If you’re planning on starting a photography company the first thing you’ll need is a business plan. You probably have a lot of ideas and passion for this photography start-up, and a business plan will answer many of the questions you haven’t answered.
In this article, we’ll provide a real-life sample of what a photography business plan can look like. When reading through this sample you should ask yourself how your business will differentiate from this sample.
Many photography businesses fail because they have not identified their own competitive advantage. In order for your photography company to be successful, you must offer something unique.
1 Executive Summary
Maestro Photography has operated since 2016 as a sole proprietorship and has recently taken steps to incorporate as Maestro Photography Corp. by sole shareholder Amie Smeel.
Amie is a true creative with a diverse background in public service and mental health care. This experience helped develop a signature approach to photograph like a psychologist, by asking questions that generate authentic portraits.
A simple process, executed flawlessly and has proven to be successful in the domestic marketplace. Helping hundreds of actors, and business people stand out in crowded professional arenas. Moreover, Maestro Photography has developed studios across 10 major Canadian cities and established a leading web presence.
In 2021 Maestro Photography will begin its US expansion with a proven growth system, 11 years of experience, and a family of industry-leading photographers. The company will onboard talent through a selective recruitment process; hiring those who are kind, emotionally intelligent, yet studious.
To fund its expansion Maestro Photography is seeking an investment of CAD $90,000 in return for a 10% stake in the company.
Most notably, the company hosts an ambitious initiative to develop an entire team of under-represented individuals. It is Maestro Photography’s focus to help close the gender wage gap, employment gap, to attain, promote, women, visible minorities, and people of the LGBTQ2 community. In providing the under-represented with meaningful employment, which delivers leading wages, Maestro Photography takes an active role in developing a fair, and dignified society.
The company’s services are met with an increasing demand for recognition on social platforms. Whether an actor, business executive, or young professional an authentic portrait is a highly coveted product with material benefits in gaining exposure, connections, and professional advancement.
1.1 Mission Statement
Our mission is to capture the true version of each client we photograph.
1.2 Vision Statement
Our vision is an inspired society, by powering individuals to be their authentic selves through custom portraits.
2 Business Opportunity
With our expansion to the US market, and future trademarking we assume a unique position in being Google’s indisputable search result for “professional photographer” and “photographer”.
Our opportunity is to be the most widely recognized name in photography. We differentiate ourselves by offering authentic portraits through the usage of our own proprietary process.
Beyond the US market, we plan to expand throughout Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Singapore.
2.1 The Problem
Big business, actors, and entrepreneurs alike are in need of photographs but are met with a collection of machinists, amateurs, and egotistical photographers.
Machinists rely on heavy lighting and asking their audience to “smile” often resulting in fake expressions.
Amateurs are aspiring photographers who’ve been taught the same system. Filled with hope, but in the end, providing the same product.
Egotistical Photographers have the most experience, but provide our industry with an unwelcoming reputation.
The American market is thriving and bountiful, but our audience is left with a lack of options in retaining professional photographers. The outcome:
Fake Smiles – “Smile please” therefore producing a contradiction between the eyes and the muscles that form a genuine smile. Vacant smiley portraits are images of someone with an inauthentic smile that may, or may not be professionally exposed and edited. The photographer instructs the client to smile and hence completely neglects the most important part of a professional portrait, the individual in front of the camera.
Fake Posing is a bad idea for acting photographs, as it will look like everyone else and won’t reveal anything unique about the audience. A “fake photograph” is a portrait of someone looking stunned at the camera, and matched with exaggerated photo retouching and heavy makeup; therefore, producing an unrecognizable portrait. Vroom photographers aren’t interested in authenticity, instead, they simply photograph the same way each time.
2.2 The Solution
In a time where self-expression and individuality are increasingly important, Maestro Photography can help. In capturing authentic portraits we enable actors, entrepreneurs, and leading businesses to separate themselves from the competition.
Corporations require photographs of their staff to post on their websites. The difference between a page of satisfactory photographs and a collection of authentic portraits can depict whether a business has its services retained, or not.
Actors come out of our sessions feeling revived. We help actors recognize their strengths by listening to their journey while we shoot. The solution is authentic portraits that may be relaxed, entranced, calm, excited, happy, troubled, lost, amused, triumphant, but are always real.
Entrepreneurs realize a profile picture which speaks professionalism, and trust. This advantage is often unbeknownst, but we’re continuously reminded by clients of the advantages of having their own authentic profile pictures on LinkedIn, Facebook, or their website bio.
3 Industry Analysis
Growing per capita disposable income and total advertising expenditure have driven growth for the US Photography industry, aside from an expected decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decline in 2020 is expected to be significant enough to wipe-out the gains realized earlier in the previous five years. As a result, industry revenue is expected to decline on an annualized basis, owing solely to the 2020 decline.
Industry operators have benefited from the growing demand for commercial and portrait photographers due to rising consumer spending, disposable income, and corporate profit gains. Industry revenue is expected to decline at an annualized 1.5% to $9.8 billion leading to 2025.
Households and individual consumers represent the largest downstream customer market for the industry, representing a projected 60.0% of total revenue in 2020.
This includes school and family portraiture services and special event photography for personal events such as weddings, engagements, and birth announcements. As a discretionary spending item, demand for photography services is primarily driven by the level of per capita disposable income, which has increased at an annualized rate of 0.4% over the five years to 2020, driven by wage growth and sustained low unemployment.
However, despite increases in the level of per capita disposable income afforded to the Canadian population as a whole, the rapid improvement in the quality of smartphone cameras has, in some cases, siphoned revenue from the domestic industry. The quick expansion, improvement, and increasing affordability of digital photography technology has enabled more people to take up photography. In particular, the increasing quality of digital cell phone cameras has made it possible for families to document special events and take family portraits themselves as opposed to using the portrait services provided by industry operators.
