What Professional Photographers Need to Know
Photography is one of the most rewarding professions you can go into. You get to capture moments in time and make people happy. Although fun and meaningful, working as a professional photographer takes a lot of technical skills and talent, as well as insider knowledge. You might be a bit intimidated at first. But with the right tools and techniques, your photography business will be on the way to success.
Know Your Camera
Believe it or not, there are freelance photographers out there who don’t know how to fully operate their machinery. Crazy, right? I mean, you bought this beautiful, expensive piece of equipment—so you might as well learn how to use it.
Sure, you can start off using Aperture Priority and let the camera do most of the work for you, but where’s the nuance in that? It pays off to know the technical stuff. Knowing the essential features of your camera and lens shows in your photographs. You need to be able to make decisions with your ISO that fit your situation. Being able to operate white balance, exposure, focusing, and stabilization modes will help so much in the long run.
Charge for Your Services
Alright, so you’ve learned your camera and lens. Now it’s time to book shoots. One of the biggest mistakes photographers make is not charging for their services. You’re a professional, for crying out loud! You are literally taking photographs for another person. Charge them. That way, you’ll be pushed to do your best work (which I know you’d do anyway) and people will know that you’re good enough to get paid.
Charging people can be complicated. Check out a beginner’s guide to pricing for photographers to figure out how much to charge your customers.
Get a Signed Contract
As a photographer, you’re probably a creative type, so it’s easy to forget about the legal side of things. Especially if you’re working with friends and family, many photographers think they don’t need a contract for customers. But that’s not true.
People never intend to do your photography business harm. Sometimes, though, they just don’t know how you like editing photos, or that you’re uncomfortable with having your pictures posted on other sites, etc. That’s why it’s imperative you write up a contract for your clients and get them to sign it. This will help so much down the line. Otherwise, you’re looking at some big misunderstandings and confrontations with clients.
Invest in Business Insurance
Even if you’re just starting out with your photography career, you should be looking at business insurance for photographers. You never know when accidents might happen. You might be at a shoot and your camera falls off its stand; there’s an equipment malfunction; or a major traffic delay with prevents you from reaching the event.
Having general liability insurance will cover any damages if your photography business is found liable for injury on your premises. This is huge if you’re shooting at your own studio and there’s an accident where someone gets hurt. Shop around online for different types of coverage to see what fits for your needs.
Average Turn Around for Projects
Besides logistics, you probably want to know how long turn-around is on projects. First off, it’s totally normal to be scheduling other shoots before you finish editing another client’s photos. You might be wondering what the length of time that you take to edit/post process and deliver proofs of the photos.
Typically, your client should allow you at least two weeks to deliver their photos to them. This can always change depending on when they need them or how much they’re willing to pay for a shorter turn-around time.
You’re on your way to running a successful photography business. Just make sure you learn the intricacies of your equipment, don’t forget about logistics and insurance, and keep in mind that you should be getting paid. Photography is an art, after all.