What Are the Best Tips for Starting a Photography Business?

Mark Wollacott

Very little equipment is required for starting a photography business. An individual can begin armed simply with a camera and a computer. Starting any business does, however, require preparation, ideas, and a talent for the product or service being offered. It also requires completion of any legal paperwork required of businesses in the area.

A photographer may specialize in wedding photography.
A photographer may specialize in wedding photography.

Starting a photography business will benefit from direction and focus. There will be plenty of competition, so a new photography business will need to differentiate itself from the competition. A photographer embarking on this venture should ask what makes their photos unique, what their strengths are, or what their primary photographic interest is.

A photographer looking to start their own business should ask themselves what makes their photos unique, what their strengths are, or what their primary photographic interest is.
A photographer looking to start their own business should ask themselves what makes their photos unique, what their strengths are, or what their primary photographic interest is.

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Part of focusing a business idea is the business plan. It is essential to plan how the business will be set up and how it will operate. The business plan can be used to develop the budget needed for running the business, to set the prices for initial services and products, and to list costs, such as website hosting, photography equipment, and internet connection. Business plans are not finite and can be changed as the business expands or circumstances change.

A key component to starting a photography business is to set up a website. There are a vast number of website hosting options from free hosting to business packages. A website will allow the photographer to introduce the service to a wide audience. This is also a good way to begin the networking process and to earn additional money. By using advertising packages or affiliate programs, the photographer can potentially earn additional income.

Some individuals also start a weblog, or blog, as a part of a website or business. A blog is an online journal or diary entry used by individuals and businesses alike to promote work, thoughts, or opinions. A photography blog can be used to advertise some of the photos the photographer has taken; it may also be used to report photography activities or to impart advice to other photographers. Bloggers can form a community with other professionals by linking to each other’s sites and exchanging comments.

Networking is crucial to starting a photography business. Making professional and personal connections can help a photographer to garner new clients. In addition, "word of mouth," or personal recommendations, can be very important. Early connections with family and friends will often quickly widen to include a broad network when word of good services spreads.

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Discussion Comments


I think that the best tip for starting your own photography business is make up a bunch of really nice business cards, and carry them with you whenever you go on a shoot. This can help so much if you are shooting an event with lots of people around.

My good friend got lots of business by doing this. She would be shooting a wedding, and people would just approach her and ask about her business.

Having the cards on hand made her look very professional. They were attractive, well-designed, and included all her contact information. Getting cards designed professionally is the best way to go, because they can serve as a first impression of your business.


Sometimes, you just have to go for it. My sister had no idea how to start a photography business, but she had a love for it and plenty of photographic talent, so she just started winging it.

She already had a computer with photo editing software and a nice digital camera. Really, this was all she needed for the type of work she was doing at the time.

She shot photos of events and outdoor photos of children in flower gardens and pumpkin patches. No one had ever asked her if she had a studio, until she did one couple’s wedding photos. They wanted to come to her and have family portraits made.

After that, she decided to convert one room in her house into a studio. It was a lot of work, but it has paid off. She never thought she would need one, but she is glad that she did.


@lighth0se33 - I’m sure that social networking helps, but it seems like a business should also have its own website. That way, they can determine the appearance and layout of their photos, and they can make it as appealing as possible.

It would be great to provide a link to a professional website through a social networking site, if that’s allowed. That could send traffic to a person’s more impressive, more detailed site.

My wedding photographer has the most beautiful website I have ever seen, and coincidentally, she has more business than she can handle. I feel confident that her site is responsible for much of this.


My best friend started and built her photography business just by using social networking sites. She had so many friends on there, and many of them lived close enough to her to come to her studio.

She made a separate profile just for her business, and she made frequent updates about specials and new developments. Every time she got new props or clothing for the studio, she would post pictures of it, and this resulted in many of her friends’ children coming in for photos.

Also, she kept her prices reasonable, when compared with the rates of others in town. Photography studios that have been around for a long time tend to jack up their prices, and she benefited from this.

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