Photography Business Plan Template
Whether you want to start your own photography business or expand an existing one, you need a business plan. The following photography business plan template lets you know what elements you need to include in a successful photography business plan.
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To ensure your photography business success in this highly competitive market, you need a properly structured business plan for photography. With over 12 years of experience, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs create business plans to start and grow their photography businesses.If this is your first time writing a business plan, we’ll walk you through these sections and give you some key things to consider.
Things to Know Before Writing a Photography Business Plan
The Photography industry, which includes portraits, commercial and still photography services, has more than doubled from 2016 to 2021, despite challenging economic conditions and fierce competition from mobile cameras.
However, the industry is expected to remain quite vulnerable to external competition. Competition from individuals and organizations that can meet their own photographic needs will continue to restrain industry growth.
In general, the demand for commercial and portraiture photography services will closely follow trends in employment, disposable income, and corporate profit. Revenues are expected to increase by an annualized 0.5% to $11.3 billion by 2024.
This industry’s major products and services include
- Portrait services
- Wedding photography
- Commercial or industrial
- photography services
- All other services
Key Success Factors for Photography Business
Despite the challenges of the photography industry, we have identified 6 factors that can help you boost profitability, efficiency, and ultimately success.
- High-quality control: A quality product must always be delivered for long-term success.
- Project management skills: Small businesses must have good communication skills as well as good management skills.
- Ability to provide goods/services at various locations: In many cases, portraits and commercial photography are done on-site at a client’s location. Professional photographers must be willing to travel to their clients’ locations.
- Having a good understanding of the product: A photographer must be an expert in taking, processing, and printing images, including in digital format. In addition to having a good sense of lighting, color, and design, you also need to know how to use it.
- Word-of-mouth marketing: Positive recommendations from satisfied clients are an essential marketing tool.
- Produce goods currently in demand: As instant and digital photography become increasingly popular, customers will demand digital copies of photographs and video recordings.
Free: Business Plan Examples
Do you need help creating a business plan? Check out these six free, proven business plan examples from different industries to help you write your own.
What is a Photography Business Plan?
A solid, comprehensive plan will serve as a road map for the next three to five years of the photography business.
Any bank or investor you approach will require a photography business plan, so putting one together will be critical to securing funding.
In short, writing a business plan can help you succeed if you’re thinking of starting a photography business or pitching to investors or venture capitalists.
Why You Need a Business Plan for Photography
You can stay current with market trends by developing a photography business plan. In addition, it lets you track results over time, test lead generation strategies, and develop new marketing approaches.
Photography business owners who have a business plan grow 37% faster than those who don’t, and 74% of fast-growing businesses have one.
The following is what a good business plan for photography will show you:
- Where you are right now
- What you want to achieve
- How will you get there
- How will you measure your success
- Where and when to make corrections
A photography business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Funding Sources for Photography Business
The main sources of funding for a photography business are personal savings, credit cards, and bank loans. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay the loan and interest.
To gain this confidence, the loan officer will not only look at your financials. However, they will demand a professional plan. A well-developed business plan will ensure that they are confident that you can successfully run a business.
How to Write a Photography Business Plan
To write a photography business plan, you don’t need to be an expert. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to write a business plan for photography, or you can just download our proven sample business plans to get a better idea.
The executive summary is the most important part of the document since it outlines the whole business plan. Despite the fact that it appears first in the plan, write the executive summary last so you may condense key concepts from the other nine parts.
It’s a part that catches the investor’s eye and provides key information about your company’s overview and upcoming short- and long-term goals.
Tell them what kind of photography business you have and what stage you’re in; for example, are you a startup, do you have a photography company that you want to expand, or do you have a lot of photography businesses?
Finally, an executive summary should provide investors with a preview of what they may expect from the rest of your document.
- Provide a high-level overview of the photography industry
- The name, location, and mission of your photography company
- A description of your photography business, including management, advisors, and a brief history
- Discuss the type of photography business you are operating, Give an overview of your target customers., and how your company differs from competitors in the industry
- Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales, and partnership plans.
- And give an overview of your financial plan
Check out these executive summary examples to help you write a perfect one for your photography business plan.
Free: Executive Summary Examples
An executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, and it need not be challenging to write. This is why we have put together some awesome free Executive Summary examples for you.
The company analysis follows the executive summary as the second section of a photography business plan. Your company overview will be short and clear, similar to the executive summary.
Even if they just have a few minutes, your reader has to understand what your company does and who your customers are.
