Photography Business Plan in Nigeria
There is a popular saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. This expression gives the notion that a picture can convey a message perfectly than would do a description. Photography has been in existence for centuries and has evolved and gotten better with time. Photography is more than just taking pictures. It is an art and science on its own. It is applied for the purpose of creating images that are durable. It is used to capture memory and events. Photography preserves memories for years, with a meaning that written words can hardly convey.
Photography in Nigeria and also other places around the world used to be analogue, where you require a camera film to keep pictures after taking pictures, and you take it to a studio lab where it is washed and pictures produced. Photography has since evolved from that. The world is fast moving and things and processes are being modified to keep up with the pace. The modification of photography was not left behind, as it has evolved from analogue to digital photography. It is true analogue photography has not gone totally extinct, but digital photography has taken over and it is what is in vogue. Digital photography is taking photographs with the use of a digital camera. Digital photography is more preferred to its counterpart because of certain reasons;
- Durability and Image Quality: The image quality of a digital camera is superb compared to analogue camera. It may best be understood if pictures from both cameras are placed side by side. Whether you talk about image sharpness, background, colour mix or scape, the digital photography takes it all. Durability of digital photographs are not questionable. They last longer compared to analogue photographs.
- It is fast: With digital photography you could actually get your pictures on the go. This is convenient for a lot of people because time is very precious, especially when it has to do with taking passports that are urgently needed or taking pictures of guests at wedding venues or other ceremonies, where the people will not remain there forever to get their pictures. This has made digital photography to be the more preferred form of photography.
This is just two major reasons why digital photography is preferred to analogue, and there are lots more reasons if you choose to look deeper at that subject. Well, this article will not pay much attention to the importance of digital over analogue photography.
As you already know, there are hundreds of digital photographers out there and you are wondering how come they still continue in the business with more joining every now and then. Is it that profitable? Well, whether every single digital photographer out there makes profit from the business, that I cannot say, but one thing I can confidently say is that the business is lucrative and profitable depending on what you make of it. Let me also warn that going into this business with just the purpose of making profit will see you fizzling out of this business in no time or if you do not fizzle out, you will begin to struggle with keeping up when others move on. If you want to excel in this business and do so exceptionally, you will have to be creative. Creativeness that will be borne of passion and zeal for the business.
You are probably in high spirits about starting up, well that is a good sign. However, you need to ask yourself and provide answer as well on what genre or branch of photography you want to focus on. Its more like what type of photography you want to specialise on. There are a lot of photographers who are jack of all types of photography and master of none. Though, these people may fair relatively well in the business, but those that go on to choose a “niche” will do far better, as they will be able to put all their resources and master that particular niche thereby creating a name for themselves in the list of not just professional but exceptional photographers. So take time to choose the type of photography you want to specialise in. The good thing with this is that, you do not have to make this decision right away, but as your business progresses, you get to analyse what type of photography you do best in and importantly what type you have intense passion for. In order to help you weigh your options, we will give some branches of photography you can specialize in.
Types/Branches of Photography
- Landscape Photography: Landscape photography is one of the most popular branches of photography. It is used to depict an environment or surrounding and can even portray environmental changes. Environmental conversationalists otherwise known as environmentalists have seriously taken to landscape photography, as it is able to give illustrations of changes that occur in an environment. Landscape photography is one that helps you capture what nature is at that moment or time. It doesn’t have to be the beautiful side of nature or the environment always. Deforestation and land degradation can be uniquely captured by a landscape photographer. Most landscapes pictures aims at depicting natures existence alone.
- Portrait Photography or Portraiture: This type of photography captures the personality of a person or a group of people by using poses, backdrops and effective lighting. Capturing people, their moods and expressions can be a huge excitement for photographers. Portraiture goes beyond capturing the face or physical appearance of a person or group of people. Portraiture captures a person in such a manner that the individual can almost be seen through from the picture. This is one of the most common types of photography in Nigeria. In order to excel in this photography branch, you need more than the required skills, you have to see through your clients and be able to place yourself in their world.
- Fashion Photography: Typically, a fashion photography is used to sell fashion designs and products to customers. This type of photography lures customers by displaying elegance and attractiveness of the fashion. It is a promising photography branch because it pays and the fashion world is ever expanding, creating room for more business for photographers. Apart from knowing how to tweak and make changes to your camera, you need to understand fashion yourself to be able to produce outstanding pictures. There will be different types of fashion shoots, sometimes you may shoot models on wedding gowns in the studio, or you may shoot gymnasts doing workouts to advertise work out kits or any other type of shoot. So, you have to understand fashion to get this work done right. You can learn from the internet, which is always a good place to start, read magazines for fashion photoshoots. You can also attach yourself to a professional and good fashion photographer. Get attached as a volunteer which a lot of people like, and learn the skills needed for this niche of photography.
