With the fast advancement in the quality of mobile phone cameras, one would think the photography business will meet its waterloo. But that isn’t the case. Instead, the digital photography business in Nigeria blooms every day like a tree planted by streams of water.
Many Nigerian photography enthusiasts are becoming aware of this, and they are taking full advantage to storm this lucrative business. As such, it is quite expected photographers should anticipate some market competition glitches when starting or running this business.
As a professional photographer in Nigeria, I have taken my time and effort to guide you through your creative endeavour, and give you the comprehensive guide to run a successful photography business in Nigeria.
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As a rule of thumb, there are many things you need to know when starting a new business. The photography business is by no means an exception.
Here are the step-by-step guide you on how to become a successful photography business in Nigeria
How to become a successful photographer in Nigeria
Creativity is the mastermind of the photography business in Nigeria, and it comes in different forms. For example, a Nature photographer must know the best times to take amazing shots is when you can play with the exposure settings of the camera and your focus.
It goes from channelling the way the sky is, the rays of sunlight, the darkness of the clouds, shadows and natural backgrounds to the way you hold the camera when using the game bar for video clips.
Product photographers are another worthy example that needs the peak of creativity in the craft. Why? Because you cannot afford to make the products seem like a casual image. They must be shot in distinct manners, using simple external materials to complement the product’s background and the effects that will embellish the final production.
Event photography may seem like a herculean task whenever you are in a tight working condition. Say due to overcrowding or the small allocation of workspace provided by the protocol of the event venue. Or that the location does not have sufficient lights. Perhaps a local area that does not have an aesthetic background. In these situations, you must create something out of nothing.
You are the master of your craft, and there is hidden beauty in every environment. Knowing how to manipulate low lighting or overexposure by increasing or decreasing ISO, aperture and shutters speed. Additional use of led light, external flash, floodlight and softboxes to produce desired effects and consequently good production.
Master the craft
Your skillset is your number one boomer as a photographer. You need to master this craft and be proficient in it. Learn how to pay close attention to your subject. Observe the lighting, weather, atmospheric condition, and every other factor that will make your work brilliant.
Check out the environment and be sure it is perfect for the story you want to portray. And in case you sense something is wrong, feel free to communicate with your clients. Remember, your signature is on every picture you shoot, and you do not have the luxury of explaining to everyone who comes across your works that a mistake is not your fault.
Be familiar with your cameras
It is okay as a photographer to be vaster with the camera you used to practice during your apprenticeship. However, it would help if you can familiarize yourself with other brands and specs of professional cameras. This is more important for photographers who do not own a personal camera yet.
Ensure you make yourself familiar with whatever brand and spec of camera you plan to use at an event or for a shoot. You must find out where the essential buttons to manipulate your shoot quality and production are positioned. Generally, the ISO, shutter speed and aperture on any camera should be at the tip of your fingers.
Your composure is part of what made up your professionalism as a photographer. You need to learn how to handle your gadgets and equipment with care. You must also learn how to manage your space when working between crowds in events. Your total composure and movement must be deliberate at every level.
Carve a niche
Beyond just pointing and shooting pictures and video clips, you need to create a niche as a freelance photographer. i.e. give yourself a speciality. This does not mean that you will reject job offers from other facets of the craft. No! You can be an ace in event photography and still do couples of work in product photography, stock photography, media photography, celebrity photography/Paparazzi and so on.
What is most important is that whatever space you create for yourself, own it, be known for it. This helps you in tailoring your brand exposure and make a reputable name among competitions.
Develop your brand
To run a successful photography business in Nigeria, you must learn how to create a professional brand appearance for your business. This includes an engaging name and logo that resonate with your speciality. Afterwards, you should register with appropriate censoring bodies. This will help you in gaining more trust from your customers and prospects.
Lastly, create an office for your brand. This can be an online or offline office, a studio perhaps. I strongly advise having the two to increase your chances of getting more jobs.
