How to Start a Photography Business

by | Nov 28, 2019 | Business, Starting a Business

Have an interest in photography but don’t know where to start? Do you feel like you have an eye for what looks good and what doesn’t? Photography is an art where everyone can find a niche they enjoy. We’ve put together a guide to help you begin. 

How to Start a Photography Business Intro

What Kinds of Photography Businesses Can I Start? 

There are quite a few avenues you can pursue here. Do you enjoy capturing people? Do you prefer to photograph objects or places? 

Here are a few of the most sought after types of photography:

Family/Portrait Photographer

This is one of the most popular types of photography businesses and is among one of the easiest to start. Everyone gets family pictures taken at various stages of life. With some basic photography knowledge, you can start taking pictures of people in no time. 

Wedding/Event Photographer

As you can imagine, reputable wedding photographers are highly sought after. When people are paying big money for one of the most memorable days of their lives, they expect perfection. More expensive equipment and experience are required for wedding photography.   

How to Start a Photography Business - Wedding Photographer

Product Photographer

With a large percentage of retailers and small businesses now online, product photography is frequently needed. You can set up a small “studio” in your home (mainly just a white surface and backdrop) and get started after learning some simple elements of composition and lighting. 

Real Estate Photographer

Real estate agents typically aren’t simultaneously experienced photographers. Check out sites like Zillow to see the difference between listings that use professional photos vs. cell phone snapshots. A real estate photographer can make all the difference. 

Landscape/Travel Photographer

You’ve probably seen some pretty amazing travel photography on Instagram, right? Travel photography can be more difficult and competitive to pursue financially, but certainly not impossible. Blogs, magazines, and even social media accounts will pay for exceptional photos taken around the world. 

How to Start a Photography Business - Landscape Photographer

Birth Photographer

In the past several years, birth photography has become a much more in-demand service. Parents want to capture the first moments of meeting their precious babies and be able to look back on them forever. If you’re willing to be on-call at all hours of the day, birth photography pays well and is very rewarding. 

How Much Money Can I Make as a Photographer? 

The amount of money you make as a photographer will vary greatly depending on factors like skill level, experience, niche, and popularity. For example, a beginning photographer shooting a small family might only bring in $150 for a one-hour session while an advanced and prominent wedding photographer could bring in $5,000 or more for a full-day gig. Your earning potential is really what you make it. 

Tips On Choosing Pricing

  • Research local photographers in the same niche and look at their pricing structures. Are they charging hourly? Do they bundle services for a better deal? What do their packages include? Do they provide all printing rights to the client? 
  • Consider your experience when charging customers. A beginning wedding photographer may only be able to charge a fraction of what an accomplished photographer does. 
  • Start your prices out low to attract more business. You can increase your prices once you become more experienced and recognized. 
  • Offer your clients price breaks for add-on services. For example, if you are hired as a wedding photographer, you could offer an engagement shoot for 50% off. 

How Do I Start My Photography Business?

Invest in your equipment 

Depending on how serious you are about your business and what type of photography you choose to pursue, your equipment is a serious choice. DSLR cameras can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, without even adding extra lenses, flashes, or other accessories. Some beginner photographers opt to start with cheaper equipment and upgrade as needed while others want to start with the best they can afford. Decide what works best for you. 

How to Start a Photography Business - Photogear

Learn

This is the most important part, especially as a novice! Fortunately, the resources available for learning photography are practically endless. YouTube is a fantastic starting point for basic and intermediate lessons. Sites like Udemy and Skillshare are also perfect for learning specific photography skills. We highly recommend getting a mentor or becoming an assistant for an advanced photographer in the niche you’re looking to break into. Local community college classes and workshops are also valuable options if you prefer in-person learning. Nothing beats hands-on instruction! Be patient with the time it takes to develop and cultivate your expertise and artistry. 

Build a portfolio

Once you have the hang of shooting in manual mode and properly composing and editing your shots, it’s time to practice. Take your camera out whenever you can and just start taking pictures. Take as many as humanly possible. Offer your services for a highly discounted rate or even free in turn for getting shots for your portfolio. You’ll build both your confidence and competence. You’ll also want to save your best shots for social media and your website to attract customers. 

How to Start a Photography Business - Camera

Create social media accounts and a website

Don’t get too overwhelmed with this step. A website at this point as a beginner doesn’t need to be anything fancy. All you really need is your best work and a form for people to email you. Keep it simple to start. The same sentiment applies to your Facebook and Instagram pages too. Showcase your best work and provide contact information. Giveaways can work well in the beginning to get more “likes” and “shares.” 

Market 

Getting your name and work out there is essential, especially in the competitive world of photography. If you’re in a more specialized photography niche like real estate, pass out business cards to real estate agents. Getting in with one professional can mean repeat business. Get creative! Try trading with a graphic designer to create some marketing materials for you to pass out. 

Ask for referrals

There’s no better business than repeat business! Where applicable, ask your clients to leave you a review on social media and recommend your services to friends/colleagues. Getting referrals is a quick way to build your photography business. 

How to Get Clients

This may seem pretty overwhelming for new photographers, but don’t stress. Follow these steps and you will have a pipeline of clients in no time! 

  • Beware of advertising discounts or sales. The type of customers discounts attract are typically not the ones you will want long term. Don’t cheapen your brand. 
  • Get out in the community. Attend trade shows or set up booths at local events. Have business cards linking to your social media to hand out at a moment’s notice. Sitting behind your computer all day won’t get you anywhere! 
  • Volunteer. If there is a charity event that needs photographers, have at it! Again, getting your face and a business card out there is always going to be valuable. 
  • Start with your inner circle. Network with people you already know and ask them if you can provide your service for them. Build your portfolio. Ask your friends/family/colleagues for referrals when possible. 
  • Create some social media ads. Target your local area and set up parameters based on the market you want to attract. A few dollars per day can go a long way! 
  • Get a mentor. Like we mentioned before, nothing beats having an expert teach you the ropes. Ask a photographer you know or have mutual connections with if you can intern with him/her and learn the business. 

Get Started Today!

While the process can seem intimidating, don’t let nerves stop you from pursuing a photography business! If you take all the proper steps and allow yourself time to grow as an artist and business owner, success is inevitable. Good luck! 

How to Start a Photography Business - Get Started

<span style="font-size:12px;font-weight:500">Author</span><br><a href="https://wealthpursuits.com/author/kevin/" target="_self">Kevin</a>

Author
Kevin

Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.

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