Here are five reasons to NOT start a photography business

Mar 29, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Here are five reasons to NOT start a photography business

Mar 29, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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If you’re good at photography, people have probably already started asking you “Why don’t you start a photography business?” You yourself may also be thinking the same. However, there’s more to business of photography than just taking good photos. In this video from SLR Lounge, photographer Pye Jirsa gives you five reasons to not start a photography business. Or in other words, five reasons why running a business simply may not be right for you, no matter how great photos you take.

YouTube video

Pye notes that this video isn’t about crushing your dreams. As a matter of fact, it’s exactly the opposite. It will help you have realistic expectations and be aware of some bad sides of running a business before you decide to jump into it.

1. Photography isn’t the same as photography business

Photography in itself requires a lot of learning, practice, and trial and error. But running a photography business goes way beyond that. You won’t only be capturing moments if you decide to run a business. You’ll need to deal with marketing, finance, bookkeeping, maybe finding a location for your studio… In fact, a large portion of your job will not revolve around photography at all.

2. Dealing with customers

As a photographer who runs his or her own business, you’ll be dealing with clients. This means dealing with lots of different people with different needs and requests. And let’s be honest – different personalities. You need to be aware of this and you need to be okay with it if you want to start a business and succeed. Personally, this is one of the reasons why I never decided to turn pro. Dealing with too many people freaks me out.

3. 10% photography, 90% you

Pye notes that, at least in the first few years of your business, your job will be 10% photography and 90% everything else – and it will all be up to you. After a few years, you can start outsourcing what you don’t feel like doing and focus more on photography and your style. But in the first few years, be ready to carry the burden of doing pretty much everything.

4. Working to meet deadlines can be stressful

There are people who work more efficiently under pressure. But even if you belong to this group, meeting deadlines all the time is stressful. Clients will expect you to deliver the photos on time and make them look awesome, no matter what the circumstances in your life may be at the moment. So if situations like this are too stressful for you- you may want to reconsider the decision of starting your own photography business.

5. Lack of creative freedom

When a client pays you, you’re on their time and need to meet their requests and expectations. It means that you’ll have to give up your own creative freedom in order to satisfy your clients, and you need to be okay with this if you want to succeed.

Pye notes that many people would fight him on this point, and I am among them. I believe that, at the beginning of your career, you may need to modify your own style to meet the clients’ expectations. I think that you don’t need to give up your creative freedom entirely. And as your business grows, you will offer a distinct style and people will hire you because they want to have photos that match it. Those are some of my thoughts, but also an experience of many photographers I spoke to.

Still, the first few years of running a business will require you to adapt more to the clients’ requests, and you need to be ready for it.

To conclude, these five things shouldn’t stop you from running a business. You just need to think about them and think whether you’re okay with all of them. And even if you aren’t now, it’s not the end of the world. You may be in a few years’ time, and then you’ll start a business and you’ll rock it!

[5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start a Photography Business | ITTO Episode 4 via SLR Lounge]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “Here are five reasons to NOT start a photography business”

  1. Bokehmon22 Avatar
    Bokehmon22

    I can definitely agree. Doing photography as a business is so much harder than doing it as a hobby.

  2. Ralph Horne Avatar
    Ralph Horne

    People have told me i should ‘start a business”, apparently not realizing that running a business is actually work.

  3. Lars Oeschey Avatar
    Lars Oeschey

    fun thing is, most photographers that are telling you what to do, aren’t photographers but youtubers, building their money from youtube and not photography. Most photographers that make their living from it, you won’t see on instagram, facebook or youtube. (if you would be harsh, you could call it “scam”)