Starting a photography business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Here are ten keys to success that will help you get your business off the ground and running.
Here are the steps you can take to get started on building your very own photography business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Photography Business
1. Choose Your Type of Photography Business
The first step in launching a photography business is to identify the type of photography business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Wedding photography business
- Portrait photography business
- Commercial photography business
Learn more about the types of photography businesses.
2. Name Your Photography Business
Give your photography business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your photography business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your photography business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that people will want to hire you.
3. Determine Your Photography Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a photography business including:
- Selling digital downloads of photos
- Selling physical prints of photos
- Selling photo packages
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your photography business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your photography business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common photography business structures.
5. Write a Photography Business Plan
All photography business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
Read our article about how to write a photography business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your photography business.
For example, in order to sell your photos online, you will need a business license.
And if you want to open a studio, there may be zoning permits required.
You must also register your photography business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper photography business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your photography business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your photography business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your photography business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a photography business to help you determine if funding is needed.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your photography business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help manage your clients and prospects. There are many CRMs available, including some that are specific for photographers.
You should also have a professional email address and website for your photography business. You can use a platform like WordPress to create a simple website on your own, or you can hire a web designer to create a more customized site.
If you plan to sell your photos online, you will need eCommerce software, as well.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a photography business.
9. Market Your Photography Business to Potential Clients
Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the photography industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Photography businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Creating a portfolio
- Creating an email list
- Photography contests
- Collaborations with other vendors
Read our article about how to market your photography business for more tips.
10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your photography business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your photography business to learn more.
Starting a Photography Business FAQs
Why Start a Photography Business?
The photography industry is growing rapidly. Technology has made it possible for anyone with a digital camera to start a business. And, there are many opportunities for photographers to make money.
If you have a passion for photography and are creative, you may be able to succeed as a photographer. Then, you can grow your business.
What is Needed to Start a Successful Photography Business?
There are several things you need to do to start a successful photography business.
First, you need to develop your skills. You can do this by taking classes, practicing and studying the work of other photographers.
Second, you should create a portfolio of your best work. This will show potential clients what you can do.
Third, you need to get the right technology and software. This will help you run your business efficiently.
Fourth, you need to market your business to potential clients. You can do this through social media, networking and creating promotional materials.
Finally, you need to get new clients and grow your business. You can do this by providing good customer service and finding ways to effectively market your business.
How Can I Start a Photography Business From Home?
Start your photography business from home by first developing your skills. Then, create a portfolio of your best work, get the right technology and software, market your business to potential clients, and finally, get new clients to grow your business.
Starting from home has low overhead costs and can be a great way to get your business off the ground. However, you may need to invest in some additional equipment as your business grows.
How Can I Start a Photography Business Online?
The first step to starting a photography business online is to create a website. This will be your platform to showcase your work and market your services.
Once you have a website, promote it through social media and other online channels. You can also create an email list of potential clients so you can keep them updated on your latest work.
Finally, make sure your website is optimized for search engines so potential clients can easily find you online.
What are Some Tips for Starting a Photography Business?
Here are some tips for starting a photography business:
- Develop your skills – Take classes, practice and study the work of other photographers.
- Create a portfolio – This will show potential clients what you can do.
- Get the right technology – This will help you run your business efficiently.
- Market your business – Use social media, network, and create promotional materials.
- Get new clients – Provide good customer service and find ways to effectively market your business.
- Grow your business – Train the right people to help you grow your photography business.
Where Can I Find a Simple Checklist for Starting a Photography Business?
A simple checklist to use when starting a photography business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Photography Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Photography Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Photography Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Photography Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Photography Business to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Starting a photography business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be on your way to starting a thriving photography business in no time.