I'm a little late with this announcement but...I received my Certificate of Graduation three weeks ago so I've officially graduated! I'm very pleased with the investment I made in myself by enrolling in the NYIP's Complete Course in Professional Photography.
Now, I'm left to scope out the promise of starting my own "business." Unfortunately, this is where I'm currently stuck---I just don't know where or how to begin.
Any suggestions or advice???
Congrats. The first thing I would do, is to keep shooting and maybe go do some stuff that you have been wanting to do even if it's just for you. You've probably spent a lot of time trying to take photos for the course and meet certain criteria. Now it's time to develop your own style and enjoy photography whether you will charge for it or not. I'd also recommend exploring many other sources of photography information and feedback in addition to this Forum. This is a great place, don't get me wrong, but you want to expand your horizons and get different types of feedback. And don't forget, Photography is an Art, so what one person likes, another will not. Find your style, learn from valuable feedback of other photographers that you respect and like their work, have fun. The learning and excitement never stops if you do that.
From a business perspective, Find what you want to do, get an idea of what your competition is doing and charging, and then venture out remembering that it's a business. Be professional, be caring, know what your costs are and going to be, know what you want to make and what you need to make. Many businesses, photographers included figure if they just go open a retail business that the people will pour in the doors. It does not usually happen that way. Also be wary of the photographers and business owners selling you their system on how to make money. While there's an incredible amount of talent out there, just copying someone's business model does not guarantee it will work for you. Test the waters first. From everything I've seen, myself included, most photographers make money doing portraits, weddings and events and some sort of commercial photography which could be product and/or real estate type stuff. Some are making money at Stock Photography too. I guess what I'm saying is, the fact that you are asking the question tells me you haven't formed a solid business plan yet. Venture out, do some work for family and friends, build up the portfolio a bit decide where you want to go before making a huge financial or time commitment.
I'm sure you will figure it out as you go.