Look the Part of a Professional Photographer
One of the best tips on starting a youth sports photography business is that sales is everything and that looking like a professional photographer is important. I assume you have a decent camera. That part should be obvious. You don’t need the latest, greatest camera to do this work. However, when you go to make your presentation, you should have knowledge of current and evolving trends in photography. Everywhere you go, there will be somebody who wants to talk photography and cameras. If you know what you are talking about, you end up looking more professional than if you haven’t done your homework.
Find a Supplier
You won’t be printing all the photos at home. When I worked with a prominent youth sports photography company in New England I did a study to examine the cost of buying the necessary printing equipment, as well as the cost of consumables and maintenance and found that it simply is not feasible to do this sort of thing. Do a search on Google for labs that specialize in youth sports photography. They should have numerous products and packages you can choose from. Ask them to send a sample kit that you can show your clients. They may charge a nominal fee for this, but having the samples for your clients to see and touch is indispensable.
Set Reasonable Prices
Do some competitive intelligence gathering to see what your competition charges for different photo packages and price yours accordingly. You don’t want to undercut everyone to the point of not making it worth your time, but you also don’t want to set your prices too high. Having lower prices will make it easier to sell your service, obviously, but the nature of this business is that people will spend a certain amount on photos of their children. So if they are budgeting $20 for a photo package or two, you will get that $20 no matter the profit margin. You should be able to get a profit margin somewhere in the neighborhood of 100%.
Find Your Contacts
Who are you going to pitch your services to? Whichever sports you are looking at photographing, you can find league contact information at the city hall or county office building. You can even find league information online sometimes. You will want to pitch your services to the whole league at their board meeting, so ask to come and be sure to ask how many people usually come to the meetings.
You may get the response that they already have somebody lined up to do the photos. That’s fine. Ask if it’s locked in stone or if they would like to hear another pitch. If they don’t want you to come to their board meeting, be polite and thank them for their time and say that you hope to talk to them next year. End on a positive note.