Starting a Photography Business and Why Most Fail

Dear fellow photographer! Have you ever dreamed about starting your own photography business?

I am going to confess today why most photography businesses fail. In fact, according to author Dane Sanders in his book “Fast Track Photographer,” 85% of new photography businesses fail in the first two years! Don’t get discouraged, though! You enjoy photography, or you would not be here reading this article. You also clearly want to get paid for your hard work, so I will let you in on the main reasons photography businesses fail and how you can avoid the same mistakes when starting yours. Here’s how to go about starting a photography business.

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What Do You Do With a Lens You Don’t Plan on Using? Rent it Out!

Roger Cicala started LensRentals in a spare bedroom and after buying an expensive lens that he didn’t plan to use often.

Today, LensRentals is officially announcing that they’ve shipped their 1 millionth order. The company was started years ago by Roger Cicala and has grown since then. Roger credits their growth to the domain name in addition to his blogging efforts that have been part of their marketing. To celebrate, they’re thanking customers by giving away a drone, camera and lots of other items starting today on March 2nd. Since its founding in 2006 Lensrentals, headquartered in Cordova, has grown to 160 employees in three locations, and still serving the 48 contiguous states. As a fellow entrepreneur, I asked Roger a few questions about what it’s like to start a business and how he grew it.

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Why Photographers Should Go Shooting with Each Other on Photowalks

If you’re going on a photo walk, then there is a strong chance you’re doing it for fun or trying to clear your mind.

Sometimes I think photographers (especially professionals) do too much to harm one another in fears of competition instead of working to boost one another. But after years of photo walking, I can’t begin to tell you how much enlightenment I’ve gained from talking to others and spread in kind. Of course, it requires breaks and some time to pass between walks, or at least a variety of people to walk with, but we can truly help one another. With all of this should be candidness and transparency with one another. Above all, I think what is required is good intentions with one another.

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Olympus Shuts Down the Circus and Ends the Speculation

The constant merry-go-round of ifs, buts, and maybes put Olympus in poor light, but the nonsense has finally stopped.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard all of the speculation surrounding Olympus and its camera division. Depending on who or what you believed, Olympus was either about to flourish or sink without a trace. Soon, a circus descended on the Olympus HQ, and there was widespread confusion about the future of the company. It seemed as though not even top officials knew what was going on, but now we know that Olympus is here to stay thanks to an official statement finally released. After the break, we will take a look at the circus that unfolded over the week, and just what other camera companies can learn from this debacle. Continue reading…

9 Things a Photographer Should Purchase Besides Gear

Photographers: You’d be shocked at what the $2,000 for a lens can do to help improve you instead.

GAS: lots of photographers have it and many can understand the need and benefit of getting a brand new lens that can render all the bokeh. But after a while, you’re pretty well saturated and set in the gear you’ve got. Eventually, you realize that you’re the one who takes the pictures and not necessarily your camera. And you’ll end up at a point where you want something, but don’t need it. That’s fine–satiate your wants as much as is reasonable. But when you want things, you’ll start to realize how much of your money can be invested into things that are bound to make you more money: that’s more about doing something for yourself as you grow as a photographer. Here are just a few.

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Review: Smartframe (A More Secure Way to Share Your Images)

Smartframe

The goal of Smartframe is to make your digital images more secure on the Web, but does it work?

Digital images have really revolutionized how we share our work. Today we are able to snap a picture, edit it, and post it online within just a few short minutes. Before you know it your work is in front of millions of eyes around the globe. As amazing as this is, it doesn’t come without its problems and the biggest problem is image theft. The moment your image is online it can take just seconds for someone to right click and save your pictures to their computer. They can also screenshot the image if you have right click disabled on your blog or website. This has been a problem for as long as I can remember. Enter Smartframe. Continue reading…

Surprise! Photographer Listed Among the Worst Jobs in the U.S.

Photographers are among the 25 worst careers in the country due to factors like low pay, high levels of stress, low job security, and public scrutiny. 

If you’ve been enjoying your career as a high-earning photographer, reports are suggesting that you could be an exception to the rule. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that most people who get into the business while leaving their day job know nothing about the actual business side of things. I mean, God forbid you need to pay a photographer so that they can eat, pay their bills, and have a comfortable life. With the proliferation of so many images on the web these days, people often forget that they need a professional photographer in order to achieve the best results and have the most pleasant experience. Along with that comes a host of things–and perhaps that’s part of what makes being a photographer one of the worst jobs in the US.

