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How to Start a Photography Business in 2024

Want to learn how to start a photography business in 2024? This in-depth guide will teach you all you need to know to become a professional photographer!

Learn | Photography Guides | By Mark Condon

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Want to learn how to start a photography business in 2024? This in-depth guide will teach you all you need to know!

I’ve run a wedding photography business since 2014 and learnt a lot as a professional photographer and business owner.

Starting a photography business allows you to make money using a skill you already enjoy, but it’s important to have a solid plan and realistic goals.

There’s no doubt that photography is a great career – you can earn a good living, make your own hours and travel to exotic places.

Best of all, you’ll make people happy. Whether you’re capturing priceless moments for families or nailing the client’s brief, photos are a precious commodity.

Is photography a good career? Definitely! It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Now it’s your turn to learn how to start a photography business.

Table of Contents

How do I Start a Small Photography Business?

Reduce risks with a home-based photography business.

workspaces

Not many professional photographers go from zero to renting a studio – most start off with a home-based photography business, where costs can be kept to a minimum.

As a small business owner, keeping costs low should be a priority, and running your photography business from home is highly recommended.

At this stage when you don’t even have a business plan, all you need is a place in your home from which to work – some private ‘office space’. If you’re using a laptop, you don’t even need a desk!

If you need to meet clients to book work (e.g. for wedding photography), you can do as I did and meet them in a local cafe – clients don’t expect to come to your home, even if you list your home address as your business address.

Decide what types of photography services you’ll offer

photography-services

Credit: Szabo Viktor

What type of photography is most profitable? You can build a successful photography business by shooting commercial/advertising, event (weddings, corporate, etc), family (maternity, etc), freelance or stock photography.

However, it’s much harder to start earning money as a commercial photographer than, say, as an event photographer.

Also, while stock photography is a good passive source of income , freelance photography allows you to cast a wider net.

When starting your own photography business, it’s important to balance your passion for a specific genre with realistic goals.

Consider whether there’s a market for a particular type of photography in your area, for example.

I chose to focus on wedding photography since there’s a big market for wedding photographers where I live. I also thought shooting weddings would be fun and exciting, and I could also offer mini sessions , pre-wedding shoots and other related services.

You may want to offer several photography services under one unique photography business name , but I recommend focusing on just one genre to become a ‘specialist’.

You need to be the go-to photographer for a certain genre of photography – not the person who shoots everything since this can appear a little amateurish.

That said, there’s always the option to become a professional freelance photographer to offer a selection of different services.

Develop a basic photography business plan

plan

Credit: Galymzhan Abdugalimov

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of creating a photography business is to know how to actually start.

A photography business plan is the first logical step to setting up a strong base camp that will allow you to build up your business without feeling overwhelmed.

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What goes into your plan may vary, but at a minimum, you may want to include:

  • Executive summary: You can start your photography business plan with an executive summary that defines what your general objectives are as well as your key factors of success.
  • Company overview: Do an outline of the organizational structure of your business according to the terms of the area you are in. Will you be the sole proprietor? Will it be a limited liability company? What will be the business structure? Do you need business licenses? Will you have a business partner? What type of business will you run?
  • Products & services overview: It’s important to create a detailed description of the products, services and prices you’ll be offering. This will help you to better navigate the many different client requests that might show up.
  • Audience analysis: Understand who your target audience is and what channels will be most effective to reach them.
  • Competitive analysis (market research): Have a look at the competition operating in your market locally, identify their strengths and in what ways you can differentiate yourself from them.
  • Operations plan: Think about operations – what are the day-to-day logistics of running your photography business?
  • Financial analysis: Make an effort to be financially savvy – this is very important! Create a financial plan to be in full control of all the nuances of your business cash flow. It’s likewise helpful to establish early on what your equipment requirements are and how much profit you expect to make.
  • Timeline: Establish a timeline with clear milestones so you can track your progress and set goals that are increasingly more realistic and adapted to your situation. Think of it as a photography business roadmap to get you to where you want to be.

I should mention that it’s not worth getting too hung up on having every aspect of your photography business planned out in detail.

There are bits you simply won’t know yet and that’s OK! Do your best with it and don’t let writing a business plan become a block that prevents you from moving forward.

Once you have a basic business plan on paper, it’s time to get into the fun part – bringing it to life!

Find the Right Photography Business Structure

One boring-but-important topic when researching how to start a photography business is the subject of business structure.

In the USA, there are 6 main business types of legal structure to consider for your business: sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), S Corp. and C Corp.

Sole proprietorships or sole traders are most common for small home-based businesses. They’re the easiest to manage and easiest to handle in terms of taxes since it’s usually just you involved in the running of everything.

You may also consider going into a photography business with a partner, which is actually similar to a sole proprietorship in terms of liability and taxes.

Each person is responsible for their own side of the business and all profits are split based on the percentages you decide. Of course, you also need to consider that all expenses and liabilities are also split between both partners.

If you want to protect your personal assets, many photography businesses opt for an LLC structure (Limited Liability Company). An LLC or S Corp provides one level of tax and also a layer of protection from personal liability.

At this point, it’s worth mentioning that deciding on a business structure should usually involve some legal advice, or at least, a lot of research on your part to decide what’s most relevant for you.

A quick note on business licenses – in most jurisdictions in the United States, no professional license is needed to run or operate a photography business. However, not all States are the same.

To know for sure whether your locality requires you to get a business license for photography, it’s best to call your local licensing board or city hall.

In addition to a business license, you should also start researching whether you need to use photography contracts or model releases for your line of work.

Putting in the groundwork now will set you up for success without any legal headaches.

Choose a photography business name & branding

Photography name and branding

Credit: Brad Neathery

Once you’ve decided what your speciality will be and the structure of your business, it’s time to think about your photography business name and branding.

This is what will differentiate you from the competition. It’s also important because of first impressions: when people see your branding, it can instantly give them an idea of what you do and what your style is.

With that in mind, consider the look and feel of your logo and typeface. Is it something quirky and creative, clean and modern, vintage classic…?

As for names, you might choose to name your photography business after yourself (e.g. “Bob Smith Photography”) or you could get creative and have it reflect what you do (e.g. “Maternal Memoirs” for maternity photography, or “Bedroom Eyes” for boudoir – I’m just making these up on the spot here but you get the idea!).

Don’t neglect to choose a unique or catchy slogan or tagline for your photography business .

The most important thing with branding is to be consistent. That bears repeating, so I’ll say it again: Consistency is key!

You want your brand message to be reflected across your website, business cards, social media accounts , and all materials you deliver to clients including final photo packages, invoices, etc.

  • What is branding for photographers?

Register a domain and create a photography website

Photography-Portfolio-featured

It goes without saying that pretty much all successful photographers in 2024 have an online presence. That’s why the next step in starting a photography business is to create a photography website .

Your website should showcase your best work and give people an idea of who you are and how you work.

While there are plenty of free web hosting solutions out there, it’s worth investing a small amount to register your own domain name.

This not only looks more professional, but it’ll also help you rank in Google searches (just ensure your domain name reflects your business name).

From there, you’ll need to build your photography business website and connect your domain name to it.

Now, if your web design skills are non-existent, don’t worry: there are plenty of solutions out there that can make life ridiculously easy.

One of the best options is to use a content management system (CMS) like Wordpress – you can download elegant-looking, customisable themes (for example, Flothemes make some great ones) so the design and layout aspects are all there for you.

With a few clicks of the mouse, you can adapt a pre-made template to include your own branding and start getting your website out to potential clients.

Invest in professional photography equipment & software

kit

At this point, you’re probably wondering: What kind of camera do most professional photographers use?

While there’s no one correct answer as to what is a ‘professional camera’, by and large, most pros use full-frame DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

However, some do absolutely fine by using APS-C sensor cameras, particularly if high ISO low-light performance isn’t required. (Full-frame sensor cameras are better at this, among other things.)

DSLRs are still an industry standard, but are somewhat of a dying breed – mirrorless cameras offer better features and more recent technology, although the number of native lenses still dwindles in comparison to those on offer for DSLRs.

You can see more of the differences between mirrorless and DSLRs here , but suffice to say, you won’t go wrong with either.

As for the question, what camera should I buy to start a photography business? Initially, it’s whatever you can afford, but once you start making a better income, you should always upgrade your equipment in line with what you need to complete your job efficiently.

For example, wedding photographers need cameras with excellent autofocus and high ISO capabilities, whereas a portrait photographer may not need either of these things.

There’s always the option of renting equipment when you first start out – get yourself a good all-round camera, then if any job comes around that’s out of its comfort range, hire something to suit.

The same goes for camera lenses, of which there are a plethora of options . Again, depending on the type of photography services you’ll offer, you can choose between a wide range of telephoto and primes at various price points.

Most pros can get by with an affordable and fast 50mm lens (nifty-fifty), so you can start your lens collection from there. Remember that buying used camera lenses is also a great option.

As for software, this is another area you’ll need to invest in in order to grow your own photography business.

Many photography business owners start out bare-bones with a mixture of Google Sheets for keeping track of expenses and clients’ information and Google Calendar. You’ll soon outgrow these, through.

When you start making money, you’ll also need some kind of accounting software to keep track of all the figures.

It’s wise to pay for premium photographer software early on as it can really help save you time and headaches in the long run.

At a bare minimum, you’ll need photo editing software (we recommend Adobe Lightroom ), client/studio management software , and an online gallery to deliver your photos to your clients.

You can also consider an all-in-one business management tool such as  Bonsai  to help you manage your photography projects more efficiently. They offer features like invoicing, proposals, contracts, time & task tracking, client CRM and more.

All features are integrated to work seamlessly together and you can automate the entire customer relationship journey – from the proposal, and e-signing contracts to invoicing and tax season. On top of that, Bonsai offers hundreds of free templates for proposals, contracts, invoices, and more.

If you’re not shooting high volumes, you can get by with a photo editing software that doesn’t lock you into a subscription, as Adobe Lightroom does – fortunately, there are several great alternatives .

If you’re wondering how to start a photography business with no money, it may well be tough due to the requirements to invest in all the things mentioned above.

If you have good friends or family, perhaps they can lend you the gear until you’ve done enough jobs to earn the money to buy or rent your own.

It’s also possible to find free software that helps to manage your own business, albeit with some limitations.

Take out photography business insurance

We can’t talk about how to start a photography business without covering some more of the boring-but-important stuff, like… insurance!

Yep, it’s not the most fun thing to have to research and organise, but trust me – if something goes wrong, you’ll be glad you took out insurance.

There are various types of insurance your photography business might need, depending on what kind of work you do.

First and most obvious is your precious equipment. Some insurers offer specific camera insurance or photography plans designed to cover gear and studio fittings.

Note that while your regular home contents insurance may cover loss or damage to your gear, it will only be applicable if the damage occurs at home and not while you’re shooting on location. That’s why it’s worth looking into some specific cover.

On top of that, consider taking out some public liability insurance.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes things go wrong while we’re out shooting. Let’s say you’re photographing a wedding and a guest trips over your tripod, breaking their leg and taking out the entire wedding cake in the process – liability insurance will cover the damages.

If you plan on hiring any extra staff, you’ll also want to look at taking out employers’ liability insurance. This is to cover you if an employee gets sick or injured on the job.

Lastly, some photographers choose to take out professional indemnity insurance as well.

Imagine a client accuses you of some negligence and claims they lost some income due to your actions.

(For example, if you photographed a corporate event but lost your memory cards and couldn’t deliver the images. Indemnity insurance would cover any legal and other costs.)

Insurance needs vary depending on where you are in the world and what your business model is, so take this as a rough guide and do speak to your insurer about what plans are best suited to your needs.

Learn how to market your photography business

market

On to the next step of learning how to start a photography business: I bet you’re keen to start raking in the customers (and the cash!).

If you’re asking, “How do I get clients for my photography fast?” , the answer is  marketing. 

Unlike advertising, marketing can be done for free (or very cheaply), but it takes a little work.

One marketing strategy you can use is to network with other photographers. But wait, you say, aren’t they the competition? Not necessarily!

Another photographer might get a request for a job that doesn’t fit their style or speciality, but does fit yours – and they can refer the client on to you. These referrals are a great way to generate business, so make sure you nurture your relationships with other photographers.

Meeting other photographers is also a great way to learn. You can find out how they generate new business and meet prospective clients, and learn about which marketing strategies work best for them.

You can easily network with other photographers online through photography groups, or in person at your local photography club .

Marketing via social media is obviously another big one. It’s worth using platforms like Instagram to showcase your photography work and interact with your target audience.

To succeed on Instagram in 2024, you need to be creating entertaining Instagram Stories and posting fresh content regularly, as well as interacting with your followers and other accounts.

Online marketing for photographers is a huge topic, but at a bare minimum, make sure you learn the basics of SEO , how to write interesting blog content and how to attract new business via Facebook ads.

(If you want to become a wedding photographer, check out More Brides where I reveal all the marketing secrets that helped me quickly grow my business.)

Once you do get a few clients, make it as easy as possible for them to recommend you. Word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to net in new clients, and that’s true of any type of business!

If your clients are happy with your work, ask them to leave you positive reviews online, tag you on social media, and recommend you to their friends.

Also, create an email mailing list where you can keep existing and potential clients up to date with your work and aware of any special offers you might be running. Remember to ask for permission and give people an option to opt-out or unsubscribe.

Let’s not forget that nondigital marketing methods also exist. Don’t underestimate the power of business cards,  flyers and other physical marketing materials for distributing around your neighbourhood or pinning to the local notice board.

For example, if you’re a food photographer you might drop round to local restaurants and hand them a brochure or card.

Or if you want to get a foot in the door as a real estate photographer, you might do a letterbox drop to all your local estate agents.

Whether online or offline, find out where your target market hangs out and go there to introduce yourself.

Invest in photography business education

When you’re just learning how to start a photography business, it’s important to grasp the basics. Then, as your business grows, your knowledge of how to run it has to expand as well.

That’s where it can be worth investing in your photography business education. By investing, I’m talking about time as well as money.

In fact, sometimes time is all you need to invest thanks to the copious amounts of free resources online.

Some areas you might choose to study, whether via a free or paid course or workshop:

  • Understanding the full commercial photography workflow, from client briefs through to delivering the final product.
  • Pricing structures and how to charge for your services.
  • Business administration includes registering your business, filing taxes, etc.
  • Best practices for dealing with clients.
  • How to market and grow your business.

Your best bet is to determine where your knowledge gaps are, then start looking for ways to fill them.

And, of course, you should continue your photography education as well.

The best professional photographers are those who are always open to learning new things and developing their skills in every aspect of the art, whether it’s compositional techniques, lighting, post-processing and retouching, or something else.

Fortunately, a lot of free photography courses are available right here on Shotkit!

Start thinking about passive income for photographers

passive

Passive income is basically regular earnings that take little-to-no regular effort to maintain. In other words, you set up the income source and money kinda just rolls in while you sleep. Pretty sweet, huh?

So, how do photographers make passive income?

The most obvious is through stock photography. With stock photography sites , you can upload images and get a commission every time someone downloads one (normally, they’re used for commercial or editorial purposes).

The reality of the stock photography world is that thanks to digital photography, it’s highly saturated. So be aware that it takes some dedication and a high volume of photos to make a decent passive income.

That’s not to say it can’t be worth it – just that you should approach it realistically.

There are other potential passive income streams. You can sell digital products such as Lightroom presets or online courses and ebooks.

Or, you could use a print-on-demand service to offer products printed with your photographs .

If you write a photography blog, perhaps you want to start writing reviews of camera gear and link to sites like Amazon and B&HPhoto to earn a commission as an affiliate.

There are also platforms like Patreon that allow you to charge for content that you provide to your followers.

Think outside the box and see what passive income ideas you can come up with – it’s an excellent way to grow your revenue and ensure you have some income even in times of seasonal fluctuations.

Money and Photography Business FAQs

When researching how to start a photography business, you’ll likely have a ton of questions regarding money – how much it costs to start and run the photography business and how much you can expect to earn as a professional photographer .

We’ve answered all the most common queries below – feel free to leave a comment if you want to ask something specific.

  • How much money does it take to start a photography business?

It depends on what you’re shooting and how much equipment you need, but a good starting point is around US$10,000. That’s to cover basic camera gear, software, insurance and business registration fees.

  • How can I start a photography business with no money?

If you already have some basic camera gear and an internet connection, then you can start a photography business by simply getting out and shooting! Find clients using free marketing strategies and build up from there, reinvesting your earnings until you can buy adequate insurance, better gear, etc.

  • How much money do professional photographers make?

According to ZipRecruiter.com, the average photographer salary in the US is $43,114. However, photographer salaries vary greatly depending on country/location, experience level, education level and genre.

  • How much money does a photographer make per hour, a week, a month?

Careerexplorer.com states that the average wage for a photographer in the US is around $18.22 per hour; however, that figure ranges from as low as $10.36 per hour for someone starting out to $32.04 or more for an experienced shooter. ZipRecruiter pegs the monthly average salary at $3,592. Again, location is another big factor in how much you can expect to earn.

  • How much should I charge as a beginner photographer?

For a beginner, you’re probably looking at an hourly rate of US$25-$50 (or equivalent in your currency), or between $10 and $25 per image. Think about the time and expenses of the work for you and factor that into what you charge.

Final Words

I hope you found this guide to how to start a photography business useful. Moreover, I hope it genuinely inspired you to get out there and do it!

As I’ve found, starting your own photography business and being your own boss is incredibly rewarding. Yes, there are some challenges ahead, but I assure you, there’s nothing that you can’t overcome with a little perseverance!

So what do you think? Are you ready to take the leap?

If you have any other questions about how to start a photography business, please leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer.

Also, if you have your own tips or want to share your experiences with venturing into the business world, do add them as well – simply leave a comment below.

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Mark Condon

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer and editor of Shotkit. When he’s not taking photos or reviewing the latest camera gear and software, Mark can be found cycling around the northern rivers.

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The Ultimate Business Plan for Photographers: A Step-by-Step Guide

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When you hear the term “business plan,” you might think of a large business with many employees. But having a solid plan is helpful for every business, from small startups to major corporations. 

A business plan is a roadmap for your goals and how you plan to achieve them. It outlines your strategy for pricing, marketing, operations, finances, and more — all important aspects of your business to consider in advance. 

Whether you want to start a new photography business or take your existing business to the next level, a business plan is a powerful tool to point you in the right direction.

Photographer putting together his business plan.

Why Do You Need a Photography Business Plan?

To run a successful photography business, you can’t rely solely on the strength of your photography. It requires a combination of talent, hard work, and business acumen. You don’t need an MBA, but it’s helpful to take some business courses and have a strategic plan for success. Check out our list of the best business resources for photographers for a list of amazing courses.

Lack of planning is a major reason that many small businesses fail. Creating a business plan helps you think through your pricing structure, target audience, financial projections, marketing strategies, and potential obstacles. You’ll feel confident and prepared to navigate the business side of your photography if you take steps to prepare in the beginning.

Your business plan will also help you stay on track toward your goals, identify problem areas, and adjust your strategy as needed. 

What Does a Photography Business Plan Include?

For your photography business plan, you don’t have to stick exactly to a traditional business plan outline. Your plan should include the sections that make the most sense for you and your business. In general, most business plans include some combination of the following sections:

  • Executive summary 
  • Services and pricing
  • Market analysis (target market, competition, SWOT analysis)
  • Marketing plan
  • Operational plan
  • Financial plan and projections

Including these sections will help you form a cohesive and consistent plan for your business. But if there’s anything else you’d like to map out, feel free to include that too!

Now, let’s take a closer look at what goes into each of these sections.

Executive Summary

The executive summary appears first in the business plan, but you should write it last. It describes your business and includes brief descriptions of the other sections that appear in your business plan.

Your executive summary should begin with the name, location, and mission of your business. Write in an upbeat tone that conveys why you have a great idea for a successful photography business. 

Next, mention your unique value proposition (also known as a unique selling proposition). How do your services benefit your customers? What sets your photography business apart from others?

Briefly explain the legal structure of your business, including whether you’ll operate as a sole proprietor. If you have employees, list their names and roles. 

Include a subheading for each section of your business plan (e.g., Services and Pricing, Market Analysis, Marketing Plan) with a two-sentence summary of the information you’ll cover in those sections. 

Finally, conclude your executive summary with a few sentences outlining your goals for the future. If you’ve already been in business for a while, you should also mention the milestones you’ve achieved so far.

Services and Pricing

After the executive summary, it’s time to dive into the details. List your services and products, along with a price and description for each offering. If you need guidance on setting your prices, check out this post on setting your prices.

Include the type(s) of photography you do, such as newborn or wedding photography, and the sessions and packages you plan to offer.

Mention products such as prints, photo albums, holiday cards, and anything else you’ll sell. Some photographers also offer services like workshops and mentoring. Whatever products and services you’ll list for sale, describe and price them here. 

Market Analysis

Your market analysis will identify your target audience and competitors. It may also include a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). Also include your USP, or unique selling proposition in your marketing work. What is it? Basically, it involves figuring out what makes you unique, which is really important when starting your photography business. WHY would people hire YOU and not the competition? For more on developing your USP for your photography business, grab this free how to start a photography business Ebook.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what you need to analyze before you create your marketing plan…

Target Audience:

Many small business owners want to serve everyone, but this isn’t an effective strategy. If you market to everyone, you’ll fail to reach anyone. Generic messaging doesn’t connect or resonate with potential clients. So, choose your niche and focus on customers who want and need your products and services. 

When you’ve identified your broad target audience, segment your list and name a few characteristics of each segment. Include information like age, family size, location, and income. Can you find information about why and how they buy? When they post looking for photographers, what criteria do they list? Are they more likely to look for photographers on Facebook, Instagram, or via recommendations from close friends and family? Are they searching on Google or a genre specific website (eg. the knot.com)? 

For more information on developing your ideal client, check out this post on Defining Your Ideal Client  The more you know, the more effective your marketing will be. 

Competitors:

Next, list the top competitors in your area and briefly analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This process will help you determine how to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Research photographers in your area who offer similar services. Browse their websites and portfolios and read their reviews. Who is their target audience? What do they do well? Are their prices and product offerings straightforward and easy to understand? What do you bring to the table that they don’t, and vice versa?  If your market is saturated with similar style photographers, how are you going to differentiate yourself that is not price. Your price needs to be determined by your income needs, time, costs for you to run your business - not from someone else’s - you don’t know their business model or profitability. For more information on determining your pricing, head to Picsello’s Smart Profit Calculator™  

SWOT Analysis:

Many business plans also include a SWOT Analysis. Your SWOT Analysis will list your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Strengths are areas you excel in and advantages you have in the photography business. This may include existing clients and connections, a strong portfolio you’ve already built, and any differentiators you found when researching your competitors.

Weaknesses are areas for improvement. Your weaknesses could include a lack of business knowledge or experience, skills you need to build further, or the need to create a portfolio and find clients. Identifying these areas can help you build a plan for continuing to improve and grow as a photographer and business owner.

Opportunities are external factors and trends that you can leverage to grow your business. On the other hand, threats are the external obstacles and challenges you’ll face, such as well-established competitors or a decreasing demand for photography in your area. Evaluating your opportunities and threats can help you plan how to capitalize on advantages and overcome obstacles.

Photographer creating her marketing plan for her business plan.

Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Photography Business

Now that you know your target audience, map out how you will market your photography business to them. How will you structure your website and increase traffic? Do you have a strong online photography portfolio to feature on your website? If not, how do you plan to build and improve it? What is your budget for marketing your business? 

What social media platforms will you use? How will you encourage friends, family, and existing clients to spread the word? Will you attend local trade shows? Partner with local businesses ? Use email marketing campaigns or direct mail initiatives? Also, don’t forget to optimize all of the copy that you have on your website for SEO (we have a post for you specifically about SEO for Photographers ).

Operational Plan

Most photography businesses have fewer logistics than traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Still, it’s important to consider the day-to-day logistics of running a successful photography business.

Describe where you conduct your work and the operational needs of your business. Do you have a home-based office or studio? Do you shoot on-location, or are you planning to rent a studio? What are your overhead costs?

Picsello's Smart Profit Calculator landing page on desktop.

Financial Plan

The financial portion of your business plan may be the most time-consuming, but it’s one of the most important. Consider enlisting the help of a financial advisor, accountant or consultant with this section of your plan. Starting your business with the right financial plan will ensure you not only make money from your photography but you also stay in business.

First, list your expenses, including equipment, website and marketing costs, editing software, insurance, travel to and from locations, and equipment maintenance and repair. You can use this expense tracker to keep everything in order.

Try to project your costs and income for your first three years (or next three years) of doing business. Make a realistic estimate of the number of clients you’ll have multiplied by the average amount of money each client will spend. 

Compare your projected income with your projected expenses. Is your margin large enough? If not, what expenses can you cut? How many more clients will you need? Are your prices too low for you to be profitable? 

Continue crunching the numbers and making adjustments until you have a reasonable financial plan that sets you up for profitability. If this gives you anxiety or you don’t know how many clients you can realistically photograph, use Picsello’s Smart Profit Calculator™ as it helps you create a pricing structure that will set your business up for sustainability and profit.

Preparation Is The Key to Success

Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” 

Even if you never present your business plans to others, it’s an essential tool for your personal use. Writing a business plan requires you to think through every aspect of your business. It gives you a chance to troubleshoot potential issues, plan how you’ll navigate obstacles, and take advantage of your strengths and opportunities before you book your first client.

