Starting a Photography Business


When it comes to starting a business, one of the most popular searches on the Internet is “How to start a photography business.” According to one data base I use, more people are interested in starting a photography business or learning how to become a photographer than almost any other small business or form of self employment. This raises a lot of questions including “Why is this profession so popular?” and “Does the competition make it difficult to break into the business and make a living at it?”

I think the widespread appeal of becoming a photographer is based on several things, including the fact that it’s often associated with glamorous industries, like fashion, modeling, the entertainment business, and weddings. For many people, a photography business is an outgrowth of a lifelong hobby or a passion for capturing beautiful scenes, vacation memories, or family milestones.


Although a lot of professional photographers concentrate mostly on wedding photography, there are a variety of other things to focus on  — so to speak. Here’s a sampling of the many photography business ideas that you can pursue, specialize in, or add to your service offerings:

  1. Outdoor photography
  2. Weddings
  3. Fashion photography
  4. Portraits (aka “head shots”)
  5. Wildlife
  6. Commercial, industrial, and product photography
  7. Music photography, including concert and band photography
  8. Pet photography, especially dogs
  9. Event photography
  10. Family, children, babies, and newborn photography


There are many other branches of photography and related business ideas, including the following:

  • Real estate photography
  • Architectural photography
  • Sports photography
  • Travel photography
  • Boudoir photography
  • Crime scene photography
  • Forensic photography
  • Lifestyle photography
  • Underwater photography
  • Aerial photography
  • Maternity photography
  • Jewelry photography
  • Medical photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Model photography
  • Automotive photography
  • News photography/photojournalism

So there’s no shortage of ways to make money as a photographer; the challenge for many freelancers is learning to effectively market themselves, stand out from the crowd, and establish a positive reputation that brings in referrals, word of mouth advertising, and a steady stream of business.


How to Start Your Own Photography Business

Some of the basic steps involved in starting your own photography business might include the following:

  1. Create a professional looking website with samples of your best work
  2. Determine competitive prices and service offerings
  3. Design and print a distinctive business card (distribute liberally)
  4. Create and register a unique business name/ getting a business permit
  5. Make sure you have the necessary equipment and editing software
  6. Get access to service agreements, release forms, and proposal templates*
  7. Creating and implementing a marketing plan for your photography business
  8. Start a referral program and network with other businesses that cater to brides, weddings, and other sources of potential photography business
  9. Rise and repeat, as necessary

This list of steps to starting your own photography business in not all inclusive, but it does include many of the key elements involved in getting started.


Online Resources for Photographers and Other Entrepreneurs

  • If you’re looking for a list of steps for starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a good resources for guidance and information.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a checklist for starting a business.
  • Additional business startup advice, educational programs, and mentoring can be found through websites and organizations like SCORE.

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post on starting a business. If you have any questions or constructive feedback, feel free to post a comment or email me at

Best of luck in carving out your own profitable niche in the photography business!

Business startup blogger, marketing strategist, freelance writer
Website: Marketing Survival Kit


*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of digital products, instructional materials, and  various services intended to help you start, market, and grow a successful business.

One final note: When starting a business of any kind, it’s wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and an attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for your present and future needs.

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