There are many things to consider when starting a business in photography.
Is it worth the effort? What are the pros/cons? What is the maximum amount you can make? What equipment are you going to need? Do you need to specialize in one type of photography? How do you find clients?
There are many things to take into consideration.
It’s possible to make a living doing what you love, taking photos. Walt Disney once stated, “All our dreams are possible if we have the courage and will to pursue them.”
- This article will show you how to start your own photography business.
- What are the pros and cons of starting a photography business?
- Businesses and hobbies are two completely different things.
Before you make your passion a career, consider the pros and cons to starting a business in photography.
Five Pros to Starting a Photography Company
1. Profit from your Passion
Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once stated, “Find a job that you love and you won’t have to work one day in your entire life.”
You’ll be able to spend most of your time taking photos if you start a business in photography.
2. Find meaning in your work
Photographers are hired to preserve and capture special moments for all time. Photographers can find meaning in their work, regardless of whether the subject is nature, family portraits or weddings.
3. Meet new people
Photography can be a great way for you to meet new people, whether it’s at weddings, in your studio or on-location taking wildlife photos. Many cities have active meetup.com groups that meet regularly to socialize.
A photography business can offer a lot of flexibility for you and your family. You are in total control of your work schedule, unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job. This allows you to make it easier for your loved ones to have time together, such as vacations and childcare.
5. Travel Opportunities
Are you a lover of travel? Travel is a common part of many photographers’ work. Book clients in the places you want to visit.
Five Cons of Starting A Photography Business
1. High-priced Equipment
It can be costly to buy all the equipment needed to start a business in photography depending on what you have.
2. Fickle Customers
Customers can be frustrating or even draining. Some events can also be stressful and bring out people’s worst side. If you are a wedding photographer, you might encounter “bridezillas” from time to time.
3. Unsociable Work Hours
Many photo shoots take place outside of the normal work hours on weekends and evenings. It can be difficult to spend time with family and friends who work during the week.
4. Inconsistent Income
Income isn’t always steady and it can take some time to establish a steady flow of work. You will likely experience spikes and drops in your income when you first start.
5. You could spoil your passion
There are many differences between hobbies and businesses, as we have already said. It can be boring and tedious to turn a hobby into a business.
9 Business Ideas for Photography
Photographers who are most successful specialize in one type of photography. Why? Basically, specialists are more sought-after than generalists.
Consider this: Would you prefer a general photographer to capture your wedding or a specialist in weddings?
Before you begin your photography business, it is important to determine what kind of photography business you want.
Here are nine common ideas for starting a photography business.
1. Photographer for Weddings
Photographers are required to capture and preserve the wedding day of every couple.
2. Portrait Photography Business
Portrait photographers are needed by actors, families, models, and businesspeople from time to time.
3. Real Estate Photography Business
Amazing photos are essential for realtors, property managers and homeowners as well as hotels and Airbnb hosts to market their properties.
4. Travel photography business
Photographers who specialize in travel photography take stunning photos of countries, cities and tourist attractions. These photos can be used as promotional or entertainment material.
5. Event Photography Company
For events such as graduations, religious celebrations, business events, or birthday parties, event photographers are required.
6. Food Photography
Specialist food photographers are often used by restaurants, food brands, advertising agencies, and other businesses to show off their menu items or products.
7. Fashion Photography
Fashion photographers are needed by magazines and designers to showcase the latest trends and creations.
8. Sport Photography Business
Sports photographers are skilled at capturing the drama, excitement, and action of sporting events.
9. Photographer for Product
- Photographs are essential for businesses selling products.
- How do you start a photography business?
- You might be wondering what this means.
What is the cost to start a photography business?
It is helpful to know how much it will cost to set up a business in photography, especially since professional equipment is expensive.
How much does it cost for a photographer to open a business?