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Photography Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Photography Business Plan Outline

  • Photography Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan

Start Your Photography Plan Here

Photography Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your Photography business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their Photography business.

Below are links to each section of a sample photography business plan. It can be used to create a wedding photography business plan, a commercial photography business plan, a portrait photography studio business plan or any other type of photography business plan.

1. Executive Summary 2. Company Overview 3. Industry Analysis 4. Customer Analysis 5. Competitive Analysis 6. Marketing Plan 7. Operations Plan 8. Management Team 9. Financial Plan

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Photography Business Plan FAQs

What is a photography business plan.

A photography business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your photography business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your photography business plan using our Photography Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Types of Photography Businesses?

There are many types of photography businesses depending on the style of photography and target market. The most common and profitable type is event photography. Other types are stock photography, family/baby photography, travel, school, photojournalism and social media photography.

No matter what type of photography business you plan to start, you need a solid photography business plan. You can quickly complete your photography business plan using our Photography Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Sources of Revenues and Expenses for a Photography Business?

The primary source of revenue for photography businesses are service fees for photoshoots and video, licensing fees and photo editing. Other revenues are also generated from product sales like prints, albums, cards, wall prints and canvas.

The key expenses for photography businesses are equipment expense, advertising, transportation, and labor or professional fees.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Photography Studio Business Plan?

Photography businesses are typically funded through small business loans, personal savings and credit card financing.

This is true for a wedding photographer, pet photography business, commercial photography business, a portrait photography business or any other type of photography services.

Download your plan in word or PDF to share with investors.

What are the Steps To Start a Photography Business?

Starting a photography business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Photography Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed business plan for a photography business that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, data on the photography industry, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.  You can quickly complete your photography business plan using our Photography Business Plan Template here .

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your photography business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your photography business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Photography Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your photography business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your photography business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Photography Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your photography business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your photography business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising. 

Learn more about how to start a successful photography business and photography business planning:

  • How to Start a Photography Business

Where Can I Get a Photography Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free photography business plan template PDF here . This is a sample photography business plan template you can use in PDF format.

business plan on photographer

HOW TO WRITE THE ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS PLAN

Table of contents, 1. summarise your services and products, 2. describe your target market, 3. analyse your competitors, 4. conduct a swot analysis, 5. outline your marketing plan, 6. outline your operations plan, 7. work out your finances, 8. set goals and create systems, 9. write an executive summary.

Photography business plan template for services and products section

What is your main photography service?

List any other photography services your offer, how do your photography services complement each other, describe the products you provide to clients.

Photography business plan template - target market section

Sum up your ideal client in one sentence

What are the top 3 desires you can help with, what are the top 3 pain points you can help with, what will connect you and your ideal client, 3. analyse your competitors.

Photography business plan template - competitor analysis section

List 2 or 3 of your closest competitors

Describe their services and products, who are they appealing to, what is their price point and position, what are they doing well, what could they be doing better, write 3-5 adjective to describe their brand, 4. conduct a swot analysis.

Photography business plan - SWOT analysis section

Make a list of your strengths

Acknowledge your weaknesses, where are the opportunities, are there any potential threats, 5. outline your marketing plan.

Photography business plan template - marketing plan section

What makes your business stand out?

Write your elevator pitch, write your big, bold statement (tagline), define your brand personality and tone of voice, what content are you going to create, which social media platform will you use and how, will you do any face-to-face marketing, will you seek publicity for your business, how will you generate and nurture leads, how will you create loyalty and encourage referrals, 6. outline your operations plan.

Photography business plan template - operations plan section

Describe the enquiry and conversion process

Describe the booking and onboarding process, describe the shoot or wedding process, describe the post-shoot/wedding process, describe the product sales process, describe the order fulfilment process, describe the process beyond order fulfilment, 7. work out the finances.

Photography business plan template - finance plan section

Summarise your CODB and salary aims

Where are you positioned in terms of price, which pricing model is right for you, 8. set goals and create systems.

Photography business plan template - goal setting and action plan section

Decide on your financial goal

Map out your systems, what needs to happen for your systems to work, 9. create an executive summary.

Photography business plan template - executive summary section

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  • Sample Business Plans
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Photography Business Plan

Executive summary image

Believe it or not—anyone can take a few pictures, but it takes true skill and talent to get the perfect shot.

And If you’re the guy, everyone’s after asking to click pictures at every party or event, starting a photography business could be incredibly lucrative and satisfying.

However, making your photography business successful is more than just clicking good pictures. You need a solid business plan to ensure success.

Need help writing a business plan for your photography business? You’re at the right place. Our photography business plan template will help you get started.

Download the template and follow step-by-step instructions to draft your business plan in no time!

→ Download Now: Free Photography Business Plan

And though photography lets you fulfill your passion, it attracts a lot of competition due to its ease of entry.

Also, having a successful photography business takes a little more than skill. A photography business plan helps you deal with that, while you shutter away your masterpiece.

Industry Overview

According to the IBIS World industry report , the US photography market is expected to decline at a CAGR of 1.3 to reach 12.9 billion dollars in 2023.

With 7-8% profit margins, individual consumers and households make up the main customer base for the industry. Despite a minor recent decline, the photography industry is projected to experience consistent growth in the coming years.

Here are a few key industry highlights to consider:

  • Number of businesses: There are 258,450 operational photography businesses in the US in 2023.
  • Industry employment: 293,339+
  • Key players: Shutterfly Inc., Alamy Ltd.

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Things to Consider Before Writing a Photography Business Plan

You’ll need to focus on both the artistic and business sides of your trade.

Though having an excellent eye for proportion, dimensions, and light is great it isn’t enough to have a profitable business. You bring your skills to the table, but you’ll have to work as hard as any other business owner on your marketing, finance, and operations to have a profitable business.

And though it might seem intimidating, with the right amount of planning and strategizing you can do it smoothly.

Get the Pricing Right

It is important to study every aspect of the market and select the pricing strategy that suits your business the best. Your pricing as a photography business would depend a lot upon the niche you choose, your location, and the quality of your skills.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Good photography isn’t just about your skills with the camera, especially if you are dealing with people. You’ll need to make your customers feel at ease and have a friendly way of communicating.

This helps you become the person’s go-to photographer. As pictures aren’t just products you pay for, but memories that are cherished for years.

But at the same time, if communication isn’t your thing you don’t need to worry. As there are several other niches in photography that you can pick from.

Get the Right Equipment, but Don’t Go Overboard

The right camera, technical equipment, etc, are important to help you work effectively. But it doesn’t do to go over budget for it. Especially, if you are just starting out.

Pick the right equipment, but not the one that weighs down on your finances at the early stages of your business.

Why Do You Need a Photography Business Plan?

Product photoshot

As you are ready to enter the industry, it brings us to the above question, why does one need a photography business plan?

Aren’t you just supposed to dive right in if you are passionate enough?

The answer is, NO.

Though diving headfirst might sound appealing, it can lead to a series of roadblocks in the future. Also, a business plan isn’t as time-consuming as it may seem to you.

It increases the efficiency of your business and acts as a guide on your road to success. Moreover, writing a business plan helps you get a clear idea of your goals and the opportunities and threats that stand in your way of achieving them.

Also, a well-researched and innovative plan can help you get funded. An investor’s confidence in you is directly proportional to the clarity of your business idea. A business plan can help you achieve just that.

How to Write a Photography Business Plan?

Writing a business plan is not as intimidating as it seems. A well-rounded business plan requires thorough research of the industry, a clear set of goals, well-observed and carefully designed strategies to achieve them, and a clear list of milestones and timelines for all the departments of the business.

A business plan should include strategies for all departments from marketing to finance. There are several resources like online software, business consultants, and predesigned templates that can help you in writing the perfect business plan .

Writing a business plan has become a cakewalk through online business planning tools which can craft an ideal business plan for you at the snap of your fingers.

Chalking out Your Business Plan

Though anyone can click pictures with devices as simple as a smartphone, it takes skills, a sense of proportion, and creativity to make people stop scrolling.

In today’s world of photo-sharing apps where people grapple for attention, the demand for excellent photographers continues to rise.

Hence, with the advent of Instagram, the photography industry is growing leaps and bounds.

Photography Business Plan Outline

This is a standard photography business plan outline that will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

  • Introduction
  • Products and Services
  • Financial Path To Success
  • Keys to Success
  • Company History
  • Market Segmentation
  • Target Market Segment Strategy
  • Competition and Buying Patterns
  • Web Plan Summary
  • Website Marketing Strategy
  • Development Requirements
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Competitive Edge
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Sales Forecast
  • Year 1 – Digital Media Production
  • Year 2 – Digital Media Production
  • Year 3 – Digital Media Production
  • Important Assumptions
  • Projected Profit and Loss
  • Projected Cash Flow
  • Projected Balance Sheet
  • Ratio Analysis

As you sit down to write your business plan, it brings us to the question, what all things you will need to include in your business plan? Read on to find out.

1. Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary section of a business plan works as an overview of your business and acts as a highlight of its aims and goals. It should be brief and precise and sum up everything your business stands for.

It serves as a pitch of your business ideas to potential investors and should have the following points.

  • The kind of services your business offers (Eg. Commercial Photography, Travel Photography, etc.)
  • Your target audience (Eg. Models, travel bloggers, influencers, etc.)
  • Your strengths and past experiences
  • Your goals for the company.

2. Business Overview

Overview Image

In the business overview section, you’ll jot down all of the business ideas you have and analyze how to bring them to life.

This section would consist of an overview of the functioning of your business. as well as your mission statement.

While writing this section it is important to be as precise as possible It helps the stakeholders of your business to know it better.

3. Describe the Services You’ll Offer

In this section of your business plan, you have to list the services you are going to offer. This helps you get a clearer idea of how to advertise your services and how to reach out to your target audiences.

For example, if you are a landscape photographer all of your marketing strategy and the list of resources and services you’ll need will be built around that.

Also, your target audience would be travel websites and tourism companies. And the ways of reaching out to them would be different than reaching out to influencers or celebrities.

4. Market Analysis

The market analysis section is a crucial part of your business plan.

In this section, you’ll write down everything you can find about the photography market as well as resources that can help you stay updated about the recent trends in the market.

For example, as a photographer, it is essential to know the trending photography techniques.

You can also include the size of the market, your competitors, areas that have the highest growth potential, etc Know the right market value of services and identify the existing market gaps that you can fill.

Let’s consider there is no food photographer in your locality and the restaurants around you need one, you can specialize in food photography to capture that market.

5. Create a Website Strategy

Screenshot of Website

The Internet is the first place where people look for any product or service, hence your business must have a website to be discovered by clients.

A well-optimized website can help you in meeting a lot of potential customers.

Including a website strategy in your business plan is crucial.

6. Plan Your Finances

Your financial planning is one of the major deciding factors of whether your business will stay afloat or not.

In this section keep track of your company’s finances, jot down ways of making it more cost-effective. List down resources that can help you understand and manage your finances better.

Download a sample photography business plan

Need help getting started writing a business plan? Here you go; download our free photography business plan pdf to start.

It’s a modern business plan template designed for your photography center. Refer to the example business plan and follow step-by-step instructions to start writing your plan.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

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Write your business plan with Upmetrics

A business planning tool like Upmetrics is the best way to draft your business plan. This incredible tool comes with step-by-step instructions, customizable templates, AI assistance, and business plan examples to help you get started.

You may also explore our library of Entertainment and media business plan examples before you start writing your plan.

So, whether you are starting a photography business or planning to grow an existing one, Upmetrics is the tool you need to create a business plan.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning now!

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Frequently asked questions, what are some common mistakes to avoid when drafting a photography business plan.

Following are some of the common mistakes to avoid when writing a photography business plan:

  • Inadequate and inaccurate financial projections.
  • Poor market research and ignoring industry trends.
  • Undefined goals and lack of details.
  • Not proofreading the document for typos and grammatical errors.
  • Including outdated and irrelevant information.
  • Not regularly updating your business plan.

What are some key financial metrics to include in a photography business plan?

Following are some of the key financial metrics to include in your photography business plan:

  • Balance sheet
  • Cash flow statement
  • Income statement
  • Break-even statement
  • Projected business ratios
  • Sales and revenue projections
  • Projected expenses

How can a photography business plan help in securing funding or investment?

A well-crafted photography business plan will help your investors better understand your business domain, market trends, strategies, business financials, and growth potential—helping you secure investment.

Where to find business plan writers for your photography business?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and ideas better than you, so we recommend you write your photography business plan and outline your vision as you have in mind.

About the Author

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Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Home » Blog » How to write a successful photography business plan.

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How to write a successful photography business plan.

How to Write a Successful Photography Business Plan

Whether you want to know how to open up a part-time photography business , start a photography business or take your existing one to the next level, the best place to start is with a plan. A photography business plan is a document that outlines what you hope to accomplish with your business. 

As your business comes to life or goes through change, you can use a business plan to measure your progress and re-calibrate your professional goals. In addition, if you are planning to pitch your business to potential investors for brand partnership opportunities, a business plan is one of the documents you can use to help bring credibility to your business.

However, learning how to start a photography business the right way doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Taking the right steps to showcase your photography services beyond your online portfolio website can set you off on the right foot and continuously help you attract the caliber of clients you want.

Why you need to make a photography business plan. 

Running a small business is hard. You may have heard the lifespan statistic that 20% of small businesses fail in their first 2 years, 30% fail in their first 3 years, and 50% fail after operating for 5 years. While this number is discouraging, the number one reason for the small business mortality rate is the lack of financial planning.

This is why using available tools is essential to your business’s long-term success and to your ability to grow your business. A business plan is critical in keeping you on track with your business goals and identifying where your business is lagging before, during, and after growth.

The main components of a photography business plan.

While you can customize the components of a photography business plan to suit your needs, the standard components are:

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Product or service portfolio
  • Target market
  • Competitive landscape 
  • Marketing approach
  • Operations & logistics

These elements work together to provide you and your possible stakeholders with a fulsome portrait of your business and its potential. We will go into further detail about these individual components in the following sections.

Write an executive summary.

The executive summary is a 50-250 word section at the start of your photography business plan that focuses on big-picture goals and outcomes of your company. This section summarizes the entirety of the document and should serve as the “elevator pitch” for your company, and its unique position to succeed. A good question to ask when compiling your executive summary is, “What are 3-5 things I want my clients to remember me by?”

Some of the elements to include in your executive summary are your experience, your specialties (ex. commercial photography , landscape , or wedding photography ), and key components of your business that contribute to your success, such as your marketing efforts or a unique angle you bring to the industry.

Explain your company in a business description.

While you may have a clear vision for your business inside your head, being able to succinctly express it to clients and stakeholders is key to your professional success. When compiling your description, it’s important to be as specific as possible.

First, learn about different organizational structures and the associated terms that come with the territory. Are you running a sole proprietorship, partnership, an incorporated company, or another type of business?

Second, your business description should also outline additional details including the history of your business. It gives possible stakeholders an idea of what your business is about and how it began.

In addition, you want to share your business’ mission statement. Because you will go into more details about the offerings and other aspects of your business, it’s best to keep your company description simple and provide only a high-level overview.

Describe your product and services.

This is the place to talk about the types of photography services and products you offer, and the ones you plan on expanding into in the near future. 

As part of your product and services description, provide a comprehensive pricing model. Your pricing model should cover the types of sessions, services (shooting, editing, formatting) you offer, and their associated fees. For example, do you offer mini photography sessions or 2-hour shoots? Is there a sliding scale for editing services, color correction, or airbrushing? Do you handle the physical production of photos, or is the handoff done digitally?

A competent photography business relies on the client’s clear understanding of your “menu” of skills and services.

Lastly, detail the types of services you offer and the types of products you want to focus on that bring you the most income.

Determine your target market.

Targeting your customers is no simple task, as small business owners want to serve everyone. Nevertheless, it helps you to focus on your customers who need your products. You’ll end up wasting money marketing your product to people who don’t need it or have any interest in it.

Understanding your target audience means researching your local market to identify where demand exists. You can search forums and Facebook groups to see what kinds of photographers people are hiring and how much they’re willing to pay. 

For example, a professional wedding photographer should join relevant local event planning and vendor groups on social media to build connections and promote their wedding photography services. Keep in mind that a wedding photographer often has to travel to a location to shoot the wedding, and make sure to factor it into your project estimates. 

While a target audience looks different for everyone, it’s important for your photography business to have a few areas of specialty that help build up credibility and steadily bring in clients.

Conduct a competitive analysis.

As you conduct research on your local market, you will start to discover there are a number of different photographers that offer similar services as you. To create a thorough competitive analysis, take the list of competitors, and evaluate them in different areas. Conducting this analysis will help you determine what sets yours apart.

When looking at your competitors, consider the following questions:

  • Are my product offering and pricing model as straightforward as theirs?
  • What is their tone of voice (ex. humorous/expert/familial)?
  • Who is their target audience?
  • What do they bring to the table that I do not, and vice versa?
  • How can I differentiate myself from them?

To help you understand how your business is perceived, you can seek the help of a brand marketing professional. To take a more DIY approach, you can send your portfolio website to a roundtable of friends and colleagues and ask them how they would describe your business. Collecting these adjectives and looking for common threads can help you understand how your business is perceived and use these findings to your advantage in your marketing efforts.

Conducting a thorough competitive analysis can help you determine your own competitive edge and stay abreast of the competition. As a best practice, get into the habit of conducting a competitive analysis on an annual basis to stay informed about how your industry and your local market evolve over time.

Detail your marketing strategies.

In marketing, there is a saying that goes, “hope is not a strategy.” Yet many organizations allow an “if you build it, they will come” mentality to drive clients toward their marketing efforts.

In reality, a continuous funnel of new and repeat customers is what ensures their long-term success. This is why continuous marketing efforts are the number one way to ensure a consistent workload. Your marketing should work in tandem with a greater marketing plan that aligns all your efforts.

Because stakeholders and investors know the importance of marketing, they will look for a comprehensive and proactive marketing strategy when evaluating your business plan. This is why it’s important to outline the various marketing mechanisms you plan to use in your marketing plan.

Your marketing strategies encompass your marketing programs and your photography portfolio. 

Marketing programs.

Marketing programs mean any platforms, channels, or mechanisms you use to promote your company and attract customers. These may include email marketing campaigns, direct mail initiatives, local photography directory memberships, trade shows, your social media presence, and any paid social media advertising campaigns.

Photography portfolio.

Your online photography portfolio is an essential part of your marketing toolkit. After you make your potential customers aware of your business with your marketing programs, they will seek out a digital presence to explore your abilities as a photographer and to see if there is a fit. A portfolio experience can make or break a client lead, which is why it’s important to invest in a portfolio website that represents the unique offering your photography brings to the world. You can learn how to build a portfolio website the right way with our helpful guide.

One place for everything from proofing to selling.

Share and sell your photos directly from mobile-friendly, interactive online galleries designed to impress your clients.

Think about operations. 

While service businesses like photographers traditionally have fewer logistics than brick-and-mortar ones, it’s still important to consider the day-to-day logistics and expenses when compiling your business plan.

The operations portion of your photography business can include details like information about where you conduct work.  Many photographers choose to conduct business out of a home studio or office, holding a majority of their sessions at outdoor locations, client homes, and occasionally utilizing a professional studio. Meanwhile, commercial photographers almost always rely on a professional studio to conduct their business. 

Because different types of photographers have different operational needs, stakeholders will look for this information in your business plan to help assess the overhead cost of the operations. Understanding your operations also helps you to plan for potential opportunities in the future.

Draft your financial plans. 

This portion of your photography business plan is important to understanding the overall factors in the cash flow of your venture. Cash flow refers to the amount of money going in and out of your business. 

While compiling this section of your business plan may take the most time, it’s important to get it right to have an accurate understanding of the amount of money it takes to run your photography business, and which investments (ex. new lenses or editing software) are feasible within your business profits.

If you are a new business owner getting into photography, this section of the plan is where you outline the equipment you hope to invest in and what types of services it will be used for. Consider that as a professional photographer, you may need to invest in two copies of every item in case of malfunction. Some photographers, who may be just starting out, may use rental equipment to help them offset the costs of duplicates. However, the cost of renting can add up, which is why purchasing may be the cheaper option in the long run.

As a photographer, you are investing in hardware and software that is imperative to your job. To protect yourself, consider insuring your photography equipment and professional computer in case of theft. You can outline your insurance policy coverage and its cost in the financial portion of your plan. 

Create a timeline.

For photographers, a timeline is a management tool that helps you keep your business goals on track. Some of the key activities to include in your timeline are marketing, financial, investing, and operational in nature. 

In your timeline, consider setting goals for when you expect to pay back for the items listed in the financial portion of your plan. Calculating how many completed photography sessions it would take to cover the cost of the item can help you calculate this date.

It’s important to remember that timelines don’t need to be complicated. You can simply write down the task and the date by which you hope to complete it in sequential order. To help you stay on track, you can put reminders in your email calendar that notify you when you are nearing the anticipated completion of a task, as well as your personal deadline for its completion.

Putting your photography business plan together.

Compiling a photography business plan is an important step in starting your business and in evolving an existing one. While our photography business plan outline contains all the elements to run a successful photography business, there is nothing like drawing inspiration from what’s out there. A tried and tested photography business plan sample can give you the guidance you need to brainstorm the ins and outs of your business.

While all photography business plans are slightly different, most professional photography business plans are clear about their vision and how they want to get there. We’ve collected sample photography business plans from some of the best and most successful photographers in the industry and made readily editable templates for a fast and comprehensive photography business plan.

If you are just starting with your venture and feel a little lost, be sure to check out startup costs for your photography business and three business questions new photographers often ask . These guides give you the important information you need to get started on turning your photography dream into a viable business.

Photography business plan examples.

A sound business plan will set you on the path to success as a photographer. Whether you are a studio photographer, wedding photographer, or anything in between, these industry-specific photography business plan examples will help you kickstart your career.

Photography studio business plan.

If you run a photography studio, the most important element of your business plan is the photography business description. This segment in your photography studio business plan consists of a thorough description of all of the activities you engage in and the services you offer.

By keeping a detailed checklist, you can be clearer with your clients about the studio photography services you offer and market your business accordingly. Our guide to photography marketing shows you how to attract new clients the right way, without spending a dime.

Wedding photography business plan.

Creating a wedding photography business plan is a crucial step in better understanding your market and the opportunities you can leverage with your skills and experience. If there are any specific photography services you offer that other wedding competitors don’t, make sure to include them in your business plan.

If you are looking for a place to start, a simple Google search will provide you with a range of wedding photography business plan samples to work from, which can be tailored specifically to your business.

Now that you are armed with your photography business plan, you can attract better clients and be prepared for the future with a firm grasp of your competitive edge and industry shifts. Don’t forget that along with a solid business plan you need a beautiful website portfolio to show off your work and start getting clients.

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Cheryl Dell'Osso

Cheryl is the Director of Content Strategy at Zenfolio and the Owner/Photographer at Portraits by Cheryl and Seniors by Cheryl in Raleigh, NC. Cheryl has mentored countless new photographers looking to build successful photography businesses.

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How To Write a Winning Photography Business Plan + Template

photography business plan

Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for photography businesses who want to improve their strategy and/or raise funding.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines the vision for your company, but also documents a step-by-step roadmap of how you are going to accomplish it. In order to create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components that are essential to its success.

This article provides an overview of the key elements that every photography business owner should include in their business plan.

Download the Photography Business Plan Template

What is a Photography Business Plan?

A photography business plan is a formal written document that describes your company’s business strategy and its feasibility. It documents the reasons you will be successful, your areas of competitive advantage, and it includes information about your team members. Your business plan is a key document that will convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you are positioned to become a successful venture.

Why Write a Photography Business Plan?

A photography business plan is required for banks and investors. The document is a clear and concise guide of your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.

Writing an Effective Photography Business Plan

The following are the key components of a successful photography business plan:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a photography business plan is a one to two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your photography company
  • Provide a short summary of the key points in each section of your business plan, which includes information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast among others.

Company Description

This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how your company started, and provide a timeline of milestones your company has achieved.

If you are just starting your photography business, you may not have a long company history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company before or have been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your photography firm, mention this.

Industry Analysis

The industry or market analysis is an important component of a photography business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends and document the size of your market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the photography industry are you targeting?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now (and if applicable, how do these trends support the success of your company)?

You should also include sources for the information you provide, such as published research reports and expert opinions.

Customer Analysis

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

For example, customers of a photography business may include individuals, families, small businesses, or corporations.

You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or photography services with the right marketing.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis helps you determine how your product or service will be different from competitors, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) might be that will set you apart in this industry.

For each competitor, list their strengths and weaknesses. Next, determine your areas of competitive differentiation and/or advantage; that is, in what ways are you different from and ideally better than your competitors.

Marketing Plan

This part of the business plan is where you determine and document your marketing plan. . Your plan should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Detail your product/service offerings here. Document their features and benefits.
  • Price : Document your pricing strategy here. In addition to stating the prices for your products/services, mention how your pricing compares to your competition.
  • Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution (e.g., partnerships) will you use to reach them if applicable?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target customers? For example, you may use social media, write blog posts, create an email marketing campaign, use pay-per-click advertising, launch a direct mail campaign. In addition, you may promote your photography business via public speaking engagements, trade shows, or partnerships.

