How To Start a Photography Business from Home

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If photography is your passion and you want to turn your interest into a full-time business or a side hustle to earn extra money or make a full time living at it, then you could consider starting your own photography business from home. Not only are the start-up costs of a home-based photography business low, this type of business offers great convenience and is also a source of steady revenue, with super low overhead and operational costs. Not to mention, running a photography business from home, also allows you plenty of freedom to work in various areas and try out new ones too.

When you are starting your home-based photography business, the beautiful and vibrant photographs you normally take as a hobby, can only take you so far. If you want a successful career in photography, then you must also take it seriously from here on out, and run things like a real business. The key to a successful home-based photography business is exceptional photography skills and proof of all your good work. No one cares whether you have an office or not, since you will almost always be shooting at the clients location. Everyone is afraid of running a business out of their home, or that it’s not “professional” enough to make six figures. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, all you have to do is make sure you setup a professional business image, which we’ll cover int he next section. Apart from this, you must have a strong business plan and understand doing business.


All That Matters to Get Hired as a Photographer Is Proof of Your Good Work

“The proof is in the pudding” and the first step to being hired as a photographer is when people see your portfolio to decide whether or not to use you or someone else. The most important aspect of setting up your home-based photography business is to showcase your work by building your online portfolio. And, all you need to get your photography business up and running apart from a stunning online portfolio, is a DIY website that you can put together in a jiffy, and a business phone number to receive and make all your client calls. Starting a photography business is that simple!

Sure, it’s a good idea to get an registered entity, preferably an LLC, but you can do your first several gigs without any of that. I recommend giving it a shot first, before spending a bunch of time, money, and frustration figuring out how to set up any entities… and here’s why:  most photography businesses lend themselves to be naming after the person, so receiving payment for services rendered in your personal name, is almost to be expected. No one will even notice, and you can make better decisions as far as which entity to choose after you’re already doing regular gigs.


How To Setup Your Photography Business With A Professional Image (so you can get hired)

There are really only two things you need to have a professional image for your photography business and get hired: 1) a website for your online portfolio, and 2) a business phone number.

Sure, you could use something like Google Drive to host your online portfolio for free, but it’s a bit tacky when someone is going to pay you a thousand bucks for a quick wedding shoot don’t you think? I mean for the price of a DIY website these days that you can set up in a couple of hours, it goes a long way in legitimizing your services (and making them MUCH easier to find with www.yourphotgraphybusiness.com).

And I recommend always getting a business phone number to use for any business… for two main reasons. First, you don’t want to be getting business sales calls from different time zones at odd hours of the night. And second, many people have relocated, and having a number and personal caller id from outside the city where you’re going to offer your services, can hurt sales. People want to deal with local people, and it’s a good idea to have a separate professional business voicemail, instead of using your personal cell. (but you can get a cheap number forwarding service, with separate business voicemail that’s super professional, for cheap)


Get Your Photography Business Phone Number Here for Cheap

An important thing that you need as a first step when you’re setting up your home-based photography business is a business phone system, which will give you the freedom to make calls and receive them on any phone. A virtual phone is the best solution that will offer you the freedom of making and receiving client calls. With a virtual phone service, you can get a single business phone number, the calls to which, you can route to any phone of your choice.

Having a virtual phone system gives you immense freedom to configure your greetings, program the telephone menus as you desire, faxing, call forwarding and many more features without investing in any extra equipment. And, the best part is that today, you have several virtual phone service providers who can provide really cheap phone services, with plans even as low as $10 per month.

Let us look at some of the best cheap virtual phone service providers that you can consider for your home-based photography business.

RingCentral

Started in 1999, the California-based RingCentral is among the top players in the VoIP space and has become a leading and comprehensive cloud communications platform. RingCentral provides solutions to meet all your business requirements, whether you are an established business with an existing phone system or you are a new business that is just starting up. RingCentral offers several features and you can get as many phone lines, phone numbers and extensions as you require.

RingCentral provides you with a phone system manager that is scalable, an inbuilt softphone and an answering rule creator. The RingCentral package comes with a desktop program and an app for your smartphone. RingCentral is feature-packed service and offers unlimited domestic calls, faxing and business texting. It is a comprehensive platform that allows messaging and collaboration, it allows you to integrate third-party solutions and excellent customer service. And, the best part is that all this is available to you at very affordable prices.

