The photography business is a very competitive industry. Every year, thousands of talented photo-lovers consider turning their passion into a money-making business venture. Especially, in a fiercely competitive marketplace like Tanzania, in which it is very easy for anyone to buy a digital camera and call themselves a professional photographer.
Want to start your own business? If you love taking photos, starting a digital photography business can be a great way to make some extra income on the side. There is so much involved with professional photography business besides just having a good camera and kit.In this step-by-step guide, we will share some basic tips on how to start a digital photography business in Tanzania.
1. Choose a digital photography niche.
Find your photography niche, and conquer it. Photographers face a lot of competition every day, one of the best business decisions you can make is to specialize in a particular type of photography.
There are many types of digital photography niches in which you can choose to specialise but choosing a specialisation, such as wedding photography, event photography, etc. is the best way of distinguishing yourself from other professional photographers.
2. Buy the right photography equipment.
Your equipment is an important, long-term investment in your new photography business. For starters, you’ll need to get the best equipment in the market you can afford.
Because you are in a digital photography business, you will also need a laptop and software to edit your photos. Here is a list of recommended equipment for a start: Digital Camera, Prime Lens, Camera Tripod, Camera Bag, External Flash, Extra Batteries, SD Memory Cards, and Cleaning kits.
3. Learn how to shoot in manual mode.
It is of utmost importance that you understand light by shooting in manual mode. This may seem very intimidating at first, but once you really grasp the way light is captured in your camera, you are ready to take full creative control over each frame.
It also helps to deal with extremely tricky light situations which the auto mode cannot handle. Manual mode forces the photographer to understand what is going on in the camera.
4. Craft a stunning photography portfolio.
A professional photography portfolio is something that every photographer should invest in. It’s a great way to showcase your work and create interest in your art or business. A beautiful and complete photography portfolio is your #1 asset as a photographer of the 21st century.
Today, you can create an online photography website that can be accessed by clients on their tablets, smartphone or laptop instead of using a photo book. Watch this YouTube video on how to set up your first photography portfolio.
5. Create a business strategy plan.
Creating a business plan is as simple as searching “Business plan for photography business” on Google. Download a business plan templates that work for you and fill it up with your own business information.
It is very important to have a workable plan for how you are going to be successful. This plan with change over time as you become more experienced and learn more about what is possible and what isn’t.
6. Register your business with CAC.
In Tanzania, every business is a legal entity that needs to be registered as a Business Name (BN) or a Private Limited Company (LTD). The government institution responsible for the registration of new businesses in Tanzania is the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Even if you are running a business from your home, you still have to register the business. Having your business registered also afford you the ability to do certain things such as opening a bank account for your business, filing tax returns and much more.
7. Develop a digital marketing plan.
As well as being an expert photographer you’ll need to learn all about digital marketing and social media management to promote your services. If you find it hard to do it all yourself, then investing in a monthly contract with a digital marketing agency will definitely be worth it.
The key to success in a photography business is marketing. Use your personal and professional networks to spread the word about your business. Attend wedding parties and events geared toward your market.
8. Build and grow your client relationships.
The one aspect you can’t underestimate is building lasting client relationships. Finding the first few clients to hire and pay you for photography assignments is always a challenge.
As you get more and more clients contacting your photography business, there’ll be a considerable amount to keep track off. More than you can do in your head implement a system to keep all your clients sorted out.
Getting started is perhaps the most complicated part of owning your own digital photography business. First, you must decide what your niche is going to be. Will you have a studio or will you freelance? Will you market yourself to the public, or focus on selling to publications or stock companies? Will you specialize in people, landscape or objects?
You can’t relax even after your business is up and running; building and maintaining relationships with clients and corporate purchasers is key to being a successful photographer. Networking with other photographers is a great way to gain client referrals, learn trade secrets, or even find a mentor to guide you in your early years.