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Is Professional Photography Dead, or is The Profession Alive And Kicking?

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Some believe Professional photography is under siege; they don’t believe it can survive the onslaught and rise to new heights, but is that really the case?

10 years ago or so, if someone had said professional photography will die due to ultra affordable cameras and powerful smartphone cameras, professional photographers would have roared out with laughter so loud it would have been heard in camera shops and studios around the globe. But here we are in 2019 where everyone with an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy something-or-other can take really great quality pictures. Couple this with the fact that cheap, yet powerful DSLR and Mirrorless camera kits sold at big box retailers all seem to come with a Facebook page entitled {insert name here} photography, and you can begin to see why some think the role of the professional photographer may be against the ropes. Join us after the break as we explore this a little further. Continue reading…

I’m a Professional Photographer and I Never Feel Like I Need a Holiday

Who needs a holiday when you have one of the best jobs in the world?

Whatever type and style of photography that you do, you can’t deny that working as a photographer is an unbelievable experience with its ups and downs like every other job but, unlike any other job, most of us choose to become a photographer and be it for the lifestyle of a fashion photographer, the experiences of a photojournalist, or the flavours of a food photographer, we chose to get into our niche because we love what we do. Who would ever want to have a break from that?

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Reports State That Kodak Alaris is Looking to Sell Assets

Kodak Alaris are apparently looking to sell of their paper, film, and photo chemical assets; and it’s sort of complicated.

Sources say that the owners of Kodak Alaris may be looking to sell some or all of their film, paper and photo chemical assets in an attempt to offset some $2.7 billion worth of debt. This news comes as quite a shock seeing as late last year they successfully launched 35mm Ektachrome film, and just the other day the company announced that Ektachrome would be coming to both Medium Format and Large Format cameras.  Continue reading…

Canon’s Fear of Smartphones Should be a Wake up Call to the Industry

Unless manufacturers start scrambling to attract new customers the camera market will decline rapidly.

Over the last 10 years or so the world of photography has changed immensely. The rise of smartphones and the cameras that they house have had a massive impact on the camera market. As time has gone on, and as smartphone cameras have improved, more and more people are opting to just use the camera in their pockets rather than a dedicated camera. It’s this behavior that has Canon and others running scared, and it’s why Canon believes that the camera market could plunge 50% in just two years.  Continue reading…

The 5 Best Tools You’re Not Using to Grow Your Photography Business

Want more clients? Our friends at HoneyBook have rounded up the best tools to help you find more leads—and turn them into bookings.

This is a special guest post from our friends at HoneyBook. We’re big fans of their booking and invoicing software made for creative small business owners like you. Here, they share the best tools to grow your photography business.

While there’s no magic bullet for instantly growing your photography business, there are tools that can help. The top ones work best when used together, and they can be broken down into two categories: tools that help with lead gen (or getting leads/inquiries) and tools that help with lead management (or turning inquiries into bookings). Throw in a sprinkle of strategy and our community’s insider tips to optimize each tool and—voila—you’ll be getting more business in no time.

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Fujifilm: “Giftable” Print Product Sales are Up 40% Year After Year

Fujifilm recently took to New York’s Grand Central to display a number of photos in their FUJIFILM Print Life Photo Exhibition.

Fujifilm is arguably in one of the best positions to push the idea of the printed photograph onto a modern audiences, perhaps even more so than Canon. Go to almost any lab or printing service in America and they’re most likely using Fujifilm’s color paper. Recently, Fujifilm raffled off a few Instax cameras and told participants that their images would be displayed in their new Print Life Photo Exhibit. In additional return for submitting images, Fujifilm let participants know that they’ll be sending them an 8×8 print of their photo after uploading their images. The result: over 13,000 entries–which may not sound like a lot but considering the scope of the prizes and what most folks in marketing will tell you, was significant.

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Going into Monk Mode: Supercharging Yourself as a Photographer

Productivity can be really tricky for photographers, but here’s how to make it easy

I’m sure that if you were to talk to some of the masters of photography they’d tell you about a zen feeling or what we like to call a Monk Mode. This Monk Mode is what we’d like to associate with an ultimate sense of clarity–unparalleled focus that allows you to go about shooting and creating totally undistracted and with full intent. You go on a mission in the same way that a Monk’s mission is often to seek enlightenment by shedding belongings and being solitary. For photographers, we can surely harness this sort of energy for our own uses.

