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Starting and Growing Your Photography Business

August 15, 2018

Photography business has been thriving. Capturing images that make memories is probably the one of the exciting and passionate businesses.

Photography is all about creativity and imagination.  A photographer can turn a boring image into something outstanding, can turn it into a piece of artwork!

Few Benefits of Starting a Photography Business:

  • You’re the Boss. You’re in charge of what equipment to use, decide on the niche, and your targeted audience. You control the finances, the location, plus the method of operation of your business.


  • Set the Pricing. You get to determine how much you are going to charge each client and what services you’ll offer. You can adjust the prices whenever you want to bring in more clients.


  • Your Own Marketing Plan. You get to decide how you want to market or promote your business.


  • Set your Own Schedule. The best part of having your photography business is, setting your own work hours. You get to decide how long you want to work, whether you want to work during weekends. You’re able to schedule your hours around everything else that you need to do like taking care of your family, dropping and picking kids from school…


Starting your Photography Business

When starting your photography business, there are few things you need to get started.

Set your business goals

Knowing what you’re trying to achieve is very important. Setting goals for your business will give you a better picture to your destination. With goals you’ll be able to make progress faster and will spend your time, money and energy on things that will make your business successful.


Find your niche

Professional photography is divided into different specialties such as commercial, wedding, portraiture, nature or wildlife, fine art… First, you need to find out which type of photography you are passionate about. 

  • Does your personality match your niche?
  • Are you comfortable working with large crowds or alone? 

These things will help you select the niche that you have passion for and with which you will have lots of fun! 


Choose your ideal client

Once you’ve decided on your niche, next is to choose your ideal client.  Which type of clients would you be more comfortable to work with?

The audience you choose to work with, will impact the success of your business. 

  • Is there certain age group you want to work with?
  • Location?  Style?  Income Level?

Deciding on specifics like these will help you build a photography client persona.


Set Expectations

Owning a business is not easy.  There are important things that need to be considered like finances.  How much money are you willing to invest in your business.  What’s the revenue amount you are expecting per week/month?

How many hours you want to put into your business?  Will you be able to take care of the expenses until you start making profit?


Know the equipment

You can’t be successful if you are not using the right equipment.  You need to have a thorough knowledge about the camera and lenses that you are using.  What are its capabilities and limitations?

A professional photographer knows the features well enough to make good use of it. Instead of just focusing on the manual, invest in other books out there that will teach you more techniques than illustrated in the user manual.

Finally, the best way to know about your lenses and camera is to practice.  Take dozens of photos in different situations and see how they come out.


Educate yourself

If you want to be best at what you are doing, consider taking photography training through workshops or classes offered by your local institutions.

Photography education comes in handy when you want to make your photos more artistic.

There are also online photography classes like the ones offered through Craftsy that you can learn from. The more you know the better you’ll do. 

Along with classes there are so many books on starting a photography career which are available on Amazon.


Set the Price

When deciding on the pricing, consider how much other photographers are charging for the same type of service or product.  Compare your price.  You don’t want to charge too much or too little. 

Do some research.  Also look at what you’re offering.  Is your product or service unique?  Does it come with additional features or services? 

When setting the price, also consider the expenses for each type of service or product.  Determine how much revenue you want to make, so add that amount to your expenses which will help you set the pricing.  Many photographers base their prices on session type, bundles or packages, something like:

Family Portraits $395 – includes 1 hour in an outdoor location and online gallery of images.


Register and License your Business

To legally operate your photography business, you need to register and license your business with your local city or county.

When registering your business, you’ll need a business name.  When selecting a business name, consider something that’s easy to remember. A name that is unique and that helps you build a brand. 

A good photography business name catches the attention plus states your brand. We’ll cover branding in the paragraphs below.

Search Google and see what other photographers are using as their business name.  This will give you some ideas.  If you’re planning to get a website for your business, check if the domain name is available.

Consider other branding details like logos – will the name work well with a logo; will the name be easy to find in Google…


Develop a Marketing Strategy

Every business needs a marketing strategy for growth!  You need to let your potential clients know what products and services you’re offering. Not only what you are offering, but you also need to share how they can contact you.

In this fast-moving digital world, things like websites, social media channels are critical to make your business successful. You need a platform where you can share about your business, showcase your work, talk about your expertise and provide details how your clients can contact you. 



Start a blog/website for your business.  You’ve probably already seen many successful photographers have their own websites which is smart way to market or promote your business.

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial to start your own blog today!

Websites like SmugMug is a perfect way to get your business online.  Having a website will not only showcase your portfolio, but you will also be able to reach out to a much broader audience. 

