The Reinvention Studio Blog

To reinvent yourself and have a successful photography/video or graphic design studio, you'll need support.  Here's where you'll find articles to help you launch and grow your own creative services business.

Three Major Concerns When Starting a New Photography and/or Video Business

gear growth positioning Sep 08, 2022

Can we all agree that Twitter is terrible, full of trolls, and gives awful people a platform to spread venomous lies?

Yet, there are some good people on Twitter, and I can't help but check in once in a while.

A while back, I posed the question on Twitter about what people were most concerned about while investigating the possibility of launching a creative services business.

The cool thing about social media is that I got some surprising responses.

Today, I'll address people's three significant concerns, but first, a little background.

Now, it's been less than three years since I launched Ryan & Scott Media on the heels of being laid off from being the Director of Post Production for a small advertising agency.  It was a tremendous struggle at first.  In the first year, I think I cleared around $8,000.  Not great.

Like a woman who forgets the pain of childbirth, I'm now so far removed from that struggle that I have forgotten that these three concerns were once on my mind nearly every day.  So, it was fascinating to see these concerns among my fellow Twitter users.

I hope you can completely forget the angst caused by these common beginner concerns.  Though I cannot promise, I believe that my blog and podcast can help you to get through the rough spots of studio ownership with as few mental scars as possible.

Now, back to today's scheduled programming:

Let's go through the concerns in the order I received on my Twitter feed.

Concern #1- Positioning

There's one unique thing that every potential studio owner can leverage to create a strong position in their particular marketplace.  best of all, this unique thing is particularly unique for everyone reading this right now.

What in the Sam Hill are you talking about, Scott?

I'm talking about you!  The best way to position yourself in the marketplace is to be authentically yourself.  There's simply nothing anyone else could hope to do to compete with you if you're showing up every day as the most you you that can possibly be you'd. 😅

This advice makes many newbies very nervous.  You very likely are not buying it.  That's ok.

Think about this for a moment, however.  If you're starting and trying to jump into an arena with the other production companies or photographers in your area, then aren't you just begging to be compared to them?  Do you think it may be advantageous to start with the declaration that you are different and that your services are simply not the same?  I hope you said, "yes, Scott.  You're right."

Forget about your technical skills.  That simply doesn't matter to potential clients, as you may think.  From their perspective, remember that they have zero clue how to take great photographs and/or produce a halfway decent video.  As long as you can do better than them, then you just need to have them like and trust you to earn their business.

So, by being yourself, you will most likely attract clients who naturally appreciate your work style.  They will be easier to get along with for the same reason that your authentic personality attracts the friends you best get along with.

Position yourself as you.  Concentrate on the type of work that you are best at and that you like doing the most.  Talk about serving only those kinds of clients that you genuinely enjoy working with.   Market yourself without pretending you're someone or something you're not, and growth will follow.


Concern #2- Gear Prices

Buy used gear to get started.  Consider what kinds of projects and clients you wish to serve, and choose a starting kit that can minimally accommodate that.

When I started Ryan & Scott Media, I only served realtors and real estate brokers.  I picked up a used crop sensor Sony camera and borrowed a friend's ultrawide angle lens.  Then, I found a used entry-level drone on Marketplace.

I already had a tripod and invested in a new Benro precision geared tripod head.  That was the only new gear that I bought the first year.

My advice is to decide how you can meet the needs of the clients you want to serve and get the least amount of used equipment you can buy to offer them a fair package.

It takes discipline, I know.  Because, if you're like me, then you really want to buy cool new gear.

Remember that being a new business owner means you must level up your fiscal responsibility.  It's simply not fun at first.  Hang in there.  As you get your first jobs under your belt, you can think about reinvesting some of your profits into new gear. 

At first, you should think more about delivering the best possible photos and videos you can with what you have.  More importantly, you should concentrate on delivering the best possible service for your clients.  

Happy clients = more cool gear.


Concern #3- Figuring Out How to Grow Effectively

This was maybe not as big a concern for me at first.  I was more worried about simply surviving my first year.  However, after I started showing some good profits midway through my second year, I began to think more about this.

Effective growth is controlled growth.  

As mentioned, I began by doing real estate photography.  At first, I was not super efficient at it.  After several months and many jobs, I began to get pretty good and far faster.  Then, there came a time when I knew I could expand my services.

I asked myself, "Using this same equipment, what other services can I offer my existing clients?"

In my case, I began offering my realtors social media videos.  Short videos where I took the stills from their MLS listings and did Ken Burns moves on them in a video timeline with some simple animated text elements.

After that, I invested in a used DJI Gimbal to add video walkthroughs to my service menu.

Being strategic like this, you can control the way your business grows without overextending yourself.

There are cases where you may be wise to get some business credit to buy things like lenses or a computer, but that's the topic of another blog.

Wherever You Are In Your Journey To Studio Ownership

Your concerns are valid.  

It's wise to notice if there are things that have been giving you pause.  Honor yourself by investing in your dream.  Reading blogs like this is an excellent way to do that.  Keep up the great work, and Rock On!


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