Fine touch your works
Learning how to use some essential photo editing software is another essential factor you cannot afford to miss out on. They are paramount! You need to learn how to use the likes of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Corel Paintshop, PortraitPro, GIMP and so on.
After taking shots or, in some cases, images that are not up to standard due to other compromising factors, it would be left to you to use this software to enhance your shoots. This can be to compliment them or reduce the exposure to ensure you achieve desired quality.
Create a standard
After you must have created a brand identity for your photography business and you have started reaching out to clients, the next step is to standardize your services. Every business has its ups and downs, especially those at the initial phase. It is normal for you to get a decline in sales at times.
Setting a standard price will help combat the urge to lower your pricing standard because of low patronage. However, this does not mean you cannot negotiate. Sure, you can. And in fact, you should. The point is you shouldn’t stoop too low to receive a deal that will not benefit you and your brand.
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Setting a low-price tag for customers can make them belittle you and your services. They will seek other brands when they want higher services and only consider you when they are on a low budget. Therefore, you must resist the urge to sell yourself low and cheap.
Invest in equipment
Investing in equipment is the principal key to become successful in the photography business. As your business becomes bigger with higher turnover, you must start acquiring other essential equipment that you need.
Firstly, they will become of great use to increase the quality of your production. Sophisticated equipment gives you a higher chance of getting high-paid jobs from big brands. And these brands are the real aura of a successful brand.
Read: How to Build A Succesful Small Business in Nigeria
Another sweet part of this deal is you rent them out which will serve as a long-term source of income. In fact, it is one of the most lucrative aspects of the business. Items such as top brand cameras, drones, prime and zoom lenses, led lights, strobes, softbox, Game Bar, props, batteries, floodlights, tripod stand, printer and so on make good returns when given out for rent.
Meanwhile, note that renting out your equipment also have its risks. Therefore, you must know how to go about this.
Create Social Media Presence
As a Photographer in Nigeria, having a famous and influential online presence will help your business boom faster than you expect. Millions of people are waiting on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google to patronize your service. Having social media accounts with daily posts and using relevant tags will not only increase your brand’s popularity but also increase your chances of getting sales.
Create a Professional Website or Blog
Having a professional portfolio website or blog is another proven way you can beat your competition and champion the photography business in Nigeria. Create a website or a blog where you can relate with customers, exhibit your portfolio, share information about your goods and services and receiving reviews and feedback go a long way in making you a professional in the photography business. Many photographers are missing in this goldmine. And the truth is, it exposes you more to people and increase your chances of getting a job tremendously.
Creating awareness for your brand is a crucial step to making your business pass the test of time. Photography, like every other business in Nigeria, needs regular promotion and shout-outs. It goes beyond the mouth to mouth awareness that is common in our local areas. And the good news is the advent of the internet, and social media now makes it easy for you to target your ads to your main audience.
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Have a good customer relationship
Above all other factors, a good relationship with clients is the most important skill any businessperson can possess, including you as a photographer in Nigeria. Working towards customer satisfaction, managing good reviews and most importantly handling complaints and negative feedback from the client determines how far your brand can go, especially when in a paddle on the turbulent ocean of photography entrepreneurship.
No matter how high the quality of your job, you must satisfy your clients enough for them to be recurrent customers and also consider making referrals for you, this is when you know that you’re a master of your craft.
To become a successful photographer in Nigeria, it is important you learn how to open doors for opportunity. This is not limited to only startups, but also those already in the photography business.
With the constant advancement in technology, people make discoveries every day. Hence your brand must not be stagnant and rely on previous knowledge only. There must be a desire to advance, upgrade and be aware of every new development in your craft.
- Be Registered
- Join contest
- Source for jobs
- Do great jobs
- and upgrade your services
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- Temitayo is an experienced event photographer, entrepreneur, and brand manager. He is a graduate of French and a freelance English and French translator, tutor, and creative writer.