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Like most creative endeavors, you need to balance your passion for photography with real business skills in order to be successful. According to professional photographer Austen Diamond, "building slow and smart" will help you stay nimble. Avoid contentious social media posts, and keep your language positive.To build and grow your business, you need both raw talent and a knack for marketing. Allow the organic growth of your business to fund gear improvements, and avoid debt if possible, he said. Keep your Linked In profile and contact information on all sites up-to-date.Contracts should be explained carefully, and if applicable, your customers should know how they are allowed to use the images — and that should be in writing as well.While not everyone is comfortable with legalese, your professionalism will help make this necessary part of your business agreement go as smoothly as possible.For infant photos, your customers should know what clothes and accessories to bring.If you are taking corporate headshot images, people should know how to dress.If you have issues with your camera or memory card and don't have the proper backup gear, you may miss the whole thing and damage your reputation quickly.
You should also always require an upfront deposit for high-priced gigs.To avoid credit card stop payments, you should require cash, cashier's check or bank transfer for paying the deposit.Managing your clients' expectations is important to your success.Without the two, the results will likely just be an expensive hobby rather than a viable full-time business. Our expert sources offered the following advice for building your personal brand and reputation as a professional photographer. You can research your area to see what your competitors charge, but ultimately, you'll need to charge what you are worth.Your person and gear: If you work with people, you are your brand. Generally, you'll want to estimate 3 hours of editing time for every hour of shooting.Maybe you work in the medical industry and have the knowledge to create quality educational medical photography.With weddings, you get only one chance to do it right.It's also important to note that the wedding market is seasonal, and business will likely fluctuate in the fall and winter.If you're getting into this market, be sure to plan ahead and save for the off-season.For contracts, your clients should know how much is due in advance and how to pay it.You should set terms on how far in advance you need them to commit so you can schedule.