Operations Plan

This part of your photography business plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your product/service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone only?
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.

Finally, and most importantly, in your Operations Plan, you will lay out the milestones your company hopes to achieve within the next five years. Create a chart that shows the key milestone(s) you hope to achieve each quarter for the next four quarters, and then each year for the following four years. Examples of milestones for a photography business include reaching $X in sales. Other examples include hiring a certain number of employees, partnering with another company, or opening up a second location.

Management Team

List your team members here including their names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific photography industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.

Particularly if you are seeking funding, the goal of this section is to convince investors and lenders that your team has the expertise and experience to execute on your plan. If you are missing key team members, document the roles and responsibilities you plan to hire for in the future.

Financial Plan

Here you will include a summary of your complete and detailed financial plan (your full financial projections go in the Appendix). 

This includes the following three financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how much revenue you generate.
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, this is the net income or loss.

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Photography Business

Revenues $ 336,090 $ 450,940 $ 605,000 $ 811,730 $ 1,089,100
$ 336,090 $ 450,940 $ 605,000 $ 811,730 $ 1,089,100
Direct Cost
Direct Costs $ 67,210 $ 90,190 $ 121,000 $ 162,340 $ 217,820
$ 67,210 $ 90,190 $ 121,000 $ 162,340 $ 217,820
$ 268,880 $ 360,750 $ 484,000 $ 649,390 $ 871,280
Salaries $ 96,000 $ 99,840 $ 105,371 $ 110,639 $ 116,171
Marketing Expenses $ 61,200 $ 64,400 $ 67,600 $ 71,000 $ 74,600
Rent/Utility Expenses $ 36,400 $ 37,500 $ 38,700 $ 39,800 $ 41,000
Other Expenses $ 9,200 $ 9,200 $ 9,200 $ 9,400 $ 9,500
$ 202,800 $ 210,940 $ 220,871 $ 230,839 $ 241,271
EBITDA $ 66,080 $ 149,810 $ 263,129 $ 418,551 $ 630,009
Depreciation $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 4,200
EBIT $ 60,880 $ 144,610 $ 257,929 $ 413,351 $ 625,809
Interest Expense $ 7,600 $ 7,600 $ 7,600 $ 7,600 $ 7,600
$ 53,280 $ 137,010 $ 250,329 $ 405,751 $ 618,209
Taxable Income $ 53,280 $ 137,010 $ 250,329 $ 405,751 $ 618,209
Income Tax Expense $ 18,700 $ 47,900 $ 87,600 $ 142,000 $ 216,400
$ 34,580 $ 89,110 $ 162,729 $ 263,751 $ 401,809
10% 20% 27% 32% 37%

Balance Sheet

Include a balance sheet that shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Photography Business

Cash $ 105,342 $ 188,252 $ 340,881 $ 597,431 $ 869,278
Other Current Assets $ 41,600 $ 55,800 $ 74,800 $ 90,200 $ 121,000
Total Current Assets $ 146,942 $ 244,052 $ 415,681 $ 687,631 $ 990,278
Fixed Assets $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000
Accum Depreciation $ 5,200 $ 10,400 $ 15,600 $ 20,800 $ 25,000
Net fixed assets $ 19,800 $ 14,600 $ 9,400 $ 4,200 $ 0
$ 166,742 $ 258,652 $ 425,081 $ 691,831 $ 990,278
Current Liabilities $ 23,300 $ 26,100 $ 29,800 $ 32,800 $ 38,300
Debt outstanding $ 108,862 $ 108,862 $ 108,862 $ 108,862 $ 0
$ 132,162 $ 134,962 $ 138,662 $ 141,662 $ 38,300
Share Capital $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Retained earnings $ 34,580 $ 123,690 $ 286,419 $ 550,170 $ 951,978
$ 34,580 $ 123,690 $ 286,419 $ 550,170 $ 951,978
$ 166,742 $ 258,652 $ 425,081 $ 691,831 $ 990,278

Cash Flow Statement

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:

  • Cash Flow From Operations
  • Cash Flow From Investments
  • Cash Flow From Financing

Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup photography business.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Photography Business

Net Income (Loss) $ 34,580 $ 89,110 $ 162,729 $ 263,751 $ 401,809
Change in Working Capital $ (18,300) $ (11,400) $ (15,300) $ (12,400) $ (25,300)
Plus Depreciation $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 4,200
Net Cash Flow from Operations $ 21,480 $ 82,910 $ 152,629 $ 256,551 $ 380,709
Fixed Assets $ (25,000) $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Net Cash Flow from Investments $ (25,000) $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Cash from Equity $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Cash from Debt financing $ 108,862 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ (108,862)
Net Cash Flow from Financing $ 108,862 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ (108,862)
Net Cash Flow $ 105,342 $ 82,910 $ 152,629 $ 256,551 $ 271,847
Cash at Beginning of Period $ 0 $ 105,342 $ 188,252 $ 340,881 $ 597,431
Cash at End of Period $ 105,342 $ 188,252 $ 340,881 $ 597,431 $ 869,278

You will also want to include an appendix section which will include:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • Any other documentation which supports what you included in the body of your business plan.

Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and/or grow your photography company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it.

A well-written business plan is essential for any photography company looking to start, expand or grow its business. It can also help attract investors.  

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How to Write a Photography Business Plan

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Table of contents

Whether you want to start a photography business or take your current one to the next level, you need a business plan. A business plan is the roadmap for your business — it states your goals and outlines your plan to achieve them.

You can use this plan to monitor your progress and evaluate any changes or new projects you want to take on. Additionally, if you’re looking for investors or partners, a business plan is something you can show them to aid those discussions.

If you’ve never written a business plan — or if you need a refresh — here are the six elements you should include when creating a photography business plan.

Executive summary

Your executive summary should serve as a clear preview for your reader. This is where you define the objectives of your photography business and your mission statement. You can dive deeper into your clientele and target market later on, but you should use this space to talk big-picture about your specialty (weddings, portraiture, kids) and what sets your business apart.

Include the key components for the success of your business in this section, whether that’s the experience you provide during a shoot or how you market your business. Writing these down will help you implement them later on.

Company description

You may have a clear vision for your business, but you need to be able to communicate that to others, like clients and financial backers. A company description is written to highlight the most important points about your photography business.

First, decide on the business entity that best fits with your current business state by researching your business formation options . Talk with a lawyer or financial advisor to determine what structure is best for you: a limited liability company (LLC), general partnership, sole proprietorship, or another organization.

Then, determine where you want to do business. If you’re doing a lot of studio work, it might make sense to lease or buy a space. But if you primarily shoot events, a studio might not be necessary.

Market analysis

Your market analysis allows you to uncover specific nuances of the local industry and identify trends vital to your success. Your market analysis should include:

  • A description of the photography industry or the specialty you plan to pursue — occasion-based photography (weddings, special events), portrait photography, commercial photography, etc. — and specific market segmentation
  • An overview of your target market and demographics of the audience that will be most interested in your photography services
  • A competitive analysis that identifies other photography businesses in your region

From this, create a SWOT analysis of your photography business:

  • Strengths : Outline your experience, expert knowledge, unique skills, and professional network.
  • Weaknesses : What are your areas of vulnerability? This could include a lack of necessary equipment, skills you need to improve, and a price point that is too high to be competitive or too low to support your business.
  • Opportunities : Identify your business goals and the industry opportunities within your area. Where is there a gap in the industry, and do you have the skills and means to fill that gap?
  • Threats : Determine threats to your business, like a saturated market for your specialty, competitors with well-established businesses and the current economic state, which could determine if photography services are a luxury service, not a necessity.

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Photography services.

Expand on your service offerings, such as event photography, editorial, portraits, or commercial work. Include the location — whether it is on-site, in a personal studio, or rented studio space.

Also, determine the photography equipment needed for services, whether that be rental equipment, computer and editing software, printers, a leased space, or additional props for photoshoots.

Marketing plan

Your marketing plan is a comprehensive examination of how to sell your photography . You’ll want to start by writing a positioning statement explaining how your business fills the consumers’ needs better than your competitors’ do.

Then you’ll want to make sure to cover:

  • Pricing strategy : Your pricing plan should address what makes your business viable and competitive in the market. Will you provide packages or will all pricing be à la carte? Or will you charge by the day, per shot, or by print or download? You’ll also want to address how to take payments from clients. Invoices are a common payment method in the photography industry, and using an invoice template can help you get paid quickly. Learn more about the nuances of photography invoices .
  • Portfolio : You need a home base, somewhere you can send prospective clients via marketing activities to show off your work. These days, the most efficient way to do that is to create a website . Make sure the design of your website is optimized to highlight images and that it is simple for customers to find your contact info.
  • Marketing programs : You’ll want to think of all the ways you can develop your customer base and boost engagement with your brand. This might include building out an email marketing program , referral program, or loyalty program. You may want to consider doing some content marketing (you could start a blog or podcast), or you might invest some funds into paid ads across social or search media.

Clearly define who the audience is for each program, what your goal is, how you’ll measure the program’s success, and what assets or budgets you need to get started.

  • Social media : Since so much of social media relies on visuals, it should be one of the marketing programs that you use. Build a social media strategy focusing on the platforms that make the most sense for your business (Instagram is a good place to start).

Then build a following and create a community with other local vendors. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, link up with local event planners, venues, florists, etc.

And don’t forget that you can advertise on social networks as well. Most provide pretty solid targeting tools, so you can be sure your message will get in front of an audience in your area.

Financial plan

One of the most important components in your photography business plan is creating a solid financial plan, and a large part of that is startup costs. These costs include legal advice, website design, photography equipment, and technology — basically everything you need to get your business off the ground.

Estimate how much capital this will take and then explore your funding options , which could include sources like small business loans, grants, and crowdfunding. Next, complete a break-even analysis to help you determine how much money you need to make to cover your costs.

Later on, once you’re up and running, you might include other financial statements in this section — like a balance sheet, cash flow and income. These types of statements help you create a cash-flow analysis and monitor the financial well-being of your business.

If you’re less familiar with the world of finances and accounting, you might think about reaching out to a professional for advice. (You might even propose trading financial advice for some free headshots.)

Remember, writing a photography business plan is a crucial step when you start a business . But when it’s complete, don’t let it sit in a folder and collect dust. Your plan should be a living document that you update regularly to reflect the state of your business.

Colleen Egan

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Creating a Successful Photography Business Plan

Creating a Successful Photography Business Plan

Starting a photography business can be an exciting adventure, but it's important to have a solid plan in place to ensure your success. In this article, we will explore the key elements of creating a photography business plan and how they contribute to your overall success. We will delve into understanding the basics of a business plan and its importance in the photography industry, as well as the process of defining your photography business and identifying your niche. Additionally, we will discuss market analysis, developing a marketing strategy, and financial planning. So let's dive in and uncover the secrets to creating a successful photography business plan!

Understanding the Basics of a Business Plan

A business plan serves as a roadmap for your photography business. It outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. A well-crafted business plan not only helps you stay focused but also acts as a valuable tool when seeking funding or partnerships. It provides a clear direction, identifies potential challenges, and highlights opportunities for growth.

When starting a photography business, it is essential to have a comprehensive business plan that covers all aspects of your venture. This plan will serve as a blueprint for success and guide you through the various stages of your business's development.

As a photography business owner, your business plan should include sections such as an executive summary, company description, market analysis, marketing strategy, financial projections, and an action plan. These elements work together to create a cohesive and strategic plan that will help you achieve your business goals.

Importance of a Business Plan in Photography

A photography business plan is crucial for establishing a solid foundation for your venture. It helps you define your objectives and understand your target audience, enabling you to tailor your services to meet their needs. With a well-researched and thought-out plan, you can position your photography business as a unique and valuable offering in the market.

Furthermore, a business plan acts as a roadmap for growth and expansion. It allows you to identify potential challenges and develop strategies to overcome them. By analyzing the market and understanding your competition, you can identify opportunities for differentiation and capitalize on them.

Additionally, a well-prepared business plan is essential when seeking financing or attracting potential investors or partners. It demonstrates your professionalism, commitment, and understanding of the industry. Investors and lenders will be more likely to support your photography business if they can see a clear plan for success.

Key Elements of a Business Plan

  • Executive Summary: This section provides an overview of your photography business, highlighting its unique selling points and summarizing the key points of your plan.
  • Company Description: Here, you will provide a detailed description of your photography business, including its mission, vision, and values. You will also outline your legal structure, location, and any relevant industry certifications or affiliations.
  • Market Analysis: This section involves conducting thorough research on your target market, including demographics, trends, and competitors. By understanding the market landscape, you can identify gaps and opportunities for your photography business.
  • Marketing Strategy: In this section, you will outline your marketing and promotional activities. This includes your branding, pricing strategy, advertising channels, and customer acquisition strategies. A well-defined marketing strategy will help you reach your target audience and differentiate your photography business from competitors.
  • Financial Projections: Here, you will present your financial forecasts, including revenue projections, expenses, and profitability. This section demonstrates the financial viability of your photography business and helps you plan for future growth and investment.
  • Action Plan: The action plan outlines the specific steps you will take to implement your business strategies. It includes timelines, milestones, and responsibilities. This section ensures that you have a clear roadmap for executing your plan and achieving your business objectives.

By including these key elements in your photography business plan, you will have a comprehensive and strategic document that will guide you towards success. Remember to regularly review and update your plan as your business evolves and new opportunities arise.

Defining Your Photography Business

Before diving into the details of the business plan, it's essential to clearly define your photography business. Start by identifying your photography niche, which will help you differentiate yourself in the market and develop a unique selling proposition.

When it comes to choosing your photography niche, there are various factors to consider. Think about your passion and expertise. What type of photography excites you the most? Are you drawn to capturing the raw emotions of weddings, the beauty of nature, or the creativity of commercial projects? Understanding your niche will not only allow you to focus your skills but also help you stand out from the competition.

Once you have identified your niche, it's time to delve deeper into understanding your target audience. Who are your ideal clients? What are their needs, preferences, and pain points? Conduct market research to gain insights into the demographics, psychographics, and buying behaviors of your target market. This information will enable you to tailor your services and marketing efforts to meet their specific expectations.

Furthermore, setting clear and measurable business goals is vital for the success of your photography business. While it's tempting to have broad goals like "become a successful photographer," it's essential to break them down into specific and achievable objectives.

For example, if you aim to increase your client base, you can set a goal of acquiring a certain number of new clients within a specific timeframe. If expanding into new markets is on your agenda, you can set a goal of entering a specific geographic area or targeting a different industry. Additionally, improving customer satisfaction can be measured by setting goals related to receiving positive feedback, increasing repeat business, or reducing customer complaints.

Defining your goals will provide a clear direction for your photography business. It will help you prioritize your efforts, allocate resources effectively, and measure your progress along the way. Remember to regularly review and adjust your goals as your business evolves and new opportunities arise.

Market Analysis for Your Photography Business

A comprehensive market analysis is crucial to the success of your photography business. By identifying your target audience, you can better understand their needs, preferences, and purchasing behavior. This information will allow you to develop targeted marketing strategies that resonate with your potential clients.

Analyzing your competition is equally important. Identify other photography businesses in your area and assess their strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge will help you position your business effectively, highlight your unique offerings, and develop strategies to stand out in the market.

When conducting a market analysis for your photography business, it is essential to delve deeper into understanding your target audience. Start by identifying the demographics of your potential clients, such as their age, gender, income level, and location. This information will help you tailor your services and marketing efforts to meet their specific needs and preferences.

Furthermore, it is crucial to understand the psychographics of your target audience. This includes their interests, values, attitudes, and lifestyle choices. By gaining insights into their psychographics, you can create a brand identity and messaging that resonates with them on a deeper level, establishing a strong emotional connection.

In addition to understanding your target audience, it is vital to analyze the market trends and industry dynamics. Stay updated on the latest photography trends , technological advancements, and changes in consumer behavior. This knowledge will enable you to adapt your business strategies accordingly and stay ahead of the competition.

When analyzing your competition, consider factors such as their pricing, services offered, customer reviews, and overall brand reputation. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your photography business and offer unique value propositions to your potential clients.

Furthermore, it is essential to assess the marketing strategies employed by your competitors. Look at their online presence, social media engagement, and advertising efforts. This analysis will help you identify gaps in the market and develop innovative marketing campaigns that capture the attention of your target audience.

Remember, a market analysis is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor and evaluate the market trends, consumer preferences, and competitive landscape. This will allow you to adapt your strategies and stay relevant in the ever-evolving photography industry.

Developing Your Marketing Strategy

Once you have analyzed your target audience and competition, it's time to develop a marketing strategy that will help you reach your goals and attract clients. Start by branding your photography business. Choose a name, logo, and visual identity that represents your unique style and resonates with your target audience.

In addition, invest in carefully crafted promotional materials that showcase your work and highlight your strengths. Utilize online platforms, such as social media and a professional website, to showcase your portfolio and engage with potential clients. Networking, participating in industry events, and collaborating with other professionals can also help you expand your reach and build valuable relationships.

Financial Planning for Your Photography Business

Setting a pricing structure is a crucial aspect of financial planning for your photography business. Research industry standards and analyze your costs to determine a pricing strategy that is competitive yet profitable. Remember to consider factors such as equipment costs, marketing expenses, and your expertise when calculating your prices.

Additionally, create a budget and forecast your financial projections for the coming months or years. This will help you understand your revenue streams, expenses, and potential profitability. Regularly review and update your financial plan to ensure you are on track and make necessary adjustments as your business evolves.

In conclusion, creating a successful photography business plan involves understanding the basics of a business plan, defining your photography business, conducting a thorough market analysis, developing a robust marketing strategy, and undertaking financial planning . By investing time and effort into these crucial steps, you will lay a solid foundation for your photography business and increase your chances of long-term success. So start drafting your business plan today and embark on your journey to a thriving photography business!

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Step-by-step guide on how to write a strong photography business plan

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This article was updated on December 2, 2022

Starting a successful photography business involves more than having a camera and a keen eye for beauty. As a business owner, you must also have a solid business plan.

Without one, your professional photography business may have no legs (or tripods) to stand on. 

Creating a photography business plan is simple. This complete guide will cover all you need to know about writing a comprehensive business plan—from executive summaries to competitive analyses. 

What to include in a photography business plan:

  • Write an executive summary
  • Describe your photography business
  • Outline your products and services
  • Analyze your finances and list out business expenses
  • Understand your competition and the photography industry
  • Devise a sales and marketing strategy
  • Set operations logistics and management structure
  • Perform customer and market analysis
  • Establish a timeline and exit strategy
  • Round out your business plan with Nextdoor

1. Write an executive summary

Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of running your own photography business since the day you picked up your first disposable camera, or maybe you just started outlining your vision in recent months. Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to match those dreams with quantifiable business goals and a clear course of action. 

Defining your mission is one of the most important aspects of a strong business plan and almost always comprises the first section. In the executive summary, you will explain your business details such as your business name, and a summary of your business plan in a few sentences.

When defining your business as a professional photographer, it’s crucial to cover two key components: the executive summary and the business description.

2. Describe your photography business

Following the executive summary, the business description section is the place where you'll describe the ins and outs of your business.

Effective photography business descriptions usually contain the following information:

  • A history of your business
  • An overview of your business structure

Let's break down these two essential components further.

As a professional photographer, your business's history is more than just a summary of facts. It's your unique story . Your passion for what you do should come through in every line.

Include life and color into your business plan by detailing the following:

  • Your personal relationship with photography
  • Your professional work experience
  • The origins of your business and the values you intend to uphold

Describing your history with photography not only gives potential stakeholders an inside look at your motivations but also gives you an outline for an "About" section on your future website.

REAL BUSINESS EXAMPLE: Johnson City, Tennessee's Hunter Kittrell Photography is a business that knows the power of storytelling. Their website's "About" section mentions how the business's founder, Hunter Kittrell, got his start in photography after college and how his love of adventure inspires his work. Look to this small business as a model for your own and add in all of your business's unique details to compel potential clients to work with you.

Business structure

Few business descriptions are complete without an outline of the business structure. To define your business structure, consider the following:

  • Type - Is your business a sole proprietorship or an LLC? A partnership or corporation? If you're just starting out, there's a good chance your photography business will be a sole proprietorship. However, if you're thinking of future growth (and outside funding), it may be wise to consider an LLC. Whichever business type you choose, providing this information in your business plan will help you think through the management and other logistical structures.
  • Management and business operations - Most U.S. photography businesses have less than two employees . However, if you're planning on employing more people and/or having a detailed managerial structure, it may be wise to include this in your business description. Furthermore, it may be helpful to include details about business hours and studio location(s).

While businesses, especially startups, can experience a number of operational changes during the first couple of years, outlining your initial business structure is a smart way to set up your photography business for continued success.

3. Outline your products and services

The best business plans clearly specify the business's products and photography services. As you draft your plan include the following details:

  • Photography type - Will your business specialize in commercial photography, marketing photography, landscape photography, portrait photography, pet photography, or wedding photography? Will you mainly shoot individual portraits or family portraits? Identifying your niche in the photography industry in your business plan will allow you to structure other elements of your business model around that particular focus.
  • Pricing model - When it comes to the financial aspects of your business, few details are more important than your business's pricing model. Will you charge by the hour or by the photoshoot (regardless of time)? Is photo editing included in the package or is there an additional cos t ? Look at other photographers for example pricing; likely event photography pricing is structured differently than landscape photography. You would also need to consider your business expenses and budget when setting your rates. Being as specific as possible about your pricing model will help you estimate your income and also p rovide a clear outline of your rates for potential clients.

REAL BUSINESS EXAMPLE: Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Image of Home Real Estate Photography is a small business with a big-time, three-tier pricing model. Their website states that they charge by the square foot and offer the additional benefit of same-day image delivery. This pricing model was, more than likely, hashed out in the business plan. Settle on the pricing specifics for your business and be sure to share them on your online platforms so that they are clearly visible to the public.

4. Analyze your finances

When it comes to financial planning, the more you can foresee, the better. This will keep you from overextending your budget in terms of expenses or overestimating your revenue in your first year. 

To adequately plan for finances, detail the following in your business plan:

  • Expenses – Expenses include everything from ordering business cards to the cost of equipment to your studio space. Make a list of everything you’ll need to pay for to get your business up and running. Doing so will also help you budget for the unknown, such as buying an extra lens in case one breaks or hiring an assistant to lend a hand on a particular photo shoot.
  • Projected revenue – To stay afloat in the long run, you’ll need to bring in more revenue than you’re spending. As a result, it’s wise to calculate your projected revenue alongside your expenses in your business plan—especially in the first year. These calculations will allow you to budget properly and change your strategy should your financial situation change.
  • Set up bank accounts and EIN - Most professional photographers tend to work independently or work by case. Therefore, it is better to separate your work bank accounts and credit cards from your personal accounts to manage your finances. Further, even if this is a small business, you still need to apply for an EIN (employee identification number) from the IRS for legal purposes.

In addition, figuring out where you stand financially will enable you to find room in your budget for marketing strategies and competitive analysis metrics.

5.  Understand your competition

An often overlooked, yet highly important, section of most business plans is the competitive analysis section. 

Researching your competition is beneficial for many reasons. Not only will you better understand your competition’s pricing models and services, but you’ll also learn how you can set yourself apart from competitors. Given the fact that there are more than 40,000 professional photographers in the U.S. , knowing how to stand out in the industry will make sure your one-of-a-kind business doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. 

When writing your competitive analysis section, it’s helpful to answer the following questions:

  • How many photographers are located in my area?
  • Am I fulfilling a specific niche (i.e. landscape, portrait, etc.)?
  • What are my competitor’s pricing models?
  • What are their marketing strategies?
  • What are my competitors doing well? What could they improve upon?
  • Who are my potential client pods and are they overlapping other existing photography businesses?
  • How will I provide a necessary and unique photography service?

Of course, there are many more questions you could ask when thinking about your competition, but these should help you get started.

6. Devise a sales and marketing strategy

Good business plans almost always focus on business growth. But to grow your business and attract new clientele, you need to market yourself. 

Detailing your marketing strategy is, therefore, a crucial component of a strong business plan. If you’re wondering how to get photography clients, you’ll want to employ a number of different marketing tactics.

When writing the marketing section, it’s helpful to think of the following strategies:

  • Social media marketing – Given that social media is a major conduit of ideas and information, it’s important to develop a social media strategy for your photography business. As a photographer, your portfolio and past works are the best marketing materials. Image-sharing platforms make the most sense, but you’ll want to consider the potential of other platforms, too. For example, if you want to attract local clientele , the best way to connect with your neighborhood is on Nextdoor. This community-minded platform allows you to set up custom business ads or create a Business Page where you can showcase important aspects of your business—from operating hours to services.
  • Email marketing – In your business plan, detail how you intend to use email to market yourself. Will you send around a quarterly email discussing new trends in the photography world? Will you deliver special holiday emails urging your target audience to take advantage of discounted holiday shoots? Generating an email list is an effective way to keep clients in the loop about what’s happening with your business.
  • SEO marketing – SEO, or search engine optimization, is a critical strategy that will help drive potential customers to your website. To improve the quality of your site, you’ll want to decide which type of keywords are important to your business and build content around them to make your website more discoverable by Google and other search engines. You can do this by adding informational content to different pages on your website, as well as creating a photography blog with helpful tips and information for users. For example, if you are a portrait photographer, you can add keywords such as family pictures or graduation portfolio photos.

