It is time you turn that photography skill into a business. With the guide from this article; “How to Start a Photography Business” you can become the latest photography business owner on a successful trajectory.

How to Start a Photography Business in 9 Simple Steps

In today’s era of smartphones equipped with sophisticated cameras, it has become increasingly common for individuals to aspire to become photographers.

However, there exists a substantial distinction between those who can capture the perfect selfie and those who possess the skills to immortalize the perfect moment, thus earning the title of a professional photographer.

Embarking on a photography business presents an excellent opportunity to generate additional income or establish a full-fledged career. With a combination of photography skills and business acumen, it is possible to earn a substantial income as a photographer.

Similar to any professional pursuit, starting a photography business demands a significant investment of time and money. But fortunately, compared to other industries, the startup costs in the field of photography are relatively lower.

Before we discuss the steps needed to start a photography business, let’s look at some important aspects of the photography business.

About the Photography Industry

About the Photography Industry

The photography industry has experienced remarkable growth, achieving an annualized rate of 10.6% before 2020.

Despite the economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the global photographic services industry experienced remarkable growth.

In 2022, it reached a value of $41.71 billion, which further increased to $43.54 billion in 2023, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4%.

This positive trajectory is expected to continue.

And it is projected to grow from $49.54 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 3.3%.

The photography industry is undergoing rapid transformations, which is evident from the presence of 12,458 companies operating solely in the United States.

Types of photography businesses

It is not all about starting a photography business, but identifying the photography niche that suits your vision.

Below are various types of photography businesses for you to consider before concluding on your photography niche.

  1. Fine Art photography business
  2. Landscape photography business
  3. Travel photography business
  4. Sports photography business
  5. Wedding photography business
  6. Fashion photography business
  7. Portrait photography business
  8. Headshot photography business
  9. Real Estate photography business
  10. Food photography business
  11. Product photography business
  12. Pet photography business
  13. Stock photography business

Which type of photography makes the most money?

When it comes to photography, not every photographer makes the same amount of money. Some earn higher wages, not necessarily because they take more photos, but due to the value placed on their skills. This value is largely determined by their location and years of experience in the industry.

  1. White House Photographer
  2. Wedding Photographer
  3. Fashion Photographer
  4. Film Set Photographer
  5. Medical Photographer
  6. Product Photographer
  7. Fine Art Photographer
  8. Freelance Photographer

How Profitable is Photography Business

The photography business can be highly profitable, as it is a skill-based industry. The amount a photographer can earn depends on their chosen photography niche and their level of experience.

On average, photographers earn an annual income of $50,210, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do photographers need to start a business?

What do photographers need to start a business?

Before you start a photography business, there is a list of items/things that you must have at your disposal such as;


Experience is very much needed to start a photography business. And offering free photoshoots in your learning phase in order to get more experience can serve as a valuable part of the learning process.


Obviously, you should know that without a camera your business can’t be described as a photography business. Every photographer’s camera is their trusted companion on their photography entrepreneur journey.

In addition to having a camera, there are other necessities that go along with it such as; Backup Camera, Smartphone with a Quality Camera, Tripod, and Camera Bag.

Recommended Cameras for a photography business;

  • Nikon D3500
  • Sony α6000
  • Canon EOS 90D
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • Canon EOS R5
  • Sony α1
  • Nikon D850
  • Sony α7R IV
  • Nikon D5600


Many experienced photographers stress the importance of lenses over the camera itself, and they are absolutely right. Lenses, when properly cared for, can last indefinitely and significantly enhance your photography. It is a wise choice to invest in high-quality lenses.

A must-have recommended Lens

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24–70 mm 1:2,8G ED
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • Canon RF mount
  • Canon EF Wide-Angle 35mm f/1.4L II USM
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
  • Nikon AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM


Backdrops are a crucial element in photography, providing the backdrop against which the subject takes center stage. They help set the scene, enhance the subject, and add depth to the composition.

Whether it’s a solid color, textured pattern, or a scenic landscape, the right backdrop choice can greatly impact the overall aesthetic of your images.

With endless creative possibilities, backdrops allow photographers to unleash their imagination and create captivating compositions that leave a lasting impression.


Props in photography are like little magical touches that can bring life and character to your images.

They add charm, depth, and storytelling elements to your shots. Whether it’s a vintage camera, a bouquet of flowers, or a funky hat, props can enhance your subject, create visual interest, and evoke emotions.

They serve as a channel for your creativity to radiate, enabling you to express your distinctive/unique style and craft memorable photographs that captivate viewers.

Studio Space:

The need for studio space may arise depending on the type of photographs you intend to capture or the photography niche you choose to go into. You have the option to either purchase or rent studio space or alternatively, establish a small studio within your home.


A computer is indispensable for editing your photos and connecting with potential clients. While many photographers prefer Apple computers, you can choose a system that best fits your budget and skills.

