You may have already started to make money from your photography, but if you are still a gifted amateur, then there are effective methods you can use to kick start your chances of making a profit. At the present time there has never been more opportunities for the photographer. New technologies in the form of digital cameras are changing the face of the industry. However that has always been the case for photographers, and it is no reason to get discouraged.
It has never been easier for the amateurs to take their own photographs. However there are certain circumstances where it is harder than others. An example here is pet photography. There are plenty of people living alone, who have pets, and whilst they can photograph their pets it is far harder to get a photograph of them with their pets. Advertise locally to take pet photos, or take a walk in your nearest park and ask people. If you use a digital camera, you can advertise to people that not only can they have a copy of their pets, as a photograph, but they can have it on their desktop as wallpaper. Digital online printing services will also print the photo on postcards. Get some done and then post them to friends or relations overseas. mugs and serve them in your house to pet owners and see how long it is before someone else wants one.
There are other possibilities, with the tee shirts and mugs, some people will want their own photographs on a tee shirt with their own own caption, advertise these services locally through the means of small ads.
Have some business cards printed, and go and cover local sporting events and contests, there is always someone without a camera, especially if they win, they will want a photograph. Or you may like to consider joining a local society, and advertising yourself as a photographer, there is nothing as effective as word of mouth advertising, all the money paid for advertisements can not beat it!
Be aware of local activities that take place in your area that you can capitalise on. Graduations are an occasion when people wish to have a more formal record. The cost of graduating itself is so high that what is the cost of a formal portrait in comparison. ESPecially if you have a digital camera and have no film, you can almost use it in a specific manner. In other words there are a lot of people together who determine a market. If you photograph them all then the chances are that you will sell about 40% of your work. There is always someone who has a jammed camera, or in the wrong place, or even proud grandparents who do not possess a camera.
Not everyone lives down the Road from the Taj Mahal, or Gracelands, but many of you will live near a landmark that attracts photographers. Many people will have their cameras but they will not need to be digital. If you have a digital camera you should be able to show people a photograph that they want in front of something. These photographs, although time consuming to start with, are a start on the photographic market ladder.
Join a photographic club, and talk to other photographers who are making money now. Not only will you make contacts, but you will have the opportunity to refine your techniques. Even in this digital age, it is vital that you keep abreast with technology, and you will be able to compare the value of equipment, that is being used now.
If you have a digital camera, take it in your local nightclub, there is always one in any time, which are new and trendy, take photographs of the range of cocktails on offer. Attractive looking drink will sell better with a photograph, see if you can sell the photographs, or better still negotiate a price for new printed menus. Speak with other local businessmen and see if they can improve their marketing techniques with the use of photographs. A second hand car dealer can increase his business potential with the use of photographs.
Remember when you are starting to make money from photography that you may feel as though you will attract more market share if you sell your work cheaply. Before you take this strategy though, think about some of the implications. It will have a short-term increase that is for sure, but in the long term how many businesses and families want to hire the cheapest photographer in town. People know that they rarely get good quality for super cheap prices and photos, … well, they're special items to most people. Do not be too expensive but do not be cheap either!
Your technical ability is sufficient to represent your client's marketing in a visual statement, that requires more than point and shoot. Do not sell these skills short. You have to be aware of the hidden costs of doing business; all to often it is easy to absorb a little loss of profit, because it is only small. These costs can add up to a sizeable amount. Ask other local photographers price their market, this may seem a strange technique, but they have a vested interest in not letting a new comer under price their market.
Take into account your realistic overheads, that is the depreciation of your equipment, your insurances, legal fees, accountancy fees, repairs, travel time and costs, subscriptions, and possible rent, both of equipment and studio space. Educate your client explain to them what the higher technology costs, but also what it can offer them. All businesses have to be made more profitable, and it is difficult but not impossible to find a balance between the price you need to charge, and the price the customer will pay, the more the customer understands new technology, the less likely they are to balk at paying for it. After all it is cheaper to ride a bike to work than invest in a new car, but who realistically wants to do it.
It is a good idea to sit down and write a business plan to define where you want to go and define your target audience. This is a good marketing strategy; it stops you wasting time effort and money, targeting areas that will provide you with little or no return.