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Hope Taylor is a photographer specializing in senior portraits and weddings serving both Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.

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Ask HTP | Kickstarting Your Business

For Photographers

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I have had a TON of questions regarding how to kick start your photography business (or any business for that matter) so I thought I would throw a few tips out there to help build your portfolio, your audience and your bookings! Now, keep in mind that I am no expert at this! There was never a specific point in time where my business took off and there’s no “magic potion” to being successful, but here are some tips that have helped me get to where I am today and help me keep growing!

1. Don’t try to search for clients right away, start with your friends!

This is number one, and for good reason! For three years, from ninth grade until the end of junior year, I never had one single booking! I never charged for my services and I never went out searching for people to pay me. This is where a lot of people go wrong. When you are first starting out, do not go searching for clients, it will be impossible! No one will book you if they haven’t seen your work. Start out with you friends! Stephany (photographed) has always been my guinea pig and my practice model. I never charged her and I never expected her to pay me, I just LOVED taking pictures and she was always the closest person to me (Not to mention she’s gorgeous)! Find a few close friends, and take them out for photo shoots! Post the pictures frequently on instagram and facebook, and it will start to build an audience! Don’t expect to get paid immediately…it doesn’t work that way (and if you’re only looking for money, you aren’t doing it for the right reasons anyway)!

2. Social media and word of mouth are your BEST friend!

If you don’t have an Instagram, MAKE ONE! Facebook pages are another way to build an audience, but if you are looking for senior clients, instagram will be better for your target audience. Also, word of mouth will be your closest friend but it can also be your worst enemy. Make sure you always have happy clients, because the word about your business will spread faster than you think! Doing giveaways on Instagram where people have to repost and tag you to be entered are another way to build your followers, but only every once and a while! Don’t overdo them 🙂

3. Practice, practice, practice!

This one applies mostly to photographers and other creatives, but KEEP PRACTICING! This will be the most helpful tip of all. Teach yourself to use your camera on manual, learn lighting, posing and find locations. There are so many things for you to teach yourself and practice makes perfect!

I hope these tips were helpful! Below are some “before and after” photos of my photography from three years ago to now! Just to show you that no one starts out knowing what they’re doing, and practice will always help your improve!!

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If you have a question for me, or would like me to elaborate on any of the points mentioned above, feel free to comment below or check out the “Ask HTP” tab above! Maybe your question will be featured in the next blog post 🙂 Have a happy snow day everyone!!

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hi, y'all!

I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!

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