What To Invest In When Starting A Photography Business
Starting a photography business is such an exciting step! I will always remember white knuckling my business plan daily as I saw my dream come to life, from getting my business license to getting my very first paid session. Starting my business was one of my life’s best decisions, as it really has taught me a lot about myself, about others, and about photography. Plus, working for myself is a pretty amazing reality and has been a blessing once we added a couple babies of our own, allowing me to be home with my girls but to also fulfill another part of me through working as a photographer. Many have asked me what to invest in when starting a photography business and I definitely have some recommendations that have truly made my business run smoothly. Some purchases were made right away, while others were a little while down the road. But I will explain why.
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What To Invest In When Starting A Photography Business
While I will not being giving any advice on contracts or insurance, know that they are both absolutely necessary and highly recommended. Both a contract and business insurance were on the top of my list, when thinking of what to invest in when starting a photography business.
Okay, so let’s say that you have your computer and your camera, which are two of the biggest items you will use with your business. I personally photograph Nikon, but started my business with a D3200 for about 6 months before upgrading to a full frame. As for computers, I started my business on an Apple MacBook, before upgrading to an Apple desktop in addition to the laptop. I like the flexibility of a laptop, but I like the monstrous screen of a desktop.
I view your contract, insurance, camera and computer as the basics, but when thinking of what to invest in when starting a photography business…here are a few additional things that you might consider to help your business run smoothly.
One of my best purchases to date was this blogging software. I use it almost daily with my business and it makes creating collages for blog posts so easy. When thinking of what to invest in when starting a photography business, this is not only a really affordable investment but one that will make blogging your sessions effortless. This software, for me, was a first year investment and well worth it.
Here is an entire tutorial on how to create photo collages for my blog in minutes!
Just in case this isn’t a given, editing software will be one of your best investments. I personally use and love Lightroom. I have used it for years and find that it does everything that I need to edit final high resolution images for my clients. I am a Creative Cloud member and pay monthly for my software, allowing me to receive any updates for my software when they become available.
When thinking of what to invest in when starting a photography business, my husband really encouraged a good camera bag. After seeing what I invested in when it came to photography gear, it was a no brainer that having a good bag to carry and protect my gear in, two and from sessions, while on location was to be one of my first purchases. Over the years I have been so blessed with so many camera bags that I have adored (many of which you can read about here on my blog, while searching camera bags). I currently use the Weekender camera bag and love it’s openness for putting gear in and taking it out, while also allowing a lot of space for me to carry two camera bodies with attached lenses and a variety of other odds and ends.
If my mama brain serves me correctly, I invested in a portrait lens (my first 50mm wasn’t the ART version, but is now what I use) right after my first year in business. I do remember regretting not purchasing it sooner, as it was a complete game changer for my photography. My portrait lens literally lived on my camera during my first years in business and helped me create some of my best work. I firmly believe that you can photograph for a long time with just a portrait lens and DSLR, before investing in additional gear.
Wide Angle Lens
Being an indoor lifestyle newborn photographer, my wide angle lens quickly became my most used and favorite lens, allowing me to photograph in smaller spaces fairly effortlessly. If you plan on taking a lot of indoor photos, I would definitely recommend this lens. It is butter!
Education was and still is something that I invest in regularly. I have had many game changing moments when learning about photography both during hands on experience and when investing in education. If you are interested in family photography, be sure to read The Family Photograph: Unlocking the Secrets To Successful Lifestyle Family Sessions. And if you are interested in lifestyle newborn photography, you definitely need to check out The Ultimate Newborn Session Guide Bundle.
A Daily Organizer
Hands down, a must have yearly purchase is a daily organizer. From helping me schedule sessions, build in time for post-session workflow and create harmony between my personal and business tasks, this is the only planner that I use. I am definitely a pencil and paper type of girl, as I feel like that is just how my brain works…I love spilling out my ideas and tasks on paper so that I can cross things off. Plus, I think this planner always brings a fresh visual happiness to my work area. And one of my favorite things? You can get color coded stickers to help organize your task. Need I say more than the words “color coded”!?
Back Up Camera
I can’t remember exactly, but I believe it was my second year in business that I learned a very hard lesson when my camera broke during an actual session. It was my very last fall session of the year, in the last minutes of the session, when my shutter completely broke. And it doesn’t matter how many lenses you have in your bag when it is your camera that no longer works. (Don’t worry, I had plenty of images to deliver to the client and they ended up being repeat clients for years). But I learned the hard way that you definitely need a backup camera for your business. Because it is quite pricey, it may not be an investment you can do right away, but is definitely something you should keep at the top of your list for purchasing. Trust me, your camera will break eventually…and it’s possible it will call it quits at the worst time.
The great news is, once you have a backup camera you can put one lens on each camera during your session and photograph effortlessly and quickly, without wasting time changing out your lenses. Now having a backup camera is important to me, not only for just in case moments, but because it helps me photograph sessions quickly…which is a must when working with small children. In short, a backup camera both protects your business from accidentals and helps your session run quicker and smoother.
Listen, I know it seems like starting a business is expensive, but most things you don’t need to buy on day one. I run a completely debt free business and have from day one, only buying things as I could afford them. Remember that is it okay to grow slow and don’t compare your chapter one to another photographer’s chapter 15…because we have all started from the beginning. Have additional questions about what to invest in when starting a photography business? Be sure to leave your questions below in the comment section so I can help you. I hope this post helped give you some direction today!
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