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Building a business is an exciting endeavor, especially when it’s an artistic passion like photography. But art and passion will only take you so far. Business success requires business savvy — you must know how to market your services, manage client relationships, navigate your finances, and much, much more.

Business courses are an excellent way for small business owners to develop essential skills. Luckily, we have more resources at our fingertips than ever before, including countless online business courses. With the abundance of resources - comes choice overload. It’s hard to determine where to begin and which courses you need to take. 

In this post, we’ll share some helpful suggestions to get you started!

A sticky note that says "Never Stop Learning"

1. Fundamental Small Business Courses

The best starting point for any small business owner is an introductory business course.  Before you spend more time and money on editing courses or take a deep dive into marketing, you need a broad understanding of what it takes to run a business. 

Here are a few places to start to learn more about what it takes to run a successful small business. 

These courses will help you understand your finances. Of course, you’ll need to budget, track expenses, pay taxes, and more. For this purpose, we highly recommend hiring an accountant. Although it’s still helpful to have some degree of business finance knowledge. 

2. Photography Business Courses

The following resources will help you understand the photography business, including finances, marketing, and operations and all without scaring you off! 

3. Marketing Courses

Once you have the business foundations, you can narrow in on learning more about the marketing of your business. Marketing is often simplified in the photography business, but it’s essential for your long-term success. New photographers sometimes think they can simply pick up their camera, fire off a few social media posts, and attract a large customer base. Sadly, however, that’s not how it works, especially in such a competitive field such as photography.

There are many areas of marketing that are constantly changing, so you’ll need to determine what makes the most sense for your business. Below, we have listed the areas of marketing that you need to learn first as well as point you to a few helpful courses in each area.

Website Marketing (SEO)

Starting your website is an effective way to market your photography business. But with thousands of photography websites competing for attention, how do you make sure yours stands out? It’s helpful to learn about website best practices, SEO (search engine optimization),  Google My Business, and blogging. If you need help building your website, most site builders offer a wealth of resources and tutorials. 

You can also consider trading services. Do you have a friend who builds websites? Maybe they can help you in exchange for photos for their website or online store.

Here are some courses we recommend for Website Marketing and SEO.

Email Marketing

Marketing your services through email is an affordable, measurable way to build your clientele. To learn more about email marketing check out:

Social Media Marketing

Social media gives you a window to millions of potential customers. In addition, it’s an excellent marketing tool for photographers because it allows you to show off the beautiful images you’ve captured.

Social media marketing can include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Snapchat. You don’t have to be on every platform, so consider your needs and your audience. For example, what social media platforms do they frequent? Where are they most likely to get their information about local services?  In addition to organic marketing through social channels, you can also consider paid marketing, such as Facebook and Instagram ads.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to social media marketing! Here are some resources to get you started:

A little thing to note as you get started with social media, it can be very disheartening to see your following take a long time to build while watching other photographers’ follower count grow. Try not to focus on that; just remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, it was built brick by brick!

A photo that says "The only photographer you need to be better than is the photographer you were yesterday"

When it comes to marketing, there is so much to learn and it can be overwhelming.

We recommend focusing on your website SEO first. It takes time to build a domain reputation, so it’s best to start as soon as possible. Social media is very important but not as critical for your long-term business health. Social media accounts can get hacked or go down, so you don’t want to rely solely on social media to promote your business.

After you launch your website, create your social media accounts, and start posting, you can begin building an email list and learning how to nurture your clients via email.

You don’t have to do everything at once, especially when you’re just starting. Everyone is different, so the marketing techniques that work for one photographer may not work for you and your style. The key to marketing is understanding your target audience and appealing to their needs, wants, and interests. Find out what you’re good at, what your audience enjoys, what you like to do, and what works best for YOU and your business!

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4. Photography Courses

Of course, photography is still an essential element of a photography business. If you want to hone your photography and editing skills, you’ll find plenty of helpful material online. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Associations are a great way to learn the tools of the trade as well as the business side. Associations offer many benefits, including education, community, insurance, and copyright protection.

Remember that understanding the business side of the photography business will ensure your long-term success. 

We hope these resources will help you on your journey to building a successful photography business! These are just a few of our favorites?

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