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3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting a Photography Business


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These days so many of us have nice cameras.  It’s always so tempting to start a photography business. There is a lot of negativity in the industry with people that will tell you that you can’t/shouldn’t do it.  I think that it’s always good to follow your dreams, but If you’re considering doing so, listen to my story first…

Five years ago I invested in a Canon Rebel.  I had a two year old and a brand new baby.  That camera was my best friend.  It didn’t take long and I started getting requests from others to take pictures for them also.  I was flattered and of course eager to say yes. My next step was starting a photography business.   So I got online (all the cool kids were doing it).  I created a blog, slapped “Kristin Wilkerson Photography” across the top and clicked away. My story about my first journey to becoming a professional photographer might sound familiar because many take this path, while other photographers despise it.

I’m here to tell you that it was a bad idea, a really bad idea to start a photography business this quickly.

mcpbusiness2 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting a Photography Business Business Tips Guest Bloggers

While my pictures meant a lot to me and others seemed to admire them I wasn’t qualified or ready to put myself out there as a self-labeled professional photographer. The stress of honoring the requests of what I called “clients” was sucking the life out of what once brought me a lot of joy.  It didn’t take long for me to quit the business (that never really was a business). Instead I took a class to help me better utilize my camera, studied like crazy, and tried shooting in all sorts of lighting situations.

Let’s fast forward 4 years.  My love for photography had grown and so had my knowledge and understanding.  I also had more time to invest in myself.  It felt like the right time to start my business and after evaluating my life goals, my time restrictions, and my risk factors I decided to move forward.  I’m still in the early stages  but because I have taken the time to learn about both business and photography I am optimistic about the future.

mcpbusiness 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting a Photography Business Business Tips Guest Bloggers

I’m sharing this story with you because most of us that enjoy photography reach that point where we ask ourselves “Should I start a photography business?”  Assuming you are confident in your photography and feel you can handle most “photo-related” scenarios thrown at you, here’s a few things to consider before taking the plunge:

  1. Am I willing to take the time and money to register for a business license, pay sales tax, and personal income tax?  If filing taxes and being registered isn’t something you are willing to do then offering your services for money is not a good idea.
  2. Do I have the time needed to invest in making clients happy? It’s not about just taking the pictures for them.  You need to be able to answer emails and give clients the attention they deserve.  You also need to be able to take criticism from clients and if you can’t then you’ll have a hard time managing a business.
  3. Does turning my gift of photography into a job suck the fun out of it?  For me 5 years ago the answer to that was yes.  Because I was already so busy the added pressure of deadlines and pleasing others ruined the joy.  It’s ok to keep your gift as a hobby or wait until it feels right.

Just because you love photography and have invested in equipment doesn’t mean that you have to be a professional photographer. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t be either.  There is no shame in being a hobbyist and there is no shame in turning your talent into a career.  Do what makes you happy but after my mistakes I’d suggest to do it right.

Kristin Wilkerson, the author of this guest post, is a Utah based photographer. You can also find her on Facebook.


No Comments

  1. Theresa on June 25, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I really like the lego illustration. What is ROES?Are you saying that there’s no way to go up only down?

  2. Shankar on June 25, 2014 at 11:46 am

    In your PPI example, what would happen if you turned “resampling” off?

  3. Bud on June 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Upsampling has recently been improved somewhat in Photoshop Creative Cloud. IF your image is of good quality to begin with, its possible to scale it further up (to a point). Remember, printing something big, such as a 60″ canvas does not require the image to be at 300 ppi. 200 (or so) is fine. Plus the larger you go, the lower the resolution can be. Those big graphics on trucks and billboards are often 72 ppi, or sometimes considerably less if its very large.Leaving resampling off changes the physical dimensions of the image but keeps the resolution intact.

  4. Debbie on June 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    What about the file size. I see 50 MB at the top. Wont that take a long time to load?

  5. KIMBERLY DOERR on July 8, 2014 at 5:08 am

    This is an extremely helpful article. Thank you so much. 🙂

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