RingCentral Pricing

RingCentral offers 4 pricing plans:

  • Essentials Plan costs $19.99 per month per user
  • Standard Plan costs $24.99 per month per user
  • Premium Plan costs $34.99 per month per user
  • Ultimate Plan costs $49.99 per month per user

The plans give you features such as toll-free minutes that vary according to the plan, video conferencing facility, auto call recording, fax, voicemail-to-text, etc. You can get a free trial of 7 days for all the plans before you sign up and if you are not satisfied, RingCentral offers you a 30-day money back guarantee. You can get additional numbers at a cost of $4.99 per month and an additional international number for $5.99 per month/user.

Grasshopper

Popularized as a VoIP service that has been “built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs”, the objective of Grasshopper is to provide a simple but perfect virtual telephone system. Grasshopper offers all the features that a virtual phone system must have without posing any limits. The account management of Grasshopper is extremely simple and straightforward. It offers a simple desktop softphone and all the features and services can be customized according to your requirements, i.e. individual greeting messages, routing calls to voicemails, business text messaging, inbound faxing and call forwarding.

The Android and iOS app separate all your personal and business calls and messages. Grasshopper offers all these features and more at very reasonable cost. Grasshopper does not require any equipment or wiring, which makes the installation of the phone system very simple and the system is also very easy to use, making Grasshopper a very appealing option for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Overall, it is a good virtual phone service with good features and customer service.

Grasshopper Pricing

Solo Package
  • $24 per month
  • Suitable for entrepreneurs
  • 1 number with 3 extensions
Partner Package
  • $49 per month
  • Suitable for growing businesses having 1-3 employees
  • 3 numbers with 6 extensions
Small Business Package
  • $89 per month
  • Texting and voicemail transcription included at $60/month
  • 5 numbers with unlimited extensions

All the pricing packages of Grasshopper include unlimited minutes. There is no need to sign any long-term contracts and you have a 30-day money back guarantee.

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eVoice

Owned by j2 Global, that also owns KeepITSafe, Speedtest.net and eFax, eVoice was started in the year 2000 in Los Angeles and is quite popular in the US and Canada. Targeted towards small and proprietary businesses, the VoIP service provider offers four affordable and user-friendly packages.

As an eVoice subscriber you get toll-free, local or ported numbers free of cost and also several features such as call holding, forwarding, blocking, transferring and conference calling. You also get auto attendants, voicemail options, answering rules and several other features that are customizable, that you can manage via your mobile app or computer. You also have the option of buying additional features such as live receptionists, two-way faxing and call recording which gives your business a complete professional feel.

eVoice Pricing

Plan 1
  • $12.99 per month
  • 300 minutes/month
  • 6 numbers and 2 extensions
Plan 2
  • $29.99 per month
  • 1,000 minutes/month
  • 15 numbers and 5 extensions
Plan 3
  • $49.99 per month
  • 3,000 minutes/month
  • 30 numbers and 10 extensions
Plan 4
  • $79.99 per month
  • 4,000 minutes/month
  • 45 numbers and 15 extensions

You also get additional minutes at 3.9 cents/minute. eVoice has no contracts and since there is no hardware, the setting up of the phone system takes only a few minutes. eVoice offers a 30-day free trial and you can cancel anytime.

How to Setup Your Photography Business Website in Less Than a Day

The best way to showcase your work and market your photography business is by setting up a website and today, setting up a website is extremely easy. With the range of tools available at your disposal, you can set up a stunning website to display your work in less than a day.

WordPress is the best CMS (content management system) platform to use to set up your photography website and once you set it up, you can get your business rolling. Now, you can have an attractive new website for your photography business by just following a few simple steps.

Choosing a Domain Name and Web Host

The first step is that you must buy a domain name. Select a name that is creative and you think represents your business the best. There are many websites that let you check if the domain name is available for purchase and allows you to register your domain such as GoDaddy, Whois, Register.com, etc.

Once you have decided on the name of your website and have registered it, you will be required to buy server space to host your website. This can be quite overwhelming with the number of choices available today. However, it is a good idea to look for a web host that is WordPress focused and look for one that has all the functionalities you would require for your business.

