Photography is a creative field. But if you are a photographer by passion and want to convert your passion into a profession, you need a good photography business plan. This plan has twin purposes.
First of all, if you need credit or funds for your business, the photography business plan is a must. You have to present it before the investors with the necessary research, calculations, and projections. Secondly, a photography business plan is necessary for you too as it defines all the aspects of your business and helps you in planning and executing each step.
With a clearly and thoughtfully written photography business plan, you will be aware of the steps to be followed one after another and also your advantages as well as disadvantages. You have to be specific about what you want from your business and how to achieve it. Your photography business plan helps you classify and specify each step.
7 Steps to Write a Photography Business Plan
Here are the seven steps to consider while writing a photography business plan of your own:
1. Executive Summary
All business plans begin with the executive summary though it is written at the end. The executive summary of your photography business plan will give the synopsis of your business. It will have the mission and vision of your business.
Give the details of the legal status of your photography business. Mention whether it will be a partnership company, sole proprietorship or limited company, etc.
Mention the structure of your photography business. Whether it is going to be a home-based business, or you are going to set up or rent a studio?
Classify the equipment you will need in the photography business.
Briefly mention your targets in this photography business and how you want to achieve the targets.
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2. Target Market
Finding the target market is the most important aspect of your photography business plan. The people who will hire you comprise your target market. Before finding the target market of your photography business, you have to do some research.
You need to know the details and statistics of the photography industry. At the same time focus your attention on the state of business in your area. Find out who is working here, what kind of service they provide, which area of photography has the greatest demand locally. Don’t forget to find out the size of the market.
There are some broadheads of the target areas of the photography business. They are:
This target market is as the name says; is all about the day-to-day news photographs we get to see in the newspapers, magazines, and other publications. You have a good opportunity in this market, provided you follow the current news properly and able to take photographs.
The market of advertising comprises mainly the ad agencies who hire photographers for photographs to be used in different kinds of advertisements. There is a huge scope for you in this market as it is growing continuously. You can also mention your specialization in any area of ad photography (product, lifestyle) in the photography business plan.
Event photography is also a huge potential market. It covers events like marriage, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies, business conference or award functions, etc. All these are very potential as they require several photographs. Mention your specialization in the photography business plan.
The photographs of different factories, buildings, industrial set-ups, or summits are needed regularly. The ad agencies or PR agencies are the agencies who need these photographs.
The worldwide coverage and popularity of sports events show the prospect and possibilities of this market. If you are a sports person, you can specialize in this market and mention it in your photography business plan.
To understand your target customers well, you have to be a little more observant and caring about them. Pay good attention to the places they live in, their mode of behavior, family compositions, etc, the brands they prefer, and their hobbies and interests. In a word, you have to interact with the individual clients on a personal level to know them well which will improve your skill as well as the standard of output. Highlight this point in your photography business plan.
Also, find out the areas with a gap. That means areas where there is demand, but not enough photography service to fulfill that particular niche. Or areas potential for photography business hitherto unexplored.
After doing the market research, you can find out who you are going to serve. This classification is important, as with the help of this you can find out your customer profile.
Along with the market research, remember to mention your USP in the photography business plan. That is, why the client will hire you instead of others.
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3. Products & Services
After giving the details of the target market, now you have to clearly define the products and services in your photography business plan. Describe your products and services as clearly as possible and with details. For example, if marriage or event photography is the forte where you want to slot your service, then give the details of the products.
In this case, your products will be the photograph, albums, and the USB stick. To develop the product, you need items like a camera, tripod, lights, developing infrastructure, editing software, etc.
If your service demands an outdoor or out of station location mention that also along with the cost incurred for it.
Again, if your target client is any website or blog, you don’t always need the photographs. Digital ones may do here.
4. Operational Plans
Mention your operational strategies in your photography business plan. For portrait photographers, the home-based studio will do. For commercial photography, if you need a studio or set for clients, mention that.
Think carefully about your services and make a list of every item you need. Because that is very important in your budgeting and pricing part. Remember, the detailing is the key point of the products and services section of your photography business plan.
5. Marketing Policies
Marketing policies in your photography business plan defines how you will sell your product in the market. You have to pinpoint why the customers will choose you instead of your competitors. Here you have to chalk out some strategies to enter and conquer the market. Highlight the following areas:
Your pricing should be such that it covers your cost as well as make room for profit. Mention your pricing structure in your photography business plan, depending on your type of photography. It can be a package, per hour, per day, per download, or print or according to the customers’ demand. Mention the mode of payment also.
Depending on the kind of photography, you need to set your profile to reach your customers well. You can create your website, which will carry your samples of work and contact details. If your photography business plan is about commercial photography, you have options to include your name in the professional directories or sign up with promotional agencies to get contacts.
Mention the promotional program in your photography business plan. This may range from email marketing, referral, or loyalty program. It may also be some kind of paid ad or starting a blog.
Discuss your social media strategies in your photography business plan. You can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. to publicize your photography business. Elaborate on the plan, platforms that will be explored. Normally Instagram is most suitable for photographers. Also have provisions for advertisements on Facebook.
According to your nature of photography, make provisions for community relations in your photography business plans. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you can create liaison with the local salon, event managers, or boutiques for reference. For food photography, restaurants and food blogs are effective. While for architectural or engineering photography, you have to build up contacts with the local real estate offices or engineers.
6. Accounting Plan
Every successful business endeavor needs a solid accounting system. So, mention the system you are going to follow in your photography business plan. Mention whether you will hire a full-time accountant or not. Also, comment about your tax consultant. Add up the expense of these services, which you have to consider in pricing.
7. Financial Plan
This is the most realistic part of your photography business plan. You have to be very specific and make correct projections as much as possible. Take into consideration all the factors you have mentioned so far. Follow these steps for accuracy.
- Project the targeted monthly sale which is the sum of your booking fee and sale of products.
- Include the variable costs incurred in executing your job. These include lab charges, travel expenses, etc.
- Add up the fixed cost elements. These are constant and do not vary according to the volume and nature of your job done. These include the cost of equipment, marketing, accounting, taxes, software, and salaries. Calculate on a yearly basis and divide the sum by 12, you will get a monthly figure.
- To get the Gross Profit to subtract variable cost figures from the total monthly sales figures. The result is your gross profit.
- Net profit is the difference between gross profit and monthly fixed cost.
If you need funding, find out how much capital you need and accordingly, search for funding options like business loans, grants, or crowdfunding.
Always remember, the first step towards your business is writing the photography business plan with utmost care and precision. Once you have finished writing the business plan, don’t keep it on your shelf. Jump into the action and fulfill your dream of starting the photography business. All the best for your photography business plan and its successful implementation.