10 Tips on Starting a Photography Business

Starting your own photography business is rewarding. Whether you are doing it full time or you want to earn a few dollars on the side, it feels ecstatic to earn doing something you love. There are so many photographers nowadays and many whose businesses are failing just because they failed in taking the right steps to create and run their businesses.This article provides tips for starting a photography business, from writing a business plan to registering your business, creating your portfolio, acquiring tools and clients, and registering your business.

1. Set your Business Goals

Setting business goals will create a clear path to the direction your business will take. The goals can be general such as working 30 hours a week. When setting goals, start by identifying your clients. Though you may feel that you can take in any client that comes your way, identifying specific clients gives you the freedom to turn away clients who cannot afford your services, are far away from you or those who are hard to work with. After choosing clients, set your revenue and time goals; how much money do you want to invest and earn and how many hours will you work every week.

Be realistic, though: Starting a portrait photography business will cost a minimum of about $9,000 while starting a wedding photography business will cost a minimum of about $13,000, so you need to keep all these in mind. One of the most important of all tips for starting a photography business in this article is to always take failure into account.

2. Create a Good Business Plan

Seeing that the internet is awash with photographers, the most important of the tips on starting a business photography is to do a thorough market analysis, in line with your goals, and come up with a way to launch your business. You need to identify the market, your share, size of your primary target market and your competition. Identify the setbacks that you may face and how to overcome them and put all that in writing. Come up with marketing and selling strategies and do financial planning, forecasts, and budgets. All these need to be in your business plan before starting your own photography business.

blackboard business plan
Source: Pixabay

3. Brand your Business

You will want people to remember your business. Ergo, branding comes in handy. First, you need to alienate what you are better at than everything else; is it portrait photography, wedding, family or nature photography? Take that up and create a business from it. It’s not really advisable do what everyone else is doing and expect great results; these are not impossible to achieve in this situation, but will definitely increase the difficulty of your task.

Maybe you’re into underwater photography and not many photographers in your area are willing to submerge and fight the waves, or maybe boudoir photography is kinda taboo and not many people practice it.

4. Find a Good Business Name

After you have chosen a brand, coming up with a unique business name should not be challenging. When starting your own business photography, you will feel like the business should be named based on the services you offer. While this can work, there are many people with the same idea and your name will not stand out. Consider a name that is easy to remember, is descriptive, and unique. It should be easy to search on Google and social media, its URL should be easy to find or assume, and it should work well with your business logo and business partners, if you plan on having them.

These are crucial tips for starting a photography business as you need to be easy to find and refer to in the digital era.

5. Create Eye-Candy Portfolio

It may be challenging to create a portfolio when you are just starting your own photography business, but this is one of the most overlooked of all the tips on starting a photography business. Simply put, a portfolio is a representation of your best photography work. Do not shy from offering a few free photo sessions in the name of creating a portfolio. Your portfolio should represent your style. Though it will take a few months to fully develop a distinctive style, you will still get there.

6. Create a Photography Website/Blog

A blog will help you establish authority. This is where you showcase your work and widen your portfolio. The blog or website is an open platform where you can find clients, offer photography tips and lessons to your target clients, and attract them to you and a place to network with other photographers. No matter the other tips for starting a photography business that you are following, you must have a good business website – or a physical studio, but that will be much more costly. Link your website to the business social media accounts and keep the blog active. The portfolio page of your business should always be on a flux to find new clients and maintain the old ones.

alexey titarenko photography website
Source: AlexeyTitarenko.com

6. Set Up Business Insurance & Bank Accounts and Get Licensing

These are business essentials, and you need to have them before starting your own photography business. Having a business account is imperative for record keeping, and while business insurance is not cheap, it is more costly when you are caught with a business and no insurance. Business licenses are a requirement from state and municipal governments. Before you apply for a license, it is imperative to check with your state or municipal if you need a photography license, too.

Lastly, ensure that you have a record keeping system. This will help you keep track of your business’ progress. You can use simple free software that links to your bank accounts to manage financial record or keep printed copies of your income and expenditures.


8. Get the Right Photography Tools

Even if you follow all tips for starting a photography business, without the right tools, there is a high chance that you will fail. The right tools will up the quality of the photos you take and also increase efficiency. Your business needs will determine the tools you buy.You will need all or some of the following:

  • Studio equipment including a good camera, stands, backdrops, props, backgrounds, remote triggers, floor and lighting;
  • Computer for photo editing and editing software;
  • Monitor calibration device;
  • Backup storage device;
  • Professional print lab;
  • Web proofing and photos storage;
  • Professional album creation service.
photography studio
Source: Wikimedia

9. Build a Client List & Stay in Contact

This is the difficult part – but if you followed or plan on following our previous tips on starting a photography business, it won’t be too much of a bother. When starting your own photography business, though you may have an active blog, you will mostly rely on word-of-mouth to get your first few clients. Your friends and family can get you the first clients; treat these clients like gold, and they will be evangelists for your business.

Keep clients’ records including their contact information, their social media accounts, emails, their residency and any other details that they offer you. If you run a wedding and birthday photography business, keep track of anniversaries and birthday dates; this will help you maintain long working relationships with your clients and is one of the most important tips for starting a photography business and keep it growing.

You need to market your business through advertising, either on local publications or social media, through your website/blog, networking, word of mouth and referrals, email and during events.

10. Launch your Business

You will determine the success of your photography business by your action plan – have you taken all the steps from hatching the idea to the realization of your business. It is important to take small steps each day to get everything in order. Changes are costly; you need to be sure so as not to want to shift a few months or a few years into the business. Something will want to hold you back, and you may feel like you can’t, but you have to keep a positive frame of your mind.


When you are just starting your own photography business, you will wear all hats, but once the business gets well established, you will need help, you will need a savings plan, you may also need a travel plan and much more as the business will dictate. It is not a shame to ask for guidance from a successful photographer you know, as this will make the process of starting your own photography business swifter. Do you have any other tips for starting a photography business?

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