How to Start a Photography Business | Full Guide

The art and craft of photography has developed as the cost of high-quality cameras has continued to decline. For many people, photography business is more than just a means of preserving memories.

Photography allows you to express yourself in a satisfying way. It’s a method of interpreting the world and making the unseen visible. It’s also a method to make a living and turn photography into a career for many people with good photography skills.

It can be difficult to make the shift from photography as a pastime to a career by beginning a photography business (or expanding an existing photography business).

Who Can Start A Photography Business?

A photographer is technically anyone who has a camera, just as a driver is technically everyone who has a car. A golfer can be anyone who owns a set of clubs. An artist is someone who works with a paintbrush and an easel. The only thing that separates them is their educational background and work experience.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Photography Business?

If you’re serious about your photography, you’ll want to set aside money for a business budget to help you expand your arsenal. The following is a list of suggested tools and accessories, along with their approximate prices:

  • Camera: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Camera lens: $1,000
  • Memory cards: $50
  • External drives: $100
  • Laptop for editing: $2,000
  • Website hosting: $50
  • Backdrops and lighting: $500
  • Editing software: $20.99 per month (Photoshop)
  • Tripod: $100
  • Camera bag: $150
  • Accounting software: $10 to $30 per month for basic plans

Many of the equipment on this list, such as a camera and a laptop, are likely already in your possession, lowering your initial costs significantly.

How Can I Start A Photography Business With No Money?

Starting a business without any capital is not a good idea. Then there’s no point in waiting for the right time because it’ll never come. There will always be something you don’t have, something you don’t need, or anything that gets in the way, so now is a good moment to get rid of it. It’s nearly impossible to invest nothing in your company. So, once you have money, you must pick where it will go. For example, if you want to go shoot photos, you’ll need a car and petrol, or you’ll need to take public transportation or limit yourself to taking images around you. When you decide to start a photography business, it’s extremely probable that you’ve already taken some images and have a large collection of photos to work with.

What Do You Need For A Photography Business?

A Good Camera:

A nice camera is the first piece of equipment you’ll need to start a photography business. There are numerous alternatives to examine. Some models operate better in some settings than others, so you’ll need to do a lot of study to figure out which ones will work best for you.


A tripod is also a must-have piece of gear since it allows you to keep your camera steady and snap multiple shots of each subject without moving the camera.

Camera Bag:

When you’re relocating your camera from one location to another, ensure sure it’s safe. So purchase yourself a decent camera case to protect your camera from being destroyed or damaged.


Any good photograph necessitates the use of lighting. While natural lighting is ideal, you’ll probably want to invest in some studio lighting in the event that there isn’t enough sunlight.


You may use a variety of lenses to capture various types of photographs with your camera. So, if you want to improve the quality of your images, it would be a good idea to invest in some various lenses.


Depending on the type of shots you plan to take, you may need to buy or make some backgrounds for studio or portrait photography.


Having a range of various props on hand might also be beneficial. Your choice of props will be determined by your niche. If you’re a wedding photographer, for example, you generally won’t want the same props as a pet photographer. Having a few alternative options, on the other hand, can be a smart idea.

Studio Space:

You may also need to rent or own studio space for your photography business, particularly if you plan on having clients come to you for images.

Reliable Transportation:

Alternatively, you may start a photographic business that allows you to go to clients. In such scenario, you’ll require a reliable mode of transportation to and from your shoots.

Smartphone with a Good Camera:

While you probably won’t use your smartphone or mobile device as your primary camera for your photography business, it can still be useful. Because social media may be a handy tool for sharing images and behind-the-scenes shots, having a smartphone that can capture quality photos might be beneficial.

Editing Software:

After you’ve shot your pictures, you’ll need software that allows you to edit and fine-tune them. Photographers can benefit from programs like Photoshop and Lightroom.


That also implies that you’ll require a computer to edit and keep your digital images.

Mobile Photography Apps:

Furthermore, when taking images with your mobile device, it can be beneficial to download several photography apps to assist you enhance your mobile photography.

Social Media Channels:

You should also create accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share your images and updates with potential customers.