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Every Photographer Needs to Say No to Some Photo Gigs

One of the toughest things that every photographer has to learn is how to say no–but once they do, they eventually find out just how incredibly empowering it is. You, yes you reading this piece, are most likely a person that defines yourself as a photographer. If you aren’t then the chances are that someone or various people in your circles define you as one. It’s a label, and for that reason you’re probably looked at as the “friend with a camera”–which is a common term that agents for actors and actresses use. Of course, this also means that you’re in some way or another the old reliable person to take a picture. 

And let’s be honest, you’ve probably gotten the inquiries from your friends and family who generally don’t understand exactly what you do, your interests, or your specialties. If you’re still starting out, you probably don’t even know your own interests.

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10 Best Business Resolutions For Photographers

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This is a syndicated blog post from Jenna Martin. It and the images here are being used with permission.

Alright 2016, let’s chat for a sec…

Last year I wrote about my 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers and I’m happy to say I followed most of them. I even printed my photos, which means there are photos of my husband and new daughter in my house right now as I write this. Fellow photographers I know you know what a big deal this is, so just allow me a moment to bask in the glory of all your collective high fives.

*basking…basking…basking…a few more…is that everyone?*

Ah yes, thank you. That felt good.

But as great as a hypothetical high five feels, it isn’t going to pay the bills. The reality is, no matter how amazing your photos are, if your business is struggling you’re back to the grind of the real world. Back to bartending, back to living with your parents, back to justifying your “hobby” as a legitimate career choice.

And then finally, back to nursing school.

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Boudoir Photographer Jen Rozenbaum on Running a Business

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All images by Jen Rozenbaum. Used with permission.

Photographer Jen Rozenbaum didn’t have a plan when she started her photography business, and though she admits that this isn’t the smartest of ideas, it just worked for her. We’ve interviewed Jen before about her photography, a bit about business and her marketing term #shamelesslyfeminine. But we were eager to talk to her again about business and what it takes to run a boudoir photography business, maintain a work/life balance and what’s ahead for her.

Next year, Jen wants to spend time helping other women in the photo business to build their own businesses. And now, it’s not only about Facebook marketing, or blogging–but those sure do take up a lot of time.

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Laibel & Chana Schwartz on Photographing Jewish Weddings

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All images by Laibel and Chana Schwartz. Used with permission.

Laibel & Chana Schwartz have an incredible story on how they got into photography together. Laibel turned down archeological research to instead be a photographer while Chana worked on interior design. Somehow or another, he convinced her to shoot a wedding with him, and they were instantly hooked.

Today, they’re a special team that works on capturing the most precious moments of Jewish weddings. “The more we get to know our couples, the more reassured we feel that we’re in the right business.” they tell us in an email.

Because of the way that Jewish weddings work, they don’t function as a first shooter/second shooter team but instead with both acting as first shooters. The dynamic is well worth reading about.

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Benjamin Lee on the Business of Lifestyle Photography

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All images by Benjamin Lee. Used with permission.

Lifestyle photography is a relatively new genre, and much of it has to do with a specific look and how you market that look. Photographer Benjamin Lee has been a full time professional Lifestyle shooter for around one year now, but he tells us that most of his job doesn’t involve shooting.

He says, “…I spend very little time actually shooting. If I had to give it a figure, it would probably only be 10-15% of the process which would sound crazy to non-photographers.”

We talked to Ben about the business of Lifestyle photography and his own creative vision.

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A Candid Letter to Photography Students Graduating College

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Dear future photographer,

You put in the work, and you’ve learned how to hone your craft. Congratulations! You’re about to embark on an incredibly scary journey into the unknown where you will need to make decisions, figure yourself out, navigate the art world, and eventually become a responsible adult on top of this.

In 2009, I graduated college at the height of this county’s second major economic recession. Though the economy today isn’t as bad, you’re about to face an even bigger challenge–a photo industry that is evolving more rapidly than it has ever done before.

You, young photographer, have more possible options and paths to navigate than any photographer has ever had before right after coming out of school. There are so many genres, social media networks, and you’re also facing a world where photo theft is a much more real thing on top of being in a world where more and more folks question whether or not they should actually pay for photos.

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