It’s hard to stay at the top of your game when you run a photography business, with technological innovations constantly changing the landscape of what’s possible.

Here are some tips and growing industry trends that can help keep your output competitive, or that you can use from the start if you are launching a new photography enterprise. But investing in your services doesn’t come cheap, so read on to discover how you can access the funds you need without affecting your day-to-day budget…

1. Upgrade your camera – but make sure it’s the right one for your needs

Picture quality has never been more important with the number of people taking up photography increasing over the last decade. Visual aesthetics – especially the framing and the focus – must be exquisite, and the definition of props perfect. It may hurt to think so if you have an older camera that’s your pride and joy, but to compete at a professional level you must consider purchasing a cutting-edge camera to ensure you won’t slip behind your competitors on quality.

Think clearly about how you’re going to use it – there’s no point paying for fancy features that you won’t use. High-end compact cameras are fine for enthusiasts who take professional pictures as a sideline, while mirrorless cameras are a step up from that and offer the convenience of a compact along with stronger quality. DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) models are the top-end choice for serious professionals, offering superb lenses and reliable performance.

The high-resolution, full-frame Sony Alpha 7R III is a great choice if you go for a mirrorless camera, as is the Panasonic Lumix GX800. As for the latest DSLRs, check out the speedy and versatile Nikon D850 that comes with a 45.7MP sensor for great resolution when taking landscapes or fashion setups, while the Canon EOS 200D is a popular entry-level DSLR choice.

2. Enrich your digital marketing

With increasing competition, it’s crucial that you can showcase your work in front of as many relevant prospects as possible. If you’re not massively tech-savvy in terms of back-end web development, hire a freelance expert to help you maximise the SEO of your website. Your search engine ranking will also rise if you invest in Facebook and Instagram ads as well as targeted email campaigns to your subscribers with links directing back to your site.

Posting examples of your work on all your social media channels and encouraging discussion on your themes, styles and techniques will also raise your profile. If you like talking about your work and its artistic and social relevancy, then generating debate and dialogue on these platforms will not only boost your connections but can also propel your status to an opinion leader in the photography field.

There are also plenty of design software tools that photographers can use to boost their online appeal and reach. Snapizzi uses QR-code scanning technology allowing you to automate the uploading and organising of your photos for online sales, while AlbumParrot is a slick album proofing tool that can be configured with your site.

3. Create new ways of storytelling

Modern content marketing is all about telling a story, whether it’s a product you’re helping bring to market or a wedding shoot. Slideshows, custom photo galleries, photo journals, visual books, engaging video series – especially for mobile viewing – all form a compelling narrative and make great sharable content to increase your exposure. When discussing a potential project with new clients – corporate organisations in particular – think about all the ways you can use your skills and equipment to convey their brand’s values and purpose through the art of visual storytelling.

4. Use drone technology

Drones are growing in popularity with photographers as the innovations become more resilient and relevant. Chinese technology company DJI is leading the way with bringing out new features, with the Phantom, Mavic Pro and Spark models proving popular. Top-range drones offer built-in cameras shooting anything from 12-30 megapixel RAW, object avoidance functions and easy-to-use controls. Designs are also becoming increasingly smaller and more affordable, with the DJI Trello available from around £78.99.

Needless to say, an aerial shot gained from a drone can allow you to capture a majestic landscape from a dreamlike altitude or an emotive event (a highly-charged political protest, for example) from a unique perspective. Aerial photography and filming is only going to get bigger – so the earlier you invest in the technology and become familiar with it, the stronger your photography business will become.

5. Make the most of travel photography

As more people journey across the world and share images of their experiences, the appeal of travel photography has never been stronger. As a professional, you have the chance to out-do the average holiday snapper and use your flair and technology to take truly captivating shots. Trek to far-off locations to increase your chances of capturing a rare image that sums up a particular time and place. As well as providing stunning, eye-catching material for your website and social media platforms, there is great demand for quality travel photography in the editorial and commercial sectors.

6. Don’t get left behind when it comes to lighting expertise

Lighting has always been a vital component of quality photography, but now more than ever as standards continue to rise. Telling a story through light and shadows is a skilled detail of visual aesthetics, and many photographers are investing in updated lighting technology, advanced training in this area or even consulting revered lighting directors to achieve superb results.

Financing your goals

Once you’ve identified how you’d like to grow your photography business, you need to plan how to pay for it. Investment of this kind is often best realised through an asset finance product, such as a lease finance agreement. This gives you instant access to the equipment or technology you need, meaning you can start expanding and enhancing your business straightaway while paying for your new assets in low monthly instalments. Repayment terms can be flexible and low rates of just 2.5% are available, while your cashflow is preserved and costs are offset against tax.

At Portman we have years of experience in helping independent photographers and filmmakers as well as production companies access the funds they need to fulfil their ambitions. With a broad panel of more than 40 UK lenders at our disposal, we have the reach and flexibility to get the right bespoke finance package for your business.

Read more about our finance products for photography and film companies here, while you can discuss your requirements in detail with our expert Account Managers on 01604 321 995.

Portman Asset Finance