Starting your photography business has never been easier
Basically, everything you need to know can be found on the internet these days. And if you still have a question? Check out all the amazing Facebook and Linkedin Groups where you can meet with other photographers and you will soon find your answer. However, with all that content out there you can feel lost easily. This guide aims to guide you directly to the best resources from well known and established authors so you don’t have to wade through dozens of blogs about ‘what gear to buy’ or ‘how to set up your website’ yourself. This definitive guide to starting your photography business is geared towards portrait and wedding photographers.
What gear do you need to start your photography business
Starting a photography business doesn’t have to be expensive all at once. Focus your money on buying photography gear and equipment that you can afford. Some of the best photographers out there only shoot with 2 lenses. And of course, they always have backup gear! See what you can afford at the minimum and become super familiar with that gear before expanding to the whole range.
If you want to drive your photography business in the right direction, you should invest in new gear and equipment that will help your photography business. Will your new equipment increase your profits or only your overhead in terms of insurance and storage? Do you really need it to create high-quality images? The biggest pitfall of starting photographers is to keep buying more lenses and other gear to hide their insecurity in their photography skills.
- How Much Does It Cost To Start a Photography Business
- Top 20: Essential Camera Gear
- Beginning Photography Equipment
- What gear do you really need to start a photography business?
- Should You Buy A Better Camera Body or Lens?
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Anonymous”]When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.[/pullquote]
And let’s talk about insurance for your photography gear
Take yourself and your business seriously and insure yourself, your gear and your business (liability). Depending on where you live, you can check in local photographer Facebook groups what assurance companies are recommended.
- When All My Gear Was Stolen
- Insurance for Photographers: What You Need To Know
- Facebook Live from Christian Grattan (you may need to join his group The Click Cartel to watch)
How to find your first clients
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Bruce Gilden”]I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, yet through my images, I live with them.[/pullquote]
It might seem like a hugely difficult task, but fear not, because the links below will help you land your first clients with ease! For example, there is a link to a small research done on how 115 photographers got their first clients. Guess what? Most of them got a referral from a friend or a booking via a friend. So be sure to start in your own network! Check out the links below for more helpful tips.
- Podcast: Episode 4 – How this boudoir photographer turns free photo shoots into $1,400 sales with Kinzie Ferguson
- How 115 Photographers Got Their First Paying Clients
- My Secret to Landing Photography Clients
- 5 Ways To Get Freelance Photography Clients
- How do I get my first photography client? – Your First Customer Series, Part 4
How to build your portfolio
One thing I advise you to do when starting out is shoot.every.day! You need to hone your skills, become super comfortable in front of your clients and be prepared for every light (and weather) situation. Daily life will give you that practice and when you also make an effort to get interesting subjects in front of your lens, you will also get an interesting portfolio. Now make sure to showcase your work every chance you get. Here are some tips on that!
When you get more specialized in what kind of photography you especially like to do, make sure that photography is showcased in your portfolio. You will book what you will show in your portfolio. So if you hate pet photography, don’t add that cute kitten image in your portfolio even if it’s technically one of the best photos you ever made!
- 5 Steps to Create a Professional Photography Portfolio
- No portfolio yet? Reach out to vendors in your area
- 99 Remarkable Photographer’s Portfolios
- 8 Tips for Creating an Online Photography Portfolio
- 12 Rules for Creating an Effective Photography Portfolio
How to name your company
Create or choose a photography business name that your clients would easily remember. And don’t overthink this, you can always change it later!
- Photography Business Names | How to Choose
- How To Pick a Name For Your Photography Business
- How To Choose the Right Name for Your Photography Business
- Fun Cliche Photography Business Name Generator
What to have in your contracts
Presenting a detailed contract with all the necessary information will make the clients and yourself, the photographer, feel at ease. You will not only protect your integrity as a photographer and your photography business, but you will also protect the trust that your clients have given you.
