In the beginning of my food photography creative business, it was one of the most exciting things I did. Why? Because it gave me the opportunity to make my own rules, create my own deadlines, and be in complete control of my career.
But it was also one of the most terrifying things I did. Why? Because it gave me the opportunity to make my own rules, create my own deadlines, and be in complete control of my career. Get it?
I had to learn how to find clients, market myself and my business, deal with clients, manage time, and manage money. I also had to figure out how to do this while staying sane and healthy!
So what happens when those two realities collide? You end up with a whole lot of lessons learned (and some new gray hairs) along the way. Here are three things no one tells you about starting a food photography business:
It’s a jungle out there, and you’re going to have to be your own ally and advocate for yourself. As a creative, you’ve got to be on-your-toes aware of what’s happening in the industry, and that means knowing how to spot predatory clients (and avoid them).
There are a lot of predatory clients out there who will try and take advantage of your talent. Statements like “exposure” and “collaboration” should be red flags to look out for—those are just code words for “I want something from you but don’t want to pay for it.”
As a food photography creative dbusiness owner, you’ve got to be your own advocate and get what you deserve: a fair rate for the work that you do!
The best clients understand and live by the quote “You get what you pay for.” The best clients want the best talent, and they’re willing to pay for it. If you’re not confident in yourself and your work, how can you expect anyone else to be?
Practice discussing your photography and your style with anyone who will listen. The more often you talk about it, the more natural it will feel when someone asks about it at an event or networking opportunity.
Your brand needs to be on point and cohesive across all platforms: Instagram, website, email signature. Use consistent colors, fonts, and images so that when someone finds your website or Instagram page, they know exactly what they’re getting into before they click through!
When it comes to freelancing, it’s not so much about what you know, but who you know. Every big client I landed was through word-of-mouth. If you want to succeed in this industry, there is no substitute for networking.
It’s been said that “Your network is your net worth,” and that’s never been truer than in today’s world, where connections are more important than ever before.
Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic book about making connections. I read this book once a year so that Dale’s advice stays top-of-mind for me.
But the truth is, the only thing that matters is your own path. If you have a passion and a dream—and you’re willing to work hard—there are plenty of ways to make it happen. And if you don’t, then that’s OK too! In any case, I hope these three tips will help you get started on your journey in food photography.
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and get super weird, give us a call. We can’t wait to help you grow!