Jamie Swanson, a Wisconsin wedding photographer, calculated the costs for starting two types of photography businesses. Here are her findings:
- The total cost of starting a portrait business is $8,524 to $12,319
- The total cost of starting a business in wedding photography is $13,182 – $16,977
She concluded by saying that for $10,000 you can start your portrait photography business, and for $15,000 you can start your wedding photography business.
- But what do you really need all this money for?
- What do I need to start a photography business?
- You may have all the equipment you need if you’ve been a photographer for some time.
- You should still consider whether your equipment can produce work you are able to charge for.
- You will likely need additional equipment or services in order to operate your photography business.
- Here is a list of all the things you need to start your own photography business.
Let’s begin by going over the equipment you will need to start a photography business.
1. Professional Camera
A professional-grade camera is the most important piece. Do your research before you buy a camera.
2. Backup Camera
Professional photographers should always have a backup camera. If your camera goes down, you can still continue shooting.
Imagine if your job was to photograph a wedding, and your camera malfunctioned during the vowels.
A professional set of lenses is essential for every photographer to capture their subject. Make sure you research which lenses are best suited for your style.
All photographers need a tripod. Tripods are a must-have piece of equipment for photographers. They not only keep your camera stable, but also allow you take multiple photos of the same subject without having to alter your frame.
5. Camera Bag
Cameras and lenses of professional quality are expensive so make sure you have a camera bag to protect them. The bags make it easy to access and organize your gear when you’re out shooting.
Lighting is key to great photographs. Natural lighting is the best option, but you will need some lighting equipment and reflectors in order to take great photos even when it’s not too bright.
You will need backdrops if you want to start a portrait business.
You may need props depending on what type of photos you are planning to take. If you are an event photographer, for example, you might gather props such as oversized glasses or silly hats.
9. Reliable Cars and Vans
Your ability to deliver a high-quality service to clients is a key part of your professional photography business. It is very detrimental to your business to show up late or not at all because your car breaks down. You need reliable transportation to transport you and your gear.
10. Studio Space
You may need to rent or purchase a studio space depending on what type of photography you are planning to do. You could also create a small studio at home.
Reliable computers are essential for marketing your business and editing photos.
12. Editing Software
To fine-tune your photos, you will also need professional photo editing software such as Lightroom and Photoshop.
A laptop is a great option for anyone who uses a desktop computer that has a large display for photo editing.
14. External Hard Drive
High-quality digital images can occupy a lot of space on your computer’s hard drive, which can cause your computer to slow down. To store your photos, you can invest in an external hard disk.
15. Photo Printer
A photo printer is a great investment if you intend to offer prints to clients. You could also find a local printing company to print your photos for clients.
16. Smartphone with a High Quality Camera
While you will need to use a professional-grade camera to shoot, your smartphone can be used to capture behind the scenes content for social media. This content can be used to promote your photography business.
17. Mobile Photography Apps
To enhance your smartphone photos, you may want to download photo editing apps before sharing them online. Snapseed and Lightroom CC are all available.
Let’s now take a look at the tools that will help you market your photography business once you have your gear in order.
18. Website and online portfolio
A professional website will present your services and highlight your past work. (Learn more about this later.)
19. Channels for Social Media
You can benefit from being active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. These channels can be used to promote your work or network with potential clients.
20. Business cards
Personal marketing is a proven method of getting your business cards noticed. Keep a few business cards with you to share with people at events or shoots. Vistaprint, Office Depot and Staples can help you create yours.
Let’s now take a look at some tools that can help you manage your business operations.
21. Payment System
You need a way to quickly collect payments from your clients as a business. This system should allow you to accept payments online, by phone or in person.
- Shopify’s Point of Sale is a cost-effective and simple way to accomplish this.
- Shopify allows you to create a website, manage your business and accept payments.
22. Business license
Your local or state government may require you to register your business. You should also check the requirements for photographers in your locality.
Accidents can happen. To protect yourself from the unexpected, you may want to buy equipment or business insurance.