You can consider either Bluehost or Siteground as a hosting provider, both recommended by WordPress. Here is a brief comparison between the two:

Bluehost vs Siteground

  • Bluehost has been around since 1996 and is among the top 20 hosting companies. It has hosted over 2 million websites, while Siteground is the “new kid on the block” and was started in 2004 with around half a million website hostings under their belt. However, despite being a late entrant, Siteground have their server infrastructure in 4 countries.
  • Both Bluehost, as well as Siteground, make use of cPanel, which is extremely intuitive and user friendly. However, Bluehost’s cPanel is loaded with offers and advertising, while Siteground has a cleaner cPanel.
  • Bluehost and Siteground offer plenty of features for both complete web-hosting solutions as well as WordPress hosting and the pricing offered by both companies is quite competitive.
  • In terms of the customer support, both the companies offer 24×7 support; however, Siteground is much better in terms of reliability and offering excellent customer support compared to Bluehost.
  • If you want to transfer your site to another host, then Siteground allows you to do it free of cost, while Bluehost charges a fee of $149 for the transfer.

Siteground Pricing

Startup
  • $3.95/month
  • 10,000 visits/month
  • 10 GB space
  • One website

 

GrowBig
  • $5.95/month
  • 25,000 visits/month
  • 20 GB space
  • Unlimited websites
GoGeek
  • 11.95/month
  • 100,000 visits/month
  • 30 GB space
  • Unlimited websites

Apart from this, the 3 plans offer a whole load of additional features.

Bluehost Pricing

Basic
  • $2.95 per month
  • One website
  • Website Space: 50 GB
  • Email Storage: 100 MB/ account
  • Email Accounts: 5
  • Parked Domains: 5
  • Sub-Domains: 25
Plus
  • $5.95 per month
  • Websites: Unlimited
  • Website Space: Unmetered
  • Email Storage: Unlimited
  • Email Accounts: Unlimited
  • Parked Domains: Unlimited
  • Sub-Domains: Unlimited
Prime
  • $5.95 per month
  • Websites: Unlimited
  • Website Space: Unmetered
  • Email Storage: Unlimited
  • Email Accounts: Unlimited
  • Parked Domains: Unlimited
  • Sub-Domains: Unlimited

All the plans offer several other features and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Once you have made a decision as to which web host you want to go with for server space for your photography website, you must install the platform of your choice.

Installing WordPress

The next step in your website set-up process is installing WordPress. Most web hosts accommodate the requirements for the installation of WordPress and some hosts also provide an installer which allows you to install WordPress from your administrator panel directly or you can install it manually.

Now that you have the domain name for your photography website, have the hosting organized and have installed WordPress, you are now all set to move to the designing of your photography website.

Choosing the Right Theme

Choosing a theme is a very important aspect of the success of your website, which is not only important for the design and style of your website but is also responsible for its functionality.

Your WordPress website mainly depends on 2 factors, theme and plugin. The theme that you choose essentially determines the “look and feel” of your website and being a photography website, you should choose an attractive theme that will highlight and showcase your work.

Some of the things that you should keep in mind while choosing your theme are:

  • Choose the color of the theme and font to match your branding.
  • Select a layout that is flexible, which allows you to create a website that is unique and allows you to change it as you desire. Also, ensure that the layout is compatible with the plugins you plan to add later.
  • Your theme should be functional and be relevant to your niche i.e. photography and this will help you to set up your website very smoothly.
  • There are many resources on the internet that will allow you to find the right theme for your photography website. You can choose from the thousands of themes available for free from the Theme Directory of WordPress.org or if you want a truly unique theme, you can buy a premium theme from ThemeForest.

 

ThemeForest

If you’re looking to buy a truly unique WordPress theme for your photography website, then you could consider ThemeForest, which is one of the best places to purchase a wide variety of WordPress themes. ThemeForest was launched in 2008 and today is among the most popular WordPress theme marketplaces. On ThemeForest, you will be spoilt for choice and can choose from over 10,000 themes in a price range between $13 and $199.