7. Set operation logistics and management structure

This section gives you the opportunity to first think through the details of your business workflow then define how you will manage the logistics of your day to day operations. A major part of your photography business will likely be post processing and photo editing before final delivery. Spend time defining how long editing will take after a shoot. How many days afte r a shoot will you promise delivery to your customers? What methods of payment are you planning to accept? Other topics to address in this section may include:

  • Primary and backup suppliers
  • Equipment inventory
  • Transportation expenses
  • Management and staff structure if applicable

8. Perform customer and market analysis

C ustomer and market analysis is a critical part of your photography business plan; it helps define the size of the market needing your service as well as your ideal client. Here you will justify your target market and specify niche segments within that market. To do this answer the following:

  • What is your dream client - age range, gender, location, demographics, and style of photo shoot. Will you specialize in high end weddings, aerial photography, sports photography, or something else? 
  • What are the needs of these customers
  • how your services address these needs. 
  • What is the growth potential of your market segment? Including considerations such as the number of potential customers, their annual income, frequency of photography style needs

9. Establish a timeline and exit strategy

This later section describes your timeline for the goals and objectives outlined earlier in the business plan. Describe how soon you plan to become profitable, within what timeframe do you plan to meet your revenue objectives, or even when you might plan to hire employees to help grow your business. While it may seem far off, planning how you may want to exit your business years down the road may open up questions and considerations that can have a big impact near term. For some, selling their business to a larger investor is the end goal, for others, keeping photography as a small side gig to pass to their children is the exit strategy - no matter your desired path, document it here. 

10. Round out your business plan with Nextdoor

Developing a strong photography business plan is often the first step in running a successful business. Now that you’re equipped with all the tools to execute it like a pro, you’ll be well-prepared for a promising future ahead. 

But no plan is truly complete without Nextdoor — the neighborhood hub that connects you with your local community so that your photography business can flourish.

Claim a Nextdoor Business Page today to simplify the process of building your brand. That way, you can get back to what truly matters—working your magic behind the camera.

Nextdoor Editorial Team

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How to Start a Photography Business: The Definitive Guide

How to Start a Photography Business: The Definitive Guide

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Photography isn’t just a way of capturing a memory for many people. Photography is a fulfilling way to express yourself. It’s a way to interpret the world and make the invisible visible.

And for many who have strong photography skills, it’s a way to make a living and make photography a business.

Navigating the transition between photography as a hobby and creating a career by starting a photography business (or growing your photography business) can be tricky.

If you have strong photography skills and want to take the plunge and start your own photography business, there is much to consider.

Our team has helped hundreds of photographers start, grow, and market their photography businesses. And for the past fifteen years, I’ve mentored thousands of entrepreneurs formally through Techstars and Founder Institute and informally on starting and growing their businesses in photography and other industries. This guide shares actionable insights, experience, tips, and best practices.

With the right resources and strategies, starting a business as a photographer can be an inexpensive way to become an entrepreneur and your own boss.

How to Start a Photography Business:

  • Develop and refine your photography business idea
  • Write a business plan for your photography business

Hire an experienced business attorney

Decide your legal business structure, purchase business insurance.

  • Set up accounting and bookkeeping

Assess your finances

Crunch the numbers, create a strong brand identity, build an online presence, create a sales plan, build your team, grow your photography business.

business plan on photographer

Develop and refine your business idea

Before you start your photography business, you must consider your strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

business plan on photographer

You probably know what kind of photography business you want to start. Maybe you want to start a wedding photography studio, or your heart is set on taking headshots and portraits.

No matter what angle you choose, evaluating existing businesses around you is important to see how much competition you’ll face.

Photography is a competitive industry.

More than 12,458 businesses in the U.S. specialize in photography. They collectively earn more than $6.5 billion per year. The industry is growing 2.5% annually and is forecast to grow 1.8% annually by 2024.

Despite the competition, a photography business can be fulfilling and rewarding.

Think about how you can integrate your natural skillset into your photography business to stand apart from your competition. Ask yourself the following questions, and take time to reflect on the answers:

  • What skills set me apart?
  • What is the purpose of my photography business?
  • Who am I providing a service or product to?
  • What is the maximum figure I can safely spend on this business?
  • Do I need outside capital? How much?
  • What kind of work/life balance am I looking to achieve?
  • What are my expectations of being an entrepreneur?

Free Business Startup Kit

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  • How to Start a Business Checklist
  • Starting a Corporation Guide
  • Is an LLC Right for You?
  • Starting a Sole Proprietorship
  • Starting Business Partnerships
  • Creating a Powerful Pitch Deck

Find a niche

You’ll also want to consider the niche for your photography business.

Is your photography geared toward a particular group or segment of the population?

Are you looking to attract a particular demographic?

You’ll have a better chance at success if you start with a specific target audience.

Ensure you build your photography business to meet a specific niche’s needs to avoid overspending and underwhelming all of your potential customers.

You’re more likely to succeed if you start your photography business with a specific product or service designed for a particular group of people (for example, wedding photography or non-traditional weddings). And you’ll gain experience more quickly by concentrating on a specific area.

This is true for any business, not just a photography business. For example, in our definitive guide on  how to start a successful clothing brand or clothing line , we suggest that aspiring apparel entrepreneurs choose their niche too. Competing is too hard, especially when you start when you don’t specialize.

Here are some niches to consider when you explore the type of photography business you should start:

  • Wedding photography business
  • Fashion photography business
  • Real estate photography business
  • Portrait photography business (people and/or animals)
  • Dog shows photography business
  • Sports photography business
  • Stock photography business
  • Contract work photography business (covering local events, for example)
  • Commercial photography business
  • Local news photography business
  • Image or video editing photography business (helping other photographers with edits)
  • Product image photography business
  • Food image photography business
  • Travel photography business

Whatever type of photography niche you choose, make sure you’re passionate about it. That passion will come through everything you do, and your customers will appreciate and embrace your brand’s authenticity when you deliver photography services.

And be sure you assess your total addressable market to help you understand the opportunity better. Not every niche will be equally lucrative for photography businesses.

Write a photography business plan

Once you choose a niche for your photography company, it's time to write a business plan.

Although a business plan isn’t mandatory when starting a photography business, it can help you crystallize your business ideas .

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial and operational goals. The business plan defines your company’s objectives and then provides specific information that shows how your company will reach those goals.

Your photography business plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages long. Numerous excellent templates can help you create a one-page business plan . Keep your business plan short and focus on the essential details. Think of your one-page business plan as a way to concisely summarize your business education about photography businesses.

Studies show that entrepreneurs who take the time to write a business plan are 2.5 times more likely to follow through and get their business off the ground. The work that goes into creating a business plan also helps new entrepreneurs build skills that will be invaluable later.

Your business plan should include a sales and marketing plan that defines your unique value proposition and how you will promote your business.

For actionable insights and free downloadable business plan templates, read this definitive guide on how to write a business plan .

Do market research

Before diving into your business plan, knowing the market you’re entering is important.

Business planning and marketing research help you to build a more successful photography business. This is true whether you’re just starting your new photography business or growing your photography business.

For example, if you’re planning to focus on weddings, assess the following:

  • Who are your direct competitors? There may already be many wedding photographers in your area.
  • Who are the top professional wedding photographers working in your geographic market?
  • What makes the top wedding photographers in your area stand out from the rest of the competition? Sometimes, they stand out because they have strong photography skills. But some stand out because they have great business skills.

If you focus on real estate, your target audience might be real estate agents and professional home stagers. So, you’ll need to ask similar questions about that audience.

A lot of the work to come relies on information gleaned from market research. You mustn’t skip this stage so you have the data you need to make informed decisions.

There are two major types of market research: primary and secondary.

Primary research answers some key questions, such as:

  • What factors do your potential customers consider when purchasing similar products or services?
  • What do they think is working, and what needs improvement in their current choices?
  • What do they like and dislike about the options currently available to them?
  • What price do they pay? Do they feel it’s reasonable and provides good value?

You answer these questions by talking to potential customers. Surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and questionnaires are the tools of choice for primary research.

Secondary research is information pulled from existing sources.

Using currently available data, you can identify competitors and define your market segments or demographics. Key attributes like age range, lifestyle, and behavioral patterns are data points used to divide your target customers into segments.

Once you have this information, you’ll refer back to it repeatedly as you build and launch your business. Make sure you spend a decent amount of time collecting data, so your decisions are based on solid research.

Plan for all the necessary legal and logistical business considerations, and you’ll create a strong foundation for your photography business’s successful future.

Most small business owners dread talking with and hiring a business lawyer when starting a business. Some fear they’ll pay exorbitant legal fees or receive bad advice that will destroy their business. Others agonize over how to find a reasonably priced, competent business lawyer.

Here’s what you need to know to hire a good lawyer for your new photography company.

Most guides on how to start a photography business, or any other small business type, won’t include insights on hiring a lawyer. We think that’s a big omission because many businesses run into legal troubles, and by starting on the right path from the very beginning, you can reduce your business risk.

We’ve met many lawyers who are deal-killers. Overzealous and often inexperienced, they focus on the wrong issues and forget that their client needs the deal to move forward. When you talk with lawyers you’re considering hiring, ask them about one or two complicated negotiations and how they overcame obstacles.

Don’t make price your main criterion for hiring a lawyer.

Often, the least expensive lawyers are also less experienced – especially in the areas where you may need help. Paying a cheaper hourly rate might feel good initially, but in the end, you may end up paying far more than if you hired an experienced (more expensive) business lawyer in the first place.

Ensure your lawyer is familiar with a photography business’s peculiarities, has experience with clients starting a photography business, and has represented other photography businesses and small businesses.

Also – be clear about your budget and expectations. Your lawyer should understand that your budget is limited, and they should not waste it on irrelevant details.

Typically, the best time to start a relationship with a lawyer is before you start your photography company.

Too many people make the mistake of forming a company without consulting a lawyer. A good lawyer will help you find the right business structure for the business – and split ownership interests if you have co-owners – in ways that will protect everyone and give you flexibility going forward.

Before starting your photography business, you need to decide on the type of entity you need to register.

Your legal business structure affects everything, from how you file your taxes to your personal liability and whether you need to comply with any special additional requirements at the local, state, or national levels.

There are many different types of legal structures for various business entities . Choosing the best one for their photography business can feel overwhelming for new business owners.

Here are some of the major business entities you should look into:

  • Sole proprietorship – this is the most basic business entity. A sole proprietorship means one person is solely responsible for a business’s profits and debts.
  • Partnership – A partnership is a shared responsibility between two or more people who hold personal liability for a business.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – a structure that permits owners, partners, or shareholders to limit personal liability but still includes tax and flexibility benefits associated with a partnership.
  • Corporation – this is an entity legally considered separate from its owners. Corporations can own property, be held liable, pay taxes, and enter contracts.

As a creative professional, chances are you’re starting small. Setting up a sole proprietorship or partnership may be the best fit if you’re going it solo, especially if your business will be home-based when you start.

how to start a sole proprietorship hero

It’s important to consider your future business goals, however. You want to choose a business structure that can accommodate the growth and expansion of your business.

Hire an expert to form your company and save time. Our trusted partners can help: Northwest ($39 + state fee) or Bizee ($199 + state fee) . We recommend Northwest. After evaluating the leading registration companies, Northwest stands out as our top choice due to its competitive pricing, exceptional customer support, and commitment to privacy. Pay just $39 + state fees and you'll get a free year of registered agent service, articles of organization, privacy, and client support from local experts.

Once you decide on your legal business structure, register with the government (typically your state and sometimes your municipality) and the IRS.

Your business structure determines the forms you need and where to register.

You can find a full list of the forms for each entity type on the SBA website . You can also find state-specific tax obligations on the same site.

You may sometimes need federal, state, or local business licenses and permits. The SBA’s database lets you search for business licensing requirements by state and business type. And remember to contact your municipality to see if there are local licensing or registration requirements. You’ll sometimes need to get a business license from your municipality too.

You may also need an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.

This is not required if you’re a sole owner and don’t have employees. But you might want to get an EIN anyway to keep your personal and business taxes separate and ensure you can quickly hire when the time comes to expand your business.

The IRS has a useful checklist to help you decide whether you need an EIN to run your business.

If you do need an EIN, you can register online for free.

Also, remember that most states require you to register your business if the trade name you operate your business differs from your business’s legal name.

For example, suppose your registered company is an LLC, and the business name is Three Brothers, LLC. In that case, you cannot operate that business lawfully in most states if you’re selling products under the business name Three Tigers Photography. That’s because the registered name, and your trade name, are different.

Fortunately, this is not a difficult problem to overcome. You can simply register your actual trade name with your state (and or local government) by filing a “doing business as” (DBA) certificate. DBAs are also commonly called “assumed name,” “fictitious business name,” or “trade name.” Here’s a terrific resource that explains what a DBA is, the DBA state requirements, and how to file a DBA  for your business in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

You’d be surprised how many new business owners forget to protect themselves and their businesses by purchasing insurance before starting their business.

It doesn’t help to buy insurance after starting your business and incur claims.

Business insurance can cover property damage, theft, intellectual property lawsuits, and other incidents. Those can be very costly to small businesses, and you must protect yourself and your new business. This is true even if your business is home-based, as your home insurance might not cover your business.

Depending on your photography business niche market, you may need photographer insurance to bid for jobs or secure client work. Some companies require all of their vendors and contractors to have insurance.

And if you employ people, you’ll need workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. Coverage varies by location, and many general liability (GL) policies will cover workers’ compensation.

As a provider of photography services, you’ll want professional liability insurance so you’re protected against possible claims. You probably also have lots of expensive photography equipment, and ensuring those against theft, damage, or worse will ensure you’re prepared if disaster strikes.

Here’s a good read on the different types of insurance you should consider as a business owner.

Set up business accounting and bookkeeping

You'll need to set up a bookkeeping and accounting system to keep track of your finances when starting a photography company. Understanding your business’s cash flow is important and will also be important for tax-filing purposes.

Here’s what you need to know about accounting and bookkeeping for your new photography business.

Business accounting is how your business records, organizes, interprets, and presents financial information. Accountants analyze the financial condition of a business to help the business owner make better decisions.

Bookkeeping is recording, organizing, storing, and retrieving financial information related to your business.

Accounting services and bookkeeping do overlap. The main difference between the two is that bookkeeping is how you record and categorize financial information. In contrast, accounting puts the information to use through business analysis , strategy, and tax planning.

Start by hiring a bookkeeper

A great bookkeeper is not the same as an accountant. Many business owners hire a bookkeeper with simple goals: keep them organized, pay their bills, and prepare to hand off all necessary financials to the accountant.

Typically, bookkeepers are less expensive than CPAs (certified public accountants) and can be trusted to record and organize your day-to-day business transactions, keep your bank accounts balanced, produce simple reports, and assist with keeping your financial records in order.

Many small businesses will use an outside bookkeeper, paid hourly, to handle all entries, pay all the bills, and manage invoicing and receivables . Having help with this aspect of managing a small company can be indispensable, and the time it can free for a busy owner is invaluable. Plus, you generally won’t need to buy accounting software since the bookkeeper you hire likely already owns such software.

Review your accounting processes annually and make adjustments

Do not underestimate the importance of a periodic review of your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax strategies. At your peril, you neglect to look hard at the systems you have in place and the people managing those systems.

Are you doing your accounting most productively and cost-effectively? Does your CPA have the right level of industry knowledge to advise? Does your tax preparer have the skills and expertise to keep you (and your investors) on the right side of the law? And finally (the big one), can you find ways to reduce your expenses while maintaining high-quality controls?

Take the time to reconsider your overall accounting strategy and find ways to strengthen and improve it.

When you start a photography company, assessing your finances and startup costs is crucial. These numbers include tracking your sales and profits - but a smart business must account for much more than sales alone.

Business finance uses your company’s financial information to help you manage your money and make your photography business operations profitable and sustainable.

You have many business financing options.

That’s important because you need to determine your startup costs, how you’ll fund your new business, and how you’ll grow the business.

You’ll have difficulty building a sustainable, profitable business if you don’t understand the numbers.

Be extra careful to conserve your startup funds when starting a photography business. Don’t overspend.

Some purchases (like a professional camera for macro photography and a backup camera, plus lenses, memory cards, and other equipment) will be necessary and could make sense for your photography business. Still, others, like expensive and unnecessary equipment or a fancy car, will threaten your small business’s survivability.

You’ll need to set up a bookkeeping and accounting system to keep track of your finances. We talked about this above. Understanding your business’s cash flow is important and will also be important for tax-filing purposes. Your accounting and bookkeeping system will include income, expenses, capital expenditures, profit, loss, EBITDA, etc.

When you start a small business, you must track your sales and profits – but a smart business must account for much more than sales alone.

For example, many photography businesses tend to work on a contract. That means you must prepare for inconsistent revenue’s ups and downs. You need to know how much revenue you need to cover when things are leaner.

As you may be a company of one, you should also plan for health and life insurance and budget for vacations. Don’t be one of those entrepreneurs who never take time to step away for a while. Everyone needs a break, and your budget should consider that.

Here’s a simple budget you can use as a reference point when starting your photography business. This budget doesn’t include a studio or office space. All prices are one-time purchases or annual estimates.

  • Two professional high-quality cameras : $2,000 to $5,000 each
  • Camera accessories (bags, batteries, grips, etc.): $1,000 to $1,500 total
  • Lenses: $1,000+ each
  • Flashes (at least two): $700 to $1,000 each
  • Lighting accessories (lights, tripods, reflectors): $1,000 to $2,500 total
  • Backdrops: $500 to $1,000 total
  • Props: $250 total
  • Equipment travel cases: $500 to $1,000
  • Multiple memory cards: $50+ each
  • Two external drives: $120 each (backups)
  • A computer: $1,500 to $2,000
  • Reliable car or van: $ varies
  • Website ( Wix , Zenfolio , SmugMug , Squarespace ): $60+ (annual)
  • Lightroom and Photoshop subscription from Adobe: $120 per year
  • Business name and company logo : $500 to $1,000 (one time)
  • Business licenses and permits: $150+ annual
  • Insurance: $600 (annual)
  • Accounting and taxes : $500 to $1,000 per year (annual)
  • Contracts: free to $1,000+ (annual)
  • Business cards: $50+ (annual)

Optional expenses (these are not essential but will help you to build a stronger photography business):

  • Video equipment if you will also shoot video
  • Business training ( Lynda.com classes, small business coach, photography business paid groups)
  • Assistant and other staff
  • Studio and office space
  • professional quality photography printer
  • Photography workshops and classes
  • Marketing materials

Managing a content-rich website poses unique challenges for photography businesses and could increase costs. Selecting a Content Management System (CMS) that offers comprehensive organizational capabilities, especially to help you organize WordPress media files and folders ,  is crucial.

Once you know how much it will cost to get you started, compare that with your funds. Then plan how you’ll make up any difference.

Even if you start a home-based photography business, you’ll still incur costs, so pay careful attention to your budget.

Run calculations to determine how much it will cost to create your business, allowing you to plan and think about pricing.

For example, if your goal is to make $75,000 per year after all expenses, and you plan to shoot weddings, you’ll need to figure out your expenses, how much you will charge per wedding (most professional photographers charge between $100 and $250 USD per hour (which typically works out as $25 to $100 per final edited photograph), and how many weddings you’ll need to shoot every year to reach your goal.

Every photography business is different. Or better put: you must differentiate your photography business to stand out from competitors.

Crafting a memorable visual identity is crucial to any creative professional’s success. This identity is increasingly important as Instagram and other social media blur the lines between a professional and a hobbyist.

As we’ve previously discussed ,

…your brand is your company’s public identity. Ideally, your brand should embody the best (and most essential) attributes of your company.

A brand represents how people know you and your business. It affects how customers perceive your reputation or the reputation of your company.

logo designer sitting in front of a computer

A strong brand is more important than ever in today’s competitive creative market.

Ask yourself these important questions:

  • What identity/personality do I want my creative brand to project?
  • Who will want my products or services?
  • What can customers get from my products or services that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • What can customers get from working with me that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • What are my brand values?
  • What is the most important part of my customers’ experience?

Your answers to these questions (and others like them) will build your brand’s core. All of your future branding decisions should expand on these ideas. Your business name , company logo , and website design should all grow from the concepts you laid out here.

If you feel stuck when thinking about visual design for your photography brand, look at these creative photography logo styles .

Remember that your business name plays a role in almost every aspect of your business. If you’re struggling to name your photography business and need ideas, look at the photography business name generator .

Whenever you make personal appearances, carry business cards  and  brochures in case people want to learn more about your services and give them your contact information. That’s a great way to find new clients.

Happy clients who love your photography will ask for extra business cards to share with friends and colleagues.

Some small business owners delay building a strong brand identity because they worry they might not have a huge budget. This delay can hurt you. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars building a strong brand identity. Here are a few pricing guides that can help you identify the sweet spot for pricing:

  • How much should a logo design cost?
  • How much do business cards cost?
  • How much should brochure design cost?
  • How much does website design cost?

If you’ve already started your photography business but are unhappy with your branding, this is the perfect time to rebrand your photography business .

A photographer's calling card is their portfolio and work samples. Today that means having a professionally designed website.

Customers choose creative services based on the brand, the person behind it, and the quality of the work presented to them.

The most effective way for creatives to show off their skills and personality is through their web presence.

Don’t believe us? A recent study shows that 97% of consumers research their purchases online before they buy something.

Start by ensuring that your website design truly embodies your brand. Visitors should understand who you are, the services you offer, your style, and the quality of your work.

Your website’s design and marketing copy should project your brand’s voice and identity. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use your brand’s colors .
  • If you are the primary employee, include a photo and bio. Customers want to know the person behind the site.
  • Be authentic and avoid marketing “happy talk.” Speak the same language as your customers.
  • Include high-quality examples of your work.
  • Give site visitors an easy way to get in contact with you.

Aim to create a site that builds your brand, establishes your approach and style, and communicates your business’s value proposition. As with personality-driven fields (like real estate sales and other creative services), people are not just buying your services; they’re buying a relationship with you.

Self-hosted open-source portfolio apps allow you to combine your uniquely branded website with a gallery of your work.

Check out WordPress if you’re looking for a self-hosted solution. Many WordPress plugins are created specifically for photographers. For example, because photographers include many images on their portfolio sites, use an easy WordPress Image Optimizer like Imagify . After comparing many optimization plugins, that’s the one we use and love on the crowdspring blog.

Don’t use stock images or stock photography when building a web presence. After all, you’re trying to promote your unique photography business. Stock images will send the wrong image to your target clients.

Finally, a strong website design will lend credibility and legitimacy to your business. To learn more about great website design, check out Grow Your Small Business With These 7 Website Design Best Practices and 11 biggest web design trends for 2022.

Never forget the power of good old-fashioned market research when you’re ready to open your photography business.

Not every option will be cost-effective or practical; you should understand what choices will work best for your business.

Your photography business won’t succeed if you just take pictures. You can’t ignore the business side.

You need to create a photography business roadmap for your new business. As a starting point, ask yourself these questions:

  • How will you sell your products or services?
  • Will you work full-time or part-time as a professional photographer?
  • What photo editing software will you need to create memorable photos for your clients?
  • What will you choose as your pricing structure?
  • Will you accept credit cards?
  • Will you have a client referral program?
  • How will you book clients?
  • Do you need office space or studio space to meet with clients, or will you operate your business as a home-based photography business?
  • What customer expectations will you set when you offer your services?
  • How will you provide customer service for customers who have questions or problems?

Photography work can be a personal, intimate service, so a hands-on approach is often more effective and successful. Your website can help you generate leads , but your success is based just as much on the customers you say no to as the ones you say yes to.

What does this mean? It means getting up from the computer and on the phone.

You can’t just take pictures and ignore sales and marketing.

A quick call with a prospective customer can establish whether you’re a good fit for their needs. It saves you and your customer time and effort if there isn’t a good match.

This pre-work leads to the second part of your sales plan: the in-person consultation. You want to meet with your client before you pick up your camera so that you can work out their needs, expectations, and any critical factors in advance.

The ultimate goal is for your client to buy your work. You may have your particular style or aesthetic, but you also want to capture your customers wants. The in-person meeting is when you can establish these criteria.

Another part of your sales plan is what happens after completing the work. Post-sales customer care can be a place where you differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Present your work to your customers personally, and walk them through your thoughts and comments about the project. Many professional photographers are content to send clients and potential clients a link to an online selection of photos. An online gallery may be efficient for both parties but may turn your work into a commodity.

Add a personal perspective when you share your work so your clients and potential clients understand your thought process. Creating a great sales experience throughout the project can bolster work-of-mouth referrals.

Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool, especially for professional photographers. As we wrote :

In fact, customers referred to a product are more valuable. A Wharton School of Business study found that referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value and are more loyal.

Consider your sales plan beforehand to capitalize on every opportunity to close the sale and generate more. And remember to build an email list to update your and prospective clients about your photography business.

There’s a time in almost every entrepreneur’s career when you feel like you’re going it alone.

When you first start your photography business, there’s a good chance that you will be.

For your business to scale and grow, however, you’ll need help.

Many photography businesses are started by sole entrepreneurs who hire experienced professionals to handle specific business parts.

Whether you hire employees or work with contractors depends on your particular business.

At first, you should only hire for positions that provide the most immediate benefit to your business.

