Starting a Photography Business

Job Duties

When starting a photography business you can choose to focus on one type of photography such as portraits or events or you can provide a wide range of services. As a photographer you have an artistic eye and skill for taking great pictures. Clients will be expecting professional pictures from your photography business so you must be prepared. You must learn about different lighting techniques and be aware of different terms such as a RAW images and mega-pixels.

Photography Services you can provide

starting a photography business

  • portraits
  • events and celebrations
  • passport/ ID photo
  • catalog photos
  • real estate photos
  • business product photos
  • car photos for dealership
  • scenery photos
  • celebrity photos (paparazzi)
  • media photos (newspapers)
  • fashion photos

Where will you work

When starting a photography business you can save money by working from home; however having a separate studio can make your photography business seem more professional. When deciding on whether to work out of your home or in a separate location keep in mind how much profits you will need to cover location and equipment costs. You may decide to get a location once you have a constant flow of clients. If you plan to work from home, designate a particular space to be your work place. Make sure there is enough space and it is free from obstruction. Also make sure the sunlight from windows do not interfere with the pictures. If they do, purchase curtains or shades. It will be necessary for you to travel to various locations when taking pictures of events, scenery or celebrities.

Basic Costs

When starting your photography business your basic costs will include a professional quality camera, a computer where you can store and edit photos. Depending on what type of photographs you plan to take your needs may vary. If you plan on taking portrait type photographs you will need lighting equipment and backgrounds. When setting up your photography business also consider other equipment you may need such as tripods, lenses, scanners, props and stands.

Tips for Starting a Photography Business

Start simple– When starting a photography business if you are new to this field start with small simple jobs to gain experience. Perhaps you can start out at your nephew’s birthday party before moving onto big projects such as weddings and portraits.

Be ready for the competition– When starting your photography business be aware of your competition. Photographers with years of experience, and training usually end up with the high paying advertising jobs.

Create a portfolio– Create a portfolio of some of your best work to show to potential clients. You can decide to have different portfolios for different jobs. For example you can have a portfolio of wedding pictures and another portfolio just of landscapes.

Protect Yourself– The unexpected can happen to anybody that is why it is important to protect you and your business by getting insurance such as limited liability insurance. If your client were to get hurt in your studio or if photos were accidentally damaged, having insurance can help prepare you when facing these situations. Just be sure to go over thoroughly with your agent exactly what is covered in your insurance plan.

Getting Software– You can decide to purchase programs such as the popular Adobe Photoshop to edit photographs. There are some great tutorials on how to use photoshop to edit photographs on

Advertising your Photography Business

  • Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, framing stores, wedding/bridal stores and community centers. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byers on the street.
  • Photographer Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
  • Yellow Pages– Consider buying an advertisement in the yellow pages of your local phone book. You can also include your photography business in the online version:
  • Having a listing at can help people that are searching for your service or product locally find you.
  • Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in and click on the first link.
  • Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your photography business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in and click on the first link.
  • Website– You can decide to develop a website to provide clients with access to your portfolio online.
  • Newspaper classified ads– Get the word out about your photography business by advertising in your local newspaper.
  • Join Associations – Join associations related to your area of photography such as the Association of Media Photographers or the Wedding and Portrait photographers international

Not sure about starting a photography business? See a list of small business ideas

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