How to Start A Profitable Photography Business

There are tons of people earning a decent side or a full-time income by running a photography business. But as the market is competitive, to be successful you need to work hard and plan properly. Here in this article, we list down the steps to follow to create a photography business plan with equipment requirement, market potential, studio set up, pricing, and much more.

Photography is all about catching beautiful moments or events for your clients. And people love to get beautiful photos of the memorable incidents of their life. Therefore, photography is a multi-million dollar industry worldwide. There are several business opportunities in the photography industry you can consider launching according to your skill and investment capacity.

Amateur photography and the photography studio business are two completely different things. And if you are clearly starting the business, you must craft a business plan prior. Otherwise, there is every possibility you may fail to get succeed in the business. Even, if you a master of photography, you have to create a plan of action first.

Is Photography Business Right for You?

Photography essentially is a creative work. One must have adequate skills and knowledge about photography to be successful. Apart from the technical knowledge, you must have a clear conception of the different equipment and tools related to photography. The basic list includes different types of cameras, lenses, stand, lights, and editing solutions.

The very first thing before jumping into the business of photography is to ask yourself, is it the right business that fits you. Some of the questions you must ask yourself are the following:

Do you take your camera every time you step out of the home?

Have the eyes to find a candid subject in the daily life scenario?

Do you receive likes and positive comments when you upload your captures on Instagram or Facebook?

If the answers are positive, you are most eligible to start your photography business. Of course, you need investment, but the biggest asset of your photography business is your passion for photography and your skill as a photographer.

Photography Business Plan Guide for Beginners

Here are the basic steps to start and run a profitable photography business:

1. Decide on What Photography Services to be Offered

The first thing to decide what specific services you want to offer your clients. It is always better to concentrate on the niche audience like only wedding photography or portrait photography.

Find out your unique selling point. Identify the most important and compelling elements of the expertise you’re going to provide to your clients.

2. Fix the Target Audience for Photography Business

Define your target market. First of all, identify the target demographic. Who are your ideal customers? Generally, the photography industry is pretty wide. However, to stay focused and pursue the target, you must clearly define the target market.

Your list may include young executives, intended couples planning to get married, churches and other religious centers, schools, wedding planners, corporate executives, event planners, and families.

3. Create a Photography Business Plan

If you are serious about making a profitable enterprise, having a business plan is much required.

Calculate the financial requirements and ROI. First of all, you will need to calculate the upcoming expenses. Broadly, it includes space, procuring tools, equipment, hiring resources, conveyance, etc. Additionally, calculate the expected ROI and Break-Even. At least, create financial forecasting for the coming 1 to 2 years.

ReadHow to Write a Photography Business Plan

Clearly, configure your business policies. Broadly, it includes office hours, website privacy policy, terms of service, and refund policy. As you will going to handle a lot of soft copies, then you must be very careful about the copyright policy too.

4. Register Your Photography Business

Decide whether you want to start the business as a proprietorship or an LLC. Define the management board formation and operational procedures.

5. Set Pricing

To prepare the financial calculations, you will need to fix the pricing. Understand your cost of sales. And mark those up 3–4x to arrive at a final price. Price your services and products for profit. And never forget to include your time.

For example, the pricing that can be fixed as per experience is as follows:

Entry-level photographers: $50 – $150/hour
Professional photographers with experience: $100 – $250/hour
Elite or specialty photographers: $250 – $500+/hour

6. Create A Portfolio

Before you offer the service to your clients, try to create a portfolio. Basically, a portfolio is a representation of your current and best work that reflects the personal style, your niche, and the work you want to do. As a startup, you can do some free sessions to create the exact scenes and style you want to showcase in a portfolio.

7. Business Registration & Licenses

This is the most important part of your business. However, the form of the business and registration depends on the location where you are starting the business. However, you can consult with a local business registration consultant. Additionally, talk to a tax consultant too to identify the upcoming tax liabilities.

8. Photography Equipment

Generally, the list of required equipment depends on the specific services that you want to offer to your clients. However, some of the basic requirements are

    1. Different types of camera and lenses
    2. Spring Clamp
    3. Backdrop stand
    4. Starter Stand
    5. LED portrait kit
    6. luminous LED Ring Light
    7. DSLR camera slider
    8. DSLR shoulder mount support
    9. Umbrellas of different colors

Here is a basic budget for starting your photography business, not including studio or office space as you are starting your business from home. All prices are yearly estimates or one-time purchases.

