National photography companies are always looking to hire local photographers for real estate photos, graduation photos, news stories, and corporate photography. These companies typically pay you less than you might otherwise earn in a direct relationship with clients. However, if they get you business you might not otherwise have, then you may come out ahead. Because of the lower pay, these types of jobs are better suited for photographers who are just getting started.
National firms have a lot of money for advertising, so they may reach markets you can’t afford to reach through advertising. These companies also may provide some value added services that you can’t offer your customers, such as broader exposure. For more information about what’s available, read “Earn Money Taking Local Photos for National Companies” by Stephanie M. Kelley.
Before continuing with a national company, read the rest of this page for some important considerations and warnings.
Keep it Local
Perhaps the biggest drawback to larger national companies is that they take a cut of all revenue. Think of it like a local sales tax, but instead of that money going back into our community, it gets syphoned away. So, ultimately, it’s not great for our local communities.
We all win when direct relationships are built between customers and local businesses. Inserting a corporate franchise layer between customers and service providers ends up depersonalizing the experience for all parties involved. Successful businesses build direct relationships with customers and the community. As a result, they are able to better know and serve those they work for.
Beware of Companies With Bad Reputations
Teaming up with a national company that has a bad reputation can bring down your reputation as well. Your skills and the quality of your work may be top notch, but ultimately customers will develop a perception about you based on the company you work through. If their customer service isn’t great, or if they don’t treat their own employees well, that could be a problem.
Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find out more about a company before signing up. You can learn more by visiting GlassDoor.com to learn about how employees feel about the company.
Here’s an example… The ICONIC Group, formally known as Event Photography Group or Grad Images, has established a very poor reputation according to ratings from the Better Business Bureau and on Glassdoor. This might be an example of a company to avoid.
Companies that develop a very poor reputation will sometimes change their business name rather than changing their business practices. This can go on for years under the same management. So, be sure to do some research into past business names of anyone you plan to work with.