Monday, May 28, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY | Goodhart Photography, Northern Virginia Professional Photographer

These were taken a few years ago at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. I am always amazed at what a holy, solemn place the wall is, a public sanctuary in the middle of the hustle and bustle of modern every day life. Cell phones are silenced, voices are hushed, as people walk along this enormous black wall of marble, engraved with the names of soldiers who died believing in their country and in a cause larger than themselves.

This was taken years ago on a homeschooling field trip to Arlington Cemetery. My daughter was seven, and, at seeing the endless rows of headstones, spontaneously stopped to pray at a few of them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

STARTING A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS | Goodhart Photography, Northern Virginia Loudoun County Senior Portraits

I"ve been approached a few times asking for advice about starting a portrait photography business. So, I decided to blog about it. This outline is based on a brief presentation I gave last November at the northern Virginia NatureVisions Expo. I will eventually fill in all of these details in subsequent posts, but this will get you started.

 1. Set up legally.
      a. Small Business Development Centers in your area are your friend! The Loudoun Small Business
          Development Center has been invaluable to me. They have excellent checklists to help you through
          the process.
      b. Insurance (equipment, liability) -- one photographer was almost sued because a child tripped on a
          photoshoot and cut her lip
      c. Organize for your taxes and fees (sales tax, property tax, income tax, business licenses, home
          occupation permit if you do viewings in your home, etc...) -- get a system set up ASAP so when
          you are busy you'll be on top of things

 2. Keep improving your skills.
      a. Why? Everyone wants to be a photographer -- it's a highly competitive industry -- you have to
          differentiate yourself.
      b. Training seminars
      c. Associations and groups
      d. Competitions

 3. Be prepared to invest!
      a. Camera, lenses
      b. computer, software
      c. A web presence
      d. Marketing
      e. Growing in your area of expertise (props, etc...)
      f. Outsourcing tasks as your business grows

 4. Getting those first clients
      a. Portfolio Building  clients -- give them a killer special off of your rates
      b. network -- groups, photographic opportunities (golf tourneys, etc...)
      c. service projects -- some of my most widely read blog posts were my autism awareness posts
      d. creative marketing

5.  Business Practices
     a.   Legal (tracking receipts and expenses)
     b.  Workflow
     c.  Sales Practices, including pricing
     d.  Packaging and Presentation

 6. Growing
      a. WOM - keep your customers happy
      b. Social Media
      c. Marketing
      d. SEO
      e. Community events

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