There’s no one right answer for what those positions might be – every business is different. As you plan what positions to hire, consider what aspects of the company pose the most significant challenge. It’s also crucial to recognize your limitations.

Hire an employee who is an expert in areas your business lacks expertise. Build a robust and well-rounded team to create a stable foundation for your business.

With all of that in mind, where should you start?

You may want your first hire to be a part-time assistant. Look for someone who is a jack-of-all-trades, eager to learn new skills, and with a strong work ethic. You’ll sleep better if you have someone in the trenches with you that you can rely on. And you’ll likely need someone to help you with photography equipment at photoshoots. And if you’re a great photographer but less skilled with photo editing, look for an expert with photo editing software.

If you’re new to marketing, a marketer can help you strategize your business.

One position you’ll need to fill is an accountant or bookkeeper. You need to track your expenses and revenue and keep good records for tax season.

The Legal Stuff

Of course, hiring staff or consultants for your photography business means you’ll have to deal with all sorts of legalities and paperwork. Hiring and signing contracts with professional service providers isn’t an area where you should “wing it.”

We went straight to the source to help you with some of the legal issues to consider. The hiring experts at Indeed recommend that you:

  • Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) by applying on the IRS website (you’ll get your number immediately after applying!).
  • Register with your state’s labor department.
  • Fill out paperwork to withhold federal taxes from your employee’s wages.
  • Set up workers’ compensation insurance if it is required in your state.

You’ll also need to decide whether you hire full- or part-time employees.

Part-time employees cost less. These cost savings can be an advantage when you first get started. As your business grows and you can afford it, you can expand their hours.

Full-time employees also require more paperwork to get set up. To gain complete insight into the hiring process, read Indeed’s step-by-step guide, “ How to Hire Employees .”

Your business is ready to go – your brand is a masterpiece of consistency and charm, your legal and business plans are all squared away, and you have a solid team behind your business.

Here comes the fun part – introducing your business to customers!

Look into newspapers and local magazines, trade shows, and public events where you can bring your brand and your work to the people. Any outlet that makes sense for your small business is one you should seek out.

Give your prospective customers an intimate view of your work and your business. You’ll want to develop a content marketing strategy to grow your business.

As a new, up-and-coming small business owner, social media is an inexpensive and easy outlet for all of the beautiful work you’ve created. As we previously explained ,

Social media gives you the ability to easily keep customers up-to-date on new products, store policies or sales. It also enables you to build a social rapport with current customers, while building low-pressure relationships with future buyers.

Maintaining Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook presence is important to build a following and connect with your market niche on social media. With the advent of micro-influencers , the potential reach a new business now has, especially on social media, is truly massive.

Most of your new business will likely come from word-of-mouth referrals. And as a result, your social media presence should be managed with intent.

Instagram is an obvious priority for photography businesses. You can post examples of your work to the platform, connect with customers, and use it to build your personal brand. But Instagram (and other platforms like Facebook) can also be where you post behind-the-scenes photos and videos to give prospective and potential clients an insider’s eye to your business.

There’s a lot to think about when starting a photography business.

But with this complete guide on how to start a photography business, you’ll have a competitive advantage to start on the right path to success.

Additional Resources for Photographers

If you want to sell your photos to stock image sites, here are the sites you should consider:

  • BigStockPhoto
  • Candidly Images
  • CanStockPhoto
  • DepositPhotos
  • FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Instaprints
  • iStockPhoto
  • Lobster.media
  • ShutterPoint
  • Shutterstock

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Photography Studio Business Plan

Start your own photography studio business plan

Phoebe's Photo Studio

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">, opportunity.

Families need photographs to capture the special moments of their lives. Families of professionals are busy, and if too much time goes by between photos, these moments are lost forever. Babies, especially, grow fast and parents need photos of them several times a year.

While nearly everyone has a camera for snapshots, people need professional quality photos when they will be shown to an important audience, and when people want to be seen in the best light. The Internet has expanded the use of photos, making it possible for anyone to send them or to publish them for wide viewing.

Phoebe’s Photo Studio will meet the needs of professionals and their families to capture the special moments in their lives and present them in the best light. We will establish a relationship in which we initiate the calls to keep their photos up to date. Digital files of their photos will be available for free by e-mail, or with a nominal fee for CD.  Because of our relationship with the families, when something big like a wedding comes, there’s no place else they would go.

Families with children are the biggest market for portraits. For the purpose of this analysis, these families are divided into three socio-economic categories:

  • College graduates
  • High school graduates
  • Non-graduates

Families of college graduates are most likely to be professionals and to have the means and the taste for professional portraits.  There are nearly 20,000 such families in the metropolitan area. 

Competition

Competitor X is an award-winning, highly creative photographer with a style that one would expect to find in a national magazine.  His prices are the highest in the area, up to $15,000 for a wedding album.  His strategy appears to be to capture the high-end market, where a magazine look is a luxury that people can afford.

Competitor Y is a more typical photographer with more staged photographs and wedding packages running up to $5,000.  His strategy appears to be to occupy the middle-ground of quality and price where most of the market is likely to be.

Competitor Z offers same-day photos.  This is easier to accomplish with digital processing for a studio organized around speed, but the quality is necessarily sacrificed.  The market for same-day photos doesn’t necessarily demand quality.  Prices are average.  The strategy of this studio appears to be to appeal to convenience and speed.

Our competitive edge is that we provide not only a photograph, but a program of ongoing portraits to capture the special moments in a family’s life. We then make the digital images of their photos easily and affordably available for distributing on the Internet.

Expectations

Phoebe’s will grow at a healthy annual rate by targeting families of professionals with newborn babies for baby pictures and then developing a relationship with the client over the years for ongoing photographs. The funding envisioned in this plan is projected to result in a comfortable healthy business by the third year. 

Financial Highlights by Year

Financing needed.

We foresee a total of $80,000 in startup financing to get this business going and healthy. That comes $10K from owner savings, $20K as a 5-year loan (family cosigning), and $50K as an interest-free loan from family. 

If the business proceeds according to plan, we will have about half of the $50K family loan paid off within three years. 

Problem & Solution

Problem worth solving.

Professionals often have business needs for high-quality photos, and through this familiarity, they acquire a taste for them. When these professionals need photos to preserve memories, or to display family photos when they entertain at home, they have the budget and the desire for similarly high-quality photos. Just as they appoint their homes with fine furniture and decorations, the photos on their walls need to exhibit their standards of quality.

Most people use professional photo studios only on rare occasions, such as weddings, yearbook pictures, or baby portraits. Because the client has to initiate the call, many special moments are lost and the studio loses potential business. Photo studios generally charge a large fee for CDs of their clients’ digital images. For these reasons, most photo studios are rarely used by families as a whole.

Our Solution

Phoebe’s Photo Studio helps clients preserve memories and portray themselves in the best light. We thrive on repeat business by developing relationships with our clients and calling them with timely reminders for new photos. We make professional quality photographs easily available in a digital format. We do this by using a pricing structure that makes our digital photographs a household staple and by making it fun for them to come here or to have us in their homes.

Target Market

Market size & segments.

We will target female professionals and wives of professionals, because women make the majority of purchasing decisions in these families.

The competitive environment is divided between luxury magazine-quality photographers, moderate professional photographers who mostly pose their subjects, and same-day photo studios.

The trend among our targeted consumers is toward more digital photography and more sending of digital images on the Internet. As the world becomes more technical, people need more personal support. 

Phoebe’s Photo Studio will use a "high-tech, high-touch" approach to reach and retain clients for their ongoing photo needs. We will make it affordable and easy for them to disseminate their photos electronically.

People who who pay for professional photo portraits are generally status-conscious professionals who have children, and so we’ve segmented the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area according to the social status of families. We’ve used education as a measure of social status.

Families of College Graduates

Pro Tip:

Families of High School Graduates

People who have not completed college are assumed to be more likely to be employees or be in a trade. While many of them may have the means for professional photos, relatively few will use them. They are more likely to use home-made photographs, except for rare occasions, such as a high school photo or wedding.

Families of Non-High-School Graduates

These are families who are generally without the means to hire professional photographers on a regular basis.

Demographics

The Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area has a total population of 330,527. There are 74,836 families.

Some 25.5 percent of the adult population in the metropolitan area is composed of college graduates, which we will here define as  professionals.  Some 62 percent of the population is made up of high-school graduates.

The Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area closely conforms to the boundaries of Lane County, Oregon. The office will be located in Eugene, but clients are accessible throughout Lane County through physicians’ offices. Most Lane County residents are accustomed to doing occasional business in Eugene.

Current Alternatives

Competitor Z offers same-day photos.  This is easier to accomplish with digital processing for a studio organized around speed, but quality is necessarily sacrificed.  The market for same-day photos doesn’t necessarily demand quality.  Prices are average.  The strategy of this studio appears to be to appeal to convenience and speed.

Our Advantages

Keys to success.

Our keys for success are:

  • Target marketing for the gateway products of baby pictures, high school photos and wedding albums.
  • Developing relationships with our clients through personal customer service, to turn one-time customers into lifetime clients.
  • Our system of tracking clients’ ongoing needs for photos and taking the initiative to call them for appointments

Marketing & Sales

Marketing plan.

We will get the word out by conventional advertising to start, and by a yellow page ad, social media and a website. We have a targeted marketing effort to:

  • Families of newborn babies
  • Families with children old enough to graduate college or high school 
  • Professionals who need a LinkedIn or Facebook shot, or a headshot for conferences. 

A special for the first baby picture will be a regular feature of our pricing structure. This is offered with the intent of getting the whole family on an ongoing basis as clients, because babies need photos frequently and we want these families to be clients for life.

Locations & Facilities

We will open in an 800 square-foot studio at 100 Main Street, the heart of the commercial district with ample free parking.  The space will be leased for three years beginning at $800 a month with cost-of-living adjustments made annually. 

The studio will have a highly visible electric sign and a 20-foot wide display window visible to passing foot and auto traffic. Customers will enter a public area with a counter, samples of our photographs and albums, and couches for waiting. A separate playroom with props and other toys will accommodate children with sitting areas for parents, while a utility area off the back door will be set up to accommodate pets and their props. Children, pets and props can be brought into the photography studio for their photographs.  An office and working area will be used for assembling the final product.

Milestones & Metrics

Milestones table.

Milestone Due Date
Jan 02, 2020
Jan 09, 2020
Aug 08, 2020
Sept 05, 2020
Sept 19, 2020
Sept 26, 2020
Oct 03, 2020
Nov 01, 2020
Nov 21, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020

Key Metrics

Key Metrics 

  • Measure website page views and customer inquiries 
  • Keep track of Facebook page views and Twitter re-tweets 
  • Train our staff to return calls right away 
  • # of customers in a month 
  • # of customers who book a second appointment in advance 

Ownership & Structure

Phoebe Peters has worked as an industrial photographer and freelance portrait photographer in Southern California for 10 years. She has found that personal customer relationships are the key to repeat business and will open Phoebe’s Photo Studio in downtown Eugene, Oregon on that premise.

Management Team

Phoebe’s Photo Studio is a sole proprietorship owned by Phoebe Peters.  It will open in a leased 800 square foot studio in downtown Eugene, Oregon.

Phoebe Peters is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California and is a member of the Professional Photographers of Oregon and the Professional Photographers of America. She has 10 years experience capturing the special moments of people’s lives.

Personnel Table

2020 2021 2022
Owner $43,200 $50,000 $60,000
Employee $36,000 $36,720 $37,454
Totals $79,200 $86,720 $97,454

Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">

Key assumptions.

We assume a stable economy with reasonable growth and a steady rise in interest rates. We also assume that our competitors won’t adopt our strategy within the first two years.  After that, our approach is likely to make a change in what our competitors charge for digital files, because they’ll see it’s effective in bringing in repeat business as well as new business. 

The expenses show the impact of close to $30K startup expenses, which we put into the first month. Those expenses are listed below in the Use of Funds chapter. 

Revenue by Month

Expenses by month, net profit (or loss) by year, use of funds.

Start-up Expenses

  • Insurance $300
  • Filing Fees $50
  • Utilities and Deposits $500
  • Website Development $2,000
  • Marketing Consultant: Ad design, etc. $20,000
  • Personnel Costs for December $3,500
  • Software $1,500
  • Office Expense $200

TOTAL START-UP EXPENSES $28,730

Start-up Assets: $13,000 in computer and photographic equipment

Sources of Funds

We will be using the $10,000 cash from my savings, plus a $50,000 interest-free loan from family, and a $20,000 5-year loan co-signed by family. The plan calls for funds to service the bank loan and repay most of the family loan by the end of the third year. 

Projected Profit & Loss

2020 2021 2022
Revenue $146,825 $169,500 $192,650
Direct Costs $27,336 $31,680 $36,336
Gross Margin $119,489 $137,820 $156,314
Gross Margin % 81% 81% 81%
Operating Expenses
Salaries & Wages $79,200 $86,720 $97,454
Employee Related Expenses $15,840 $17,344 $19,491
Utilities $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Insurance $300 $300 $300
Rent $9,600 $9,600 $9,600
Sales and Marketing $7,800 $8,000 $8,000
Startup Expense listed in Use of Funds $28,730
Maintenance of Cameras $600 $600 $600
Offsite File Backup $720 $720 $720
Total Operating Expenses $143,990 $124,484 $137,365
Operating Income ($24,501) $13,336 $18,949
Interest Incurred $678 $596 $440
Depreciation and Amortization $2,600 $2,817 $3,216
Gain or Loss from Sale of Assets
Income Taxes $0 $0 $0
Total Expenses $174,604 $159,576 $177,357
Net Profit ($27,779) $9,924 $15,293
Net Profit/Sales (19%) 6% 8%

Projected Balance Sheet

2020 2021 2022
Cash $24,428 $17,306 $14,196
Accounts Receivable $6,563 $5,284 $6,119
Inventory
Other Current Assets
Total Current Assets $30,991 $22,590 $20,315
Long-Term Assets $13,000 $15,000 $17,000
Accumulated Depreciation ($2,600) ($5,417) ($8,633)
Total Long-Term Assets $10,400 $9,583 $8,367
Total Assets $41,391 $32,173 $28,682
Accounts Payable $2,540 $2,219 $2,411
Income Taxes Payable $0 $0 $0
Sales Taxes Payable $0 $0 $0
Short-Term Debt $43,820 $28,976 $14,138
Prepaid Revenue
Total Current Liabilities $46,360 $31,195 $16,549
Long-Term Debt $12,809 $8,833 $4,695
Long-Term Liabilities $12,809 $8,833 $4,695
Total Liabilities $59,169 $40,028 $21,244
Paid-In Capital $10,000 $10,000 $10,000
Retained Earnings ($27,779) ($17,855)
Earnings ($27,779) $9,924 $15,293
Total Owner’s Equity ($17,779) ($7,855) $7,438
Total Liabilities & Equity $41,391 $32,173 $28,682

Projected Cash Flow Statement

2020 2021 2022
Net Cash Flow from Operations
Net Profit ($27,779) $9,924 $15,293
Depreciation & Amortization $2,600 $2,817 $3,217
Change in Accounts Receivable ($6,563) $1,278 ($834)
Change in Inventory
Change in Accounts Payable $2,540 ($321) $192
Change in Income Tax Payable $0 $0 $0
Change in Sales Tax Payable $0 $0 $0
Change in Prepaid Revenue
Net Cash Flow from Operations ($29,202) $13,698 $17,867
Investing & Financing
Assets Purchased or Sold ($13,000) ($2,000) ($2,000)
Net Cash from Investing ($13,000) ($2,000) ($2,000)
Investments Received $10,000
Dividends & Distributions
Change in Short-Term Debt $43,820 ($14,844) ($14,838)
Change in Long-Term Debt $12,809 ($3,976) ($4,138)
Net Cash from Financing $66,630 ($18,820) ($18,976)
Cash at Beginning of Period $0 $24,428 $17,306
Net Change in Cash $24,428 ($7,122) ($3,109)
Cash at End of Period $24,428 $17,306 $14,196

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Writing a Photography Business Plan: Complete Guide

By Tata Rossi 16 days ago, Professional photography

Writing a Photography Business Plan: Complete Guide

To successfully start and develop your business, you should make up a photography business plan that will help you get stable increasing revenue.

A business plan for photography is like a map for a traveler – it specifies your goals and explains how to achieve them. It is a great way to assess your achievements and monitor your progress. Moreover, if you want to get engaged in some new projects, you should also include them in your plan and it will help implement all the ideas faster.

Finally, a photography business plan is something you can’t do without in case you want to attract new partners or investors.

Photography Business Plan: Key Elements

If you want to know how to start photography business with no money , you should get acquainted with the key elements of a photographer business plan.

1. Executive Summary

freelance photography business plan

An executive summary is an introduction to your photography business plan. It is a clear preview that defines your objectives as a photographer and your mission statement. Decide what photography genre you want to engage in. The most profitable genres are the following ones:

  • Portrait photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Boudoir photography
  • Newborn photography
  • Studio photography
  • Underwater photography
  • Product photography
  • Food photography
  • Real estate photography

Later, when you already have your regular clients and orders, you may dive deeper into different specialties. But, to begin with, you should present yourself as a specialist in one particular genre (newborn, wedding or portrait photography) and prove that you are not like anyone else.

In this section, describe the key components for the success of your business. It may be the experience you provide during the shooting or how you promote your business. If you write all this down, it will help you implement your ideas faster.

2. Company Description

photography business description

When you describe your company in the photography business plan, you should highlight the most important ideas about your business.

First of all, you should decide on the business entity you want to have. Research your business formation options and assess your current business state. If necessary, consult a lawyer or financial advisor and they will help determine what structure is the most suitable for you ‒ a limited liability company (LLC), general partnership, sole proprietorship, or another organization.

The next point is to describe where you are going to do business. For example, if you work much in a studio, it’s recommended to lease or buy some premises. However, if you shoot events, a studio is not necessary.

Also I recommend making photography business cards . It may be the only thing standing between your photography portfolio and your potential customers.

3. Assess the Competition

photography business plan key elements

Every shooter should clearly understand who their competitors are. So, research your target market and demographic area, and decide on how you are going to win the clients.

You may use some analytics tools, like Quantcast , Alexa and Google Trends that will identify and assess competitors in the area and help you find new clients. It will also help you improve your services.

Besides, you may use the U.S. Small Business Association’s SizeUp tool . It provides the info on other similar services in the area and local consumer spending in that category, enabling you to size up the competition in your market.

However, mind that the coronavirus pandemic affected all types of business, including a photography one.

4. Consider Your Target Market

photography business plan target market

Writing a photographer business plan, you should research your target market. To begin with, do some research about photography in general and how the photography business is developing in your region. Only then you will be able to narrow down your target market.

Who are your potential clients? Who are your ideal customers? Learn as much as you can about them and you will be able to attract the right people. It won’t hurt to create a client profile and study photography marketing tips that will help you understand your potential clientele.

I believe that the following four customer segments should be primarily targeted:

New Parents . People expecting a child or those with a newborn child try to capture these magic moments to memorize them for long years. They don’t want just images on their smartphones. They want to have qualitative professional shots that will impress everyone. So, if you choose this photography direction, discover various newborn photo ideas and maternity photo ideas first.

Families . Many families regularly update their photo albums with new family portraits or pics from events. Some people take photos for their homes, offices, wallets or holiday cards. That is why I recommend learning more about family photography and considering some family photo ideas .

Area Businesses . Today, even the smallest company has its website and pages on social networks. Businesses want to create the best Internet sites providing pics of their facilities, portraits of the staff, etc. As a rule, businesses try to find one professional for a long-term relationship that will satisfy all their headshot photography needs.

Product Manufacturers . E-commerce is on its peak today, with businesses creating products and selling them online. Consequently, they need qualitative images for websites, brochures, spec sheets, and other marketing materials. Such companies don’t need a staff shooter so they outsource this task to freelance photographers or photography studios.

If you want to work in this segment, you should get acquainted with these food photo ideas , learn how to edit food photos and also look through some product photography tutorials .

5. Develop Key Marketing Strategies

photography business plans

We proceed with your photography business plan and you have already decided whom to sell your services to. Now it’s time to decide what strategies you apply to achieve your goals. What activities will lead you to success?

I often send a PDF of my recent work to advertising agencies and publishers. Remember that even famous photographers used to include external promotion in photography business marketing.

If you are a wedding photographer, connect with some bridal boutiques and hair saloons ‒ you may cross-refer your services. In case you are involved in commercial real estate photography , cooperate with real estate agencies.

Considering that social networks are rapidly developing nowadays, I suggest creating your pages on Facebook and Instagram so that your potential clients get acquainted with your works. For better results, learn how to have successful Instagram .

By the way, you may also use photography business apps to make your working process easier and more convenient. They will help monitor costs, organize photoshoots, promote business, etc.

Starting a podcast is also a way to gain authority in your field and attract customers to your marketing funnel. Imagine how many great (or not so great) photographer stories you can share with your audience! To learn more, we recommend this article about how to become an expert in your field through podcasting .

6. Think about Portfolio

portrait photography business plan

One more point in your business plan for photography services should belong to your portfolio. It is a base of your previous works available for any user interested in your professional activity. For today, the most effective way to acquaint your prospective clients with your works is to create a photography portfolio using website builders .

Mind that your website should highlight your images and be convenient for users. Moreover, it should be easy to find your contacts there. Finding such project-based assistants is very easy because many skilled people favor modern freelance ideas and opt for remote work rather than a 9-to-5 schedule.

7. Determine Pricing Strategy

You should set up prices that will make your business competitive in the area. Will you have packages or provide à la carte services? Maybe, you will charge by the day, per shot, or by print or download. Moreover, you will have to decide how you will take payments from your clients. The most popular payment method in the photography business is invoices. It is a great way to get paid as quickly as possible.

8. Consider Your Operations Strategy

how to write a photography business plan

In this section of the photography business plan, you will have to describe in detail where you will work. Many portrait photographers arrange studios at home and work there. If you are a commercial shooter with clients and creative directors, you need to rent a studio.

However, depending on the photography genre you are involved in, you might not need a studio all the time. So, there is no need to rent a studio on a monthly basis. Decide what genre you are going to work in and where you will photograph more often.

In case you need a professional studio, I recommend learning how to find photography studio rental .

9. Define Business Participants

There are two ways here. The first one ‒ you will take pics and edit them by yourself. Yes, it will be cheaper since you don’t have to pay money for that. However, on the other hand, you will not have time to rest and you will have to turn down new orders because you have to edit photos from previous shootings.

The second way ‒ outsource retouching services . If you approach these guys, you will get at least three benefits.

Firstly, you will have some time to develop your business. Secondly, you will boost your productivity. Finally, you will not waste time on image post-production.

10. Financial Component of Your Business Plan

financial plan for photography business

A solid financial plan is an integral component of each photographer business plan. A big part here belongs to startup costs. They include:

  • legal advice
  • website design
  • essential photography gear
  • advertising

To begin with, estimate how much money you need to cover these costs and how much capital you have in reality. You may consider such funding options as small business loans, grants and crowdfunding.

In the future, when you are already working and fulfilling orders, you may include other financial statements in this section, like a balance sheet, cash flow and income. They will help you create a cash-flow analysis and monitor the financial success of your business.

If you are not good at accounting and finances, it’s better to approach a professional for advice.

11. Make a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a planning technique used to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business, opportunities open to it and threats that it might face. When you examine these internal and external factors, you will be able to create strategies to address challenges and find your niche in the market.

Making a SWOT analysis online , you may look at a business as a whole or consider some specific projects before they are launched. It’s often displayed as a matrix with each of the categories (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) occupying a cell on a table.

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Assess the competition
  • Consider your target market
  • Develop key marketing strategies
  • Determine pricing strategy

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Sample Photography Business Plan

business plan on photographer

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a photography business. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring photography business owners, having access to a sample photography business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own photography business plan.

Download our Ultimate Photography Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful photography venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A photography business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The photography business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your photography as Growthink’s Ultimate Photography Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a photography business plan of your own.

Photography Business Plan Example – LensLegacy Studios

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.

LensLegacy Studios, nestled in the vibrant heart of Minneapolis, is poised to revolutionize the photography industry with its innovative approach. Our mission is to provide top-tier photography services that not only capture moments but tell a story, creating lasting legacies through the lens. With a focus on utilizing the latest technology and creative techniques, we offer a wide range of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients. From capturing life’s most significant milestones for individuals and families to providing professional imagery that propels businesses forward, our studio is dedicated to excellence. Our strategic Minneapolis location allows us to connect with a broad clientele, ensuring we are an integral part of our community’s most cherished moments and commercial successes.

Our journey to becoming a cornerstone in the photography market is fueled by several key success factors and notable accomplishments. The expertise and passion of our founding team have been instrumental in shaping our innovative service offerings and customer-centric approach. We have successfully established a comprehensive portfolio that showcases our ability to cater to a wide array of photography needs, setting us apart in a competitive landscape. Additionally, our strategic partnerships with local businesses and our proactive engagement in networking activities have significantly expanded our market reach. These efforts have not only built a strong foundation for our brand but have also fostered a loyal customer base that appreciates the quality and uniqueness of our work.

