In the modern world everyone likes to think they’re a photographer. It’s probably the most popular hobby around right now, even if most people don’t realise it. With the smartphone revolution developing cutting edge cameras that can give decent DSLRs a run for their money, and apps that enable casual shutterbugs to produce stunning looking images with no technical knowledge at all, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult industry to break in to.

However, nobody said it was easy! Just because everybody is doing it, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it better. While you’ll have to work extra hard to set yourself apart from the flock of amateurs, with time and determination, it’s certainly achievable. If you want to start a business as a commercial photographer, these tips will help.

1. Make A Strong Business Plan

Whatever your business, whatever your industry, this is a crucial step that you can’t afford to ignore. This document will serve as your road map, detailing which markets to target and how you’ll manage your finances. Developing a business plan is daunting; however, there are plenty of pre-built templates that’ll help you out.

2. Get On Social Media

Picture-based social networks, such as Instagram and Pinterest, are crucial. If you expect to “make it” without a web presence, you’re in for a big shock. In fact, most potential clients will search for your portfolio online before they even send an enquiry. If you’re relying on traditional advertising and word-of-mouth alone, you’ll be cutting yourself short.

3. Get A Portable Printer

When working as a photographer you’ll spend a lot of time on the road. Iphone photo printers can be a godsend, especially if you like to scout locations prior to a shoot. With these you can plug them into your car or laptop and print from your smartphone on the fly. This will not only make you more prepared on the day, but means you can run angles and ideas by clients in advance.

4. Buy The Equipment

When people hire photographers and videographers they’ll expect them to have decent equipment. While you may not need a top of the line camera body complete with zoom lenses, filter kits and lighting gear for every shoot, people will expect you to come prepared. Fundamentally, it’s not just your creative talent that people will want, but also access to your resources. If your clients have better equipment than you do, you’ll look like an amateur.

5. Devise A Fair Pricing Plan

This is probably one of the most confusing aspects of getting into the photography business as there’s no rule book. What it really boils down to is how much YOU think your time is worth. While charging £50 per hour may seem expensive, remember that photographs are “made” in post, not on location. For every hour you spend taking pictures, it’ll take double that time in the editing suite. When taking this extra time into account £50 pounds isn’t so much.

Setting up a photography business is difficult; however, when you start getting clients it’s extremely rewarding. Don’t get discouraged! Yes, it’s competitive, but once you’re in you’re in. And as you hone your skills and develop your own style, things will only get better.