If you want to turn your love for photography into a business, there’s a lot to take into consideration. To make things easier for you, Peter McKinnon has created a great video about the things he wishes he’d known sooner. If you’re about to turn pro, this will spare you some mistakes many photographers make at the beginning of their career.
1. Not having a contract
Contracts are no fun, but they’re important and they protect you and your business. No matter who you’re shooting for, even your friends and family: always make a contract! Make sure to line the expectation clearly because they’re different from one person to the other.
If you’re not sure where to start, download a sample template. Then add your own points to the contract. It’s good to have a lawyer to look at it, but it can also be your friend, a family member or anyone else you trust, for a start.
2. Not charging enough
Peter is an advocate of working for free at the beginning of your career because it can open more doors for you. But, when you start charging, you should think about how much your time is worth. And not just the time: you’re bringing your gear, spending your gas to get there and editing with software you paid for. Beginners tend to get overexcited just to get a paid gig. And if this happens, still make sure to think realistically about how much you should charge for your work.
3. Not making checklists
Everyone who knows me knows I’m a great fan of checklists. They help you organize and unload your mind. But they can also protect you, just like the contract.
Let’s say you’re shooting a wedding. Peter recommends getting a checklist from a client of everything they want to be done. I’d add that you can also include this in the contract. This way, if the client forgets to provide you with something on this list, it’s not your fault if you didn’t shoot it.
I’d also add that you should make a checklist of the gear you should bring so you don’t leave anything out. Even when you have a routine when packing gear, it can happen that you get distracted and forget something important. So, have a checklist in your phone and check it before you head to the shoot.
4. Not meeting in person
You are as much of a “product” as the photos or videos you make. In the world where we mainly communicate online, you need to sell yourself and show your clients the personality you have. This is important for building rapport and building your brand. Meeting in person will make the client trust you for their big day or their big project. So, don’t just type or talk on the phone. Go grab a coffee with them and talk in person.
5. Not putting yourself out there
You’ve made a smashing portfolio, a Facebook page, and some visit cards. Sitting and waiting for the people to call you and hire you just won’t work, no matter how good you are. You have to put yourself out there. The worst thing that can happen is that someone will say they don’t need you to shoot photos for them. And from there, you have two options: trying to convince them, or moving on to the next person. And none of this is nearly as scary as it may sound. Trust me. : )
[HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH PHOTOGRAPHY – Things I wish I knew | Peter McKinnon]