How to create a photography business plan

March 21, 2021

A business plan for your photography business is essential for its success. It ensures that you aren’t stumbling around blindly, but rather making productive decisions that will propel your business in the right direction.

But what should you include in your business plan? What would it even look like?

Here is your guide to creating a photography business plan that works.

Check out Focal’s free Business Accelerator Program for more business help.

1. Define Your Goals

What short-term and long-term goals do you have for you and your business? What are the achievements you want to achieve along the way? It is important to determine this before continuing on with your business plan because these goals will outline the rest of it. As well as help you determine the steps you need to take along the way. 

Remember, always create S.M.A.R.T goals. This stands for smart, measurable, attainable, reachable, and time-based. A lot of the time, we set goals that are not realistic or achievable, and when we don’t achieve it, sometimes we feel unproductive or even like a failure. Create goals that you could actually cross off at the end of the day and set a timeline for each one, even if it is a loose timeline. Another goal-writing tip is to create a larger, broader goal, but below it, break it down into smaller, bite-sized goals–essentially the steps it will take to achieve that overarching goal. 

Ex. Main Goal: Make $50,000 per year in my second year of being a full-time photographer

Credit: Marlboro Wang Photography

2. Identify Your Ideal Client(s)

Now that you have your goals settled on, it is time to take a look at your ideal client(s)–aka who you are trying to reach. While you can run ad campaigns, write blog posts to drive traffic to your website, and post to social media, it does nothing if you don’t know who you are doing it all for. 

Focal has a free Business Accelerator Program that takes you through how to find and recognize your ideal client(s). We get you to create customer personas that include details about your ideal clients and then give you the tools and education you need to reach them. However, here are a few simple things to consider when figuring this out:

Credit: Ooh Ooh Darling Photography

3. Decide on Your Communication Channels

Photography is all about networking–after all, you are your own salesperson. That means it is important to decide on which communications channels you and your business will use. This decision depends on two main factors:

From there, you can understand which channels you need to be present on. And don’t think you need to be on every social media platform out there! I recommend not stretching yourself too thin, unless you are willing to outsource some of this work by hiring a social media manager or blog writer. Instead, put your efforts into being present on 2-3 channels.

Once you have settled on the channels, create your content pillars (what are the staple content pieces you will post?) and a content schedule–this will save you so much time and energy.

4. Understand Your Financial Plan

How do your financials look now? What business essentials do you have to, or will need to, pay for? It is important to head into your business with this knowledge. You need to know how much you will spend each month on ads, SD cards, editing software, etc., and therefore, how much you need to make to breakeven, or hopefully actually make money. 

It is also helpful to have a plan for when you will raise your photography prices. Maybe your plan is to offer cheaper services your first year, but then start raising them by $100 every year. Whatever you end up doing, just create the plan ahead of time so you always know where you are going.

5. Settle on Your Services

What services will you provide? This means your packages, whether you want to offer photo editing services, and if you’ll sell prints. This way, at the end of the year, you can know what people are actually purchasing and what they aren’t. There is no point offering a Family Adventure Package if nobody wants it. 

When you know what services you will offer, put this information (in detail) on your website. Outline each service so that your ideal clients know exactly what they will get from it, how much it is, and any other frequently asked questions. By being clear in what you offer, people will start to recognize you as “the photographer who does X.” 

Credit: Jon Mark Photography

Those are 5 simple steps for creating a photography business plan that will set you up for success.

Even if you are already six months, a year, two years, etc. into your business, if you don’t have a business plan stop everything and make one! Spend an hour or two charting out everything listed above. You might surprise yourself and notice your business has been in a standstill for a year and it’s all because you never created business goals!

For more help in developing a successful photography business, check out Focal’s free Business Accelerator Program. Sign up for the spring cohort today!

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