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Invest in professional-level equipment. According to Julie Swanson, owner of The Modern Tog, start-up costs as of 2014 average between $10,000 and $15,000. Although specific equipment needs depend on whether the target market centers on in-studio portraits, weddings or both, basic equipment requirements start with two cameras and three to four different lenses. You’ll also need one or two flashes, flash triggers, reflectors, light stands, camera bags and memory cards.
Create an Online Portfolio
An online portfolio is essential for making it easy for new clients to find you and inspect previous work. Organize your website according to themes, such as family portraits and graduation photographs, or subjects such as wedding photographs by bride and groom names. If you don’t have an established client base on which to build a portfolio, consider investing in your future by
offering free services, but only if your target is in-studio portraits. If you plan to focus on weddings, Valerie Jordan of the Digital Photography School recommends against using a friend’s wedding as a starting point. Instead, assist a local photographer or attend a wedding photography workshop and get permission to include any photos taken in your portfolio.
Create a Client Questionnaire
Client questionnaires are vital for success. A client questionnaire is helpful for getting to know a client and for session planning. Open-ended questions specific to the type of shoot can provide valuable personal information. For example, Lauren Lim of Photography Concentrate recommends asking a newly engaged couple questions such as “what about this moment do you want to remember the most,” and “what are your favorite places and things.” Session planning questions should focus on must-have photos, the desired location and any specific requirements.
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