- Night Photography: This is one of the most challenging branches of photography. Photography itself depends largely on presence of light, making a photograph in the absence of light will take a lot of skill, technique, creativity and image processing knowledge. Not everyone is cut out for this type of photography, but it is lucrative, fun and exciting. Photographers that have mastered this type of photography did not do so overnight. It requires patience and constant practice to get to the point of getting it right. These shots are best taken in manual mode of your camera, which allows you adjust the settings.
- Street Photography: Street photography is capturing the moments in public places in everyday life. In this type of photography, there is no perfect moment to take the perfect shot, as the opportunity arises, you take it. If you have to get your equipments to take a perfect shot, you may miss the opportunity, so you have to make do with what you have at the moment. Street photography goes beyond skills ; it is underpinned on your level of insight and the right timing. Your focus shouldn’t be just around busy spots or tourists spots, but try to capture real live scenes and image behind the scenes. Be perceptive in your approach.
- Glamour Photography: Though glamour photography stems from fashion photography, however, it goes a step ahead of it. Glamour photography is all about the glitz and extravagance. Such shoots are usually for magazines, billboards, prints or online or sometimes just for the screens. You have to be creative to do well in this branch of photography, because you may need to develop ideas for props or poses that will bring out the magic in a photo.
- Candid Photography: This is another popular branch of photography. It is the unplanned capturing of moments as they happen. Subjects are usually relaxed in this type of photography because they are usually unaware they are being photographed in the first place. One way to help you achieve this is to use a long zoom to enable you take that shot without making your presence known or felt, which keeps your subject relaxed and all natural.
- Conceptual/Fine Art Photography: This branch of photography is different from the others. Other photography captures what the photographer sees and every other person may see, but fine art photography captures and tries to interpret what the photographer himself/herself sees that no one else sees. This kind of photography carries messages. It brings out the artistic part of the photographer. Fiction plays a huge role in this branch of photography. Only someone with a good sense of art, combined with a creative mind can be a fine art photographer.
- Wedding Photography: This is one of the most popular branches of photography in Nigeria. The photographer captures the people and events of a wedding and tries to do so magnificently to the admiration of all. A good knowledge about candid photography is very useful here as sometimes, shots may be taken that captures natural moments of subjects unawares.
The list of photography types goes on and on, however, other photography types will just be listed. Find below other niches of photography.
- Macro photography.
- Food photography.
- Aerial photography.
- Architectural photography.
- Wild flower photography.
- Documentary photography.
- Journalism photography.
- War photography.
- Sports photography.
- Travel photography.
- Medical photography.
- Maternity/new born/family photography.
- Wildlife photography. E.t.c.
Now that we have looked at the branches of photography, we will move on to examine the basic needs for setting up a digital photography business in Nigeria. This is a guide and should not rule out personal consultations. Also, the list does not have to be followed chronologically. For instance, you may choose to do 3 before taking on 1. Do what best suits setting up your business.
- Plan your photography business: You may wonder why some people over the years has not made a lot of progress in this line of business as lucrative as it is. One of the reasons for this is inadequate or zero plan for their business. This is what happens when you go into the business with the only idea of “make man see food chop”. Every business has profit whether on the long or short term, it is why it is called business. However, your ability to stay in business and do so elegantly will be determined by how well you planned your business before its take off. A business plan for your photography business will help you determine if your photography business will work when you put all your available resources and controlling factors together. Business plan helps you set your business goals and develop the steps you need to meet those goals. It helps you get prepared to mitigate risks in your business. A well drafted business plan is useful to help you get financial assistance from financial institutions. Where you see your business to be in the next couple of years will be covered by your business plan. A good business plan will be able to tell you later on if your business progressed and how much progress it made. These are some of the things a business plan takes care of. You can get a professional business plan writer to write your business plan or you can check on the internet for photography business plan templates and use the one that best suits you.
- Feasibility analysis: A feasibility analysis in simple terms is a research undertaken by a person to determine if a particular business they are planning to invest will work and if it will bring in profit. A typical feasibility analysis will contain:
- Market analysis: If you decide to be a journalistic photographer or maternity photographer or any other photographer, you need to analyse what market is out there for you. In simpler terms, how much clients will you get for the category of photography you want to choose. Remember that the more patronage you have, the more your business expands and the more your profit grows. So, take time to analyse what group or class of people that will be interested in your business type and especially in your desired location. You can consult the internet for this. Newspaper articles can be helpful as well.
- Competitor analysis: This is very crucial. There are hundreds and possibly thousands of photographers out there, and the numbers will continue to increase. So, you need to analyse who your competitors will be and how you intend to put up a fierce and healthy competition. Find out what they do and how they do it. If you cannot provide something different and enticing from what they do, then you can modify what they do and do it better.