The following sections will be included in your business plan’s Company Analysis:
- Company summary: Your company analysis will describe the type of photography business you are running and its future goals. The type of photography business you might be focused on:
(Portrait photography,Product photography,Wedding and event photography,Commercial photography)
- Company history: When and why did you start your photography business?
- What milestones have you achieved so far? Your milestones could include sales goals achieved, new store openings, etc.
- Legal structure and ownership: Do you have S-Corp status? Is it an LLC? A sole proprietorship? Describe your legal structure.
- Mission statement: An overview of your photography company’s guiding principles. Learn how to write a perfect mission statement
You need to include an overview of the photography business in the industry analysis you performed before creating a photography business plan.
While this research may appear to be unnecessary, it helps you to build strategies that maximize business opportunities while lowering or avoiding the identified risk.
Furthermore, market research can improve your strategy, especially if it identifies market trends. As an example, using instant cameras for guest contributions, or drones, etc., would be helpful if there was a trend towards documentary style event photography.
The third purpose for conducting market research is to demonstrate to readers that you are an industry expert.
Industry analysis can be presented as a 8-step process when written as part of a company’s business plan.
- Give a quick overview of the photography industry. Define the photography business in terms of size (in dollars), historical background, service region, and products.
- Examine previous trends and growth patterns in the photography industry.
- Identify the market’s major competitors.
- Age, gender, and general lifestyle of the targeted market
- Determine the factors that have an impact on the photography industry. These might include government regulatory rules and other businesses’ competitive activities.
- Using research data, the industry forecast expected growth over the next five to ten years. Predictions should be made for both the long and short term.
- Describe how your photography business intends to position itself in the industry. Concentrate on how your photography can benefit from opportunities highlighted in the industry.
The customer analysis section is an important part of any photography business plan since it evaluates the consumer segments that your company serves. It identifies target customers, determines what those customers want, and then explains how the services will meet those requirements.
Customers can be categorized into the following segments:
Engaged Couples, Families, Celebrities, Schools, New Parents, Online Retailers, Product Manufacturers, Area Businesses etc.
Customer analysis may be divided into two parts: Psycho-social profiles and Demographic profiles.
With regards to demographics, include information about: the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of your customers. When targeting businesses, describe what kind of business, size, and location your target customers are.
The psychological profiles of your target clients reveal their wants and needs. The better you understand and identify these demands, the better your chances of attracting and retaining customers will be.
Who are the main competitors in your target market, and what makes them your main competitors? How will you beat them? Use competitor analysis to:
- Identify the strength and weakness of your photography business competitors.
- Search for opportunities to distinguish your photography company from competitors.
The first step is to determine who your direct and indirect competitors are.
The direct competitors consists of other photography businesses that offer essentially the same services to the same people as you do.
Indirect competitors are various options that customers have to purchase from other than direct competitors. These include amateur photographers and DIYers with smartphones
You must mention such a competitors to observe that you are aware that not everyone who requires photography does so through a professional photographer.
Once you’ve identified the competitors, concentrate on the direct, head-to-head competitors, since they are the most threatening to your photography business — but keep an eye on the indirect competitors as well, just in case.
Provide an overview of each direct competitor’s business and detail their strengths and weaknesses.
You will be able to position yourself competitively in the market if you perform proper competitors research. Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and competitive advantages in the following areas:
- Prices – Are they offering cheaper photography services or more costly than you and other competitors, what value do buyers get for that price?
- Quality – Are they offering better quality photography, the perceived worth in the eyes of the customers
- Customer service – How they respond to their consumers, whether they treat them poorly or well, and the degrees of satisfaction customers show
- Reputation — The sum of everything mentioned above: their credibility, how loved the brand is, and the loyalty of their customers
The final section of your competitive analysis should include a list of your areas of competitive advantage. for example:
Are you going to offer premium photography services? Will you offer unique photography styles and services that your competitors don’t offer? Will you offer better pricing or will you offer greater customer support?
Consider how you will outperform your competitors and include them in this portion of your business plan for photography.
Free: SWOT Analysis Examples
Take advantage of our free SWOT analysis examples. Make your business future-proof by identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats using this free SWOT Analysis Template.
Creating a marketing plan for a photography business involves identifying the target demographic and finding photography services that suit their preferences.
As part of your marketing plan for a photography company, you should include:
Pricing and Product Strategy
Your photography business must offer photography styles and services that are different from those of your competitors, better in quality, unique and affordable in price.