The photography industry is witnessing a dynamic shift, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences. Traditional photography services are being complemented with digital innovations, allowing for more creative and personalized offerings. This evolution has opened up new market segments, including personal branding and social media content creation, reflecting the growing demand for high-quality, engaging visuals. The competitive landscape is diverse, with studios differentiating themselves through niche specializations and superior customer experiences. Our strategic focus on leveraging the latest technology and trends positions us well within this evolving industry, enabling us to meet the expanding needs of our clients while staying ahead of market dynamics.

LensLegacy Studios targets a wide spectrum of customers, from local residents celebrating significant life events to businesses seeking professional photography solutions. Our primary market comprises individuals and families in Minneapolis, looking to capture weddings, anniversaries, and other milestones with high-quality, memorable photographs. Additionally, we cater to the commercial sector, including real estate agencies, retailers, and hospitality businesses, offering tailored photography services that enhance their online presence and marketing efforts. Recognizing the growing trend of personal branding, we also provide specialized packages for influencers, entrepreneurs, and professionals aiming to strengthen their digital footprint. This diversified customer base underscores our adaptability and commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our community.

Our top competitors include local photography studios that offer similar services. However, LensLegacy Studios distinguishes itself through a unique combination of cutting-edge technology, creative excellence, and personalized customer experiences. Our competitive advantages lie in our ability to deliver unparalleled quality and innovation in every project, coupled with our deep understanding of the local market. This enables us to provide services that not only meet but exceed the expectations of our diverse clientele, setting us apart in a crowded industry.

At LensLegacy Studios, our marketing strategy is centered around showcasing the breadth and depth of our photography services, complemented by competitive pricing. We offer a diverse range of services, from event photography to commercial shoots, all tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients. Our pricing strategy is designed to offer value while reflecting the premium quality of our work. To promote our studio, we leverage a mix of digital marketing tactics, including SEO, social media marketing, and email campaigns, alongside traditional advertising methods. Special promotions and partnerships with local businesses further enhance our visibility and attract a broad clientele. This comprehensive approach ensures that we effectively communicate our value proposition and engage with our target markets on multiple levels.

Our operations plan is meticulously crafted to ensure the seamless delivery of our services. Key operational processes include efficient booking, shooting, editing, and delivery workflows that prioritize customer satisfaction and turnaround times. We are committed to achieving several milestones, such as launching our business, building a robust portfolio, establishing a strong online presence, and fostering key partnerships. By securing high-quality equipment and software, and possibly expanding our team, we aim to enhance our operational capacity. Implementing an effective marketing strategy and optimizing our operational processes are pivotal to reaching our financial goal of $15,000 per month in revenue, while continuous improvement based on customer feedback will keep us aligned with our mission of excellence.

The backbone of LensLegacy Studios is our highly skilled and passionate management team. With a wealth of experience in photography, business management, and customer service, our leaders bring a diverse set of skills that drive our studio’s success. Their collective vision for innovation and excellence in the photography industry shapes our strategic direction and operational approaches, ensuring we deliver unmatched value to our clients. The team’s dedication to fostering a culture of creativity and continuous improvement is integral to our growth and sustainability.

Welcome to LensLegacy Studios, a new Photography venture based in the heart of Minneapolis, MN. As a freshly established local photography business, we’ve identified a significant gap in the market – the absence of high-quality local photography services. Our mission is to fill this void by offering exceptional photography solutions to our community.

At LensLegacy Studios, our portfolio of offerings is both diverse and specialized. We provide a wide range of photography services to meet the varied needs of our clients. These services include photography sessions that capture life’s most precious moments, event photography that documents your special occasions with a keen eye for detail, and photo editing and retouching services that ensure your images are picture-perfect. Additionally, we offer photography workshops and training for those looking to hone their skills under the guidance of experienced professionals, as well as commercial photography services tailored to businesses seeking high-quality visual content. Our studio is fully equipped to cater to all your photography needs, ensuring a one-stop solution for our clients in Minneapolis, MN.

Our strategic location in Minneapolis, MN, positions us perfectly to serve the local community with ease and efficiency. This proximity to our clients not only allows for convenient service delivery but also fosters a deeper connection with the community we aim to serve.

The foundation of LensLegacy Studios is built upon solid ground, with a unique blend of factors that poise us for success. Our founder brings invaluable experience from previously running a successful photography business, ensuring that we are well-versed in the intricacies of the industry. Moreover, our commitment to quality sets us apart from the competition. We pride ourselves on taking better quality photos and offering a wider array of packages, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of our clients.

Since our inception on January 3, 2024, LensLegacy Studios has made significant strides as a C Corporation. Our accomplishments to date include the creative development of our brand identity, with a carefully designed logo and a compelling company name that resonates with our mission and values. Additionally, we’ve secured an ideal location that not only serves as our operational base but also enhances our accessibility to clients. These milestones mark the beginning of our journey, laying a strong foundation for our future endeavors.

The Photography industry in the United States is currently a thriving market, with an estimated size of over $10 billion. This figure includes revenues generated from various photography services such as portrait, commercial, event, and stock photography. With the increasing demand for professional photography services across different sectors, the industry is expected to continue growing at a steady rate in the coming years.

One of the key trends driving the growth of the Photography industry is the rise of social media platforms and online marketing. Businesses and individuals alike are increasingly relying on high-quality visual content to attract and engage their target audience. This presents a great opportunity for LensLegacy Studios, a new Photography serving customers in Minneapolis, MN, to capitalize on the growing demand for professional photography services in the digital age.

Furthermore, advancements in technology have also played a significant role in shaping the Photography industry. The introduction of high-resolution cameras, editing software, and online platforms for showcasing and selling photographs have made it easier for photographers to reach a wider audience and monetize their work. As LensLegacy Studios leverages these technological advancements to enhance their services and offerings, they are well-positioned to succeed in the competitive photography market.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

LensLegacy Studios will target a diverse range of local residents seeking professional photography services. This primary customer base is composed of individuals and families looking to capture significant life events such as weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. The studio will tailor its offerings to meet the unique needs and preferences of these local clients, ensuring high-quality, memorable photographs that reflect their special moments.

Aside from local residents, LensLegacy Studios will also extend its services to local businesses in need of professional photography. These include real estate agencies requiring high-quality images of properties, local retailers looking for product photography to enhance their online presence, and hospitality businesses seeking captivating images to promote their venues. By providing tailored photography solutions, the studio will establish itself as an indispensable resource for the commercial sector in Minneapolis.

Moreover, LensLegacy Studios will also focus on the growing market of personal branding and social media content creation. As individuals seek to build their personal brands online, the demand for professional profile pictures and content that stands out is increasing. The studio will offer specialized packages for influencers, entrepreneurs, and professionals who aim to enhance their digital footprint with high-quality, engaging visuals. This approach will address a modern and rapidly expanding segment, further diversifying the studio’s client base.

Customer Needs

LensLegacy Studios understands the vital importance of capturing life’s most precious moments through the lens of a camera. Customers can expect high-quality photography sessions that not only meet but exceed their desires for capturing memories in a tangible form. This studio ensures that every shot reflects the depth, emotion, and essence of the moment, allowing residents to cherish these memories for years to come.

In addition to offering superior quality images, LensLegacy Studios recognizes the need for a personalized and comfortable photography experience. Customers have the opportunity to work closely with photographers who are not only experts in their field but also attentive to the unique needs and preferences of each client. This personalized approach ensures that every photography session is not just a transaction, but a collaborative effort that brings the client’s vision to life.

Furthermore, LensLegacy Studios caters to the growing demand for versatile photography services. Whether it’s capturing the spontaneous laughter of a family gathering, the poised elegance of a corporate event, or the tender moments of a wedding, customers can count on the studio to deliver with professionalism and creativity. By offering a broad range of services, LensLegacy Studios positions itself as a one-stop photography solution for the diverse needs of the Minneapolis community.

LensLegacy Studios’s competitors include the following companies:

Sarah Pierce Photography specializes in family, newborn, and wedding photography. Their services include on-location shoots and studio sessions, with packages tailored to meet a variety of client needs. Price points for Sarah Pierce Photography vary based on the type of session and package chosen, but they maintain competitive pricing within the Minneapolis market. The company operates primarily in Minneapolis, MN, but also serves surrounding areas. Customers include families, newlyweds, and individuals seeking high-quality, memorable photography. A key strength of Sarah Pierce Photography is their personalized approach to each shoot, ensuring unique and tailored experiences. However, a potential weakness is the limited scalability due to the personalized nature of their services.

Minneapolis Headshots focuses exclusively on professional headshots for individuals and corporate clients. They offer studio and on-location services, with an emphasis on creating professional, high-quality images suitable for corporate websites, LinkedIn profiles, and personal branding. Pricing is transparent and competitive, with several package options to cater to different needs and budgets. Minneapolis Headshots serves the greater Minneapolis area, targeting professionals and corporations in need of professional imagery. Their key strength lies in their specialization and expertise in professional headshot photography, ensuring high-quality results. However, their niche focus can be seen as a weakness, limiting their appeal to a broader audience seeking more diverse photography services.

John Wagner Photography is known for its commercial and editorial photography, serving a wide range of clients from small businesses to large corporations. They offer a variety of services, including product photography, corporate headshots, and commercial advertising imagery. John Wagner Photography operates across the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and even extends services nationally for larger projects. Their client base includes businesses and organizations looking for high-quality commercial imagery. A significant strength of John Wagner Photography is their extensive experience and versatility in handling a diverse array of commercial projects. A potential weakness is the higher price point, which may not be accessible for smaller businesses or startups.

Profeshie is a newer entrant in the Minneapolis photography market, focusing on affordable and quick professional headshots and personal branding photography. They utilize a mobile studio, allowing them to offer convenient services at various locations. Profeshie aims to attract individuals and small businesses seeking cost-effective photography solutions. Their pricing is among the most competitive in the market, making professional photography accessible to a wider audience. The company serves the Minneapolis metropolitan area, targeting professionals, freelancers, and small business owners. A key strength of Profeshie is their affordability and convenience. However, their reliance on a mobile studio might limit the range of services and the quality of lighting and backgrounds compared to traditional studio settings.

Competitive Advantages

At LensLegacy Studios, we stand out in the competitive landscape of photography through our unwavering commitment to quality and variety. Our team excels in capturing stunning, high-quality photos that not only meet but exceed our clients’ expectations. We understand the importance of those once-in-a-lifetime moments, and our expertise ensures they are immortalized with the clarity and vibrancy they deserve. Our edge in quality is not just a claim; it’s a promise we deliver on, with every click of our cameras. This dedication to excellence positions us as a preferred choice for clients seeking unparalleled photographic experiences in Minneapolis.

Furthermore, our adaptability and responsiveness to customer needs are exemplified through our extensive range of packages. We pride ourselves on offering a diverse selection that caters to various preferences and budgets, ensuring that no moment goes uncaptured due to financial constraints. From intimate elopements to grand celebrations, our packages are designed to accommodate the unique requirements of each event, providing our clients with personalized options that best suit their needs. This flexibility, combined with our superior photo quality, creates a competitive advantage that sets us apart. By choosing LensLegacy Studios, clients can expect a service that is as accommodating as it is exceptional.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

LensLegacy Studios offers a comprehensive suite of photography services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its clientele. At the heart of its offerings is a range of photography sessions designed to capture life’s most precious moments. Clients can book sessions for family portraits, individual shoots, or special occasions. The average price for these photography sessions starts at $200, varying based on the duration and location of the shoot.

Event photography is another critical service provided by LensLegacy Studios. This service caters to a wide array of events, including weddings, corporate gatherings, and private parties. The studio’s photographers possess the skill to capture the essence and energy of each event, ensuring clients have lasting memories. Pricing for event photography is typically structured around the event’s scale and requirements, with packages starting at $500.

In addition to capturing beautiful moments, LensLegacy Studios excels in photo editing and retouching. This service ensures that every image meets the highest standards of quality, with attention to detail that brings out the best in each photograph. Prices for photo editing and retouching services start at $50 per image, depending on the complexity of the work required.

LensLegacy Studios is also dedicated to sharing its expertise through photography workshops and training. These sessions are designed for individuals looking to improve their photography skills, from beginners to more advanced enthusiasts. The workshops cover various aspects of photography and post-processing techniques. Participants can expect to invest around $150 for a basic workshop, with more advanced training sessions priced accordingly.

Finally, the studio offers commercial photography services, catering to businesses in need of professional images for marketing, advertising, or other commercial purposes. These services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each business, ensuring that the final images align with the client’s brand and objectives. Commercial photography services start at $300, varying based on the project’s scope and complexity.

LensLegacy Studios is committed to providing exceptional photography services at competitive prices. With a focus on quality, creativity, and client satisfaction, the studio aims to be the go-to choice for photography services in its market.

Promotions Plan

LensLegacy Studios embarks on a vibrant journey to captivate and engage customers through a multitude of promotional methods, with a strong emphasis on online marketing. They understand the power of digital presence and will harness it to reach a broad audience. Their promotional strategy encompasses a variety of tactics designed to attract and retain customers, ensuring that LensLegacy Studios becomes a household name in Minneapolis, MN.

At the heart of their promotional efforts, online marketing stands as a cornerstone. LensLegacy Studios will leverage social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, showcasing their portfolio of stunning photography. Through regular posts, behind-the-scenes content, and engaging stories, they expect to build a community of followers who are passionate about photography. Additionally, they will utilize targeted ads on these platforms to reach potential customers based on interests, location, and more, ensuring maximum visibility.

Email marketing is another tool LensLegacy Studios will employ. By collecting email addresses through their website and at events, they will send out newsletters containing special offers, photography tips, and highlights from recent photoshoots. This personalized approach will keep LensLegacy Studios at the top of their customers’ minds.

Understanding the significance of search engine visibility, LensLegacy Studios will invest in search engine optimization (SEO) for their website. By optimizing their site with relevant keywords, they expect to rank higher in search engine results, making it easier for potential customers to find them when searching for photography services in Minneapolis.

Beyond the digital realm, LensLegacy Studios will engage in community events and photography workshops. Participating in local art fairs and community gatherings will not only increase their visibility but also allow direct interaction with potential customers. Hosting workshops on photography basics or specific techniques will position LensLegacy Studios as experts in their field, fostering trust and credibility among their audience.

Referral programs will also play a crucial role in their promotional strategy. Satisfied customers will receive incentives for referring friends and family, turning their customer base into a network of advocates. This word-of-mouth promotion is invaluable and will contribute significantly to their growth.

In conclusion, LensLegacy Studios will deploy a comprehensive mix of online and offline promotional methods to attract customers. From leveraging the power of social media and SEO to engaging with the community and implementing referral programs, they are set to make a significant impact in the Minneapolis photography scene.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of LensLegacy Studios, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Customer Engagement: Interact with potential and existing customers via phone, email, and social media to answer queries, book appointments, and receive feedback.
  • Scheduling Appointments: Utilize a digital calendar system to manage photography session bookings, ensuring clients have clear expectations for their session date and time.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Regularly check and maintain photography equipment to ensure everything is in working order, including cameras, lenses, flashes, and other accessories.
  • Session Preparation: Prepare for each photography session by gathering necessary equipment, reviewing client requests and session plans, and ensuring all settings are ideal for the shoot.
  • Photography Sessions: Conduct photography sessions according to the client’s needs, demonstrating professionalism and creativity to capture high-quality images.
  • Post-Processing: Edit photos using appropriate software to adjust exposure, color balance, and other elements to enhance the final images before delivery to the client.
  • Client Deliverables: Provide clients with their images in the agreed format and medium, within the discussed timeframe, ensuring high satisfaction levels.
  • Financial Management: Track income and expenses daily to manage the studio’s budget effectively, including invoicing clients and paying any vendors or contractors.
  • Marketing Activities: Execute daily marketing tasks, such as updating social media profiles, posting recent work, and engaging with the community to attract new clients.
  • Professional Development: Stay updated with the latest photography techniques, trends, and equipment through online courses, workshops, and industry publications.
  • Feedback Collection: Solicit and review feedback from clients after the delivery of their photographs to identify areas for improvement and enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Inventory Management: Regularly check and restock photography supplies, such as memory cards, batteries, and props, to ensure readiness for all sessions.

LensLegacy Studios expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Launch Our Photography Business: Officially open for business by completing all necessary steps to be operational. This includes legal registration, setting up a physical or virtual office, and announcing the opening through various channels to create awareness.
  • Build a Portfolio: Develop a comprehensive portfolio that showcases the range and quality of our work. This will involve doing some initial projects possibly at a discounted rate or for visibility to capture high-quality examples of our work.
  • Establish Online Presence: Create a professional website and active social media accounts to display our portfolio, share customer testimonials, and engage with potential clients. This online presence will be crucial for marketing and brand building.
  • Network and Partnerships: Build relationships with other businesses such as event planners, venues, and local agencies to foster referrals and partnerships. Networking events, business associations, and community events will be key avenues for these efforts.
  • Secure Key Equipment and Software: Acquire high-quality photography equipment and editing software necessary for professional-grade service. This includes cameras, lenses, lighting, and software for photo editing and management.
  • Hire and Train Staff: If necessary, hire additional photographers or support staff to handle increased demand. Provide training to ensure the quality of service and consistency across all projects and client interactions.
  • Implement an Effective Marketing Strategy: Develop and execute a marketing plan that includes digital marketing, local advertising, and special promotions to attract a wide range of clients from individuals needing personal photos to businesses requiring professional shots.
  • Optimize Operational Processes: Establish efficient booking, shooting, editing, and delivery processes to maximize customer satisfaction and turnaround times. This includes implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track bookings and interactions.
  • Get to $15,000/Month in Revenue: Achieve the financial milestone of generating $15,000 per month in revenue. This will involve constantly reviewing pricing strategies, sales efforts, and cost management to ensure profitability and sustainability.
  • Customer Feedback and Continuous Improvement: Regularly collect customer feedback to identify areas of improvement and success. Use this feedback to refine services, processes, and customer interaction to enhance overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.

LensLegacy Studios management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Nathan Cox, President

Nathan Cox brings a wealth of experience to his role as President of LensLegacy Studios. His entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen were honed through the successful management of a previous photography business. This venture not only showcased his ability to lead but also his deep understanding of the nuanced photography industry. Nathan’s expertise lies in identifying market trends, crafting strategic business models, and leading teams towards achieving collective goals. His leadership is instrumental in steering LensLegacy Studios toward a path of innovation, growth, and lasting success in the competitive photography market.

To achieve our growth objectives, LensLegacy Studios is seeking financial investments. These funds will be instrumental in expanding our operational capabilities, enhancing our marketing efforts, and further developing our service offerings. With a strategic investment, we are poised to solidify our position in the market, attract a broader clientele, and achieve our financial milestones, ensuring long-term success and profitability.

Financial Statements

Balance sheet.

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Income Statement

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Cash Flow Statement

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Photography Business Plan Example PDF

Download our Photography Business Plan PDF here. This is a free photography business plan example to help you get started on your own photography plan.  

How to Finish Your Photography Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your photography business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

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How to Run a Photography Business (Complete Guide)

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You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

This article explores how to run a photography business. Becoming a professional photographer isn’t easy, and the prospect of running a business can seem daunting. But with the right knowledge and application, you can turn a photography hobby into a career.

There are many things you need to think about when running a photography business. There are essential laws and legal paperwork you need to be aware of, as well as marketing and client-sourcing techniques. 

While that might sound complicated, we’re here to help. This article breaks down the process of starting a photography business with handy tutorials packed with vital information. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have the confidence to run a photography business. 

Middle-aged photographer holding a Canon camera to his face

How to Run a Photography Business

When you imagine being a professional photographer, your thoughts are probably dominated by fancy cameras and glamorous photo shoots. These elements do play a part, of course, but professional photographers also have to deal with the less glamorous side of running a business.

You are no longer just a person with a camera. You now have to think of yourself as a professional—as a brand. That means you have to take everything from client correspondence to financial transactions seriously. 

Booking studio space and models has to become like second nature to you. You’ll also need to know how to write and complete every type of contract and release form.

Revenue has to be one of your main concerns, as that’s how you put bread on the table. Making money with photography isn’t easy, but there are ways you can diversify your income streams so you always have money flowing in. 

We start the article by looking at the basics of becoming a professional photographer. Then we cover marketing and social media strategies to help you get ahead of the competition. We also have everything you need to know about the legal paperwork for photography businesses. 

Each section has a link to a full-length article on the topic, so remember to click to learn more. 

Becoming a Professional Photographer

Becoming a photographer takes hard work and dedication. Mastering the basics of exposure, depth of field, and light is essential when starting out. Practice as much as possible to improve your skills.

Find your photography niche based on what you enjoy and the types of photography that provide an income. Carefully invest in the right equipment for your niche. Build a strong portfolio that showcases your abilities as a professional photographer in your chosen area.

Share your work online to establish your brand and get exposure. Get organized and always behave professionally to build trust and a solid reputation. Be proactive in finding work and seeking out opportunities in your local area. Always ask for compensation for your services, whether it’s financial payment or credit and exposure.

To learn more about how to become a photographer , we have an in-depth guide that covers everything you need to know.

Is It Easy?

Being a photographer isn’t always easy. It can be a competitive field, with many amateurs willing to work for low pay or even for free. This makes it hard to charge what you’re worth and can lead to getting ripped off.

The pay can be inconsistent, especially when you’re just starting out. You may have to spend a lot of time away from home for jobs. And you’ll encounter demanding clients who expect perfection, even when it’s not realistic.

Photography also requires investing in expensive gear to get professional results. You may find yourself shooting the same subjects repeatedly to specialize in a niche. And post-processing can be a boring but necessary part of the job. Despite the challenges, many photographers find the rewards worth it.

Being a photographer has its difficulties, but it can also be a fulfilling career for those who are passionate about it.

A person taking a selfie in a car mirror with a nifty fifty lens

Prep for Your First Shoot

Preparing for your first client photo shoot is important. Create a mood board to share ideas with your client and make sure you’re on the same page. Visit the shooting location ahead of time to check for potential issues like harsh sunlight or crowds.

Bring backup gear in case of technical problems. Rent or borrow extra cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment. Hire an assistant to help with tasks like holding reflectors and changing lenses.

The day before the shoot, finalize your equipment checklist, clean your gear, charge batteries, and look up directions. On the day of the shoot, arrive early to set up and test your lighting. Have model releases and contracts signed upfront. Being prepared will help you focus on creativity during the shoot.

If you’d like to learn more about how to prepare for a photo shoot , we have a detailed guide in this link.

photo shoot

Successful Client Sessions

Planning your photo shoot is key to success. Make a list of ideas and discuss them with your model beforehand. Pack carefully and don’t forget important gear like lenses or batteries.

Embrace the location in your portraits, but keep the focus on your model. Blur the background if needed to avoid distractions. Take a variety of shots, including wide, medium, and close-ups. Have your model look in different directions, not just at the camera.

Control the lighting to set the mood. Use flash or reflectors to soften the light and make your model look their best. Communicate with your model to help them relax and pose naturally. Listen to their ideas and try them out.

Having a successful client photo shoot  takes practice, but these tips will help you capture stunning portraits.

photoshoot

Studio Photography Basics

Setting up a photography studio doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start with just a background and stand. If you have plenty of window light, you can achieve professional results even in a small space.

As you earn more, consider buying artificial lights. Begin with one light and modifier, then grow your kit as needed for more complex lighting setups. Take your time getting used to the equipment.

Before you know it, you’ll have a full-size studio that can handle all your photography needs.

If you want to learn more about studio photography , we have a detailed guide that covers everything from equipment to lighting techniques.

studio photography

Responding to Requests

As a photographer, you may receive requests for free photography. While it can be flattering to get attention, it’s important to remember that your time and skills are valuable. Before agreeing to work for free, consider the costs and benefits.

There are some situations where offering a free photo shoot can be beneficial, such as when building your portfolio or getting credit from a well-known publication.

However, in most cases, it’s best to politely decline requests for free photography. Explain that you appreciate their interest but cannot allow your photos to be used without payment due to the costs associated with taking and editing them.

If the requester is still interested, provide them with your reasonable licensing rates. The price per photo will depend on factors such as the size of the image, the publication’s circulation, and the duration of use.

By conducting yourself professionally and knowing your worth, you can successfully navigate requests for free photography.

Click this link to learn more about responding to requests for free photography .

respond to requests for free photography

Starting Your Photography Business

Starting a photography business requires careful planning. Create a business plan that outlines your structure, target market, finances, and long-term vision. Consider diversifying your income streams with photo shoots, classes, and online courses.

Choose a business structure like a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. This determines the paperwork you’ll need to file. Pick a memorable name for your business that reflects your long-term goals.

Build a marketing plan based on your target clients. Use social media, blogs, or community events to reach them. Focus on building relationships and making your clients happy.

Growing a successful photography business takes time and hard work, so be patient and stay committed to your goals.

If you’d like to learn more about starting a photography business , we have a detailed guide with all the essential info.

What You Need

Starting a photography business requires some essential equipment. A full-frame camera like the Canon EOS RP is a good entry point for serious photographers.

Lenses are just as important as the camera. A couple of good-quality, fast lenses will give you the sharp, high-quality imagery that you need as a professional. Prime lenses tend to be sharper than zoom lenses.

Other important equipment includes a sturdy tripod, memory cards, a card reader, extra batteries and charger, lens filters, lens hoods, backup drives, a color calibrator, a color checker, a grey card, a reflector kit, and possibly a lighting kit with modifiers and stands.

