally I think you should major in photography if that is what you are interested in. Business major may as well be the complete opposite of photographer. Certainly a fine business sense is handy. Understand that photography is a very involved field and needs a lot of dedication.
     
  3. niccig

    niccig TPF Noob!

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    Even better might be an arts administration program. The one at my school is a combination of business/art studio (which includes photography). Best of both worlds.
     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been an entrepreneur for the past 25 years. In other words I have relied on myself to make a living rather than on someone else. I've started about 1/2 dozen businesses in that time, sold one, closed a bunch and still have one.

    My photography business started when a talented commercian photographer and educator asked for some business advice. I just partnered with him. I took him on hundreds of sales calls and did some advertising to get things off the ground. We kept it going pretty well for several years. One day he decided to abandon things so that he could move to New York and do fashion photography - his passion. I ran the business for another 3 years but had another business to run at the same time. I got tired and the commercial photo business was the one that had to go because I had to find time to do most of the photography myself since my partner had taken off.

    As long as you understand that things don't happen overnight and have patience and staying power, you can start a success business. Most of the failures are due to inadequate money or inadequate patience or inadequate work. Although, I've had some failures that were due to inadequate business models.
     
  5. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    Get a degree in business, don't waste your money or time on a photography degree. It won't help you. You can learn all you need to by assisting with photographers that you like how they shoot. Read all kinds of books and shoot as much as you can. The photo industry is a hard one to break into, it takes lots of time, money and a little bit of luck. Get your business degree so that if it doesn't work out you have something to fall back on and go for your dream. Good luck!
     
  6. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    AMEN. :hail:

    You just beat me to saying exactly that. You can do anything with a business degree, including running a photography business. Not real likely you'll do much with a photography degree. There are so many good resources on photohgraphy that it's fairly easy to begin building your skills.

    I can hear the old school guys on this board freaking out already. :lol:

    ~Dewey
     
  7. sylph

    sylph TPF Noob!

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    I totally agree with ladyphotog. Get your BUSINESS degree. Some of the best artists/photographers fall flat on their face because they don't know how to run a business. Some of the worst photographers run a succesful business because they know business enough to make it work, and work well.

    Personally, I am a self taught photographer. I am 30 years old and just started my photography business full time a year and a half ago, and am now opening an official studio in a gorgeous historic building in a couple of months (it is being renovated right now). The struggles are NOT in producing work that will sell. The struggle is the business strategies, the accounting, the marketing, the BOTTOM LINE, dealing with customers, scheduling, pricing properly, etc. etc. When you run a photography business, about 20% of it is actually the art of it... 80% of it seems to be all business related things...
     
  8. df3photo

    df3photo TPF Noob!

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    I have a photo degree... when i was rounding down to the end of my schooling I was reading up on afew photogs... and it seemed that alot of them schooled them selves. If I didnt go to school for photography I probably wouldnt be doing it. I would never give up the things I learned in that school from the instructors. There are somethings that can be gained by experiences only. Although it maybe true that it didnt get me very far, I have mostly me to blame for my lazyness... I think its all in what you put into it.
    7 years after I graduated from photo school... I am finally putting effort into starting a buisness. The biggest problem I am comming across is my lack of Buisness knowlege...
    Good luck starting your buis!
     
  9. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

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    It's been said before...Business Degree. Its a good option if you decide you don't can't do photography as a full time gig. If you are just starting college now and have the coin for some decent camera gear...start shooting now part time. Make a 4-5 year plan to have a great portfolio and enough client base to support yourself as a photographer. Then when you graduate you will have yourself set up for success. As far as photography training...shoot so much that your shutter needs to be replaced. Shoot with experienced people so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Take clinics from professionals and make sure you get good at photoshop. My photoshop skills have saved my tail on a few occasions.
     

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