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Photography career change

(2 Posts)
katelily2017 Tue 07-Jul-20 09:44:44


I've been made redundant due to covid after 18 months of maternity leave with DD2. The thought of going back to the corporate world is honestly destroying my soul.

I'd really like to set up a photography business, I've not done any professional photography qualifications since college 14 years ago but I'm constantly taking photos and it's a huge passion of mine.

Can anyone give me any tips where to start, courses, what camera equipment I'd need? Anyone whose set up there own photography business? Any advice would be amazing.

Many thanks

OP’s posts: |
akkakk Tue 07-Jul-20 10:15:16

My first advice would be don't grin
It is a sector where it is very hard to run a business, and make money - you need to factor in everything from the cost of continually updating the kit (at £££ for bodies and lenses) to insurance etc. - the recent lockdown has not helped photographers.

There are basically three types of photography business / 'professional' photographers...

The successful pro - very few of these around, but they do well, make money, run studios, have staff, etc. - or they are experienced wildlife / sport photographers with full order books

The unsuccessful pro - the vast majority -good competent photographers with aging kit they can't afford to upgrade, who have a small shop on a run down high street where they make more money selling frames than taking photos... they are constantly being financially pressured by the next group down because they have overheads, but can't afford to charge for what it actually costs to run their business - it will cost them £2k to shoot a wedding, but they can't compete at that price - they are looking to get out of the industry...

The pretend pro - the (often female) person who buys a camera when their kids are born, are bored when sprog toddles off to nursery or school, their friends all admire their photos, so they are persuaded into setting up a business - they find that the most fun bit is the logo and choosing packaging - they charge a low fee for a family shoot or wedding e.g. £99 -> £500 and supply the photos on a DVD or USB stick in a bed of nice tissue paper in their 'corporate' colours, in a wooden box and tied up in ribbon... their pricing doesn't allow for overheads or refreshing kit, however it doesn't really matter as their spouse brings in the main income!

you need to choose which you will be - the reality of good quality 'pro-sumer' cameras at the £500 - £1,000 price bracket has meant an influx of people playing at business - some of whom are good photographers, but few of whom are good at business - however they undercut the market and force out anyone who has to factor in the real cost of kit.

as an illustration, when I was doing more chargeable photography (fortunately never needed to do it as a full time career as I have another business as well) - I had a minimum of two bodies (D3 / D4 then) at £5k - £6k each, then a string of lenses, the cheapest of which was about £1,600, then tripods / flashes / studio lighting / etc. - an easy £20,000+ in kit and it needed to be replaced every few years - that is a very different prospect from someone with a Nikon D7500 at £1,200 or D3500 (with kit lens at under £400) - yes, you can get good shots with such cameras, but there are all sorts of issues in not having robust and professional kit...

so, if it is your passion, do it - but do research the options on photography forums, and do go into it with your eyes open - it is no longer a viable business sector other than for the very few...

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