Starting a Photography Business

Starting a photography business is so much more than taking cute photographs of children or great wildlife photos or whatever your chosen subject matter is.

What many people miss is that starting a photography business is first and foremost a business.

Photography businesses fail everyday.


  • Because most photographers are largely creative, visual individuals who are driven to create a visual product, but don't particularly like marketing their work.
  • Because they have a difficult time selling their own work.
  • Because they are under capitalized and under equipped.
  • Because they fail to plan.
  • Because they have not adapted to and kept current with changing styles and techniques.
  • Because they grossly under estimate their true costs and profit potential.
  • Because they try to copy the style of others or fail to develop their own recognizable style.

Increase Your Odds of Being Successful

So what can you do to increase your odds of creating a successful business?

  • Be realistic about planning a business.

  • Work at creating a style of your own. Remember to follow the principles of good composition and design, but develop your own recognizable unique styles or products.

  • Practice until all of your photographs can be consider among your best photographs. In other words, make sure you can consistently produce your best results in all situations you plan on shooting in for your business.

  • Commit time and finances to continuing your education. The more you study, the more you realize how much more there is to learn. Photography has been a rapidly changing field for the past 10 years or so, since the introduction of digital to the professional photography world. To remain competitive, you simply cannot afford to not keep up with the ever changing technology and markets.

  • Be realistic about your equipment requirements. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a photography business is to use whatever camera they have been using for the personal or hobby projects.

    So what happens when you accept a job to photograph someone's wedding and your camera stops working half way through the ceremony?

    Do you realize that you could face legal ramifications if you have not adequately prepared to preform the job you were hired to do?

    Serious professional photographers will generally carry at least two of everything, more likely three.

  • Consider joining your local, state and/or national professional photographers associations. There are multiple organizations and multiple benefits of belonging to these organizations, one of which is meeting other photographers from your area.

    Why do you want to meet others who may be viewed as your competition?

    It's a give and take situation . . . who do you call if you become ill enough to not be able to fulfill your contract to photograph a special event?

    These groups offer education, critiques of your work, conferences, conventions, seminars and potential help in problem situations such as illness and equipment breakdowns.

  • Make sure you are running your business as a business

    That means properly registered with your state or local governing authorities - make sure you look into what your specific requirements are.

    Make sure you are properly insured.

    Make sure you keep accurate and separate financial records.

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