Check out our full article if you’d like to learn more about what you need to start a photography business .

what do i need to start a photography business

Writing a Business Plan

A photography business plan is a road map to success. It outlines your goals and how you’ll achieve them. Your plan should include an executive summary, a description of your services, your target market, and marketing strategies.

Assess your competition and find what makes you unique. Develop a timeline and consider your operations strategy. Plan your financials for the first three years, including expenses like gear, software, and marketing.

A photography business plan is key to a successful photography career. It helps you prepare and set goals. Start working on yours today, and you’ll be ahead of most photographers who don’t have a plan.

photography business plan

Running a photography business can be expensive. There are many costs to consider, such as liability insurance, web hosting, backup drives, memory cards, batteries, software subscriptions, and more. These expenses add up quickly and can make it challenging to turn a profit.

It’s important to understand the cost of doing business (CODB) before setting your prices. Your CODB is the total amount it costs you to run your business, including all monthly and annual expenses. Anything you make over that amount is your profit.

When determining your rates, consider your living expenses and savings goals in addition to your CODB. Price yourself high enough to pay your overhead, turn a profit, and put some aside for slower periods or gear upgrades.

By understanding your cost of doing business , you can set prices that reflect your value and ensure the sustainability of your business.

photography cost of doing business

Finding a Studio

Finding a cheap photography studio rental is possible, even on a limited budget. Consider unusual locations like classrooms, museums, or rec centers that rent out space by the hour or day. Airbnb listings can also work well, and some are even dedicated studio spaces.

Talking to a realtor about empty retail or office spaces available for temporary rental is another option. You can also use the client’s home or office if it’s suitable for the shoot. Joining a studio co-op allows you to share the cost of a dedicated space with other photographers.

Creating a studio in your own home is a popular choice for many photographers starting out. Finally, taking the studio outdoors can work for certain types of shoots and even boost creativity.

To learn more about photography studio rental , check out our in-depth guide.

photography studio rental

A photography shot list is a great way to stay organized during a photo shoot. It’s essentially a checklist of the images you want to capture. Shot lists can be simple written notes or more advanced, like sketches or storyboard-style illustrations.

Using a shot list opens up communication between you and your client. It helps manage expectations and acts as proof of what was agreed upon. A shot list also makes the most of your time by keeping you focused on the shots you need.

To create a shot list, consult with your client about their needs and expectations. Write down all the shots that come to mind, then narrow it down.

Break your list into sections like must-haves, detail shots, and wide shots. When shooting, keep your shot list handy on your phone for quick reference.

Photography shot lists are a valuable tool for efficiently capturing all the important images. Check out our full article for setting up a complete shot list.

photography shot list

A photography logo is the first thing potential clients see, so it’s important to create one that represents your brand. Using an acronym of your business name can keep your logo compact and recognizable. A signature or script text adds a personal touch and is unique to you.

Simplicity is key—a bold font makes a statement about your professionalism. Incorporating photography imagery like a camera or film roll clarifies that you’re a photographer. Using your initials to create a symbol—like turning them into a tripod—is creative and memorable.

Your logo should show your photography style and niche, whether it’s analog, landscape, or wedding photography. A simple illustration style with a hand-drawn feel can also give your logo a distinct look.

Creating photography logo ideas can be tricky, but with a little inspiration, you can create the perfect one for your business.

photography logo ideas

Business Card Designs

Photography business cards are an essential tool for networking and showcasing your unique style. They allow you to quickly share your contact information and give potential clients a glimpse of your work.

When designing your photography business card, include your name, email address, website, and any relevant social media accounts. You can also add a QR code that links to your online portfolio or website.

To make your business card stand out, consider using unique materials like transparent or metallic paper, or opt for an unusual shape or size. Including a small print of one of your photos is another great way to showcase your skills and style.

If you’re interested in learning more about photography business cards , there are many creative designs and ideas to explore in our full-length article.

photography business card

Cliche Name Game

Naming your photography business can be a challenge. When you’re feeling stuck, take a break and try our fun photography name generator for inspiration.

The generator combines a positive adjective, something pretty or colorful, and a funny way of saying photo or photography. The results may sound cheesy, but they can shake up your creative energy and lead to unexpected ideas.

Remember, the best business names are easy to remember and give customers a sense of what you do. If you specialize in a certain niche, consider including that in your name.

For more tips on naming your photography business, read our photography name generator article.

photography name generator

The Legal Side of Starting a Business

To start a photography business legally, you need to understand the laws in your country. Copyright laws protect your photos, giving you ownership and control. However, you may need a release form to use photos with recognizable people or private property for commercial purposes.

It’s important to have the right legal paperwork. Photography contracts protect both you and your client by setting clear expectations. You may also need a photography license, depending on your location.

A photo licensing agreement outlines how a client can use your images. Photo release forms grant permission to use an image and are essential for photographing people or property.

Take a deeper dive into the laws and legalities of running a photography business in our detailed article. 

Must-Know Photography Laws

Photographers must understand copyright law if they want to protect their work correctly. Copyright is automatically applied to photographs at the moment of creation, giving the photographer ownership and control over the image. This means the photographer can reproduce, sell, and use the photo however they wish.

However, there are some restrictions when photographing people or private property. In the U.S., a photographer needs a release form to use someone’s likeness commercially.

There are some exceptions for photojournalism and fine art. But in general, you can’t do whatever you want with a photo of someone without their permission.

It’s important for photographers to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to copyright law. Understanding concepts like commercial use, fair use, release forms, and the difference between public and private property is essential.

By educating themselves on photography laws , photographers can avoid legal issues and protect their creative work.

photography laws

Photo Licensing Agreement

A photo licensing agreement is a contract that grants specific usage rights to a client or collaborator.

The agreement outlines how the image can be used, such as in print or online, the number of people who will see it, and for how long. This protects you as the creator of the image and helps avoid misunderstandings with clients.

Clients may not understand why they need a licensing agreement. They might think they own the images and can use them however they want. In this case, you’ll need to educate them on the transaction and how it works.

The licensing agreement should be specific about the end use of the image and the brand’s visibility. High-profile businesses should have different terms and prices than small local businesses.

Click on this link if you’d like to learn more about photo licensing agreements .

photo licensing agreement

Photo Release Form

A photo release form is a contract between the photographer and the subject that grants permission to use the image. It’s required in the U.S. to use someone’s likeness commercially. The form can include limits on usage and an expiration date.

There are different types of photo release forms. Model release forms are for photographing people, while property release forms cover buildings and objects. Print release forms give clients permission to make prints. Minor release forms are signed by a parent or guardian for subjects under 18.

You need a photo release form if the subject is recognizable and the photo will be used commercially or for advertising.

To learn more about photo release forms , including free templates you can use, check out our in-depth guide.

photo release form

Model Release Form

A model release form is a legal contract between a photographer and the subject they photograph. It’s one of the most important documents for photographers, as it protects both parties and prevents future complications or lawsuits.

The form outlines the rights of the photographer, client, and model regarding the use of the images.

Model release forms are essential for commercial photography, where the photos may be used for promotion or sales. However, the specific requirements vary depending on the country, state, and intended use of the images.

It’s crucial to research local laws and regulations to ensure your model release form covers all necessary aspects.

To make the process easier, consider using a template rather than creating your own from scratch. A well-written model release form should include the subject’s personal information, a witness signature, and clear terms regarding the usage rights of the images.

Read all about model release forms in our educational article.

model release form

Marketing for Photographers

Marketing is a top priority for any professional photographer who wants to succeed. Building a professional website has never been easier or more affordable. And social media can help boost your online profile and make your work more visible. Sending your photos to magazines is another great way to get more eyes on your work.

To learn more about marketing for photographers , including SEO, sales, and more, this article is a helpful resource with in-depth information on these topics.

Easy Marketing Strategies

As a freelance photographer, you won’t have a dedicated marketing team to promote you and your work. That’s why having a basic understanding of professional marketing is so important. 

Ask for referrals from friends, family, and clients. Make sure you have a professional website with a portfolio and testimonials ready. Producing great photos encourages people to recommend you and your services to others.

Create targeted social media ad campaigns to attract your ideal audience. Use eye-catching images, and behind-the-scenes videos or before-and-after comparisons can go viral.

Attend local business networking events to build relationships. Bring business cards and flyers, and be prepared to briefly introduce yourself. Look for real estate agents or brokers who may need your services.

Real estate photography marketing involves a variety of strategies to reach potential clients and showcase your work. By implementing these tips consistently, you can grow your business and attract more customers in your local market.

real estate photography marketing

Getting Noticed

To get your photography noticed, make sure your images are high-quality and visually interesting. Experiment with creative photo projects and share them on photography websites to showcase your skills.

Running a photography blog is a great way to build your online presence and attract more viewers to your work.

Entering photography contests can help you gain recognition, but be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully. Getting your photos published in magazines or newspapers, both online and locally, can attract potential clients.

Joining photography forums and social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn allows you to reach a wide audience.

Uploading your work to photo-sharing platforms like Flickr, 500px, and Behance can provide exposure and networking opportunities. If you have compelling images, you may even gain new clients.

Learn more about getting your photography noticed with our helpful guide.

get your photography noticed

Attracting Clients

Identifying your ideal client is key to targeting the right audience for your photography business. Research your target market’s media consumption habits to focus your marketing efforts on the most relevant platforms. This will save you time and money.

Attract more clients by launching targeted social media campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. You can also host an open photo shoot to show potential clients what it’s like to work with you. It’s a great opportunity to network and showcase your talent.

Create a quarterly email campaign featuring your latest work to remind your clients of your services. Offer special promotions and loyalty programs to attract new clients and retain existing ones. Incentivize people to refer you, but be careful not to cheapen your brand.

If you’re looking to get photography clients , consider joining freelancing websites or volunteering to photograph events in your local community.

get photography clients

Writing a Website Bio

Writing a photographer bio for your website is an important task. Your bio introduces potential clients to the person behind the camera, adding depth and personality to your online presence. Keep your bio simple and concise, using clear language that’s easy to understand.

Your bio should reflect your unique personality as a photographer. If you have a fun and lighthearted style, feel free to inject some humor into your writing. However, if you’re a serious professional, stick to the facts and avoid forcing jokes where they don’t fit naturally.

Include relevant information about your photography career, such as notable commissions, awards, or achievements. A photo of yourself can also add a nice personal touch.

By crafting a well-written bio that showcases your skills and personality, you’ll create a strong first impression for potential clients visiting your website.

We have more valuable information about writing a photographer bio in this blog post.

photographer bio

Website Builders

Finding the best website builder for photographers is essential to start your business. Every photographer needs their own website as a portfolio, storefront, and business hub. The more professional your website, the more success you’ll have as a photographer.

Wix is the best website builder for photographers. It’s a well-priced website builder anyone can use. Wix is a no-code platform with drag-and-drop design tools, so you don’t need web design experience. There are thousands of design options to develop your own branding.

If you’d like to see more of the best website builders for photographers , our list has all the top options.

website builder for photographers

SEO is important for photographers to drive traffic to their website and attract more clients. Search engines like Google index and rank web pages based on relevance to a user’s search query. Optimizing your website and online presence can help you appear higher in search results.

To improve your photography website’s SEO, make sure your site is mobile-friendly and contains relevant keywords. Blogging regularly with high-quality content keeps your site fresh.

Getting backlinks from other reputable websites and maintaining an active social media presence also boosts your search rankings.

Setting up a free Google Business listing allows you to appear in local search results and on Google Maps. Use Google Analytics to track your website traffic and learn more about your visitors.

SEO takes sustained effort, but it’s worth it to generate more organic traffic and grow your photography business.

SEO for photographers is important for any photographer with a website or blog, so click the link to find out more. 

seo for photographers

Social Media for Photographers

Social media is a powerful tool for photographers to showcase their work and attract clients. Instagram and Facebook are two of the most popular platforms. To get the most out of them, it’s important to post high-quality photos consistently and engage with your followers.

On Instagram, use relevant hashtags to make your photos easier to find. Write engaging captions that tell a story or provide context for your images. Interact with other accounts in your niche to build a community around your work.

For Facebook, create a dedicated photography page separate from your personal profile. Share your best photos and include links to your website or portfolio. Encourage fans to like and share your page to expand your reach.

By building a strong presence on social media, you can grow your photography business and connect with potential clients.

To learn more about social media for photographers , our in-depth guide covers everything you need to know.

Creating a Facebook photography page is a great way to showcase your work and build a community of fans. To get the most out of your page, select the right category when registering.

Listing yourself as a website rather than a public figure has advantages, such as being able to reach more than 10,000 fans.

Fill in the About section with information about who you are and what you do. This will help your page show up in Google searches.

Choose a profile picture that best represents your photography business, and use the cover photo to advertise your services or display your best work.

Share your portfolio on your Facebook photography page, but be selective. Only post your best images, as the album is only as strong as its weakest photo.

Watermark your photos to protect them from theft, but keep the watermark small and unobtrusive. Post regularly to keep your fans engaged, and add a call-to-action button to direct them to your website.

By following these tips, you can create an effective Facebook photography page that showcases your work and attracts new clients.

facebook photography page

Instagram is probably the best social media platform for photographers. It allows you to showcase your best work, generate a following, and attract new clients and collaborators. 

Use Instagram as a social media diary to look more approachable. Post behind-the-scenes shots that your audience can relate to. Choose a username and fill out your bio so people can find you.

Find accounts important in your field for reposts and targeted campaigns. Use niche hashtags with under 250,000 posts to make your photos stand out. Be consistent with your posts to gain relevant followers.

Reply to all comments to broaden your Instagram network. Use your visibility to reach out to brands for photography opportunities. Keep your captions simple to hold people’s attention.

Building and maintaining a popular Instagram photography account takes time and effort, but it can lead to lots of business opportunities.

become instagram famous

Writing Captions

Writing great captions for Instagram can make a big difference in how your photos are received. A clever or funny caption adds to the photo’s impact. Keep the caption informative but catchy, and explain the story behind the image.

Write in a conversational tone using present tense, as if talking to a friend. The caption’s style should fit the platform, and consider character limits. On Instagram, captions under 125 characters are the most readable.

Identify key people in the photo, and consider using a relevant quote or song lyrics. The caption should add value and not just state the obvious. Captions that create involvement and engage viewers often work best on social media.

Captions for Instagram take some thought, but the right one enhances your photo’s message. With practice, you’ll find it easy to write the best captions for your images.

captions for instagram

Using Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to get your photos seen by more people on Instagram. Using the right hashtags can help you reach a wider audience and gain more exposure for your work.

It’s important to use specific, niche hashtags rather than broad, popular ones. Your photos will get lost in the sea of content if you use hashtags with millions of posts. Instead, find hashtags that are relevant to your photography style and have an active, engaged community.

You can also create your own unique hashtags to stand out from the crowd. This allows you to build a community around your brand and feature your followers’ photos.

By using a mix of popular and niche hashtags, as well as your own branded hashtags, you can maximize your reach and engagement on Instagram with photography hashtags .

photography hashtags

Profitable Photography Careers

If you’re looking for profitable photography careers, there are several options to consider. Stock photography is a great way to make money from your images. Capture photos that are in demand and submit them to stock agencies to create a steady income stream.

Travel photography is another option. You can sell your photos to magazines, newspapers, tour operators, and travel companies. Wedding photography can also be very profitable, especially during the summer months.

Other photography careers include commercial photography, editorial photography, product photography, photojournalism, fitness photography, and real estate photography. With hard work and dedication, you can turn your passion for photography into a successful career.

Check out the full article on photography careers to see which is best for your business model.

Stock Photography

Taking stock photos that sell requires capturing high-quality images that are in demand. Research current trends and plan your shoots around popular concepts like business, lifestyle, and outdoor activities. Use a shot list to ensure you capture all the angles and scenarios you need.

Edit your files and choose only the best images to sell. Add relevant keywords and descriptions so potential buyers can find them. You can sell your stock photos through agencies or market them yourself.

Learn more about how to take stock photos with our in-depth tutorial.

Three people in an office having an argument

Travel Photography

Travel photography jobs can be an exciting and rewarding career path for those with a passion for photography and adventure. To succeed, you’ll need exceptional photography skills that set your work apart from the billions of travel photos uploaded daily.

Business skills are equally important, as you’ll need to market yourself effectively to find work.

Travel photography jobs can be physically demanding, requiring long hikes with heavy gear and the ability to handle challenging weather conditions. You may also face irregular sleep schedules and spend a lot of time alone or with strangers.

If you’re serious about pursuing travel photography jobs, having a strong online presence is essential. A professional website showcasing your portfolio, a blog to share your work and experiences, and active social media accounts can help you get noticed.

With hard work, diverse income streams like print sales, stock licensing, writing, and teaching, and a willingness to get creative, you can turn your love for travel and photography into a successful career.

Read our full post on travel photography jobs to start making money from your next adventure.

travel photography jobs

Commercial Photography

Commercial photography covers a wide range of niches, from fashion and product photos to food and architectural images. To succeed, you need to keep your network active, maintain a professional attitude, and ensure you’re shooting with the best gear.

Stay on top of the latest photography trends and develop your own distinct style to stand out. Be creative in your approach while still meeting the client’s needs.

Avoid rookie mistakes by continuing to learn and improve your skills. Build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work in different styles.

Always carry business cards and gather recommendations to attract new clients. When working with a client, communicate clearly to understand their requirements, provide an accurate quote, and discuss usage rights.

Commercial photography can be very rewarding if you’re willing to work hard. It can also be one of the most lucrative areas of professional photography, so it’s definitely worth considering.

#REF!

Product Photography

Product photography is a broad field with many different specialties. From 360-degree shots to flat lays, there’s a type of product photography for every product and style.

Some popular types include Amazon product photography, which requires a white background and specific composition. Photographing artwork, clothing, furniture, and jewelry each has its own unique challenges and techniques to master.

Lifestyle product photography shows items in real-life scenarios to help customers imagine using the products themselves. Other niches like makeup, nail, and beer photography are growing in popularity for advertising and promotion.

To learn more about the various types of product photography , check out our detailed blog post.

types of product photography

Magazine Photographer

Becoming a magazine photographer takes hard work and dedication. Choose a specialty to stand out from other photographers. Ask friends to pose for practice shoots to get comfortable with your camera.

You don’t need expensive gear when starting out. Even entry-level mirrorless cameras with a prime lens are enough to create magazine-worthy images. Build a strong portfolio with at least 10 of your best photos that showcase your unique style.

Promote your work on Instagram to increase your reach. Study the photographs in magazines you want to work with to understand their style. Contact editors to introduce yourself and share your portfolio. To become a magazine photographer, you need to create work that is truly unique.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a magazine photographer , we have a detailed guide that covers everything you need to know.

become a magazine photographer

Internships

Photography internships offer students valuable work experience and a chance to fast-track their careers. Interning with a professional photographer or studio while studying can help you network and gain practical skills that you can’t get in the classroom.

During an internship, you’ll apply what you’ve learned to real-world situations and gain insight into the business side of photography. You may assist with lighting setups, post on social media, or help stylists on set.

The amount of hands-on shooting experience varies depending on the photographer and their niche.

Internships are a great way to evaluate your career goals and find gaps in your knowledge. While they may not lead to immediate employment, they can open doors for future opportunities.

To learn more about photography internships , including how to find one and what to expect, follow the link to the full article. 

photography internship

How to Make Money as a Photographer

Transforming your photography hobby into a career takes effort, but there are many ways to make money with your skills. Finding reliable income streams is key to becoming a professional photographer.

You can sell your services as a photographer or sell the photos you create. Selling landscape photos, stock photography, and doing real estate photography are some of the best ways to get started. You can also sell prints online, offer Lightroom presets, or even turn your images into NFTs.

To be successful, research what subjects are in demand and plan your photo shoots around popular concepts. Build a strong portfolio of your best work to attract clients. If you’re passionate about photography and willing to put in the effort, you can turn it into a rewarding career.

To learn more about how to make money with photography , read the full article for helpful tips and strategies.

Sell Prints

Selling photography prints online is a great way to make extra money from your work. There are many platforms to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Squarespace is a popular website builder that works well on all devices. It’s easy to use but not made just for photographers.

Fine Art America is one of the biggest places to sell prints online. They let you sell more than just prints, like pillows and phone cases. But there is a lot of competition on the site.

Etsy is well-known for selling art and handmade items. It has over 30 million buyers. You are in charge of printing and shipping the prints yourself. If you want full control, selling prints on your own website is a good choice.

Plugins like Envira or platforms like Photoshelter, Format, Zenfolio, and SmugMug make it easy to sell prints from your site.

To sell photography prints with the most success, try using a mix of different platforms and methods.

sell photography prints

Pricing Prints

Selling photography prints can be a great way to make money from your images. To get started, decide if you want to focus solely on selling prints or if you’ll also work as a photographer for specific clients.

Research what types of photos sell well as prints, such as beautiful landscapes, iconic cityscapes, and wildlife.

Choose only your best images to print. They should be technically perfect and have the most “value” to potential buyers. Consider various papers, sizes, finishes, and materials for your prints, but keep costs in mind.

Factor in all expenses like printing, shipping, VAT, and credit card fees. Then add a percentage markup for profit, but make sure the price is still reasonable. If a print doesn’t sell, you may need to reduce the price or accept that it might take a while.

Learn how to price photography prints by reading our in-depth article.

price photography prints

Real Estate Photography

Getting paid to take pictures of houses is a great way to turn your love of photography into a career. To get started, research your local market to find out what real estate photography jobs cost in your area.

You’ll also need to decide if you want to work with interior designers or real estate agents.

Create a basic website with sample images and your contact info. Plan out your real estate photography process, including a rate sheet, contract, delivery method, and how to wrap up a project.

Connecting with potential clients is key, so attend in-person social events, spread the word to family and friends, and use social media to showcase your work.

To get paid to take pictures of houses , focus on improving your skills and building a client list. With solid research, an efficient workflow, and visibility online and in person, you’ll soon have a steady flow of photo shoots.

get paid to take pictures of houses

Sell Lightroom Presets

Adobe Lightroom presets are a quick way to edit photos and achieve a specific look. If you have a knack for photo editing, you can create and sell your own Lightroom presets. Start by editing your photos to create a unique style that others will want to use.

Package your presets and price them competitively. Look at other preset packs to find a general price range, then price yours on the high side. You can always offer discounts or have a sale later.

Market your presets on social media platforms like Instagram. Post before and after photos to show the difference your presets can make. Emphasize how easy they are to use. Busy professional photographers will pay for quality presets that save them time.

Check out our full tutorial on how to sell Lightroom presets by clicking this link.

sell lightroom presets

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How to Start  Successful Photography Business via Unsplash

How to Start a Photography Business: 6 Helpful Steps

If you’re thinking about starting a photography business, you’ve probably got a lot of questions.

Is it worth the work? What are the pros and cons? How much money can you make? What equipment do you need? Should you specialize in a particular type of photography? How can you get clients?

There’s a lot to consider.

Still, if you love taking photographs and you’re willing to put in the work, it’s possible to earn a good living from your passion. As  Walt Disney once said , “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

In this article, we’ll run through how to start a photography business step-by-step.

The Pros and Cons of Starting a Photography Business

business plan on photographer

Hobbies and businesses are two very different things.

So, before you turn your passion into a livelihood, take a moment to consider the pros and cons of starting a photography business.

5 Pros of Starting a Photography Business

1. make money from your passion.

The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius once said , “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

If you decide to start a photography business, you’ll have the opportunity to spend a lot of your time doing the thing you love: taking photographs.

2. Find Meaning in Your Work

Photographers are hired to capture and preserve special moments forever. Whether the subject is nature, family portraits, weddings, or etc, photographers can find much meaning in their work.

3. Meet New People

Whether you meet people at weddings, in your portrait studio, or on location taking wildlife pictures, photography can be a great way to meet lots of new and interesting people. Most cities even have active meetup.com groups, who meet regularly to socialize.

4. Flexibility

Running a photography business can provide a lot of flexibility to you and your family. Unlike a traditional nine-to-five, you’re in complete control of your schedule. This makes it easier to prioritize childcare, vacations, and time with those you love.

5. Travel Opportunities

Do you love to travel and experience new places? Many photographers make travel a regular part of their work. Simply book clients in locations you’d like to visit.

5 Cons of Starting a Photography Business

Photography Business Equipment via Unsplash

1. Expensive Equipment Costs

Depending on how much equipment you already have, it can be expensive to purchase everything you need to start a photography business.

2. Fickle Customers

Some customers can be difficult or draining. Also, some events can be stressful and bring out the worst in people. For example, if you decide to photograph weddings, you may come across the occasional “bridezilla.”

3. Unsociable Working Hours

Many photography shoots happen outside of normal working hours during the evenings and weekends. This can make it challenging to spend time with friends and family who work or go to school during the week.

4. Inconsistent Income

As with any small business, income isn’t always consistent, and it can take time to build a regular flow of work. When starting, you’ll likely experience surges and dips in your income. 

5. You Could Spoil Your Passion

As mentioned above, hobbies and businesses differ in many ways. Turning your hobby into a business can take the fun and spontaneity out of it, and photography could end up feeling like boring, tedious work.

9 Photography Business Ideas

The most successful photographers specialize in a particular type of photography. Why? In short, specialists are most sought after than generalists.

Think about it: If you’re getting married, would you rather hire a general photographer or someone who specializes in weddings?

So, before you start your photography business, take some time to decide what type of photography business you want to run.

