How To Start A Photography Business

Image of Camera Lenses and light sensors

A Quick Overview of The Photography Business

Do you have what it takes to succeed?

Anyone with an eye for original images, the right equipment and film, and excellent technical skills can take good pictures.

But to make a living out of taking stunning photographs needs more than photography skills; you must also be a savvy businessperson.

You should be aware that the competition is fierce. It may help to focus on an area in which you have the most interest. If you like fashion, you can take modeling pictures. If you like nature, you can take outdoor landscape shots, you can also focus on stock photography.

It is now easier than ever to turn your dream into reality and create a worthwhile business out of what once might have been a hobby.

Skill Set:
  • Excellent technical skills (with cameras, computers, film developing, and lighting)
  • Artistic eye, you need to be able to see the picture in ordinary things
  • Ability to set up shots
  • Ability to capture shots at the right moment
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee & Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase Or In The Future:

Common Staff Positions Needed To Run Some Businesses

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

There are no specific hours you will be working unless you have a studio that’s open to the public. In that case, you could be working standard retail hours.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Digital Camera
  • Photo editing program
  • Studio
  • Lighting
  • Backdrops
  • Props
  • Video equipment
Monthly Expenses To Consider:

List of Common Monthly Expenses

Licenses:

Licensing requirements vary from county to county and state to state. Contact your county or state offices to determine which, if any, license you need to operate. This is especially important if you are working from home, you may have zoning issues and irritated neighbors to deal with.

Also, call the IRS. They will be able to answer a lot of your questions, as well as provide you with a federal tax ID number.

It is best to determine the zoning restrictions in your area before you proceed, particularly if you expect to have clients coming over to your house for photo shoots. Your neighbors may object to the daily comings-and-goings of your customers

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

Bare essential – The financial investment required to open and operate successfully depends on how you are going to do it. If you choose to focus on nature and outdoor scenes, you will need high-speed camera devices. The startup for this is relatively low.

With computer and printer costs, you could start for around $1,500 to $2,000. If you want to work indoors, the startups going to be much higher. You need studio space, lighting, backdrops, photo editing programs, and at least a few good cameras. This will multiply the amount of money you need to start.

Tips and Considerations:
  • While there are various types of photographic activity, professional photography can be broadly divided into two categories: assignment photography and stock photography.
  • Assignment photography is commissioned by a client. It covers advertising of products, portraits, weddings, school functions, and other images shot on assignment. Most photographers spend their entire career shooting on assignments, as it provides less of financial risk for the photographer. You know that you will get paid, either before the event or after the contract has been satisfactorily completed.
  • Stock photography is shot on speculation, in advance of being sold. In going after a “perfect air balloon” shot, photographers may take hundreds of shots, of air balloons that could be made available at a fair price for generic uses. These “surplus photos” can then be used in a multitude of ways, in newspaper articles, brochures, calendars, websites, and many more. Instead of commissioning a photographer, many commercial and educational establishments simply buy stock photographs at a lower cost.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Can work from home
  • Allows you to turn your hobby into income
  • Good market for pictures of all kinds
  • A broad range of possibilities (portraits, sports, nature, underwater, fashion, etc.)
  • You can also freelance for newspapers, magazines, etc.

The Cons:

  • Extremely competitive
  • Price per picture can be low
  • You have to have a certain amount of talent

Resources:

Related Sites:

Virtual Photography Studio

Grins 2 Go

Courses:

How to Start a Profitable Photography Business

Accredited Online Photography Degree Programs

Equipment and Supplies:

Pro Studio Supply

B and H

Forums:

Photo.net

Associations:

Professional Photographers of America

NPPA

Books:

How to Start a Home-Based Photography Business