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Starting up a photgraphy business - advice needed

(27 Posts)
BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 19:25:05

Would really appreciate some advice and direction, any tips appreciated. DH and I want to start up a photography business (well, really it's DH - I'm the brains of the operation grin.

He has run his own business in the past, but it folded, mainly because despite being a fab photographer, he isn't a great business man, but that's where I come in.

At the moment we both work part time and look after DD (11months). This isn't something DH can leave his job to do until it proves to be lucrative. He is in a really shit job and this is his way out.

Can anyone offer any tips? I am trying to organise him at the moment and we have a book of brainstorming, e.g. what he has to do to create a portfolio, marketing ideas, his visions and goals, very basic equipment needs.

We don't have any money to put into this at the moment. This is our way of our black hole. He has a perfectly adequate camera, would print to order using an online company. He wants to do mostly naturalistic lifestyle photography so back ground isn't too important, we wouldn't need a studio, we have lots of space in our flat if necessary.

Off course he says "well if I want to do this style I would need a new lens, reflector blah blah blah" but I am making him list his absolute most basic requirements just to get started. Not sure how we could get any extra finance? Anyway, any advice would be gratefully received, websites for listing businesses, creating logos, registering domains, writing business plans, cheap marketing ideas?

Many thanks in advance

llareggub Tue 27-May-08 19:29:20

DH does dabble in product and wedding photography but it isn't his core business. Are you doing the same sort of stuff as Venture?

mylovelymonster Tue 27-May-08 19:35:32

OMG - venture. They charge an absolute fortune for pictures.
Have you done a bit of snooping market research to see what's on offer in your area and how much people charge?
I would think that personal/family portraits would be a popular area? Informal, a bit like venture only not with the having-to-take-out-a-finance-plan-to-afford-the-prints kind of thing?
Are you going digital?

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 19:51:11

Personal/family/baby portraits is the way he wants to go. Nothing like venture though! Very natural. there are a couple on my profile (not very good examples, just the only ones I have to hand).

Weddings he definitely doesn't want to do, miserable and stressful apparently, plus he really would need more equipment and insurance to do that again.

I have set him a task to check out local companies online.

I did a google search of local photographers to see what free listing websites came up. I can use baby groups and NCT sales for advertising.

He is going to use some of my mummy friends and their babies to create a portfolio, in return for a photo for them.

I had an idea of perhaps offering a service to record people's pregnancies, i.e. a package to have a set of pictures once a month while pg. Would that be something people would be interested in, and do you think that a man could do that? I know he does need to get a crb check.

llareggub Tue 27-May-08 19:55:34

Is he interested in product photography at all? DH finds this to be fair less stressful. For example he has just catalogued a product range for a company to use on their website and is able to charge a price per item, plus post production. He'd have to take lots of portraits to make the same sort of profit, and take up much more time.

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 20:10:44

That's something that he would consider doing but he would need to invest in some lights, so something to think of down the line to increase income.

Any website hosting anyone can recommend?

madamez Tue 27-May-08 20:16:17

Who does he see as potential clients? What has he got to offer that other local photographers haven't got? How many other local photographers are there, and what do they do or not do?
Basically now everyone and their dog has a digital camera and a bootleg copy of photoshop, people are less and less keen to pay for photography unless a photographer can demonstrate somethign special or offer something unusual. I know about this because a friend of mine is a photographer...

lackaDAISYcal Tue 27-May-08 20:20:44

Bumoer, no advice really, other than to say I hope things get off the ground for him on this, but I've pointed fury in this direction. She has experience of both the photography and the web side of things; she sent my DH some fantastic information aaaages ago...which he has done nothing with hmm.

llareggub Tue 27-May-08 20:20:49

I agree with Madamez. DH concentrates on services to small to medium sized businesses and photography is one part of it. He basically acts as a print and marketing broker, specialising in short print runs and design work. Part of the range of services offered include photography. We half heartedly offer wedding photography and stationery but it is very labour intensive...all those bridezillas!

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 20:32:53

All good points, especially madamez.

DH says that not everyone understands light and depth of field, which can really make a difference. He is also very good at using photoshop professionally.

Primary market would be families. Having DD has inspired him again.

charliecat Tue 27-May-08 20:35:35

Harmans dd went to a party and they had had a photographer go round , and the wife doing make up on the girls and had some LOVELY pics taken, put on disk bla bla bla...great different party idea i thought.