Domain Name

A photography business can benefit from having a decent website. So get a domain name that fits your company’s and brand’s identity.

Online Portfolio:

It’s also a good idea to put your photography work on your website or anywhere else online. As a result, you’ll need to focus on building up an image portfolio over time.

Business Cards:

Business cards may be a wonderful way to advertise your brand and give potential clients an easy method to contact you when you go to jobs or engage with clients.

External Hard Drive:

Digital photos can quickly fill up your computer’s hard drive. Investing in an external hard drive to store all of those enormous files when not in use can be a good option.

Business License:

It’s also possible that you’ll need to register your company with your local or state government. Look into any business licenses that may be required in your area for photography enterprises.

Photo Printer:

You’ll want to make sure your images are of good quality when printing proofs or marketing materials. Invest in a high-quality photo printer to make your photographs truly stand out.

How Much Does A Photography Business Make A Year?

The typical income for photographers is around $30-40k per year, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the top 10% of earners earning over $70,000 per year.

Can I Start A Photography Business From Home?

Here are the steps to get started if you’re ready to start being paid to snap images.

1. Make a decision about the types of photography services you’ll provide: Photographers are required by businesses and individuals for a variety of reasons. For brochures, businesses require images of their items. Realtors require photographs of the properties they are selling. Magazines require photographs that are relevant to the stories they are printing. You can also capture portraits or photograph weddings if you don’t want to do business photography.

2. Create a business plan: A business plan lays out the specifics of your company, such as the services you provide, how you will differentiate yourself from the competition, financial projections, and marketing strategies. Now is a good time to figure out your price strategy. If you want to make $50,000 per year and believe you can book 26 weddings per year, you’d have to charge approximately $2,000 per wedding. Equipment, supplies, and travel costs, as well as your time, must all be factored into your pricing.

3. Choose your business structure: A sole proprietorship is the most straightforward and cost-effective option. Creating a limited liability corporation (LLC) will, on the other hand, provide better security for your personal assets if you run into legal issues.

4. Choose a business name: Your business name will become your brand image, so pick a name that reflects the type of photography you want to do. You can have a humorous name if you’re doing child photos, but if you’re doing commercial photography or weddings, you’ll want something that sounds professional or classy. You’ll almost certainly need to file a fictitious name statement with your county clerk’s office if you don’t use your given name in your business name. You should also check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to see if the name is trademarked.

5. Obtain a business license or permit as required by your city or county: Once you’ve chosen a business name and established your business structure, you’ll need to obtain a business license or permit as required by your city or county. Although you can take pictures with a digital camera, you may need to collect sales tax if you live in a state that does. The essential documents and information on how to collect and pay sales tax can be obtained from your state’s comptroller or tax office. You can open a business bank account once you have your business license.

6. Gather needed equipment and supplies:

If photography is your pastime, you may already own a lot of the necessary equipment. However, you’ll need to determine whether the quality is high enough to justify charging for services. You’ll also need lenses, lights, batteries, picture editing software, high-quality photo paper, and packaging to distribute the photos to clients, in addition to a camera. Lighting control may also necessitate the use of lights and screens.

7. Create marketing materials: Create a website in addition to business cards and brochures. Before you upload your subjects’ images online, make sure you have their permission. Also, create accounts on social media sites where your target demographic might be found. If you photograph weddings, for example, you should establish a Pinterest page.

8. Market, market, market: Marketing is the key to a successful photography business. If no one hires you, you won’t be able to take and receive compensated for images. Use your personal and professional networks to spread the news about your firm in addition to business cards, brochures, and a website. Attend trade shows and activities aimed towards your target audience. Attend wedding shows, for example, if you want to do wedding photography. Attend dog shows if you want to shoot pet photos.


When it comes to launching a photography business, there is a lot to consider. However, with this comprehensive advice on how to establish a photography business, you’ll have a leg up on the competition and be well on your way to success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is A Photography?

Photographers take images that paint a picture and tell a story.

Who Can Start A Photography Business?

A photographer is technically anyone who has a camera.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Photography Business?

If you’re serious about your photography, you’ll want to set aside money for a business budget to help you expand your arsenal.


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