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What do i need to start my own home based photography business?!

Jacob Bernier , Mar 25, 2008; 07:30 p.m.

I really need help. I LOVE photography, I love everything about this art. I work at Olan Mills photography studio, but want my own home based business. I'm tired of not being able to take photos of my own ideas. I'm dying to know what do i need to start it one by one please. I know how to use 3ds max, maya, photoshop cs3, illustrator, z brush, real flow 4, all the game design work, and sometimes i use the photos i take and make them 3d which is really cool. I know what i'm doing when i come to actually taking photos, and people tell me i NEED to start my own business. But i don't know what to do first. Do i need to buy the lighting, backgrounds, props, or what? It will be at a home business, but later would love to start my own studio, or freelance business. How can i start making money right away taking photos, while i'm saving to get the lighting and stuff FOR my business? Sorry so many questions, i just really love this art, and have a huge passion and just want to do something with it. Especially so i can take better care of my family. This paycheck crap isn't working!lol. Thank you.


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Tony Bynum , Mar 25, 2008; 07:41 p.m.

if you really want to make this work here's the way to do it, it is not the only way but it is the best and if you choose it, you will in time live to thank me. . .

1. keep doing what youre doing, nothing better than working in the business and learning on somone else's dime. . . 2. sign up for college 3. keep your day job 4. take a year of business 5. take a year of computers - basic computer hardware and softeware managment, some web design. 6. bone up on your English, marketing, and writing skills 7. take an art class 8. keep your day job shooting pictures. . . .

There's likely not a person in the business, that started at the bottom, like you, and who now runs a photo business that would disagree with me, in fact, they will, i'm sure add to my list of non photographic study and tell you keep doing what youre doing, it pays, until you can answer those question you posted.

Bruce Cahn , Mar 25, 2008; 08:50 p.m.

Sales ability more than anything else.

Mikael Karlsson , Mar 25, 2008; 10:18 p.m.

I agree with Bruce. To be able to survive you need to be able to sell your work. You'll also need basic business skills, these are more important than photographic or artistic talent.

Start by taking business classes at a local community college or similar. There's an organization of retired CEOs and similar that offer mentoring for people wanting to start their own business, check that out.

Think long and hard about what, specifically, you want to photograph. If shooting stock, you'll need to find a speciality, a niche where you can offer something unique. If shooting scenics and wildlife is your dream, I'm sad to say that's probably the hardest part of the photography industry to break into.

Research. Read Dan Heller's books, read sell and Re-Sell your Photos by Rohn Engh if stock is your thing, read as much as you can about how to run a small business.

You'll soon find out that running a photography business is more about marketing, sales, paperwork, accounting, etc than actual photography.

Good luck though!

Jacob Bernier , Mar 26, 2008; 12:00 a.m.

I appreciate it guys, i really do. I went to college for game design, so i've done web design and all computer skills you ever need to learn for anything lol. But i probably will look into business, and things of that nature. Scenics and wild life isn't all i do, but it's all i can really do as of now, until i get a better camera. I do portraits and stuff but it's with a little kodak m835, and i have to photoshop the pictures most of the time. lol. thanks though, i really appreciate the answers.

Jon Curtis , Mar 26, 2008; 03:08 p.m.

Take classes at your local community college. While in school you can get most software for 1/2 off!

Read, shoot, edit, repeat.

Remember its a business. Probably more then it is "taking pictures". A couple business class wont hurt either.

Alan Myers , Mar 26, 2008; 03:38 p.m.

It's 90% business and marketing skills, 10% photography and technical skills.

Keep your day job at least until you are making just as much or more income from your side job.

Work with what you've got as best you can, but aspire to get what you need to do your work.

Define your specialty (or specialties) and then learn all you can about it (or them) and practice, practice, practice to become one of the best in the field.

Mikael Karlsson , Mar 26, 2008; 06:13 p.m.

The speciality Alan Myers mentions is really critical. If you have a deep archive covering a specific topic, you'd be amazed at how often photobuyers will contact you with requests.

Provided your specialty isn't something like seagulls at dusk or dawn or similar.

Jerry Litynski , Mar 26, 2008; 06:55 p.m.

You start with research. And the Small Business Administration's web site. A Google search of Photo Net will also give you some direction for what you will likely need.

[You would basically need all the 'paperwork' that Olan Mills has in the office, but on a smaller scale since you are just starting out....]

Jon Kobeck , Mar 27, 2008; 08:54 a.m.

When you guys say " It's 90% business and marketing skills, 10% photography and technical skills" then would it be safe to assume that alot of mediocre or even average and poor photographers get more wotk then the really talented ones based solely upon their marketing and business skills and not their portfolio or talent ? In other words, they are better at selling themselves ?

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