Two cameras: $1,500 to $2,000 each

Multiple lenses: $1,000+ each

Two flashes: $700

Multiple memory cards: $50+ each

Two external drives: $120 each (keep one backup off-site)

Computer or laptop with sufficient memory: $2,000

Editing Software: $20.99 (Ex – Photoshop)

Website Hosting: $60+

Lighting & Backdrops $400

Business licenses: $150 (varies)

Insurance: $600 per year (varies)

Accounting: $120+ per year (varies)

Contracts: Free to $1,000+ (varies)

Business cards: $20+

Apart from this list, you also need an updated computer, photo printer, and photo editing software. Photoshop is a good option if you can master the skills of editing photos. Nowadays, there are many reputed professional agencies who can do the job online.

9. Marketing & Branding

According to your marketing plan, start to promote your photography studio business. However, never mix the word marketing with advertising. Actually, advertising is the act of placing ads in various forms of media to attract new business. Also, it promotes awareness or encourages people to take a specific action. Actually, advertising is part of an overall marketing plan.

You must clearly identify, how will you reach your target market. Which channels will you use the most, and how will you measure the success of your marketing? Additionally, prepare a marketing budget too. Also, find out the resources where you will put your efforts. The list may include social media, email marketing, SEO, and other channels.

Besides your offline activities concentrate online too. Having a website is a must. You can also hire professionals on platforms like Fiverr, to get your website done at the cheapest price.10.

10. Where to Sell Photos?

The first target market for a new photographer is the local community events like weddings, sports, marriage, real estate, fashion, and many more.

In addition, you can also try the online market. You will find a huge amount of buyers for photos online. There are several marketplaces where you can sell your photos online.

Some of the popular places where you can sell your photos online are the following:

  • 123RF
  • BigStockPhoto
  • CanStockPhoto
  • Corbis
  • DepositPhotos
  • Dreamstime
  • Fotolia

Also, Check Best Places to Sell Photos Online & Make Money

Photography Studio Market Analysis

The Photography industry encompasses companies and individuals that offer a range of photographic services, including still photography and videography for private events. Also, the industry includes commercial and portrait photography studios. This industry excludes all photography related to movie, TV, and video production

In a snapshot, growing per capita disposable income and rising advertising expenditure have driven growth for the Photography industry.

Hence, both the commercial and portrait photographers will get the benefits of it. Additionally, improving economic conditions are expected to further drive industry revenue growth. Higher disposable incomes will likely boost consumer spending on professional photography services.

According to industry experts, the demand for photographers who possess artistic talent and creativity will increase. Additionally, providing value-added services, like editing will enhance the overall revenue. Finally, effective quality control, good project management skills, and the ability to provide goods/services in diverse locations are the most crucial aspects of getting success in the photography studio business.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Photography Business

Starting and running a photography business comes with its own pros and cons. Find below some of the advantages and disadvantages of owning a photography venture:

Advantages:

  • You can earn cash following your passion.
  • Working from home makes your schedule flexible.
  • You can visit new places as a part of your business.
  • One can get pleasure from meeting new folks and attending completely different events.

Disadvantages:

  • Photography instrumentation is massively big-ticket.
  • Income is inconsistent and it takes time to settle the business.
  • Covering events like marriage is physically and mentally may be tiring.
  • Assignments on weekends steal your family time.
  • Turning your hobby into a business might lead to monotony and tedium.

Points of Remember in Photography Business Dealings

  • Always take deposits because people cancel at the last minute.
  • Trust yourself as a professional. Just like an artist, what you can create only you can do. Have confidence in your abilities.
  • Don’t wait to get started in your photography business. If you’re waiting for everything to be perfect, you’ll miss the moment.
  • It takes time to develop a brand and a voice online. Be yourself, and it will be easier for you to develop your photography business.
  • Be organized and have a defined plan for your photography business. Customers often appreciate having guidance on what they can expect, and where things are heading.
  • Since you are starting your photography business from home you can always learn something new, whether it’s related to business or photography. So ask a lot of questions and find inspiration online.

And finally, the steps to be followed and the advice mentioned above should help you start your photography business from home. These actionable tips can help you in your photography business from home run successfully.

In the beginning, you may be afraid, you will wish you did things better than starting this photography business. But this is not at all unnatural. It means you are growing and improving as a photographer. There is a wonderful joy to getting paid to do what lights your soul and fills you with joy. Take the time you need and trust yourself, little steps are just as important as big ones!