How to start photography business in Nigeria

Are you considering starting a digital photography business? This article will guide you through the process.

The photography industry is growing to become an extremely competitive one; to excel one must get all the knowledge within his reach.

This is true because every year, thousands of talented photo-lovers consider turning their passion into a money-making business venture

How lucrative is photography business in Nigeria

Almost everyone uses smartphones. Those without it for one reason or the other are yearning to have one and seriously looking forward to it.

Most times, they eagerly look forward to when they can capture photos of theirs and loved one’s on it.

Yes, one of the prominent reason for using a smart phone today is the camera function. Almost everybody is a photographer.

Obviously many will check the specification of the phone’s camera before purchasing and phone advertisement must include how sharp and beautiful the photos taken with the camera will be.

This shows the great length people loved to have beautiful photographs.

Contrary to what many think, photography is beyond taking ordinary pictures, it is an art that requires all training and expertise to succeed.

What Is Photography?

Photography is the art of capturing light with a camera, usually via a digital sensor or film, to create an image. With the right camera equipment, you can even photograph wavelengths of light invisible to the human eye, including UV, infrared, and radio.

Photography is beyond taking just ordinary pictures on our smartphones, people who want to make money from photography have to do three things:

  • First, they must discover the opportunities to make money from photography.
  • Second, they must learn the techniques for taking advantage of these opportunities.
  • Third, they must take advantage of these opportunities and implement these techniques, keeping in mind that to make money from photography, they must separate their business mind from their artistic mind.

One of the easiest ways to make extra money is with a camera. People always need the services of a photographer to keep the memories of special events.

They always want to package the memory of special events in their life in a photograph. They truly need you.

How Lucrative Is Photography Business In Nigeria?

There is a good market for the photography business in Nigeria today because every sector in the creative industry needs the services of a professional photographer: the beauty, food, hospitality, entertainment, fashion, and media sectors inclusive.

Another reason photography is a very good business here in Nigeria is that you do not necessarily need to break the bank before you start, with good branding, camera, flashlight, and effort, little capital is required.

The budget for photographers at events is always high, I know photographers that makes half a million naira or more from covering events.

A friend recently attended a wedding occasion and learned that the photographer billed the couple half a million naira.

While recounting his experience at the wedding, others listening to him could not believe so much can be spent on wedding photography.

Categories of Photography in Nigeria

Categories of Photography In Nigeria

The three different ways you can work as a photographer is listed below and any one of them you chose is very viable.

If you can combine all the three that would even be better. Photography in Nigeria can be categorized into the following:

Event Photography

You can make good money from photographing at events. Almost every weekend in Nigeria, people get married, buried, or organize shows, anniversaries, Luncheon, Burial Ceremonies, Carnivals, and Sporting Events.

They also shoot commercial photographs for adverts and productions. Studio equipment may not be necessary except Hi-Tech Cameras, Laptop, and different Lenses.

As mentioned earlier, some couples pay a lot to professional photography to capture their memorable memories!

As an event photographer, you also have the opportunity of covering fashion shows as a fashion photographer; fashion photography deals with capturing the body and role styling in the fashion industry.

This also is very lucrative. Another option as an event photographer is to work as a stock and contract photographer; this entails getting paid to contribute photos for popular photography sites.

Studio Photography

As the name implies, it means having a studio and equipping it with all the studio gadgets, like modifiers, softboxes, tripods, reflections, etc. and then wait for customers to come for photoshoot.

There are very many photography studios both small and big in Nigeria that delivers professional top notch services.

People troop daily into photo studios for different photoshoots. Celebrities do have shoots for promoting their work, models, customers who want to take personal photos, those that need passport photographs, and different individuals are not exempted from having photoshoots.

Travel Photography

Also known as content photography deals with capturing beautiful places, wildlife, people, and landscape.

Instead of charging money to take photographs as with event and studio photography, travel photographers take pictures and sell them to users.

As a professional photography, as mentioned earlier, it is possible to render all kinds of photography services listed above.

With the right experience and startup capital, you can live your dreams as a business photographer.