Once you have chosen your theme, the process of installing the theme is extremely simple and there are also many online tutorials that can help you in case you stuck at any point.

Choosing the Right Gallery Plugin

Plugins usually have several applications that may be essential to the functioning of your WordPress website. The plugins you install depends really on the functionality you require from your website and you can find free plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

For a stunning photography website, you would require a dedicated image gallery plugin which will allow you to showcase your photography on your website directly. You can also customize the look and feel of the website via the dedicated panel available on your WordPress dashboard and can create a fantastic and eye-catching online image gallery.

Show Off Your Work

Creating an online portfolio of your photography work is extremely important to show off your work and attract clients. And, the important thing is organizing your work in such a way that is appealing and attractive. Here are some tips that can help to prominently display your work so that your clients know how good your work is:

  • You must first determine your target demographic and your photography portfolio should reflect this. For example, if you plan to attract clients for fashion photography then your portfolio should consist of work to reflect that.
  • Plan and sketch the layout of your portfolio. You should visualize how you want your web page layout to look including the colors, typography, icons, navigation, etc.
  • It is a good idea to add support for any dynamic content on your site while designing the layout. Add this to your layout sketch to see how your portfolio will look and how many images you can add without your layout looking too cluttered.
  • Try and limit the number of photographs on each page; otherwise, it will look too crowded.
  • Separate your photographs by pages or categories.
  • You could consider pagination if you have more than 12 photos in a page.
  • Try and keep the contrast high, as a high contrast can help to enhance your photographs and make them appear more vibrant and stunning. View your photographs against a black and then a white background and compare which option looks better.
  • Use high-resolution images on the site, even if it takes a bit longer to load, as high-quality professional-looking images speak for themselves.
  • Use a large viewing area, with a display resolution of around 800×600 for your portfolio so that it can be viewed in any size, on any screen including your smartphone or smart devices. You can make use of responsive web design which allows your website to adjust the size according to the screen size of the device.
  • As a photographer, you may have hundreds of images which you may want to display in your portfolio; however, it is a good idea to limit your choice to fewer but impactful image. Having too many images can slow down the loading and also confuse the viewer with too many options. Limiting the photograph selection allows the customers to only the best of your photos and also makes your portfolio more structured and defined.
  • It is a good idea to order your photographs strategically in your portfolio with the strongest images either at the beginning or the end.
  • Always protect your hard work by using foolproof methods like embedding watermarks into the images to prevent them from being stolen.
  • You could provide some information about each of your photographs.
  • Ensure that your portfolio is organized, easy to navigate and easy to use.

Getting Clients for Your Photography Business

Now that you have your website and online portfolio all setup, to be successful, your business needs clients and here are some tips to get your first photography clients.

Use Social Media

Your photography site needs social media to attract more traffic and in turn, clients. Maintaining active pages on popular social media sites are “must haves” when you’re launching a new business as this can help in building a community. So, once your website is off and running, open an account on all important social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Start a Blog

Blogging is a great way to move up in the search engine rankings. Blog about everything you do, about your new business, your work, etc. While word of mouth is one way of bringing in new clients, blogging is an effective way of getting new customers too. When people search for images and see something they like, they look up the photographer and could be your potential client.

Offer Discounts

Discounts are a sure shot way of getting clients. You can give your clients a discount if they book a certain number of photo shoots in the year with you or you can give them a discount on a print order of large volume.

Look at the Option of Stock Photography

You could consider selling your photographs to stock photography websites. This is extremely easy to do, while you can earn additional income too. Some very popular stock photo sites are Getty Images, Shutterstock, Flickr, etc. The amount you earn via stock photography mainly depends on the number of images you upload to the website. You can also earn more money by uploading your photos to multiple sites.

Offer Mini Photography Sessions

People may hire photographers to shoot some large event like a wedding, but usually, think that it’s a very expensive proposition to hire a photographer for smaller events. You can increase your client base by offering mini photography sessions that are quicker and cost much lesser. Mini sessions are a fantastic way by which you can get new clients who may book you for bigger events later.

Starting an online home-based photography business is not all that difficult. If you have excellent photographs, all you need is an attractive online portfolio to showcase your photos that can captivate your clients and market your business using various media effectively and you are all set to see the money rolling in.

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