- A Guide to Creating an Effective Photography Contract
- Wedding Photography Wednesday: The Best Contract for Your Business
- 10 Critical Points for Strong Photography Contracts
- 5 Legal Issues No Photographer Can Afford to Ignore
- Photography Legal Overview: Forms, Contracts & Rights
How to shoot images that stand out
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Aaron Siskind”]Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.[/pullquote]
Luckily we are all unique and so is what we capture. But… don’t fall into the trap of offering your clients (only) the images that they are ‘used’ to see with colleagues and not showing your brilliant unique viewpoint. Become aware of how you feel when you are photographing and start to be conscious of what images are uniquely you!
- How to Take Photos that Stand Out from the Crowd
- Top 5 Tips for Shooting Stand Out Images
- Needle in a Haystack: How Photographers Can Make Their Images Stand Out from the Crowd!
Creating your style
What do you want your photography clients to remember you by? Having your own style as a photographer is one of the factors to make your images stand out from the crowd. And creating your style isn’t as hard as you think it is because it’s basically who you are as a person. Now to start allowing that genius in!
- Wondering How to Find Your Unique Photographic Style?
- How to Develop a Unique Style for Your Photography
- Photography Style: 5 Tips to Find Your Style
- How to Refine Your Photographic Style
- The Keys to Developing Your Personal Photographic Style
Create your workflow
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Bill Gates”]The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.[/pullquote]
A workflow is a sequence of tasks that starts as soon as an initial inquiry from a client comes in and follows all the way to the final delivery of all your images. Some photographers fail because they failed to create a workflow. Creating a workflow, a very effective workflow, is essential to help you be organized and to deliver an exceptional experience to your clients in a consistent way.
- Photography workflow chart [Free Download]
- 50 Step Wedding Photography Workflow
- An Easy & Complete Editing Workflow for Weddings and Portraits
Create a referral program for photographers
I totally agree with the first point in the first link; the best referral program is the emotional connection. When you can accomplish that, you are no longer a photographer, you are their photographer. Your clients will recommend you to all their friends without even needing compensation. Having said that, it’s always good to think about how you can make it easy for your clients to refer you.
Asking for the referral should be on top of your list. Depending on what type of photography you do and who you work with, think about the perfect time in your workflow to ask for the referral and never skip it!
- A referral program that actually brings referrals!
- Put Your Clients to Work with a Killer Referral Program!
- Referral Programs That Really Work
- The Easiest Way to Get Photography Referrals
When are you ready to go full time?
When is the right time for you to go full time and earn money for something you really love doing? What are the signs you need? How do you prepare yourself to become a professional photographer?
- Making the Leap
- Quitting Your Day Job: Knowing When It’s Time to Go Full-time
- When to Ditch the Day-Job and Follow Your Dreams
- What it Takes To Go From Hobbyist To Full-Time Photographer
- Should I Become a Full Time Photographer?
How to set up your photography business’ website
Having a website for your photography business is a very important tool. It boosts your sales as potential clients are given glimpses of your photography portfolio. But how do you set up your website? What should you consider when setting up a photography business’ website?
- 3 Keys to Create an Exciting About Page
- How to Create a Photography Website in WordPress (Step by Step)
- 6 Tips for Setting Up Your Photography Business Website
- 12 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Photography Website
How to get your name out there
There are of course a hundred ways to get the word out there, so the first step is to become aware of your strengths. Are you great at writing and doing things behind your computer? You can go the blogging, get published, do vendor marketing route. If you are more of an ‘in person’ type of person, go with networking, attend local mixers, vendor meetups, fairs, etc.
- The #1 Marketing Opportunity Photographers Are Missing
- Three Ways Photographers Can Improve Their Online Presence
- Effective Online Presence Tips | How To Brand A Photography Business – Part 2: Five Ways You Can Improve Your Online Presence
- 4 Ways to Boost Your Photography Business Without Spending More Money
How to find your colleagues
Running a photography business can feel very solo at times. No one to bounce ideas off or to talk about a bridezilla and how to deal with things. It doesn’t have to be that way. Your colleagues are right around the corner. And when you hook up with a couple that matches your style and budget you can organize a nice referral circle where everyone wins!
