You may be thinking about wanting to start a photography business, but wondering where do you start? What do you need to invest in? Last year, when I decided I wanted to pursue photography as a business, I had a list of questions and I needed help from my photographer friends to figure out what I needed and what was nonessential. Thankfully, I had so many great people so generously answer these questions for me and help me along. Since then, I have had many people ask me the exact same questions. So full disclosure time- I am answering this question- what do you need to invest in to get started.
I learned how to shoot with a Canon, so I took the plunge and bought the Canon Mark iii 5d (I think the Mark iv is already out now). This camera is a beast! My favorite feature is the 61-point focusing system. It gives you crazy control of targeting your subject and getting great definition and clarity. Another awesome feature is the ISO range extends from 100-25600. You can take "natural light" photos in a closet with this kind of range (not really, but basically).
This camera retails for $2800. You can buy it refurbished through Canon, I don't know much about what all they guarantee, but you should check it out!
I have no regrets about purchasing the Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens. As my friend Ashley Stathes described it, this lens is "smoking clear!" As Canon describes it, this lens is the "peerless new standard lens featuring an ultra-large aperture for a narrow depth of field and soft background blur so loved by photographers everywhere." The 50 mm f/1.2 lens is very versatile and really the only lens I use except when shooting weddings.
This lens retails for $1450. It is also available to purchased through a refurbishing program.
Squarespace is website creation for dummies. I have never made a website before, but it has been so easy to set up a quality, professional website using Squarespace. Whenever I do have questions, their tutorial videos are very easy to use. One downside is that Squarespace doesn't have a customer service phone line, but if you email them they will get back to you within a few days..
I have learned so much from what was previously Design by Kadie, that has recently rebranded as Drop Cap Design about designing and managing my squarespace site. Check out her awesome blog, she has a ton of free, very helpful education in terms of Squarespace. For a business account, Squarespace is available at $18 billed annually or $26 month to month.
A DBA stands for "doing business as" and is an official and public registration of a business name. It costs about $20. It is really easy to get and only takes a few minutes at the county clerk's office. Side note.. don't give them your phone number, I was getting ten calls a day until I took my phone number off my account.
Want to present your photos in a breathtaking, beautiful, and professional way? Subscribe with Pixieset, seriously. It is so easy to use and not very expensive. I started out with the basic $8 per month (10gb) and upgraded to the $16 a month for (50gb), because I needed more space. Pixieset is partnered with White House Custom Color, where your client can order print easily that are high quality! There are all sorts of different controls where you can allow your client to download the photos or not, create coupons, run a sale, everything can be tailored to your need.
Jasmine Star wrote a great blog post on why Pixieset is a good option, read here.
Honeybook is basically a personal assistant service. Through Honeybook, you can create brochures to present your prices that are easily adjustable, can bill your clients through a credit card service, communicate about the planning of the session, send pdfs. One of the best things is that this service will remind your clients of payments due, which cuts out the awkward emails reminding clients to pay you. I am honestly not completely sold on the look of the interface, but the way this service has streamlined my processes has been worth every penny. This service is a one time fee of $500.
Having professional branding is so important. The first impression you make will happen in less than a second. You should put a lot of time and thought into the creation of your brand and logo. Your brand should reflect your vision for business and should be seen consistently throughout every output of your business.
Tricia van Asten is freakishly creative and is taking more and more business clients for branding. You can contact her through her website here.