7 Things you should know before starting Photography Business in Hong Kong
We do make mistakes from time to time. If the mistake has something to do with business, you could be putting opportunity and income at risk. However, mistakes are just wonderful little learning opportunities. We are able to learn and improve from the mistakes.
After having few conversations with Hong Kong Corporate Photographer, Angel Andreu, I have summarized and shared some common mistakes that the photographers can often make. Hopefully by sharing them with you, you will be able to avoid these mistakes, and have a smoother ride in your business.
(1) You are not just a photographer
It is common to think that when you have great photography skills, you can have a successful business. But that cannot be further from the truth. Starting and running your own business involve many conditions. It requires not only photography skills. You are going to be a photographer, customer service expert, marketing director, social media whiz, secretary, bookkeeper and other title that you can think of.
However, don't get me wrong. Great photography skills are very important for photography business, yet you need to realize that you need to become good at many other things as well as photography skills. Otherwise, your business is not going to work.
(2) Be Patient
This can happen in any kind of business. Starting a successful business takes time. People can take over 6 years to be successful. In the same way, it takes time to get good and master skills at photography. It takes time to learn marketing. It takes time to get good customer service skills. In other words, getting good at different skills for business takes time.
So, don't feel bad if things are not happening as what you expected soon. If you stick with it or make many mistake, you should keep trying and learn from there. You will get there and keep improving.
(3) Interacting with People are Important Skills
As a corporate photographer in Hong Kong, Angel believes that doing business in photography is one kind of people business. When you do business with clients, your clients are people, even if you have a request to take pictures of interior design. Especially in corporate photography field, the better you can work with and the people you do business with, the more success you can see in the future.
Many people have the concern of how to improve the connection with the clients. There are many ways: smiling, remember names, encourage others to talk about themselves and listen, make people feel important, and hearty in your approbation are some good ways to improve the connections with your clients. When you are being great with people, the more success you can have.
(4) Branding is important
Branding is important for every business. However, packaging, thousands of business cards, brochures can be useless, and they can be a big waste of money and paper. When it comes to branding, creating something personal, unique and consistent is valuable. It can help you stand out from other photographers in the market, and it can communicate who you are.
However, sometimes it is necessary to order branded products. When it comes to ordering, be careful. It is a misconception that huge order will save you money because chances are you will never use all of them. This can be true when you start your career and you will potentially change your branding a couple times before finding the good one.
So, the best way for ordering branded products is to find ways to print small runs, or print on demand. For example, if you can print your business cards on home printer, why do you need to order thousands of business cards at first? If you run out, then you realize that you are actually using them, and you can order a slightly larger order.
(5) Get Inspiration
It is very difficult to get idea without research today. When it comes to professional photography, it is normal to spend hours looking at other photographers websites and blogs. For example, if you are doing corporate photography, you may need to spend times on the websites or blogs of other corporate photographers.
Although you can definitely learn a lot from others who share the same profession as you, it does not mean you can copy their style. If you don't look for inspiration outside that idea, you apparently will do the same thing as everyone else. If a person looks for someone doing corporate photography, do you believe that they will find you as new and no experience? I believe not. Instead, they will find the one with good reputation and well-experienced.
As a photographer, the sources of inspiration are nearly unlimited. You can study the work of the great photographers in the past, check out new works from the other photographers, watch movies, etc. Idea is everywhere.
(6) Market Yourself
As marketing is one of the most important part in business, you need to find a way to market your service. A blog or website means your business. When you are sure you have a brilliant idea, put it on blog or website, press publish and wait. However, most of the times have nothing happen.
This often happens today because nobody cares about what you are doing unless you get their attention and make them care about your service. In other words, you need to show people that you are doing an outstanding job or things are interesting and valuable. Perhaps you have been doing very good and professional photography, but if you do not know how to make people know about it, you will not see any success.
When you get your business all set up with a website, name, and logo, etc, that is a starting point. However, website itself cannot help you get attention. You need to get out there and tell people about it, and market yourself.
(This is one of the most common mistake of marketing today. People believe that putting the website online and people will automatically find them. In fact, website is only a tool for marketing.)
(7) Think Big
If you are going to start a business, you always think and dream big. That is totally normal and do not be afraid. For example, when you plan about how many clients you can get for first few months, you could expecting more. If you believe you can only get few and you believe that is enough, you cannot be able to go for bigger business.
So thinking big is not necessary bad. With some patient and creativity, and a lot of hard work, chances to get successful in photography business are still there.
About the writer
Tony Young, Canadian living in Asia since 2010. I provide digital marketing services (Web design, Internet marketing, SEO, and social media marketing). My clients are in Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
I like writing articles from serious topic to creative writing. I like to tell you funny jokes and bring positive message to people. Topics of my writing are various. Most of them are related to humor, creative, and marketing.