Getting Started into Commercial Photography
The very objective of commercial photography is making use of professionally taken images and used them for business purposes related to advertisements, sales pitches, brochures, product placements, and merchandising. It is basically important that endeavoring, as a professional photographer, into commercial photography takes more than talent and skills on the art side, but that you have to flex your mind and understand that this field is about taking risk in a business undertaking, which requires more in-depth study of basic concepts that are important to operating the business from laws on copyright up to the marketing plans and strategies.
It can verily happen that creative ideas may be similar from one artist to another and determining which is the original may lead into a legal dispute and, in the case of professional photographers, they, too, have a share into what is called “intellectual property,” which refers to the unique and solely created photography works that, by law, are intellectual produce and properties of the photographer or artist and should always be registered with the US Copyright Office to protect those valuable photographs from being copied or being infringed, in a way, from other photos taken by other photographers. All kinds of infringement violations can be prevented when your photo materials are all copyrighted since the US Copyright Office makes it a point to record and publish all intellectual properties in public, thus, informing the public of your ownership of your photo materials. The results of copyrighting one’s photograph materials are not just into protection from infringement and showing ownership to the photographs, but that a commercial photographer can earn income by allowing his copyright works to be used by others through the process of acquiring license from him by a written agreement, stipulating the terms and conditions of use.
Another basic requirement when venturing into the business of commercial photography is to take insurance for your created works to protect them from fire, cameras and related tools can be lost, stolen or destroyed, or human models may get hurt during an undertaking, all these possibilities can be covered by an insurance to help mitigate the financial loss. There are many kinds of insurance coverage to choose from, depending on your needs, such as comprehensive general ability coverage for bodily injury and property damage, owned and rented equipment coverage, computer and mobile device coverage, portfolio coverage, business content coverage, etc.
To guide a commercial photographer in accosting for what should be the appropriate cost of doing business, before accepting an assignment, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has provided this calculation for a candidate to use: non-reimbursable expenses + desired salary = the total overhead cost divided by the number of billable days = the total cost of doing business. Because commercial photography is a form of business, it should be always aligned on marketing strategies, like making marketing efforts that include email correspondence, phone calls, building a social media website and SEO investment, and in-person meetings.