The Definitive Guide To Starting a Photography Business

The Definitive Guide To Starting a Photography Business

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.

Related: How to grow your photography business

What gear do you need to start your photography business

What gear do you need from the start

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.

[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.

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.

How to build your portfolio

How to build your portfolio

One thing I advise you to do when starting out is! 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!

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! 

What to have in your contracts

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. 

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! 

Related: How to attract your website visitor from day 1 by knowing what images are uniquely you

Creating your style

Create 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!

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. 

Related: The complete wedding photography marketing workflow

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!

When are you ready to go full time?

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?

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?

Related: Create a photography website that gets you bookings

How to get your name out there

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.

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 stay organized when your photography business is booming

How to stay organized when 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.

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?

How to price your products and services 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. 

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.

How to sell products

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?

Related: Is in-person sales for you? Find out why most photographers stay away

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!

How to make sure Google finds your photography website

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!

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?

[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!

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