Another major benefit is that your business will look more professional with a website with your own business domain name. You will be able to build your own brand with your own logo, thank you notes, newsletters…

Having critical information like your contact info, a little about who you are and what type of photography you specialize in such as weddings, family, ads, will provide the potential customer with lots of info. 

A website will also enable you to share the photos of your clients with them through a secure setup. What this means is that you’ll provide passwords to the clients who will view their photos online via your website.

You can also sell your photos via your website. This is why I highly recommend SmugMug who will help you set up the website the way you want it.  You will be able to add your customized pricelist and share them with your clients. Plus, can upload and organize your photos so that it’s easier to share them with your clients.

Other than the website, have your own portfolio book created, example one with Family pictures, one for Special Events like wedding, engagements… 

And to make it professional create your book with Mixbook or Blurb whichoffers beautiful designs for creating your own book in your very own style.  This is fun!  Share these books with your clients when meeting with them and understanding what exactly they are looking for.

Your portfolio will help your clients select a product that they are most interested in.

Simply make delivering the goods a happy experience for both you and the client.


Social Media

Social media has grown tremendously.  It’s just amazing how many people use social media to connect with others, find online deals, learn new things, find out about businesses, buy products and services…

Register with social media channels like Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and create your profile.  Upload your photos and share them with your followers.

Post about your new services or products and share any type of discounts or deals that you offering to new clients.


Other Marketing Methods

Other marketing methods used by photographers are passing out business cards, mailing postcards or flyers, advertising, events, word-of-mouth, and direct mail. Give out your business cards to your friends and relatives.

Offer discounts or bonuses to your existing clients for referring new clients. 

Be creative!  Marketing can be done in many ways, just use the one that’s most appropriate for the type of business you are in.


Develop a Branding Strategy

Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of business strategy.  It helps you to make your product or service stand out. 

What is Branding Strategy?

Branding is any unique design, name, symbol or any other feature that defines your product or service as different from those of other sellers.


Why you Need a Branding Strategy?

Brands are driving customers’ views and opinions of a company’s integrity, products and services, customer satisfaction and reliability. Businesses with solid branding are quite successful.

Having a good understanding around your brand up front will help you develop a marketing strategy and pricing structure that will help position your business for success. 


How to Get Started with Branding Strategy?

The first approach is to know what your business goals are which we discussed earlier in this article. What type of services or products you are planning to provide, the specific type of photography to focus on, who your main clients are going to be and what’s going to be unique about your service or product.


Be Unique

Differentiate your services or products by having an elegant signature logo.  Use the logo on your business cards, post cards, coupons, website, social media, product packaging…

There are many talented designers who can design an outstanding logo for your photography business.  I found many on Etsy.


Create your Own Portfolio

Your portfolio needs to include work of your own.  Clients like to see your work…share sample photos that you’ve taken.  Portfolio represents your best work that reflects your style, your niche, your expertise.

A website is the best place to share your portfolio.  Clients can see your portfolio whenever they want, without setting any appointments.  Make it easy for them.

If you don’t have a portfolio, offer free sessions to take photos.  Share those photos on your website. When offering free sessions, make sure the photos meet your style, and your niche that you are planning to work with in the future. Images are very important, it says a lot about the photographer.


Using the Right Tools

Many times, new business owners end up investing time, money and energy into tools that they don’t really need to run their business.  For a photography business, there are tools that will improve the quality of your service or product.  Other than the camera, certainly, you’ll need:


Editing Software – to give your photos a professional and clean look you’ll need a software like Adobe Photoshop CC, or Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

Tripods – a sturdy tripod is essential why are photographing a wedding, or when you compose formal group shots.

Lighting Kit – for your studio, you’ll need umbrella or softbox lighting kit.

Backdrops & Props – there are many backdrops and props available online. Try Etsy and Amazon

Computer – for editing your photos.

Backup Storage Devices – it’s always good to backup your work.

Professional Album Creation Sites/SoftwareMixbook and Blurb can help you achieve this.

Photo Storage – use a device that helps you store all your photos. 

Website – again try SmugMug or you can create your own using this step-by-step tutorial.

CreativeLive –get professional training to make your photos more outstanding and to keep up with the new features and trends.


Now you’re Ready to Launch your Photography Business

In this article, we’ve discovered there are several important things to consider before starting a photography business.  The key is taking time to set up your business properly. Get your business plan together, and then use that plan to drive your business.



Photography offers a creative career giving you the chance to succeed on your own terms. Photography can be a lot of fun where you are able to express yourself and your unique point of view through your photos. 

Another thing I like about being a photographer is there, is no retiring.  With passion you can continue photography for a long time!



DISCLOSURE: Many of the links in the article above, and throughout this site, are affiliate links. While there’s no additional cost to you, any purchases made via those links may earn me a commission.

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