8 Steps On How To Start Digital Photography Business In Nigeria

Capital required for starting a photography business in Nigeria varies.

If you intend to start with a studio, then you will need good money for studio space and equipment but if you want to start as a freelance digital photographer, you don’t need to rent studio space and studio equipment, all you need is a good camera like Nikon D800, Canon Eos 50, Olympus E3, etc., professional lenses and a good laptop.

Here are quick tips on how to start a photography business in Nigeria below:

Get Some Training

The first step to starting a photography business from home is to be well trained in different shot-taking skills and a lot goes into this.

There is no short cut then you need to invest in knowledge and photography equipment like shutter speed, white balance, photo editing, and aperture.

To get some training, go learn from a professional photographer or enroll in a good photography school. You can also invest in learning how to add creativity to pictures using graphic design software.

During the training, you need to learn how to sell your skills and control your finances.

You may be the best photographer in the world but if you lack the ability to market yourself effectively if you lack entrepreneurial skills; you will achieve nothing.

You must know how to negotiate business deals and contract; and most importantly, you must have strong emotion control.

Running a photography business entails meeting different people with different characters, so you must develop patience, calmness, and know how to deal with complaints.

Like learning how to drive car in driving school, it is advantageous to learn how to shoot in manual mode.

This is especially true and of utmost importance, because you need to understand light by shooting in manual mode.

This may seem very intimidating at first, but once you really grasp the way light is captured in your camera, you are ready to take full creative control over each frame.

It also helps to deal with extremely tricky light situations that the auto mode cannot handle. Manual mode forces the photographer to understand what is going on in the camera.

If you can’t make your customers look good in their picture through photo editing, then there is a big problem; and they will never patronize you again.

So be sure you learn this too. This will mean you need to learn the basics of operating a computer system too. We are living a digital world and photography has since left the analog age.

Choose a Good location

It is always advisable you go to an open area. Unlike the music production business where producers seek selected areas for studio location, the location of your photography venture determines how profitable your business will be.

When choosing a location, especially for those doing business in Nigeria; you should try to get a store or rent a large office in an open area.

Your studio could be anywhere but by the roadside is the best. This will make it much easier for people to locate your business; and you won’t have much stress getting customers.

A photo studio is best located at accessible places and preferably in urban areas. It should be easy for clients to locate your studio. Accessibility is a plus in every business.

Register Your Business

Even if you are running a business from your home, you still have to register the business.

Having your business registered also affords you the ability to do certain things such as opening a bank account for your business, filing tax returns, and much more.

Get Your Photography Equipment

Buy the right photography equipment. Your equipment is an important, long-term investment in your new photography business.

For starters, you will need to get the best equipment in the market you can afford.

Because you will be operating digital photography, you will also need a laptop and software (PhotoShop, Picasa, Corel draw, DG photo art) to edit your photos. 

Here is a list of recommended equipment for a start:

  • Professional digital cameras
  • Professional prime Lenses
  • Camera Tripod, Camera Bag
  • High-grade laptop
  • External Flas
  • Extra Batteries
  • SD Memory Cards and Cleaning kits
  • Studio lights
  • Light modifiers
  • Softboxes
  • Photography Umbrellas
  • Reflectors and Diffusers
  • Background supports systems
  • Stools
  • Curtains
  • Generator set
  • Card reader
  • Aperture
  • Shutter speeder, and more
How to start digital photography in Nigeria - Create your studio

Create a Brand For Your Photo Studio

Most successful businesses and companies today if not all invested in good branding. Don’t run your photography business like a road side business. 

Handle it effectively. It is all about branding this day. Create a brand for your photo-shop such that people walking past by will want to stop, reverse, look again and step in.

Decide colors you want to be associated with you. And another pointer here is it’s not really about the colors you like but about colors you want to be associated with you.

You also, have to decide your photography logo as this gives an expression about you. 

Once people see your logo they already know it’s you without even seeing your brand name just like popular companies like Mercedes or Toyota.

Choosing the name of your photography brand is very important too.

Build and Grow Your Client Relationships.

The one aspect you can’t underestimate is building lasting client relationships.