To some degree, this has increased the level of external competition for industry operators, since individuals might take their own photograph instead of hiring a professional. Nevertheless, such technologies have, for the most part, made it possible for downstream consumers to document events they otherwise would not have hired a professional photographer for. As a result, the external threat posed by such technology remains limited, as individuals are still likely to hire professional photography services for large special events and school and corporate portraits.
3.1 Key Competitors
3.2 Target Audience
Actors seeking casting to be discovered by a director.
Corporations with large teams.
Entrepreneurs requiring a professional social media portrait.
4 Business Model
- The Right Photographers – Our photographers must have a residence in, or within close proximity to their operational area.
- Search Engine Optimization – Leveraging on 4 years of SEO, we continue our quest for complete dominance of the search terms “professional photographer” and “photographers”.
- Online Booking System – Our online booking system is utilized by more than 55% of our clientele; subsequently, reducing administrative costs and time.
- Industry’s Most Authentic Portraits – Training and mentoring our photographers to consistently provide genuine portraits.
4.1 Unique Selling Point
Our unique selling point is our customized client experience.
4.2 Revenue Streams
Our services include photography, photo editing, and video blogs. Clients are after more than just a great portrait; they want a great experience.
Our turnaround time in providing the gallery is second to none, and our clients are welcome to request a re-shoot at no extra cost.
In providing a supportive work environment our team is content, which then helps to create an exceptional client experience.
We create an accepting atmosphere where our clients can be their authentic selves. We then have a mini-interview to best understand them and to help them feel as relaxed and confident as possible. We continue our mini-interview right into the shoot; therefore, helping our clients to relive their personal and professional journeys, enabling verbal and facial reactions to questions regarding success, triumphs, and purpose.
- Branding photographs $300
- Monthly Promo $150
- Actors photographs $300
- Corporate Clients 25+ $70/person. New Hire $150
- Basic Editing Service $75
- Clipped Background $100/5 images
- 1-minute Video Bio $500
4.3 Location Cost Analysis
5 Marketing Strategy
Search Engine Optimization
At the very core of our marketing strategy is our focus on SEO, by means of local google map citation for the keywords “professional photographer” and “photographer”. We already have a dominant position in the Canadian market. With the assistance of specialized SEO providers, we plan to be google’s indisputable search result for any photograph related keywords.
Pay Per Click Advertising
By utilizing Google Ads and Facebook Ads we pinpoint our efforts on corporations and individuals actively searching for photographers. In the case of Facebook Ads, we’ll advertise to demographics in specific areas with interests in photograph photography, or administrative positions in companies that we’ve identified as key partners. This method of inbound marketing has proven successful for other market players.
Outbound Lead Generation
Earning contracts with new companies can be challenging enough, but consider doing so in a new region. We’ll retain service providers who specialize in outbound lead generation services and have a database specific to the United States. Our service providers will receive training on our organization and reach out to high-level contacts representing prospective corporations. Our offering will be a mini shoot, where we photograph 20 – 30 of their team members to build a relationship and showcase our caliber of photography.
We continue building our following on social media platforms such as Youtube, Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram. The importance of our consistent engagement on these channels cannot be understated, and is a crucial aspect of our macro marketing strategy. As we begin to build awareness of our brand in the US market, social media offers us a highly cost-effective form of advertising.
5.1 Market Segmentation
5.2 SWOT Analysis
6 Investment Proposal
We’re seeking a $90,000 investment in return for a 10% equity stake in Maestro Photography Corp..
6.1 Capital Allocations
7 Financial Projections
7.1 Opening Balance Sheet
7.2 Income Statement
8 Management Team
From a young age, Amie has had a passion for great portraits. As a little girl, she admired his mother’s ability to capture incredible images while traveling around the world as a Canadian peacekeeper. In 1988 while studying photography at Sharon Wade’s School for the Arts, she became mesmerized by one portrait: National Geographic Magazine’s cover of June 1988. 32 years later, Amie’s mission is to recreate the feeling in every portrait, by capturing the true character of each client.
Director of Marketing
Jon is a team player that provides immense value to our business. Previously, at Rodwell Images Ltd. he helped take the company from a small operation to North America’s largest acting photography firm. Jon ensures the highest service, and business ethic standards for Maestro Photography.
Bill is known for his leadership role as President and CEO of Jinga Corp, the parent company of BigSales Inc. Bill has a prestigious executive record in scaling organizations such as BigSales Inc. Additionally, Bill is a best-selling author and an internationally recognized executive leader. His experience and business foresight are crucial to our US expansion.
8.1 Key Personnel
Role and Responsibilities
- Be ready for the shoot at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
- Be genuinely kind and understanding of each client.
- Provide a customized service aimed toward creating a wonderful experience and exceptional results.
- Communicate clearly, especially verbally, in order to convey clear instructions, as well as having effective listening skills to best understand the client.
- Be a good steward and represent Maestro Photography with the utmost professionalism and goodwill.
- 40% of revenue will go to Maestro Photography
- The remaining 60% to the photographer minus a 2.75% merchant charge, equipment rentals, studio, and marketing costs for individual services rendered.
IBIS World – Photography Industry in the US Report
Photography Business Plan Conclusion
You must ensure your photography business plan answers the question of how it will thrive in the age of the smartphone when people are taking more and more photos themselves.
You’ll either need to 1. Have extremely low prices (not recommended) 2. Offer a differentiated product or service 3. Target a specific audience.
You can write your business plan yourself, but just remember how important a business plan is in ensuring the longevity and expansion of your business. You want to make sure your business plan is developed by experts. Our BSBCON team will custom write your plan to ensure it’s a product of your vision. We look forward to hearing from you. Click here to contact us today.