- Financial analysis: Financial analysis will provide not just your set up cost but also running cost of the business. Your financial analysis should contain statement for profit and loss estimate. It should also contain anticipated profit from your business. Though the business is lucrative and always ever booming, yet there may be times clients may not patronise your business as expected. Financial analysis will prepare you for such situations.
Again, it is important to get a professional to undertake your feasibility studies if you are unable to, especially the parts that deals with calculations, estimations and projections. However, it is strongly advised you work closely with the professional to make your desired inputs and observations.
Do you want to get a sample Photography business plan in Nigeria? To place your order, pay N10, 000 to:
BANK NAME: FIRST BANK PLC
ACCOUNT NAME: CHIBUZOR TOCHI ONYEMENAM
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 3066880122
After payment, text your full name, email address and title (photography business plan pdf) to 07033378184. Your business plan will be sent to your email within 15 minutes.
- Get trained, Research and Practice a lot: Photography takes more than just taking good photos with your phone camera or maybe even with your digital camera. To be good at what you do, you need to get trained. One easy way to do this is to attach yourself to a professional photographer with incredible works, and work as a volunteer, learning all you need to know about the business. You need to do a lot of reading ad researching if you want to offer excellent photographs. Last but not the least, practice often. Take free shots of family and friends, ask for feedback as well. Remember they say, practice makes perfect.
- Get a location: You may want to consider this before you go on equipment shopping spree. I understand the excitement this business brings and how much creativity already welled up in your mind you want to dish out, but this needs to be considered first. You may decide to start from home, which is not bad but will be very cumbersome because you will have to do a lot of talking to get customers, unlike when the business is located in a strategic place and customers can just walk in on their own without being referred.
In choosing a location, look out for somewhere close to the road side and in a busy and populated area. This is strategic and will draw first time customers to you, who will spread the message of your work, especially when they are impressed by it. Remember, the office should be spacious enough for your equipments and should have enough room for expansion.
- Shop for your equipment: If you are working on a tight budget, you may need to just purchase a good digital camera and a laptop with a high RAM, both of which can be fairly used but still of very good quality. Otherwise, if you are looking to enter the business with full force, you can buy all the equipment before start. There are a lot of photography equipment out there and not all will be used for a certain type of photography if you a specializing in an aspect. So buy the basic ones and as times goes on, you can add others you need for your work. However keep in mind that the quality of your photos to a large extent will depend on the quality of your equipment. Find below some of the equipment needed to set up your digital photography business.
- Camera(s) e.g. Nikon D7000 DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera.
- Studio props.
- Reflectors and diffusers.
- Studio lights and light stands.
- Background and background supporting systems.
- Memory cards and card reader.
- External hard drives.
- Post-processing software e.g. Adobe lightroom, Picasa, Corel Draw, e.t.c
- A generator or an alternate source of energy for electricity production e.g. solar energy.
- A bag that all your equipments needed at a time will fit into.
- Lens cleaner ; to clean your lens.
- Sensor gel stick ; to remove dust from your sensors.
- Extra camera battery.
- Get your business name, logo and unique brand: Getting a business name, logo and brand gives it a unique and professional look in the eyes of clients. So take time to choose a catchy and professional name, a unique and attractive logo and then go ahead to brand.
- Register your business: One way to keep your brand and business uniqueness away from theft is by registering it. You will need to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and any other association affiliated to your business in your area of operation. Registering your business also gives it a professional look and can boosts the confidence of your clients in your business, because it is a serious business that will go ahead to be registered, and who doesn’t like to do business with serious minded people.
- Market and Advertise: This is essential for your business growth. Yes, new customers will come through referrals from existing customers, but a faster way to grow your business is to market and advertise your work. Below are some ways to advertise your business.
- Social media: Advertise on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook e.t.c Upload a lot of quality photos. Do not make the mistake of copying photos from the internet and taking credits, you will be caught and the results will be disastrous.
- Website and Blog: You may need a professional to design a website, however, you could design a blog by yourself. Your website or blog should contain every single detail about your business, not the private details though. Your line of work should be clearly stated. Your contact information and charges should be there as well and any other information that is needed to advertise your business. Also, there should be high graded and quality pictures to show your work. You should have a lot of them there.
- Be ready to attend events uninvited: This may be needed as a beginner. Once you become grounded in the business, you will be the one to reject contracts you may not be able to meet up with.
- Create an attractive background that will lure those that pass by your studio.
- Encourage referrals and offer bonus to existing customers that refer new customers. For instance, you could offer one free shot to those that refer a new customer.