HellHathNoFury Tue 27-May-08 20:36:57

bumper - www.clikpic.com CLIKPIC host photo sites, they are fab.

JammyQueenOfTheSewers Tue 27-May-08 20:39:44

Bumper, fingers crossed for DH & you. Hope this comes together for you. Not much advice on marketing etc, but the pics you've shown me that he's done are fab! My brother does some freelance web design work btw, I could put you in touch if you'd like?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 27-May-08 20:40:33

Nurseries. We had a guy come and do just this at nursery- his photos were brilliant. He had a plain background and some lights- naturalistic photos. They were great.

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 20:47:15

Thank all for your help. Fury, I will tell him to check out that website - this is really it now, we have argued for 2 days over this job business and something has to give.

Jammy, nice idea, but I think we would just have to muddle through with a website ourselves for now as we literally have no money. I am wondering if there is any chance of us getting a very small business loan to maybe do some of the "would-like-to-have" things, e.g. studio lights, web design, a business computer etc.

I wonder if there is any way we can get small business start up help as a young family on a lowish income.

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 20:48:19

Great idea getback(yurt), that's going in the book!

nippersnappers Tue 27-May-08 20:59:50

Make sure you have financial stabilty of some sorts, as it can take absolutely ages to get of the ground, especially in this economic climate.

I started my photographic business up in January and only now is it starting to get going, and even that is quite slow.

Local marketing and advertising is very important, and you need to have something that will help you stand out from the local competition.

If you decide to take the plunge and want some more specific advice please feel free to email me

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 21:27:09

Thanks nipper, I just might take you up on that offer

At the moment this is going to be something that DH does in his spare time, as we both work part-time at the moment. He certainly won't be leaving his job until it becomes viable.

nippersnappers Tue 27-May-08 21:31:39

That's a smart move Bumper.

Where abouts are you based?

I'd love to help you out advice wise, but obviously don't want sat too much on here in case I'm tipping competitors off wink

Please feel free to email me, my website address is on my profile and my contact details are on that smile

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 21:45:47

South west/west midlands area. Not stepping on your toes hopefully grin

nippersnappers Tue 27-May-08 21:48:43

Nah,

I'm up in Edinburgh grin

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Tue 27-May-08 22:26:28

Just checked put your website, what a fab name and great photos, really like DH's style actually. Will defo email you for advice, thanks for the offer.

jeanjeannie Wed 28-May-08 08:21:55

Hi Bumper...good luck with the venture...eek! I've been thinking about it for years but spent a long time in a previous life with a fashion photographer - and it was too hard!

Kids/family photography is alive and kicking here in the home counties...have you thought of setting up days with the local NCT? It works a treat here - and repeat business is apprently very good. And good constant turnover of new families. Also they don't charge lots for flyers and the database tends to be very good quality.

There are an awful lot of studio portraits around - fed up of seeing the bleached white backgrounds and over photoshoped, hi-colour, happy families rolling around on floors!! I think more and more people want natural - outdoor - fun and black white shots.

The other idea someone mooted here was parties...and again, that's just started getting very popular here and could be a way forward. We have a farm where lots of parties are held and I saw a photographer with the kids the other week and I thought it was a great idea.

Really, really good luck - I'm envy that you've got the balls to do it! Then again i'm due to have dC2 on friday - so got my hands full for a while grin

BumperliciousNeedsToSleep Wed 28-May-08 09:37:02

Thanks JJ. What did you mean by days with the NCT? Parties are a good idea though. Just don't mention the word "venture"!

Good luck with Friday grin

jeanjeannie Wed 28-May-08 10:17:22

Hi Bumper. Many branches of the NCT hold events - which basically have a two-fold purpose...to offer a service and to help raise funds.

Photography days are usually by far and away the most popular. The photographer turns up at location / studio and then NCT members/friends are then booked in for sittings. Probably a good idea to get names of local NCT committee members and approach them direct to see if they are doing it. I think the NCT take a nominal fee for bringing the clients to you on the day - but afterwards....they're all rich pickings for you! grin You arrange the date and times with the committee member and they put out emails and advertise it in their local mag. It gets really booked up quickly round here.

And putting a flyer in the mag (they're about 4x a year) is definately worth it - tends to be a really good database of new parents. All wanting scrumpy piccies!! HTH

And NO -sorry must NEVER mention Venture...!!shock hmm!!!! *slaps self on wrist badd JJ!

Cheers for Friday....just can't wait to get out of these blinkin dungarees!!

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