Many photo enthusiasts start taking pictures as a hobby but later on move on to start a small photo business, either by setting up a home-based studio or opening a shop in a commercial center. Managing a studio can be quite challenging if the person managing it is more artistically than business inclined. A balance should be reached in a way that photography is not just an art form but becomes a successful money-making enterprise.
Decorate the reception area where you welcome your clients. Enlarge your best photographic samples at least in 11 x 14 prints and hang them with matching frames. Modern studios also use digital LCDs where photo samples can be displayed.
Set up your shooting area to be clutter free. It should be spacious enough to accommodate various backgrounds, furniture and props. Some studios have photographic lights that are suspended on the ceiling to allow more available shooting space.
Set photo package rates and follow them. Do not charge inconsistent prices based on client relationships because this will only cause confusion. A price list should be printed and made available to all prospective clients to solve this problem.
Advertise wisely using cost-effective ways. In addition to regular forms of advertising such as local newspapers and magazines, it's a must to set up an online presence through a website that shows your photo samples. Some businesses now use social networking such as Facebook and Twitter as forms of advertisement and getting the word out. Do-it-yourself fliers can also be easily made and handed out to the public.
Require a 30 to 50 percent deposit for every photo sitting to cover material and labor costs. For lower-priced photo packages and instant passport photos, you may require full payment up front. If you offer wedding and event photography services, require at least a 50 percent deposit or full payment before the occasion to make sure to keep a booking on a specific date.
Establish a follow-up system to get repeat customers. If customers are willing, you may get their information and add them to a mailing list. Send promotional materials by mail, such as birthday and holiday cards, to remind them of your services. Periodic electronic newsletters sent thru emails about your studio area also an economical way to go.
Learn basic financial accounting and bookkeeping skills. Computer software are available to help you track the income and expenses in operating your business. A simple filing system should also be adopted in filing orders and storing digital photo images and prints.