Tips for success
Weddings aren’t going out of fashion and neither are photos of your dearly beloved. So there is always work to be done - as long as you don’t position yourself too close to other photographers. Relationships with schools or other associations will help in ensuring that a steady stream of local work comes your way.
If you can add things like web design, or restoration to old or damaged photos, to your repertoire you will add value to the customer and increase your return. Of course new equipment does require additional investment but you don’t always need to invest in the most expensive gear to get the job done.
“Sheer persistence is the key,” advises Roger Parker, who previously ran MPL Studios in Steyning, West Sussex, specialising in both weddings and portrait photography.
“It’s not easy as there’s so much competition. But once you’ve got established, you will start getting more work by word of mouth recommendation. I’ve been in the business for 30 years and we do still do advertising and promotion but not nearly as much as we used to have to do.”
And once you are established it can be worth looking at processing your own work instead of sending it out to a printer. As Parker explains, “In terms of profit, it can add on an extra 30-40% - although you have put in the time to achieve this. It’s not a matter of turning on a machine and pressing a button!"
You could also approach local PR companies, magazines and book publishers and newspapers to supplement your income with freelance work.
Tips from the pros
Get some training and qualifications before starting – go on the foundation courses offered by the professional associations for portrait photography, wedding photography and sales and marketing skills. The way you sell yourself is especially important in a competitive market.
Join a professional association. They will give you support and advice and provide a source of useful contacts. Submit your portfolio to the association to get some letters after your name. This will give you confidence and impress your clients too.
Make sure you’re fully insured – accidents and mistakes do happen. Talk to your local insurance broker about professional indemnity, public liability and product liability insurance.
Buy the best equipment that you can afford to purchase. As with anything else, you get what you pay for.