How to Start a Photography Business (15 Key Steps)

Several people over the years see the photography business as an addition to their primary source of income, while others see it as their basic income. Whichever one it is, it is a great way to earn money if you put your efforts into it.

The photography business is fast becoming competitive, yet most of its owners have been able to dovetail their way to build a sustainable career.

Same with several other creative businesses, what you require to succeed in the photography business is to strike a balance between your passion for photography and your true marketing talents. In other words, you must possess the raw potential and develop a passion for marketing as well as the ability to market yourself.

The world of photography is competitive these days, and that is why, if you want to start the business and make money out of it as quickly as possible, you must adopt the following steps and strategies on how to start a photography business. This article will kick-start the massive income business you never imagined.

How to Start a Photography Business

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

For every successful business, there is a laid down plan. A business plan is a document where your ideas and thoughts are plainly stated and serves as your roadmap or a framework that describes what your business is all about, how profitable it will be, and so on.

It also defines activities such as cash flow, expenditures, ownership, and competition amongst others.

To succeed in a photography business, you must be very skilled in business, as it is a very competitive business.

Hence, if you start well, you will become successful much might seem difficult to create a business plan, but with the right materials, it will surely be very easy for you.

Step 2: Assess Your Startup Costs

Another crucial decision that will determine the success of your photography business is by assessing your startup costs.

In other words, what are the basic things that you require before you can start up your business? For instance, to acquire camera materials alone, you should be budgeting not less than $10,000.

You must also secure business licenses, insurance, a website, and accounting software, which includes QuickBooks or Xero.

If you plan on starting with a studio house, you’ll have to find commercial rental properties and calculate it whether monthly or yearly, with its utility costs, and fix them in your financial plan.

Step 3: Secure Startup Funds

There would be no need to apply for a loan if the money in your bank account is sufficient enough to finance your business.

However, most entrepreneurs these days need every assistance they can get. Some may decide to ask their family or friends for assistance or even maintain their other jobs until they can start relying on their business for sustenance.

Whichever way you’ve chosen to raise the capital for your business, you need to secure a business plan that will detail everything ranging from how your money will be spent, when and what you will do to pay back your debts.

Step 4: Figure out Your Finances

As a beginner, you don’t have to expect that your business will start breeding income overnight. No matter how lucrative any business looks, it will need time to blossom and start yielding results.

Therefore, you don’t have to bank on it to break even and yield money enough to settle your bills. You need an extra job that will earn you money elsewhere.

Step 5: Get Professional Experience

Your prospective customers have to know what you are capable of doing, and if you partner with a professional photographer, it’ll widen your experience and you can start building your portfolio. You can also use that experience to set up a photography portfolio that shows your skill.

Make sure you put your audience into consideration and create the portfolio around what they need to know. Ensure it stays updated, to enable potential customers to see new and important work.

Step 6: Buy Camera Gear

If you want to start up a photography business, you must have at least two cameras, two standard quality lenses, two flashes, and Photoshop and Lightroom (for editing). Yes, you need two cameras as a backup tool.

Even modern tool breaks. Buying used gear can cost you around $5,000, but it can rise to $10,000. You can upgrade gear as your business grows.

Step 7: Initiate a Pricing Plan

Another question you must ask yourself as a beginner is, how much you will charge for your services. The pricing plan is quite tricky, especially for every starter. You have to begin by figuring out what one hour of every of your time is worth.

Assuming an hour of your time is worth $50, and you spend around three hours editing, you have to add it up to your charges.

Therefore, in the calculation, you would end up charging $200 for one hour of photo time. You own your pricing plan, and what we just listed down is a way you can start it up.

Step 8: Invest in a Killer Website

After initiating a name for your photography business, it is important to create a website. There are several websites that you can get for free, but you’d want your website to be standard, so ensure you it is professionally built.

Your website will help to define your work, which is what your customers need to be shown. Ensure you keep your site organized by dividing your galleries into segments. Then, add an image of yourself and a page that explains your root and experience. You can include your contact information and some of your prices.

Step 9: Establish Your Personal Brand

You need a special brand for your photography business, as it helps to set you apart from your competitors. You have to take note of the fact that there’s no way you can be everything to everybody, else you’ll completely fail. If you want to draw customers, you must create a brand or style.

You can begin by stating your target market. You might decide to go for maternity shoots, newborns, or senior portraits for students. Figuring out your unique area and using it to brand your business, is another step to being a successful photographer.

Step 10: Create Networking Time

A good photographer or business owner requires networking. Networking can take you places, and when you are popularly known, it will make you gain fame and become great in business all over the world.

You can even connect with others, by joining groups, forums, clubs, collectives, etc. Ensure they all know and respect you, and you will attract customers.

Step 11: Possess Good Relational Skills

The secret to every successful business is to possess a good relational school, as it will help to win more people to patronize you. You must ensure the customer has an awesome experience because it will build up their trust in you while also making them get you more people.

You can also build good people skills by meeting with your client one on one and having a small chat. You can win their heart and continuous patronage by being respectful and showing some humility. Don’t forget you’re not only selling your great photos but also your experience and people skillset.

Step 12: Promote Yourself through Social Media

Social media is a nice promotion medium, but it’ll be best, to begin with, one or two sites and use them as often as possible. There are several promotional mediums, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. You can share and save teaser pictures on your Facebook page. It will keep customers attracted and interested.

Step 13: Establish a Savings Plan & Pay Attention to Cash Flow

As we earlier mentioned, you will need time to start making profits from your business, and even a longer period to start saving some amount from it. However, one of the priorities of every businessman is to save money as the business grows including in the photography business.

It doesn’t matter your target area, you will sooner or later start making a profit. Therefore, it would help if you save money during the rainy days, to sustain you during your dry days.

In other words, you have to give heed to your cash flow, or when you start earning money or as money goes out of your business.

Step 14: Reinvest in the Business

Successful businessmen always have the mindset of reinvesting into their business as the profit comes. When the bucks start coming, you can reinvest to help improve your business. There are several things you can improve upon including fresh lenses for better editing software, fresh pieces of technology, and others.

Step 15: Keep Learning

There is never an end to the learning process. As a businessman, there are new skills and inventions that you must learn.

As the world is revolving around technology, you need to acquire new skills and strategies that will enable you to keep up with the modern environment. Engage in classes, watch educational videos, and so on, to maintain and improve your skillset.