Like with any other business, there are real costs to running a photography business. These real costs are determined by what you need to spend money on to keep your business going like software and office supplies. Author Skip Cohen discusses the real costs that come with buying gear and software and their upkeep.
- We've talked about demographics, revenue streams, when you're ready to go full-time, but now let's start to get into the real components of how you're going to make money. It starts with knowing what your costs are. First, let's talk about your gear. Now, when we're talking about your costs overall, it means that you've got to pay attention to everything that you have spent money on in your business. With your gear, it starts with the obvious, camera bodies and lenses. Then you've got lighting equipment. If you're doing a lot of studio work, you're going to have lighting equipment, you're going to have tripods, you're going to have light stands and backdrops.
Then you get into your camera cases and camera bags. Then you've got all your accessories that go along with all of your camera and lighting gear, and last, but not least is your laptop, which you're usually going to have on assignment. I had mentioned earlier that I wanted to share some of the photographers, tell you a little bit about the photographers and the pictures I'm using in some of these. That's Ansel Adams camera gear. Next, after gear, let's move over to software. Now, remember, we're doing all of this because you can't develop profit margins if you don't know what your costs are.
And so often photographers overlook so many different aspects of the things that they have spent money on to run their business. Now, within software, you've got the two obvious ones, Photoshop, Lightroom, whatever you're using in terms of maintaining your files and your images. But then you've also got some great software out there, SproutStudio.com makes a workflow software and gives you the ability to be able to develop a stronger business model, so that you can spend more time doing the things that are most important to building your business, which is marketing, and less time doing some of the operational things.
Then there's business software. There are things like Word, and QuickBook, and dozens of calendar programs and scheduling programs that you're going to be spending money on. You've got presentation software. I happen to love what ProShow Photodex and ProShow Gold have out there in terms of Photodex's ability to give you software to develop slideshows, which can become a finished product that you're either going to give away as part of your package, or it's going to be something very specific that you sell to your client. Then last on the list is just one more example of software.
You have got to have a respect for the color calibration. Do not trust your eyeballs on what you see on your monitor versus what you share with clients, or what you share from your monitor to your printer. So, you want to use products like the ones that X-Rite make, so that X-Rite helps you calibrate your monitor, so that you've got accurate color rendition every time you present one of your images.
- Understanding revenue
- Looking at target demographics
- Understanding your target audience
- Identifying your real costs
- Deciding which products and services to offer
- Pricing your products
- Working with key suppliers
- Controlling your costs