Research what your competitors offer and how they price their photography services. Unique and quality services identifies your photography business as the place to go for unique photography services and differentiates it from others.
Placing and Promotions
As an example, Is your photography studio near a high-traffic retail development, inside a mall or near the tourism place? Discuss how you can ensure a steady flow of customers at your location.
Promoting your photography business is the final part of your marketing plan. In this step, you document how you will drive customers to purchase your photography business.
A few marketing methods you could consider are:
- Adding extra appeal to your photography storefront to attract passing customers
- Collaborations with community organisations ( Graphics designers etc.)
- Flyers and banners
- Contacting bloggers
- Marketing on social media
- Advertise in local papers, magazines, and on the web
- Placing banner ads at local venues
You should also think about your photography’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which should explain why clients should choose you over other photography businesses. Ensure that your USP is reflected in your marketing.
While the previous sections of your photography business plan described your goals, your operations plan discusses how you will achieve them.
An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it’s also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.
Your operations plan should be divided into two individual parts, as seen below.
All of the tasks involved in photography business, such as serving customers, procuring supplies, scouting new photo-shoot locations, and so on, are included in daily short-term processes.
Long-term goals are milestones you hope to reach. It may be the date when you expect to serve your 1000th customer or when you hope to reach $X in sales. Another example would be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or start a new location or service.
A strong management team is necessary to demonstrate your photography’ business’ ability to succeed as a business. Highlight the backgrounds of your key players, emphasizing the skills and experiences that demonstrate their ability to grow a business.
You and/or your team members should ideally have prior experience working in a photography business. If so, emphasize your knowledge and experience. However, you should emphasize any experience that you believe will help your photography business succeed.
Consider forming an advisory board if your team is lacking. An advisory board would consist of 2 to 8 people who would act as mentors to your company.
They would assist in answering questions and providing strategic direction. If necessary, seek out advisory board members with experience running photography and/or retail and small businesses.
As part of your financial plan, you should present a 5-year financial statement broken down monthly or quarterly for the first year, and then annually. Financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
A profit and loss statement is more commonly called an income statement. It shows your revenue and subtracts your expenses to determine whether you were profitable or not.
As you develop your income statement, you need to develop assumptions. For instance, Will sales grow by 2% or 11% per year? Your choice of assumptions will greatly impact your business’s financial forecasts. Conduct as much research as possible in order to ground your assumptions in reality.
Free: Income Statement Template
Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free income statement templates.
While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities.
The balance sheet shows your photography business’s net value at a specific point in time. It categorizes all of your company’s financial data into three categories:
- Assets: Tangible goods with the monetary worth that the company owns.
- Liabilities: Debt owing to a company’s creditor.
- Equity: The net difference when the total liabilities are subtracted from the total assets.
The equation that expresses the relationship between these financial data elements is Assets = Liabilities + Equity.
Create a pro forma balance sheet for your photography business plan that highlights the information in the income statement and cash flow projections. A balance sheet is normally prepared once a year by a company.
Balance sheets indicate your assets and liabilities, and while they contain a lot of information, they are simplified to highlight the most important things you need to know.
For example, spending $100,000 to build out your photography business will not result in instant revenues. Rather, it is an asset that should help you earn money for many years to come.
Similarly, if a bank write you a check for $50,000, you do not have to pay it back right now. Rather, that is a liability that you will repay over time.
Cash Flow Statement:
Your cash flow statement will help you determine how much money you need to start or grow your photography business. In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a photography business:
- Cost of equipment like lights, film, cameras, backdrops and props, storage, software, computer, etc.
- Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
- Cost of fixtures like chairs, wall designs, etc.
- Cost of ingredients and maintaining an adequate amount of supplies
- Taxes and permits
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Legal expenses
- Business insurance
Free: Balance Sheet Template
Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free balance sheet templates.
List any additional material you cannot include elsewhere, such as resumes from key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit histories.
Attach your full financial projections along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling in the appendix.
Bonus Tip: Learn how to write a business plan appendix for your photography business.
Summary of the Photography Business Plan
A photography business plan is a worthwhile investment. As long as you follow the template above, you will become an expert in no time.
By following the template, you will understand the photography business, your competition, and your customers. The plan will help you understand the steps necessary to launch and grow your photography business.
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We will show you some real-world business plan examples so you may know how to write your own, especially if you are seeking a bank loan or an outside investment and need to use SBA-approved formatting.