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These 5 Bad Business Decisions Could Hold Your Photography Back

Author: Will Seaton

A large camera.

Daniel Go/flickr


Running a successful photography business can be tough, and young photographers tend to make very similar mistakes. Avoiding these pratfalls will do a lot to keep your business up and running.
Building a photography business from the ground up is a labor of love, but that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate on your own. With help from PetaPixel, we’re mapping out the top five mistakes that young photographers make when growing their business.

1. Purchasing Expensive Equipment

Let’s face it  camera equipment is outrageously expensive, and it’s hard not to look longingly at every new piece of hardware that hits the shelves. But how are you supposed to afford Nikon’s latest $10,000 lens? You’re not.
There’s absolutely no need to buy the latest and greatest equipment. Instead, you can look into rental options, or find an equipment timeshare with photo friends. But, more importantly, you have to be able to make do with what you have. You don’t need to break the bank to deliver stunning, high-quality photos to your clients. All you need is a decent camera and technical know-how – if you’re a photographer, you probably already have both.

2. Forgoing Insurance

Insurance may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s an important one. Sign up for insurance policies that cover you for damages to equipment and injuries incurred on the job. Spending a few hundred dollars a year can end up saving you thousands  if someone hurts him or herself by tripping over your camera case and decides they want compensation, you’ll want a policy that offers you a little financial wiggle room. Trust us on this one.

3. Mixing Your Finances

A keyboard and a pair of glasses on top of lots of paper.

reynermedia/flickr


Resist the temptation to keep everything in one savings account  opening a separate account for your business finances can save you a major headache if you’re ever audited. Plus, working for yourself can complicate tax filing, and keeping your transactions in one place goes a long way towards simplifying that process.

4. Pricing Too Low

A complex camera.

55Laney69/flickr


When you’re just starting out, pricing your services can be tricky. However, there are trade associations you can join, like the ASMP, APA, PPA, and NPPA, that have networks of people and resources available to help you determine what certain projects should cost. They’ll even show you how to navigate negotiations. But most importantly, don’t sell yourself short  which means never undercharging!

5. Showing Your Clients All of Your Prints

A collection of prints.

Bentley Smith/flickr


Providing your client access to every photo from a shoot may seem like a given, but it can actually get you into trouble. If any bad prints find their way into the mix, your client can start to doubt your abilities. They’ll probably still purchase your photos, but those few really bad shots could stick with them, making it less likely that you’ll get that recommendation when the next job rolls around.
The same thing can happen if your photos aren’t printed on obviously high-quality materials  bad paper can degrade an otherwise stunning photograph, and robs you of the hard-earned impression your work should make. Making prints with the experts at Printique will ensure that your client only sees the stunning, quality work that reflects your talent and good taste, thanks to professional-grade paper and an intense attention to detail.
At the end of the day, you live and die by your reputation, which means that word of mouth is the most important part of growing a small business. If you follow these tips, you can make sure every picture is dropping your clients’ jaws – and that you’re properly compensated when they pick them back up.