Finding the first few clients to hire and pay you for photography assignments is always a challenge.

As you get more and more clients contacting your photography business, there’ll be a considerable amount to keep track off. Keep your customers satisfied.

Without customers, you won’t be in business. Some customers can be very stubborn.

In fact, you may come across the mad ones; but whichever one you come across, treat them nicely. You must also ensure they are always satisfied.

If they are not satisfied with your job, then take several shots and have them pick one perfect shot.

Build your brand professionally, be timely, and maintain good work ethics; exorbitant prices will only push your clients into the waiting arms of existing competitors.

Develop Marketing Plan.

As well as being an expert photographer you’ll need to learn all about marketing management to promote your services.

The key to success in a photography business is marketing. Use your personal and professional networks to spread the word about your business.

Attend wedding parties and events geared toward your market.

Related: 6 Lucrative party rental business ideas in Nigeria

There are various tools and ways at your disposal that you can choose from as listed below:

  • Be Ready to Attend Special Occasions uninvited:

That’s the best way to get new clients. When attending events like this, drop your business card, and some samples to give prospects an idea of what you are capable of.

When you eventually take their shot at that occasion, be sure to hit it right and capture a perfect moment. Remember first impression lasts longer.

  • Create an Online Presence:

The easiest way to get thousands of referrals without lifting a finger is through blogging. It doesn’t cost much to start a blog.

All you need is dedication. Social media is an effective online marketing tool too, which entrepreneurs can ignore at their own peril.

Every Nigerian photographer today has social media pages where their creativity is showcased and prospective customers can easily get in touch.

People can only reach you when they see your work and are able to communicate their impressions and criticisms.

  • Words of mouth

Everyone around you should know you are a professional photographer. Your colleagues, friends, and loved ones. In fact, hand out brochures, flyers, and business cards.

Look for busy environs with creative backgrounds. One of the easiest ideas to getting started is to visit a children’s clothing store in one of the busy shopping centers, or the children’s department in one of the large department stores.

Sell the manager or store owner on the idea of your setting up in a corner of the store or department, and taking pictures of the shoppers’ children.

He can even strike a strategic alliance with you and promote the fact in his advertising campaigns that you’ll be in the store taking pictures for special prices during certain hours.

Pricing

At this point, you really have to start deciding what you will charge your customers when they start coming in for business.

It won’t be good for you to look dumb when they start asking you “how much is this?” and “how much is that?”

This is where you need friends in the photography business to help you out if you have.

Call them up and ask them how much they charge then determine your level ground – for how much you’ll charge for yours.

Just like running a driving school in Nigeria, there cannot be a fixed price for all customers, your charges especially for an event will depend on how many days you will be hired and you can charge based on the type of event and the pocket of your customer.

Maybe your work has gone viral on the internet, or you are a relatively well-known documentary photographer.

People love to learn from someone whose works they admire, so once your works are popular, you can set up workshops for people looking to learn your style.

Do you have a camera that’s lying idle? Have you ever thought about starting a photography business legally with or without a studio?

Do you know you can generate a monthly profit of N300, 000 by taking photographs at weddings, special occasions, and religious activities? Then think photography.

Phtography Business Conclusion

In conclusion, once you decide that using your camera to generate extra income is what you’re going to do, you need to get out and use your camera.

Start taking pictures, and allow yourself the opportunity to build, grow, and make money doing what you love.

Give yourself a chance, and you will quickly begin to think of hundreds of ideas for taking pictures, merchandising ideas for promoting your services, and sales angles for increasing your profits.

Always stay sharp and be well informed in keeping up-to-date with changes and advancing technology.

The important thing is to get started; regardless of how small your startup capital is because this is an idea that can produce new concepts for profit every day of the week. These ideas that can be fun filled, as well as financially rewarding for you.

As you may have noticed, Photography is interesting, intriguing, and challenging art. Interested persons can either get professional training as cited above or locate a good mentor or photography studio and volunteer to work with them as interns.

You are encouraged to start from somewhere in fulfilling your vision of owning a successful photography business in Nigeria.

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