- How to Find Photographer Colleagues
- Creating a Referral Circle with Photographers
- Wedding Photography Referrals + Etiquette
How to stay organized when your photography business is booming
You are thankful for the flow of clients and scheduled shoots you have. But how do you manage to be organized with the busy schedule? How will you keep your head on top of all things, personal and business related? You don’t need to “drown” in all of these untracked meetings and appointments. Here’s how you will stay organized.
- 10 Reasons Why You Need Photo Studio Management Software
- 5 Ways to Organize your Photography Business and your LIFE!
- You’re Not Too Busy, You’re Just Not Organizing Your Tasks Properly
- 12 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy People
How to stay confident as a photographer
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Theodore Roosevelt”]Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.[/pullquote]
Confidence is key to any area, whether it be personal or work-related. Believing in yourself that you can do it is a great factor in nailing the perfect shot you want. But there are times that we can’t help “doubting” our own selves. That there are negative comments we can’t avoid to receive. It is true, we can’t please everybody. So how do we stay confident as a photographer amidst all?
- Nervous before a shoot? Try this quick and easy technique!
- 7 Steps to Becoming a Confident Photographer: a Beginner’s Guide
- 5 Ways to Build Confidence as a Photographer
- Tips for Overcoming Shyness as a Photographer
- 7 Ways to Becoming More Confident as a Photographer
How to price your products and services as a photographer
Starting a photography business but don’t know how to price your products and services? Knowing your photography business’ needs and wants is one of the keys to knowing how much you need to price your products and services.
- Pricing Albums and Products with Jamie Delaine
- The Beginner’s Guide to Pricing Your Photography
- Photographer’s Pricing Guide: Business Expenses
How to book clients
Congratulations, you have booked your clients for the first six months of your photography business. Now is the time to create more systems in your business that will generate a continuous stream of clients and keep you in control.
- 10 Useful Tips to Book More Photography Clients
- Book 30 Weddings in 1 Year
- How to book more photography clients
- Why Some Photographers Struggle To Grow Their Business
- Tips on How to Get New Photography Clients
- 6 Simple and Cheap Ways to Get More Photography Clients
How to sell products
Now that you have more bookings coming in, let’s see if we can increase the revenues per booking. Selling what? Product sales. Think albums, wall art, digital files and more. Are you offering products? What are your best selling items? What do you want to sell more of?
- How to Boost Your Product Sales in 8 Ways
- Podcast: Episode 3 – How to get your clients excited to buy products before you ever touch your camera, with Kelli Wood
- 221: Sam and Steve – How to Comfortably Sell in Your Photography Business
- Tip: Selling Products as a Professional Photographer
- How to Choose What to Sell: a Primer for Selling Photography
Social Media for photographers
One of the tools that photographers can use to boost their brand awareness and attract more clients is the social media. Too many platforms, all different ways of reaching out to potential clients. Again, think about your strengths first and see which platform matches that. You don’t have to do it all!
- 7 Tips To Get Your Facebook Posts Seen By More People
- Instagram Marketing | Attracting Ideal Clients
- How Photographers Can Use Social Media to Grow Their Business
- The 6 Best Social Platforms for Photographers
- Susan Stripling: 5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Photographers
How to make sure Google finds your photography website
One of the best & long-term ways to increase traffic to your website is to make sure it is accessible by readers. Accessible meaning that they know your website exists by finding it via Google!
- The complete, always updated guide to SEO for photographers
- SEO for Photographers: 31 Steps to Rank Your Photos in Google
- How to get your website listed by Google: Search engine optimisation (SEO) for photographers
How to deal with the responsibility of being a sole business owner
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Diane Arbus”]I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.[/pullquote]
Owning a business and solely running it is a great responsibility to have. There are so many things to think about. One of these is your mindset for being a professional photographer and a photography business owner as one. As they say, “Great power comes with great responsibility.” So, how do you deal with this immense responsibility?
- Sole Proprietorship Basics
- Tasks & Responsibilities of a Small Business Owner
- The Basics of Sole Proprietorships
- Job Responsibilities of the Manager of a Sole Proprietorship
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]If you are past the start-up phase of your photography business, check out our article on Growing your photography business. [/thrive_text_block]
Feel like I missed an essential blog? Please mention it in the comments and I’ll update the blog if I think it adds more value. Thanks so much!