Whether you’re starting a photography business or taking your current one to the next level, you need to know how to write a photography business plan. This will become your roadmap — stating your goals and outlining your plan to achieve and measure them. You can use it to monitor your professional progress, decide if changes need to be made to your setup, and evaluate which new projects you want to take on. At the point you look for investors or business partners, it will also play a key role in those discussions.
If you’re unsure how to write a photography business plan or want to improve how you’ve done it previously, we’ve broken the process down here into six key elements.
1. Executive summary
The executive summary serves as a business overview for your reader. Make it direct and concise to draw the reader further into the business plan. It should be enticing but not overly emotional. You’ll dive deeper into the fine detail, later on, so use this space to talk big-picture about your photography business, focusing on the things you want people to know about.
Things to include:
- Your business’s name and location
- A concise description of what it is and what it does
- A short introduction to its management team
- A punchy mission statement
2. Company description
You might have a clear vision for your business, but you need to be able to communicate that to others — not only clients, financial backers too. A company description highlights the most important characteristics of your photography business. You can write emotively here, as it’s a little more like an elevator pitch than a dry summary. As always, though, stick to the most compelling information.
3. Market analysis
The market analysis uncovers specific nuances of the local industry and identifies trends vital to your success.
Things to include:
- An overview of the market as a whole
- A description of your photography specialism and where you fit into the wider industry
- An overview of your target market, including their demographic and psychographic groups
- A competitor analysis that identifies other photography businesses in your region
Your business plan should detail what other professional photographers’ work looks like within the market you want to serve. Look at the geographical area you want to cover and the niche type of photography you’ll offer, such as wedding photography, studio shoots, commercials, or Press. Professional photographers often travel widely for work.
Your business plan should evidence either:
- enough customers and work to allow you to break into the market despite an established competitor already being there
- how you’ll win customers from your competitors.
List each competitor’s offerings, shortcomings, and strategies for competing against them.
- Functional area (what geographic area they serve) – is the town or city you want to do already saturated with similar businesses, or is there a gap in the market?
- Pricing – how does yours compare? If your prices are much higher, will customers be willing to pay? If yours are much lower, can you still be profitable? Show how and why.
- Services – do your competitors offer everything you plan to? Do you have a unique selling point in terms of a service you offer, such as drone aerial pictures or instant prints? Have your competitors thought of something you haven’t, and could you add that to your business plan?
From this section, create a SWOT analysis of your photography business:
- Outline your unique experience, knowledge, skills, and professional network. You may also find strengths in things such as your location if, for example, there are few competitors locally.
- What are your areas of vulnerability? This could include a lack of necessary equipment and staff support or a hard-to-shift price point that isn’t benefiting your business.
- Identify your business goals and the industry opportunities within your area. Where is there a gap in the industry, and do you have the skills and means to fill it?
- Determine threats to your business, such as existing in a saturated market, competing with well-established companies, and dealing with various economic factors that affect your clients’ spending power. All of the available work being attentive for a short period could be a threat too if you don’t have the staff to get around to it all, such as in the case of wedding photography where Saturdays may be very busy, for example, but weekdays are generally quiet.
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