Are you considering starting a photography business in Nigeria? If yes, then you should definitely read this.
The photography industry is a fast-growing business sector that is getting more and more competitive as passion-driven individuals (like you) decide to monetize their love for taking pictures. The advent of digital photography has made the industry even more lucrative in Nigeria and relatively easy to start too.
However, it requires a great deal of conscious time, effort and dedication.
This article will be focusing on the needed steps to starting a successful photography business in Nigeria.
Steps to Starting A Photography Business in Nigeria
While your passion for taking pictures is important, it may not be enough for you to scale the photography industry successfully and earn the title of a professional photographer. That is why you need these 10 important steps to starting your own photography brand in Nigeria.
Choose a niche
Before taking up a career in photography, it is advisable that you choose an aspect of photography you would like to major in. Apart from the fact that this helps you target your learning and better still, your audience, it also makes you stand out as an authority in that niche in years to come.
Another valid reason to specialize is, photography requires a good dose of inspiration (surprising, right? Lol.) and inspiration stems primarily from passion and specialty. So in the long run, this serves you well.
If you’re wondering how you can find your inspiration, try this. Sample your interests by starting off with different occasions. Attend events, take nature and landscape shots, snap products, shoot portraits, etc.
This way, you are testing different niches and with time, you’ll discover where your interest truly lies.
While it is easy to just point and snap, it takes a higher level of skill and technique to snap professionally. This is where learning comes in. You will need to commit your time and resources to learning either in a photography academy or under a professional photographer for a specific period of time.
You can also look out for a very good photo studio and apply for apprenticeship so you can get hands-on knowledge. Some key subjects you must take your time and learn are lighting and exposure triangle – ISO, aperture and shutter speed. These are the foundation of any good (or bad) image.
In the absence of adequate lighting equipment, you must be able to use the available light to your advantage such that the image comes out good.
You must also learn photo editing properly as no one would patronize a photographer who does not make them look good in pictures.
After covering these key subjects in photography, you are almost ready to begin your journey to professional photography.
Get the necessary equipment
Here’s a list of the equipment required to start a profitable professional photography business in Nigeria:
- A digital camera: certain things to consider before choosing a camera are budget, photography niche, professionalism, simplicity of use, availability of accessories, durability, etc.
- Speed light or strobe.
- Camera battery.
- Camera bag.
- External flash or hard drive.
- Camera strap.
As a growing photographer, your equipment is undoubtedly your biggest investment, one you shouldn’t rush into but consider carefully based on the above factors. There are budget-friendly cameras you can begin with and upgrade as time progresses.
But do not be discouraged if you cannot setup a fully equipped studio. This next step can assist you secure funding from individuals or agencies.
Create a business plan/strategy
Just as planning is important to various aspects of life, it is to business too. For a business to succeed, it must have a comprehensive business plan and strategy. A business plan is simply a document outlining the business vision and objectives and providing the needed strategies to achieving it.
A business plan should contain:
- An overview of the business.
- General business description.
- Executive summary.
- Market research.
- SWOT analysis.
- The strategy.
- The team.
- Marketing plan.
- Operational plan.
- Financial projection.
Having a business plan is not only important to the business itself but also to potential investors/sponsors as it is their own means of deciding whether or not the investment or funding is worth it. Therefore, you must pay great attention to every detail it contains.
Register the business with CAC
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the recognized body responsible for registering businesses in Nigeria. Starting your business on a structured level is advisable because the pros far outweigh the cons. One of such pros is the ability to open a corporate account with your registration certificate, thereby making it bear the business name.
This portrays a trustworthy image to prospective clients.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
The key to mastery is practice. And if there’s one business that lays great emphasis on this, it’s photography. Volunteering is a means of practicing that gives you hands-on experience in addition to connecting and learning.
Offer your services to upcoming and established photography brands occasionally. Offer freebies for both events and individuals. Interestingly, some people will still offer to pay a token for your volunteering services. However, in the early stages, the focus is not on making money but on building a client base and nurturing valuable relationships.
Accept constructive criticism and your mistakes as that is a good step to learning from them. The experience that comes with practicing is invaluable.
Network and build relationships
Deliberately attend events and connect with people. Be intentional about it as people form the basis of your business survival. Take your business cards/fliers/brochures with you and don’t hesitate to hand them over after introducing yourself.
With existing connections, be sure to nurture them with excellent customer service and quality pictures. This imprints you on their mind and can lead to referrals which is a lifeline of any business.
Up your marketing game. Or get one
A good percentage(about 80%) of your prospective customers are on social media and you cannot reach them or they, you if you don’t have a social media presence.
Take digital marketing courses if you have to or hire a digital marketer who would handle your online presence professionally. Know your target audience and employ specific deliberate measures to reach them. Run targeted ads on various media. Leverage social media platforms.
Get a good studio space
You can choose to begin with only outdoor shots. Or you can pair up with someone who already owns a studio and hire it for each session you’re contracted for. You can also go a step further by setting up your own studio for ease and client convenience.
If it doesn’t fit the budget currently, include it in your short or long term goals and work towards it.
- Look the part! You can slay as a photographer (you are a part of the fashion industry after all. Lol.) If you want to be taken seriously, take your appearance seriously.
- Be uniquely creative: try out various concepts and styles. Play with light and colors, these things are there for your manipulation. This also applies to your logo and general branding. Is your brand one that your prospective customers would love to be affiliated with? People like unique. Give them that.
- Offer something different: identify something that is not common among your competitors and offer it to your customers. It could be great customer service. Tweak it to reflect your brand and see how word of mouth from happy clients market you.
- Be humorous. Customers like someone who can make them smile.
- Prioritize customer satisfaction.
- Be timely with delivery.
While the photography business can be very demanding in terms of work hours, energy and resources, it is also very rewarding. Do not expect everything to be perfect before you start as it will never be.
There’ll always be something missing so begin with what you have and build from there.