24. Accounting Software
You will need to keep track and file tax returns when you are self-employed. An accounting program such as Freshbooks or Quickbooks can be helpful, such as Xero, Quickbooks or Freshbooks.
25. Client Contracts
It’s a good idea to sign a contract when you are working with a client or a project. It protects you in case of a dispute and clarifies what is expected from both parties. It is possible to purchase templates for contracts or hire a local attorney to help you create them.
26. PPA Membership
The Professional Photographers of America may be a good choice for you. This organization provides professional photographers with resources, advice, education, and support.
- What is the Average Charge for Photographers?
- You’re probably wondering what it costs to start a business in photography.
- While there is no definitive answer, we can look at some averages to get an idea.
Fash reports that professional photographers charge anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour. The final edited photograph is usually priced between $25 and $100.
It is important to remember that the amount a photographer makes depends on their skill level, experience, and what type of photography they are doing. See the image below for more information.
Additionally, the average day rate for photography services is $300-500 for birthday parties and $1,000-$3,000 for weddings.
Remember that photographers don’t charge this amount – it’s what they make.
Photographers may charge $200 an hour but they must also subtract travel, marketing, equipment and editing time. After taking these extra costs into consideration, the take-home salary will be lower.
How to name your photography business
There are two options when naming your photography company:
You can use your name, but you can simply call it Jane Smith Photography or Jane Smith Wedding Photography.
You can create a brand new name for your photography services like “Luxe Photography” and “Luxe Wedding Photography”.
You’re good to go if you choose option 1.
There are some things you should consider if you decide to go with option 2. You must choose a name that is appropriate for the type of business you are starting.
If you are photographing weddings, for example, “Happily ever After Photography” might work well. It might not work well if your corporate business conferences are being photographed.
Shopify’s business name generator can help you brainstorm ideas.
Next, ensure that your business name has not been trademarked. To get started in the US, you can perform a TESS trademark search at the USPTO website by using the “basic term mark search” function.
You can also search Google to check if any other business uses the same name, or if there is a similar name. This could lead to confusion like “Happily Ever after Videography”.
- It’s better to avoid the name if you see someone using it.
- How to brand your photography business
- You will need to create brand visuals before you can market your photography business.
This is how you choose a visual style, colors and fonts. These visuals can be used on your website, social channels, business cards, and other marketing materials.
This also allows you to create a professional logo. Hatchful makes it easy to do this.
The logo was created in just a few moments. Hatchful offers ready-made branding images that are optimized for social media, as you can see in the image.
How to market your photography business
This is the most crucial part of starting a business in photography: landing clients. You must market your services to get clients.
It is important to have a portfolio to show your work before you market your photography business. A professional website is the best way to showcase your portfolio of photography work.
Shopify is a great service to help you do this. Shopify offers a wide range of themes for websites that are specifically tailored to the needs of art and photography businesses.
Check out our guide How to Make A Website to learn more about building a website for your photography business.
Once you have an online portfolio you can market your photography business.
Start by posting on social media. Reach out to your network and ask them if they know of anyone who might be interested in your services. Photographers often get their first clients from people they know.
You should also ensure that you have business cards to hand out to anyone you meet.
After you have completed these steps, you can start networking in Facebook groups that are relevant to your target market. You might join New York Weddings if, for example, you are a New York wedding photographer.
Trade shows and events could be another option. You could, for example, meet potential clients at dog shows if your specialty is pet photography.
Summary: How to start a photography business
- Here are some steps to help you start your own photography business.
- Compare the pros and cons
- You can specialize in one type of photography such as portraits, fashion or weddings.
- Calculate how much it will cost to get started
- Get your equipment together, including lenses, cameras, and editing software.
- A payment system, business license and insurance can help you get your business in order.
- Calculate your pricing model
- Name your photography business
- Design a logo and market your business
- Marketing your business is essential
- Have fun