If you are a keen photographer why not considering turning your hobby into a business. The field of photography is vast and can incorporated:
As you can see there are a range of niches within photography. I know a couple of people who make a very good living simply taking photos of food. Most photographers will concentrate on a couple of niche areas and build up their reputation in these fields, getting well known in a niche area is vital to survive in a competitive market such as this one.
The beauty of self employment is that there are no job interviews, no courses to sit and no qualifications to get before you can start. Anyone can become a photographer. That said I would not advise setting up until you know your equipment inside and out and are confident that the photos you take are of a professional standard.
If you would like to further your credentials you could possibly participate in a short photography course at your local college or community center or even enroll on a more in depth night class at a local university.
Professional photography equipment is very expensive to buy despite advances in technology have made good quality equipment affordable for everyone. Ideally you'll need to purchase the following. You'll need a decent quality camera, a tripod, lightbox, filters, lighting, a certain decent photo processing software. The good news is that this stuff is affordable and you can pick up a lot of bargains on eBay. In addition to this decent software came be had for free check out http://www.gimp.org/ for an excellent example.
OK, so you've made your mind up, you've got your equipment and you're ready to start, now where are those customers gonna come from?
- Portfolio – Keep it simple here, you do not need to show your customers everything you've ever taken. Just show a decent mix of the shots you can take showing the quality of your work.
- Website – This is vital it can be used to showcase your portfolio, an e-commerce facility can sell your work and you can consider using AdWords and search engine optimization methods to drive traffic to your site and increase your customer base.
- Paint a picture – If you're showcasing your work to potential clients, try to use framed shots rather than just images on a screen these paint a picture in your clients eye and make them much more likely to buy.
- Use promotional flyers and postcards to showcase your work, put these in local shops, libraries, community centers etc.
- Consider using other local business to promote your work. You could provide local coffee shops, cafe's, gift shops etc. with framed pictures to put on their walls, these could also be offered for sale giving you an extra income stream.
You'll need to register with the appropriate body for tax purposes. In the UK you need to register with Revenue and Customs. You've got three months to register once you've started trading but you need to keep your records from day one. Bookkeeping does not need to be a complicated business at its most basic level just need to record everything coming in and going out of the business. That said there are a number of sophisticated systems out there on the market such as Sage Accounts and Quickbooks which you can buy to make the process easier for you.
To assist with this it's always worth setting up a separate business bank account. Most high street banks will allow you a fee free period to use their services. Once this period is up you will usually pay charges based on the number of and nature of transactions you make.
You may also want to consider public liability insurance although not necessarily a legal requirement it'll cover you for any accidents or accidents that arise as a result of you being in work. Typical cover will be in the region of 2 million pounds but as the risk for this type of business is minimal the premium should be easily affordable.
Overall, setting up a photography business can be very straightforward and well within the reach of most amateur photographers to turn their hobby into a business.