In my first post I had you consider the following questions:
- What types of activities will you be performing?
- When do you plan to start your business?
- Where will your business be located?
- What business structure will you have?
- What do you plan to call your business?
In this post I wanted to focus on the location of your photography business.
When I talk about your location I’m not necessarily speaking of the specific address of your business, athough this can also be important. In this post I’m speaking on the more general area that you will be located.
One thing you must keep in mind is the market of your business in your area. I had mentioned the importance of defining your photography style in my post Photography Business – What’s Your Specialty?, and I had mentioned the importance of how marketable your style may be depending on where you live. As I had mentioned previously – being an event photographer in Las Vegas, or a fashion photographer in San Francisco may be of higher demand than if you were located in a small town lacking the clients needed to be viable. However, just because you’re in an area where your product is viable, doesn’t mean there won’t be competition among other photographers.
I’ll give an example of the area I’m currently living – Seattle. Let’s say you want to be a wedding photographer. As of 2010 there are 608,660 residents with a population estimate of 662,440 for 2015. Expanding to the county that Seattle is located, King County was home to 1.9 million residents in 2010. On average .68 of the population are married each year in the United States translating to about 13,000 marriages in King County. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for Photography Services is 541921. In the State of Washington there are approximately 6,400 businesses registered with this NAICS code. NAICS codes identify firm’s primary business activity in the State of Washington. The codes are established by the US Census Bureau and are generally assigned based on the taxpayer’s highest taxable activity.
What does this information tell us? First off we need to understand that not everyone who is married will hire a wedding photographer and not everyone who is registered as a photographer is a wedding photographer AND not all wedding photographers may be properly registered. So although this data is not completely accurate for our purposes, we can start to see the data that represents our market and competition.
With the seemingly endless amount of choices for wedding photographers in the area you need to understand how extensive your competition is and what you must do to be competitive in this kind of market. When you’re looking at the area you plan to do business, and the style of photographery you will be practicing, take a moment to do some research to see what the competition is like.
What kind of competition have you noticed in your area and how you do separate yourself?