Do you want to earn minimum wage while working every single weekend through your high school and college years? Yeah. Me neither. One way to avoid this is to start your own business. Lots of teens do this successfully. Even if it isn’t a business that lasts for years, it can be a great way to earn good money and control your own schedule. My friend Mia started her own photography business. Here is her story…
When Mia turned 12, she inherited a used digital camera from her grandfather. It wasn’t fancy, but it was different from the film cameras she was used to. She began taking pictures of everything she could get her hands on from old perfume bottles to family members’ feet.
Soon, friends, neighbors, and family began asking her to take pictures of their big moments such as birthday parties or high school senior portraits. What started off as a fun hobby became more serious as her portfolio grew. Suddenly, she wasn’t just taking a few pictures for fun – she was being paid to do something that she loved. Mia had made her own business.
Tips for Building Your Own Photography Business
Mia picked up photography skills by playing around, experimenting, and having a willingness to shoot what people had a demand for. She didn’t just stick to what she thought she was good at. Instead, she branched out based on what her customers wanted.
That same kind of work ethic lent itself to how she built her client base. Mia learned very quickly how word of mouth could grow her brand. But to land clients outside her circle, she needed to expand her reach through a website and social media strategy. However, she wasn’t a website expert, nor did she know the first thing about making a Facebook business page.
But instead of letting that hold her back, she kept at it. She didn’t let self-doubt or the fear of not being the “best” get in her way. Mia took the plunge and created her own site and social media pages, learning as she went.
Mia also quickly learned valuable business skills that all teen business owners or to-be-entrepreneurs should take note of. As a teen and without professional training, she wanted to charge reasonable prices for her pictures. But she quickly learned that after all the travel, editing, gas money, hours spent working on her website, etc., she wasn’t making the profit she thought was reasonable or fair.
In order to be financially profitable, she had to crunch all of the little factors that went into making beautiful pictures happen when setting prices for customers. By adding a few dollars for travel or a bit extra to the price tag for editing, Mia was able to make more money than she would have working at a “normal” teen job. And even more so, she was making a living from her own talents!
What Every Teen Photographer Needs to Know
Mia’s story is an inspiration for so many teen artists who want to go “commercial” and sell their skills to the public. Start off by honing in on your talents. Practice as much as possible, even if you feel it is pointless. Then, be willing to take on jobs when they come to you. For example, volunteer to photograph your sister’s birthday party and ask your friends and family to post the pictures with your watermark on their social media pages or pass on your name to their friends. You never know when exposure will pay off!
Lastly, don’t fear not being perfect. It’s okay if you don’t know how to use a certain editing program or if you prefer to shoot on a particular camera. Like Mia, you just need to get started and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. Let your passion and hard work shine through, and you’ll be winning clients over with your talents in no time!
Mia took this picture of me when I was a junior in high school!