The 3 mistakes photographers make when starting their business by Vicki Knights - part 1 of 1 2 3 4

Published 01/12/2016


Usually people start a photography business because they have a passion for taking photos and want to make money doing what they love. That makes perfect sense!

However, what often comes as an unwelcome surprise is the fact that photographers generally only spend around 10-20% of their time with a camera in their hands (if they’re lucky!) and the rest of the time is spent either doing postproduction or working on their business. Not only are you a photographer, you’re also expected to be marketing manager, IT expert, accountant, PA, writer, web designer and many more roles.

It’s getting increasingly hard to start a successful portrait photography business. A study showed that a massive 85% of photography businesses will go out of business within the first three years. That’s a pretty grim statistic!

It’s not all doom and gloom though; I believe that if you work hard and avoid these three common mistakes below, you can build a very successful photography business.


1:Not charging enough to be profitable

Yes I’m going to launch straight into the controversial topic of pricing! Mainly because it’s the most common mistake that photographers make when they start up in business. Yet not charging enough to make a profit is the main reason why so few photography businesses succeed.

Many photographers who don’t appreciate the value of the experience they are providing, offer low prices for fear of not being booked. They want to be the ‘affordable photographer’ in their area.

The truth is that being too expensive is rarely the main reason for why clients don’t book you. And offering prices that are too low could be a turnoff for many potential clients.

Your ideal clients will happily pay what you ask if you are offering something they truly want. The key is to deliver an experience that will delight them enough to tell all of their friends about you.

Many photographers fail to factor many of their costs into their prices and don’t charge enough for their time. When you actually sit down and work out exactly how many hours you are working (not just shooting and editing), your costs (including all of the equipment you bought to start your business), you may well realise that it will take you years to pay off your initial costs and that you’re earning well under minimum wage!

Also lots of new photographers look to the local competition to see what they are charging, then price themselves lower as they are less experienced.

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1st Published 01/12/2016
last update 07/04/2022 09:06:22

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