Have a go at our Photography Business Planning Quiz below. The results of previous respondents are then explained throughout this blog:

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A picture speaks a thousand words, or so they say. As the world around us continues to speed up and pass us by at an ever-increasing rate so the value of capturing those perfect moments has risen. Yet, despite the ease of being able to snap those photos with smartphones the price of quality cannot be underestimated. Businesses need quality pictures to help advertise and sell their goods, individuals want quality pictures to preserve those special occasions in the best light possible. A talent photography business can thrive in these opportunities.

You have landed here because of your expressed interest in learning more about the photography business. Please enjoy the blog below and learn more about this ever more popular sector.

Industry Stats

The figure below shows some of the key industry stats including market value, projected growth and the number of UK based businesses. The buoyancy of the industry and the multiple applications and areas of specialism encourages creative entrepreneurs to begin their own ventures. Each adopting and adapting subtly different business plans to carve out their own unique offering.

For individuals, there is an increasing need and desire to capture the important moments. Both as a means to document the most memorable parts of their lives but also to share their lives in a visual way with others around them.

For businesses, the attention span of customers has placed ever-increasing importance in promoting products, brands and businesses in a succinct way, namely through quality imagery.

This trend of visual communication has created ample opportunity for photography start-up businesses to grow. As the photography profession requires no formal training, can be run with little overheads and even start from a part-time basis, it remains an attractive prospect for artistic entrepreneurs who have small capital budgets.

The expected average number of customers or clients for a photographer can vary widely depending on the type of business and its core offering. Some may choose to act on a freelance basis for one or two specific clients whereas others may work more ad hoc on individual clients, both commercial and non-commercial. An average of 5 paying customers or photography gigs each week is normal with certain seasonal variations coming in to play for those businesses that focus on events such as weddings.

Generally, a photography company will focus its core offering around a combination of one or two of 7 main categories. The choice of category will very much depend on the type, frequency and variation of work any budding business owner would prefer to work around. Larger photography companies with multiple creatives on the books will be able to diversify beyond the no more than one-or-two specialisms. The graphic below shows the proportion of photography companies offering each type of service. New businesses can adapt their own offering to fit with their own skills and the needs of the customer base they are looking to target.

The most popular category for photography businesses is in Events. The lucrative nature of events such as a wedding, which can be charged for fees of £1,500 or more, making them a popular line to specialise in, though there are seasonal fluctuations to consider. Commercial and portrait photography provides a more stable customer base as they can be sought all year round, they do however need a studio space, which can either be rented or part of business premises. Other categories such as film lend themselves better to contract based freelancing work, which again provides a different level of security.

Average Hourly Rate for Photographers

The average hourly rate for photographers is just over £100. This fee charged to clients factors in the lengthily editing process that any good photographer needs to undertake. As mentioned before event-specific work can enable much higher rates to be offered. Additional revenue streams can be created by the creation of add-on-sale items like photo albums.

How Do Photography Businesses Get Financed?

In theory, a photography business can be started with a camera and a few business cards though it would be advised to seek some form of training where possible.

Given that the barriers to entry are so low the industry has many ‘hobbyist’ businesses, there is a clear advantage in preparing a proper business plan in order to stand above the rest of the pack.

‘Pascal Photography’ founded itself on a Start Up Loan of £3,000 which was used camera equipment and a simple website. After successfully aligning himself with a local events company Pascal and his business have been able to grow and invest more funds with further debt finance, allowing a carefully planned expansion into other areas of specialism with the addition of a company studio.

By having a clear business plan to hand ‘Pascal Photography’ was able to assess the seasonality the business was likely to be confronted with and made efforts to counteract those variables with seasonal discounts. This overview also allowed the business to budget advertising and promotional spend properly and ultimately led to the growth and success of the business.

The table below shows the main sources of business finance and their associated percentage. In some cases, for larger projects, businesses may need to obtain finance from more than one source.

The table below shows the main sources of business finance and their associated percentage. In some cases, for larger projects, businesses may need to obtain finance from more than one source.

The layperson may be misled into thinking a fully written business plan would only be a requirement if looking for outside finance. Whilst it is true a solid business plan would be a pre-requisite for any form of form debt or equity finance the value of having a quality business plan cannot be underestimated. Even for those self-funding, a viable and robust business plan is a sure way to keep focused and accountable which will ultimately lead to better business decision making.

Importance of a business plan

The right pricing structure and awareness of seasonal variations are very important to any new photography business. As is the understanding of what number of customers is required to hit breakeven is key to establishing a quality and viable business.

Any serious company should look to invest in a proper, written business plan in order to maximise its potential. The graphic below shows a high proportion of photography businesses have invested in a professionally written plan and all new ventures should look to do the same.

So what can we say about starting your own photography business?

Pros

  • The industry has a wide number of applications and customers
  • Low-cost venture
  • Can be started on a part-time basis

Cons

  • Seasonal variability
  • Full understanding of average customer spends and budgets required to be successful

 

How you can succeed

The best way to get ahead of the competition and eliminate the biggest unknowns and risks when starting your own photography business is to invest in a high-quality business plan. The investment is invaluable. We at MyBizPlan provide the highest quality and yet lowest cost business plan in the UK, for a minimal outlay you can obtain a high-quality, visually stunning, financially robust business plan. It will give you a greater chance of seeking that vital finance and in the long run, could save you thousands. 

If owning and running a photography business sounds like the kind of business for you, get started with a Photography Business Plan from MyBizPlan. See which of our solutions is right for you by having a go at our – Do You Really Need a Business Plan Questionnaire?

 

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