- You should have a nice waiting area, and a photo album of your best photos taken for first timers to see. Some people may just want to check out your studio, but once they become convinced of the quality of your work, they make up their minds right away.
- Sponsor programmes and make this well known: You can put a sign to let people know the kind of programme you are sponsoring. For instance, you can tag your programme “the most photogenic kid in the neighborhood”. There should be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, to encourage participation. This will require some funds, but it will give you the desired popularity. Once you are able to deliver perfectly, even just in one occasion, it may be all the advert you need to make, because you will carve out a space in the minds and memories of the people around there.
- Employ staff(s): Staff or staffs as the case may be may not be necessary depending on your photography specialisation. If you are going to be an all time studio photographer, you may not need a staff. If not, you will need someone to answer questions and enquiries made when you go out to cover an event. All the staff needs is a good communication skills, record taking skill and good comprehension skill. You could have an apprentice or IT student take on this role.
How Profitable is this Business
It is true this business requires considerable capital to set it up, however, it has an attractive return on investment (ROI). Let us look at a case study here. It is not a new fact that wedding ceremonies happen all year round irrespective of rainy or dry season, even though most marriages takes place during the dry season. Hiring the services of a wedding photographer is no joke. The least charged is #70,000 and if you are very good at what you do, your charge could be as high as #200,000 per wedding. So, if you charge an average of #150,000 per wedding, and you cover at leas least 3 wedding ceremonies in a month that will give you #450,000. This is huge because unlike other business, where you need to keep buying a lot of raw materials, it is not so with photography business, though you may need to buy certain things like printer ink, sensor gel stick or any other thing, they are not frequently bought items and could carry for months before they need to be replaced. Apart from staffs you may pay and cost of buying diesel or fuel for your generator, you could end up with over #150,000 profit in a month. Mind you, this is for an average charge rate of #150,000. Some photographers charge close to half a million per wedding. Remember, you will not start to charge at this rate in the beginning or you would not get any customers. You need to peg your price at what is generally acceptable, even lower to get customers. Once you have quality works to back up your prices, then you can increase your charges. If you are exceptional with what you do, you will get contracts from all over the country. You may even get to that point where people who wish to hold their ceremonies outside the country will take you along to photograph the event. At this stage, you should have an idea what your charges will be like. While it is true you may not get a contract to cover a wedding ceremony every other weekend, this is likely to pass once you graduate from being a beginner in the business. Once you make your mark in this industry, you will be the one to turn down contracts. Yes, this will take some time. So, do not expect the huge profits to start coming all at once. You will have to work hard, but one sure thing is you will not regret it and the reward will outweigh the work or effort you put into it.
I hope this article has served as an eye opener to you about setting up a digital photography business in Nigeria. Gone are the days when photography business is viewed as hustling for daily bread. It is a serious business for serious minded people. People rake in millions and will continue to rake in millions from this business. This may look like a lot, but it is not. If a business will fetch you a profit of over #100,000 in a month for a start, then it is not a light matter. Not many businesses can do that. Try to remember that where there is no venture then there would certainly be no success.
Tips to Take Home about Setting Photography Business in Nigeria
- Be friendly and polite.
- A good communication skill will go a long way.
- You can start small and grow big. To start small, you will need just a good digital camera and laptop with high RAM. You can print your pictures from a studio lab.
- Be professional in your business, this helps to ward off customers that seems to take politeness or simplicity for granted.
- There is a saying that you will be addressed the way you dress. So dress smartly and neatly. Avoid piercings, ragged look, tattoos and putting on too much jewelry. It can be a turn off for customers.
- Keep up to date with happenings in the industry.
- Be very innovative and creative.
- Aim always for customer satisfaction and make sure they confirm so. If there is any complaint for unsatisfactory service offered, apologise and offer a free photo session and ask them to pick the one they like. This will make your customers happy.
- Check your social network status, blog and website often and respond to enquires as quickly as possible.
- Offer bonus for referrals and discounts from time to time.
- Support a charity event, this will help to advertise your business.
- Collaborate with businesses and individuals. A wedding planner could give you contracts as well as owners or managers of event halls for rent. Build a network with those that can promote your business.
- Deliver on time and if you have to cover an event, be there on time. Don’t let your customers wait for you.
Get your own Sample Photography Business Plan in Nigeria now! To place order, Pay N30,000 to:
BANK NAME: GUARANTY TRUST BANK (GTB)
ACCOUNT NAME: CHIBUZOR TOCHI ONYEMENAM
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 0044056891
BANK NAME: FIRST BANK PLC
ACCOUNT NAME: CHIBUZOR TOCHI ONYEMENAM
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 3066880122
After payment, send your full name, email address and topic (i.e. photography business plan pdf) to 07033378184. Your business plan will be sent to your email within 15 minutes.
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