External Hard Drive:

Capturing high-quality digital photos often consumes a substantial amount of storage space on your computer, potentially leading to sluggish performance.

So as a professional photographer who intends to tackle such an issue and safeguard his valuable digital photos, investing in an external hard drive is an intelligent decision.

The benefits it provides are numerous: extensive storage capacity, exceptional security measures, portability for on-the-go access, compatibility with different platforms, and swift data transfer speeds.

Photo Editing Software:

Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop are highly recommended for their user-friendly features and professional editing capabilities. Regardless of the equipment you use, a photo editing tool can easily enhance the visual appeal of your images.

Why Start a Photography Business

Why Start a Photography Business

If you are still considering why you should start a photography business, when you know you got the skills to thrive in the industry, the list of reasons i will be giving will help you consolidate your decision to start a photography business.

1. Growing Demand and Opportunities:

The primary reason to start this business should be the increasing demand in the industry. In addition to the growth rate, there are various avenues through which you can sell your skills and work. For instance, you can promote them through conventional methods like street sales and gallery exhibitions, as well as online platforms.

2. Flexibility

Running a photography venture grants you the freedom to design your own schedule. Unlike traditional 9-to-5 jobs, this creative business allows you to choose your working hours and location without affecting your revenue from the business.

3. No Formal Degree Required

Having a formal degree is not a prerequisite for starting a photography business. Clients generally prioritize your experience and photography portfolio over formal education. The key to attracting clients lies in showcasing your skills and expertise through your work, regardless of your academic qualifications.

4. Unlimited Earning Potential

As the owner of a photography business, you are not restricted by an income ceiling. You have the liberty to select and undertake projects that ignite your interest, and price your services accordingly based on your skills and experience.

This means your earning potential is boundless, depending on the types of projects you undertake.

How to Start a Photography Business

How to Start a Photography Business

1. Conduct Market Research

Thorough market research is essential for the success of any business, and the photography business is no different.

In conducting market research you have to begin by determining if there is an existing market for the type of photography services you intend to offer.

This can be achieved by engaging in conversations with other photographers who provide similar services.

Alternatively, you can make personal observations regarding the success of photographers in that particular niche.

This observation also includes exploring the websites and social media accounts of successful photographers in the niche.

For example, if your specialization is capturing images of models, it is crucial to understand if there is room for a unique offering. The key question at this stage is: Does your photography niche have a potential market?

2. Decide your niche

It is important to recognize your creative strengths in this industry. Like other business industries, photography is vast and comprises various sectors.

Therefore, it is advisable to focus on a single niche to achieve perfection. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot explore other niches occasionally.

It’s crucial to establish yourself as the go-to expert in specific areas, such as wedding photography, where you are unmatched in meeting the specific needs of clients.

3. Choose a Business Name

Similar to any legitimate business, having a business name is essential for legal recognition as an entity.

When selecting a business name for your photography business, it is not mandatory to be excessively creative. Many photographers opt to use their own name followed by the word “Shots,” which is a common convention.

However, if your name is unavailable, you can employ some creativity to create a name that effectively represents your brand and is easily memorable.

After settling on a business name, it is advisable to secure the corresponding domain name for your website or portfolio.

4. Register your business

When it comes to registering your business you must understand that making the right choice regarding the legal structure of your photography business holds significant implications.

Thus, it is essential to seek guidance from a business attorney or tax professional to make an informed decision that aligns with your vision.

Photographers often choose between a sole proprietorship and a limited liability company (LLC), considering the benefits and alignment with their business objectives.

Sole proprietorships are relatively simple to establish and involve lower registration costs. However, it’s crucial to note that this structure does not provide personal liability protection.

On the other hand, LLCs offer personal liability protection, but the setup costs are higher compared to sole proprietorships.

Moreover, sole proprietorships generally have lower tax rates compared to LLCs.

5. Obtain an EIN

Acquiring an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your photography business is a wise move that not only ensures tax compliance but also opens up numerous financial opportunities for your venture.

The process of applying for an EIN from the IRS is simple and can be completed online or through mail.

By obtaining this crucial identification number, you establish a unique business identity and gain access to the essential financial resources required for your future growth and prosperity.

6. Create a Business Plan

Crafting a business plan holds the utmost significance for individuals embarking on the journey of establishing a photography business.

Such a plan serves as a comprehensive guide, describing the necessary steps that pave the way for success and the development of a distinct brand identity.

Commence the process of drafting a photography business plan by establishing a strong foundation rooted in your “whys.”

Determine the reasons that fuel your desire to become a photographer.

This self-analyzing exercise will serve as a wellspring of inspiration, propelling you to meticulously outline every facet of your business journey.

The business plan document includes;

Executive Summary:

The executive summary offers a brief yet comprehensive summary of your business plan, outlining its fundamental components and objectives.

Company Description and Mission Statement:

This section delves into a detailed description of your company, outlining its purpose, values, and long-term vision.

Products and Services:

Here, you will elaborate on the specific products or services your photography business offers, highlighting their unique features and benefits.

Effective Marketing Plan:

Within this section, you will unveil a well-rounded marketing strategy designed to effectively promote your business, entice customers, and establish a formidable presence in the market.

Operations and Management:

This segment delves into the operational facets of your photography business, encompassing the organizational framework, crucial personnel, and the smooth functioning of day-to-day management procedures.

Financial Plan:

The financial plan outlines the startup costs, ongoing expenses, and projected revenue streams, helping you understand the financial feasibility of your business and determine additional funding requirements.

The significance of a well-structured business plan cannot be overstated. It not only provides clarity of purpose and direction but also aids in securing a solid footing in the competitive photography industry.

By devoting time and effort to this pivotal document, you lay the groundwork for a prosperous and fulfilling entrepreneurial endeavor.

7. Business license and permits

Acquiring the essential business license and permits can vary depending on the location where your photography business operates.

It is essential to conduct comprehensive research and become acquainted with the local regulations and prerequisites.

By so doing, you can guarantee that your photography business operates legally, thereby avoiding potential penalties or complications in the future.

City halls and state licensing boards are valuable resources that can offer guidance and information about the specific licenses and permits necessary for your photography business.

Taking the necessary steps to obtain the appropriate documentation showcases your commitment to operating within the legal framework and contributes to the professional reputation of your business.

8. Business Insurance

While the nature of the photography business may not seem inherently risky, unforeseen circumstances can arise, leading to legal claims or financial repercussions.

Having appropriate business insurance coverage helps mitigate these risks and provides you with peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your craft and serving your clients.

Investing time and effort into exploring insurance options tailored toward the need of your specific photography business niche is a prudent step.

Consider consulting with insurance professionals who specialize in coverage for creative professionals to ensure that you have adequate protection.

By obtaining the appropriate insurance policy, you establish a safety net that can protect your business, reputation, and financial stability when confronted with unforeseen challenges.

9. Promote Your Business

If you are the best photographer in your city or region, without publicity you are no different from the one who holds the title of the worst photographer. That is why promoting your photography business is not something to deliberate about, it is a must.

The key to promoting your photography business lies in understanding your target audience and identifying the platforms they are most likely to utilize when searching for photographers. This understanding will guide your promotional efforts in a focused and effective manner.

To effectively market your photography services, consider implementing the following suggestions:

Establish a Strong Online Presence: Building an online presence is crucial for a successful photography business. This is a non-negotiable step in today’s digital landscape.

Leverage Social Media: Promote your photography business on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest. Utilize these platforms to engage with your target audience and showcase your portfolio. Tailor your content to resonate with your ideal clients.

Showcase Your Skills: Create marketing materials and portfolios that showcase your expertise in various photography genres such as wedding photography, modeling photography, food photography, fashion photography, landscape photography, business photography, etc. Highlighting your versatility will attract a wider range of potential clients.

Harness Email Marketing: Many professional photographers leverage email marketing campaigns and online newsletters to build mailing lists and connect with prospective clients. Regularly communicate with your subscribers by sharing updates, special offers, and valuable content to maintain their interest and engagement.

Utilize Google AdWords: Consider using the Google AdWords advertising service to place ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) when individuals search for photography-related keywords. This can significantly increase your website visibility and attract potential clients actively seeking photography services.

Remember, effective marketing requires understanding your target audience’s preferences and delivering the content and services they desire.

How much money do you need to start a photography business?

How much money do you need to start a photography business?

While it isn’t obligatory to acquire every piece of equipment or subscribe to every service right away, professional photographers often recommend budgeting around $5,000-$7,000 when starting a photography business.

Below is the list of recommended items needed to start a photography business alongside their approximate prices.

ItemsApproximated Prices
Professional website hosting$100
Equipment Insurance$500
Business registration$500
Softwares (photo editing software, accounting software, etc)$300
Lighting kit$500
Memory card$50
source Upperinc

Please note that the prices for “Camera” and “Lens” are listed as a range because their prices depend on their qualities. And again they are approximate prices.

Is it Possible to Start a Photography Business Without Experience?

Is it Possible to Start a Photography Business Without Experience?

Yes, it is possible to start a photography business without experience, although having some experience can provide you with an advantage.

Because clients typically have certain expectations in terms of professionalism and the quality of work, and experience can help meet those expectations.

However, acquiring experience along the way is always feasible.

If you’re starting from scratch, there’s no need to worry. Many photographers began by building their own portfolios or offering free or low-cost services to gain practical experience.

Furthermore, there are online tutorials and courses available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and similar platforms that can assist you in refining your photography skills.

These resources can be valuable tools in your journey toward becoming a skilled photographer and establishing your business.

Rey Resources:


This article; “How to Start a Photography Business” has been able to cover every area, or preferably the major areas needed to start a photography business.

If you have any questions or contributions, please leave them in the comment section below

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