To help, here’s a list of nine common photography business ideas.

1. Wedding Photography Business

Wedding photographers are needed to help capture and preserve every couple’s big day.

wedding photography via unsplash

2. Portrait Photography Business

Families, actors, models, and business people all need a portrait photographer from time-to-time.

3. Real Estate Photography Business

Realtors, property managers, homeowners, hotels, and even Airbnb hosts all need stunning photos to help them market their properties.

4. Travel Photography Business

Travel photographers provide stunning photographs to countries, cities, magazines, blogs, hotels, and tourist attractions. These photographs can be used for entertainment or promotional purposes.

5. Event Photography Business

Event photographers are needed for birthday parties, graduations, business events, and religious celebrations.

6. Food Photography Business

Restaurants, food brands, and advertising agencies often use specialist food photographers to showcase their products or menu items.

7. Fashion Photography Business

Designers, magazines, and runway events all need fashion photographers to capture and promote the latest styles and creations.

8. Sports Photography Business

Sports photographers specialize in capturing the excitement, action, and drama of sports events.

9. Product Photography Business

Businesses selling products need presentable photos to use for marketing and sales.

How to Start a Photography Business?

Now, you’re probably wondering:

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Photography Business?

Before you start a photography business, it helps to have a rough idea of how much getting set up will cost – especially as professional photography equipment isn’t cheap.

So, how much does it cost to start a photography business? 

Well, Jamie Swanson , a wedding photographer in Wisconsin, USA, calculated the total costs of starting two different types of photography businesses. Here’s what she found:

  • Total costs of starting a portrait photography business: $8,524 – $12,319
  • Total costs of starting a wedding photography business: $13,182 – $16,977

She summarized by saying, “For less than $10,000, you can start a portrait photography business and for less than $15,000, you can start a wedding photography business.”

Okay, but what exactly do you need all of this money for?

What Do I Need to Start a Photography Business?

If you’ve been an amateur photographer for a while, you may already have most of the equipment you need.

Still, you should consider whether the quality of your equipment is high enough to produce work that you can confidently charge for.

What’s more, you’ll likely need to purchase some additional equipment and services to run your photography business. 

Here’s a list of everything you may need to start a photography business.

Photography Equipment

Let’s start by running through the gear you’ll need when setting up a photography business.

1. Professional Camera

Of course, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a professional-grade camera. Before you purchase a camera, make sure to do plenty of research on the best make and model for your type of photography.

Photography Camera via Unsplash

2. Backup Camera

As a professional photographer, it’s always good practice to have a high-quality backup camera. That way, if you’re ever mid-shoot and something goes wrong with your camera, you can continue the shoot. 

Just imagine if you were hired to photograph a wedding and your camera broke during the vowels!

Every photographer needs a set of professional lenses to capture their subjects. Again, make sure to research the types of lenses most suitable for your style of photography.

Tripods are a vital piece of equipment for all photographers. Not only do they help keep your camera steady, but they also allow you to take many photos of a subject without altering your frame.

5. Camera Bag

Professional-grade cameras and lenses aren’t cheap, so be sure to protect them from damage with a dedicated camera bag. These bags also make it easier to organize and access your gear while out on a shoot.

6. Lighting

Great photographs require great lighting. Although natural lighting is often best, you’ll need to get some lighting equipment or reflectors to help you take great photos when there’s not enough sunlight. 

7. Backdrops

If you plan on starting a portrait photography business, you’ll need to create or purchase some backdrops.

Depending on the type of photographs you plan to take, you may want to source some props. For example, if you’re an events photographer, you could gather some party props like oversized glasses and silly hats.

9. Reliable Car or Van

As a professional photographer, your livelihood will depend on your ability to provide a quality service to clients. In other words, turning up late – or not at all – because your car broke down is very bad for business. Make sure that you have reliable transportation for you and your gear.

10. Studio Space

Depending on the type of photographs you plan to take, you may need to purchase or rent some studio space. Alternatively, you could create a small studio in your home.

11. Computer

You’ll need a reliable computer to market your business, edit photos, and manage your photo files.

12. Editing Software

You’ll also need some professional photo editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom to fine-tune your photographs.

If you use a desktop computer with a large screen for photo editing, you may also want to invest in a laptop to edit on-the-go.

14. External Hard Drive

High-quality digital photos can take up a lot of hard drive space on your computer – and this can slow your computer down. Instead, invest in an external hard drive to store your photo files.

15. Photo Printer

If you plan on offering prints to your clients, you may want to consider investing in a photo printer. Alternatively, you could locate a local printing service to use whenever you need to print photos for clients.

16. Smartphone with a Quality Camera

Although you’ll need to use your professional-grade camera for shoots, you can use your smartphone to capture behind-the-scenes content for social media. You can use this content to promote your photography business.

17. Mobile Photography Apps

You may also want to download some photo editing apps to polish your smartphone photos before you share them online. Check out Snapseed , Lightroom CC , Scratch Photos , and Photoshop Express (picture below).

Adobe Photoshop Express App

Marketing Tools

Now that you’ve got your gear sorted let’s take a look at some of the tools you’ll need to market your photography business.

18. Website and Online Portfolio

You’ll need a professional website that presents your services and showcases your previous work. (More on this later.)

19. Social Media Channels

It can help to be active on social media platforms like Facebook , Instagram , Pinterest , and LinkedIn . You can use these channels to promote your work and network with potential clients.

20. Business Cards

Business cards are a tried-and-true form of personal marketing. Always keep a few with you and share them with new contacts at events and shoots. To create yours, check out services like Vistaprint , Office Depot , and Staples.

Operational Tools

Now, let’s take a look at some tools to manage your business operations.

21. Payment System

As a business, you’ll need an efficient way to collect payments from clients. Ideally, this system would allow you to take payments online, over the phone, and in person.

A cost-effective and straightforward way to do this is to use Shopify's Point of Sale system . 

Shopify is a complete commerce solution that you can use to build your website, manage your business, and take payments.

22. Business License

You may need to register your business with your local or state government. Make sure to look into the requirements for photography businesses in your area.

23. Insurance

Accidents happen. You may wish to purchase business or equipment insurance to help protect you if things go wrong.

24. Accounting Software

When you become self-employed, you’ll need to keep track of your finances and submit tax returns. You may want to consider using an accounting program to help, such as Freshbooks , Quickbooks , or Xero .

25. Client Contracts

Whenever you get a new client or project, it’s good practice to have the other party sign a contract. This helps to protect you if things go wrong and clarifies to both parties what’s expected from the arrangement. You could purchase contract templates or hire a local lawyer to create contracts for you.

26. PPA Membership

You may wish to become a member of the Professional Photographers of America . This is an organization that provides resources, advice, and education to professional photographers. 

How Much Do Photographers Charge?

If you’re wondering how to start a photography business, you’re probably also wondering, “how much do photographers charge?”

Although there’s no fixed answer to this question, we can explore some averages to get a general idea.

According to the business platform Fash , professional photographers often charge between $100 and $250 USD per hour. This typically works out as $25 to $100 per final edited photograph.

It’s important to note that how much a photographer earns is mostly dependent on their level of skill, experience, and the type of photography they’re doing. Check out the image below to learn more.

Fash How Much Do Photographers Charge Per Hour in USD

What’s more, average day rates for photography services range from $300 to $500 for birthday parties and $1,000 to $3,000 for weddings.

Also, remember that this is what photographers charge – it isn’t what photographers make.

Although a photographer may charge $200 per hour, they need to subtract the cost of administration, travel, marketing, equipment, and editing time. Once they’ve taken these additional costs into account, their take-home pay will be less.

How to Name Your Photography Business

When naming your photography business, there are two basic options available:

  • Use your name and simply call you business, “Jane Smith Photography” or “Jane Smith Wedding Photography.”
  • Create a new brand name for your photography services, like “Luxe Photography” or “Luxe Wedding Photography.”

If you chose option number one, you’re all set.

However, if you choose option two, there are a few things to consider. To start, you need to choose a name that fits the type of photography business you’re starting.

For example, “Happily Ever After Photography” will work nicely if you're photographing weddings. But it might not work so well if you’re shooting corporate business conferences.

To help brainstorm ideas, check out Shopify’s business name generator .

Next, you need to make sure that your business name isn’t already trademarked. In the US, to get started with this process, perform a TESS trademark search on the USPTO website using the “basic word mark search” function.

It’s also worth searching Google to see if another business is already using the name or using a similar name that could be confused, like “Happily Ever After Videography .”

If you find someone else using the name, it’s best to avoid it and find something original.

How to Brand Your Photography Business

Before you can start marketing your photography business, you’ll need to create your brand visuals.

This means choosing a visual style, colors, and fonts. You can use these visuals on your website, social media channels, business card, and any other marketing materials you create. 

It also helps to create a professional logo. You can do this for free with Hatchful .

It took just a few minutes to create the logo below. And as you can see from the image, Hatchful provides ready-made branding images optimized for social media.

Branded Photography Business with Hatchful

How to Market Your Photography Business

Now comes the most important part of starting a photography business: landing clients. To do this, you need to market your services.

But before you start marketing your photography business, it helps to have a portfolio of work to showcase your skills. And the easiest way to display your photography portfolio is by building a professional website. 

You can do this with a service like Shopify . This service has tons of website themes built specifically for art and photography businesses.

To learn more about building your photography website, check out our guide, How to Make a Website.

Once you have an online portfolio, you can start marketing your photography business.

Begin by posting on social media and reaching out to people in your network to ask if they know anyone who may be interested in your services. It’s not uncommon for a photographer's first few clients to be people they know.

Also, make sure that you always have some business cards in your bag to give to people you meet.

Once you’ve done these steps, start networking in Facebook groups related to your target market. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer in New York, you might want to join New York Weddings .

You could also attend trade shows and events in your target market. For example, if you’re a pet photographer you could find many potential clients at dog shows.

Summary: How to Start a Photography Business

If you’re wondering how to start a photography business, here are some steps you can take:

  • Weigh the pros and cons
  • Specialize in a particular type of photography, such as weddings, fashion, or portraits
  • Figure out how much it will cost you to get started
  • Gather your equipment, like cameras, lenses, and editing software
  • Get your business in order with a payment system, business license, insurance, and contracts
  • Work out your pricing model
  • Choose a name for your photography business
  • Create a logo, and brand your business
  • Start marketing your business

Turning your hobby into your livelihood can be very rewarding. Good luck!

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FAQs on How to Start a Photography Business

How much money does it take to start a photography business.

Many photographers budget at least $5,000 to get started, but the actual figure depends on what type of business you are planning to start.

Portrait photography incurs lower starting costs than wedding photography, for example. How much you need also depends on your marketing budget, equipment, and what your long-term business goals are. 

How can I start a photography business with no money?

Here are some ways to start a photography business with no money:

  • Don't buy equipment, rent it instead
  • Learn the basics of photography from free courses and videos available online
  • Brush up on your skills by practicing with friends and family
  • Invest some time into building your business website instead of outsourcing it to others

How do I start my photography career?

The main camera aside, you'll also need equipment like a backup camera, lenses, a tripod, a camera bag, proper lighting, backdrops, props, a computer or laptop, and editing software.

You may also require marketing and operational tools if you're starting your own photography business.

How to Start a Photography Business in 2024

Steve Goldstein

Do you love to take photos all the time? Do you have a passion for photography? If the answer is YES, then why don’t you start your photography business to make some revenue out of your passion? Here are all the details on  how to start a photography business  without any experience.

If you love taking photographs, then starting a photography business might be easier for you. There are so many ways to get started without having to spend thousands of dollars. You don’t necessarily need to invest lots of money into equipment before you begin shooting. You can even start with a smartphone camera. Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, you’ll soon discover that you can create beautiful images using nothing more than a tripod and a good lighting setup.

Best Photography Business Ideas

Want to know  how to start an LLC  or Sole Proprietorship for your photography business? Decide on these things now so that you won’t waste time later trying to figure everything out. If you are planning to start a photography business, there are several ideas for you. Here is a list of photography business ideas you can try.

1. Portrait Photography

Photography business ideas involve taking pictures of people at events, parties, weddings, etc. You could charge anywhere between $50-$100 per person, depending on how many pictures you take. If you want to start out small, then consider starting off with family members first.

2. Pet Photography

Pet photography businesses are similar to photographing people, except they don’t have to pay any money upfront. Instead, you get paid after you deliver the photographs. Pet photographers can make anywhere from $10-$15 for each photo, depending on where you live and what type of pet you’re photographing.

3. Landscapes Photography

Landscape photography businesses are great if you love nature. Landscapes require a lot of patience and practice before you become good enough to earn a decent amount of money. However, once you do learn how to shoot landscapes well, you’ll find yourself earning around $200-$300 for each photograph.

4. Food Photography

Food photography businesses are perfect if you enjoy cooking. Food photography requires a lot of creativity and artistic talent. There’s no right or wrong way to cook so you can experiment until you find something delicious. Once you’ve perfected your skills, you can sell your food-related photographs online for about $500-$1000.

5. Event (Wedding) Photography

Event photography is one of the most popular and in-demand photography business ideas. There can be various types of events such as weddings, corporate parties, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other occasions where people need photographers. The price ranges from $150-$500 per hour for various events. You can also offer a package that includes all the functions. That ranges from $2000-$5000.

6. Wildlife Photography

Animal photography businesses are similar to pet photography businesses, except you won’t need to pay anyone anything upfront. After you finish taking their portraits, you can submit them to stock agencies and websites. Depending on the size of the agency/website, you may receive anywhere from $25-$75 for each portrait.

7. Fashion Photography

Fashion photography is similar to Portraits or photographing people. In fashion photography, you capture not only the faces but also dresses, accessories, shoes, etc. You can start your own agency or join any popular fashion photographer to learn more. You may charge anywhere from $30-$100 for each photo.

How to Start a Photography Business

Starting a photography business is easier than ever before. There are so many different options out there that it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you decide which type of photography business is best suited for you.

Step 1: Choose a Niche

Choosing a niche is the first step toward starting a successful photography business. What kind of photos do you like taking? Do you enjoy traveling? Are you interested in fashion? Sports? Landscapes? Whatever your passion may be, make sure that you find something that interests you.

Step 2: Create a Business Plan

Once you’ve chosen a niche, it’s time to put together a plan for how you’re going to run your business. Think about what you’ll need to succeed. Will you hire employees? How much money will you spend on equipment? Will you rent studio space? What will be your business structure? Above all, where do you want to start your business? Photography is a kind of business that every city, and every state needs. People across the globe need photographers to shoot their occasions. Big states like California, New York, Washington, Florida, and some more have big opportunities for this business.

If you are willing to start a photography business in any of the big cities in big states, then you must know about the fees and costs of running a business in that city. You can learn about the fees and government regulations of setting up an  LLC in Texas  here. You can check other states like  Florida LLC ,  California LLC , and  Wyoming LLC  to know more about the business structure.

Step 3: Research Equipment Costs

You’ll also need to think about the costs involved in running your business. Photography equipment can cost anywhere from $500-$20,000+. Start researching prices now so that you can budget accordingly.

Step 4: Hire Employees

Hiring employees is another big expense that you’ll face when starting a photography business. But, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Many photographers hire freelancers instead of hiring employees. They still have to cover payroll taxes and benefits, but they only have to pay for the hours worked. Each state can have different employment taxes for businesses. For example, if you have a  Montana LLC , then you might have to pay a certain amount of employment taxes.

Step 5: Consider Renting Studio Space

Another alternative to hiring employees is renting studio space. Studios come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll have to consider what size fits your needs. Some studios charge per hour, others charge monthly, and others charge based on square footage. If you choose to start your business in a small state or small city, then the rent will be lesser compared to a big city.

Step 6: Determine Whether You Need Insurance

In addition to deciding on a location, you’ll also need to decide whether you’ll need insurance. Depending on your state, you may be required to carry liability insurance. And, if you’re planning on selling prints, you’ll probably need copyright protection.

Step 7: Obtain EIN, Set up a Bank Account

Setting up a bank account is essential for doing business. You’ll need to set up a separate bank account just for your business. This allows you to track expenses separately from personal funds. You need to obtain the EIN from the IRS to continue having your bank account.

Step 8: Register With State Licensing Boards

If you want to sell products online, you’ll also need a license. In most states, this requires registering with the appropriate licensing board. Check with your local government to see where you need to register.

Step 9: Market Your Photography Business & Get Clients

Now that you know what steps you’ll need to take to start a photography business, it’s time to market yourself! The more people who know about your services, the better. So, create an Instagram profile, post on Facebook, and get started networking.

Cost to Start Photography Business

Quality photography equipment is monstrously expensive. You’ll need at least two cameras, multiple lenses, flash units, memory cards, external hard drives, laptops, web hosting, software, insurance, accounting, contracts, and business cards. If you’re just getting started, expect to spend around $10,000 to get going. But if you’re already established, you may be able to cut costs by sharing resources like lighting, assistants, and locations.

Selling Your Photos Online

Now, you can sell your photos online and make money out of it. There are some very good online photo-selling platforms available where you can upload and sell your photos. Most of these platforms do not accept photos with watermarks. So, make sure not to add any watermark before you upload your photographs. Below are some of the online platforms,

1. Shutterfly

Shutterfly offers a wide range of products, including prints, books, calendars, cards, frames, and more. You can upload your own pictures or choose from their library of images. Their website makes it simple to create a beautiful product using templates or uploading your own design. Once your order is complete, they print, ship, and send out your items.

2. Snapfish

Snapfish provides high-quality digital cameras and printers at affordable prices. Upload your favorite photos to start customizing them. Choose from over 100 unique designs and add text, borders, and frames. Your finished product will then be printed and shipped directly to your door.

SmugMug is a great option if you want to sell your photography online. Create unlimited galleries and share them with friends and family. Sell prints, canvases, and even framed art! You can also use their site to store your memories safely.

4. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a free online tool that lets you edit your photos right away. Use filters, stickers, fonts, overlays, and much more to make your image look amazing. Share your creations via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and email.

5. CanvasPop

CanvasPop sells canvas prints, posters, wall murals, and more. All orders are customizable and shipped straight to your home. Customize your artwork with text, shapes, colors, and more.

Zazzle is a platform where people buy and sell personalized t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, hats, and more. Browse their selection of clothing, accessories, and gifts. Add your own photos, graphics, and text to personalize your creation.

7. Redbubble

Redbubble is a global marketplace for independent artists and designers. Design your own clothes, accessories, and home decor. Connect with customers worldwide and earn money through sales and affiliate programs.

Pros and Cons to Start a Photography Business

If you’re looking to start a photography business, there are many options available. However, not every photographer has the time, skills, or experience needed to run a successful business. Below are some pros and cons of starting a photography business so you can decide which route is best for you.

  • You get to take pictures all day long!
  • You can make money doing what you love.
  • You don’t have to work for someone else anymore.
  • It’s hard to find clients that want your photos.
  • You have to pay for equipment, printing costs
  • You have no control over how much you are paid.

What Are The Benefits Of Starting A Photography Business?

  • Flexible Schedule : Starting a photography business gives you the freedom to set your own schedule. Instead of working 9-to-5, you can spend your days taking pictures and making money. This means you won’t need to worry about finding childcare or commuting to an office job.
  • Freedom To Travel : Another benefit of running a photography business is the ability to travel. If you’ve always wanted to see new places, now is your chance. You could go on road trips across America, visit exotic locations overseas, or just stay in one place and explore your neighborhood.
  • Opportunity For Growth : A photography business allows you to grow as a person and artist. As your portfolio grows, you may be able to land bigger jobs and increase your income. Plus, you can learn from other photographers who have been in your position before.
  • Control Over Your Career : Running a photography business gives you complete control over your career. You can choose when to shoot, where to shoot, and what kind of images to create. There’s nothing stopping you from becoming a professional photographer.
  • Make Money Doing What You Love : Many people dream of being their own boss, but few actually achieve it. Running a photography business is a great way to follow your passion while earning a steady paycheck.

Disadvantages of Starting a Photography Company

  • No Guarantees : One disadvantage of starting a photography business is that you won’t always know whether you’ll succeed. Even though you might think you’re ready to launch your business, things could change over time. Maybe you’ll find out that you aren’t cut out for running a business after all. Or maybe you’ll discover that you really enjoy being a photographer and want to continue pursuing it full-time. Either way, you’ll learn valuable lessons along the way.
  • Time Commitment : Another downside to starting a photography business is the amount of time commitment involved. Running a successful business takes lots of hard work and dedication. You’ll need to put in long days and nights to keep your business going strong.
  • People Do Not Prefer to be Photographed : You also have to deal with the fact that most people do not like having their pictures taken. Some people even feel uncomfortable if they know you are taking their picture. It’s important to remember that people don’t like feeling pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. So, if someone doesn’t want to be photographed, respect their wishes and move on.

Photography is one of the best ways to capture memories and share them with family and friends. There are several different types of cameras available today, such as point-&-shoot, DSLR, mirrorless cameras, etc. If you want to start taking photos, then you should first decide what kind of camera you would like to use. Then, you need to learn how to operate the camera and understand the settings for each photo mode. Finally, you must practice until you feel comfortable using the camera.

To be an expert photographer, you need to practice, practice, practice! Photography requires patience and persistence. If you want to learn how to become an expert photographer, then start taking pictures now. The best way to learn photography is just to keep shooting.

A camera is essential for any photographer. If you want to be successful at taking photos, then invest in a DSLR camera. This is the best way to capture high-quality images. However, if you don’t have much money, then you should consider investing in a point-and-shoot camera. These cameras are easy to use, and they provide great results.

Photography is one of the oldest forms of art, dating back thousands of years. Today, photographers use digital cameras to capture images using light-sensitive film. The best way to learn how to become a photographer is to practice taking pictures. Start by shooting landscapes, buildings, and other subjects that you find interesting. Once you feel comfortable with basic photography techniques, try experimenting with different types of lighting, such as natural sunlight, flash, and studio lights.

Photo editing software includes Adobe Photoshop, which is used for image retouching, graphic design, and web graphics. There are also other types of photo editing software such as GIMP, Paint Shop Pro, and Corel Draw.

The best pictures for selling online are those that show something unique about the product, like a close-up shot of a detail. Pictures should be taken at a high resolution to ensure they look great when viewed on any device.

In Conclusion

The importance of starting a photography business cannot be understated. From allowing individuals to live their passion to stimulating economic growth and preserving cherished memories, this field plays a crucial role in society. By capturing unique and breathtaking images, photographers touch the hearts and souls of people across the globe. So, if you have a passion for photography, do not hesitate to turn it into a thriving business. Embrace the art, creativity, and possibilities that await, and share your unique vision with the world.

Photography is one of the oldest art. It was invented thousands of years ago. In fact, some people believe that photography is an art form that dates back to ancient Egypt. Today, photography is used for many purposes, including documenting history, capturing memories, and creating beautiful works of art. If you are interested in starting a photography business, then this article has everything you want.

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How To Start A Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Creating a business plan is a critical first step for any entrepreneur. Knowing how to start a business plan will help you create a roadmap, guiding your business from startup to growth and beyond. Whether you're looking for investment, trying to set clear goals, or simply organizing your thoughts, a solid business plan can make all the difference.

Here is a guide to help you get started on your business plan:

1. executive summary.

What It Is: This section summarizes your business plan as a whole and outlines your company profile and goals.

What to Include:

  • Business name and location
  • Products or services offered
  • Mission statement
  • The purpose of the plan (e.g., seeking funding, guiding the startup process)

Tip: Keep it concise. Although it's the first section, it's often best to write it last, after you’ve detailed everything else.

2. Company Description

What It Is: This section provides detailed information about your company, including who you are, what you do, and what markets you serve.

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  • Your business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation)
  • The industry and marketplace needs your business meets
  • Your business’s objectives and how you stand out from competitors

Tip: Use this section to highlight your company’s strengths and what makes you unique.

3. Market Research

What It Is: Market research demonstrates your understanding of the industry and target market.

  • Market size and growth potential
  • Target customer demographics
  • Market trends and outlook
  • Competitive analysis, including strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Tip: Include data and statistics to back up your findings and show that you’ve done your homework.

4. Organization and Management

What It Is: This section outlines your business’s organizational structure and management team.

  • Organizational chart
  • Information about the ownership of the company
  • Backgrounds and qualifications of the management team
  • Roles and responsibilities within the company

Tip: Highlight the skills and experiences of your team that will help the business succeed.

5. Products or Services Line

What It Is: Here, you detail the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

  • A description of each product or service
  • The lifecycle of products or services
  • Research and development activities, if applicable
  • Intellectual property, such as patents or trademarks

Tip: Focus on the benefits your products or services bring to your customers.

6. Marketing and Sales Strategy

What It Is: This section explains how you will attract and retain customers.

  • Marketing strategies, including advertising, promotions, and public relations
  • Sales strategies, including sales processes, channels, and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and how it compares to competitors

Tip: Ensure your marketing and sales strategies are aligned with your market research findings.

7. Funding Request

What It Is: If you’re seeking funding , this section outlines your requirements.

  • Your current funding needs
  • Future funding requirements over the next five years
  • How you intend to use the funds
  • Potential future financial plans (e.g., selling the business, repaying debt)

Tip: Be specific and realistic about how much funding you need and how it will be used.

8. Financial Projections

What It Is: Financial projections provide a forecast of your business’s financial future.

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Break-even analysis

Tip: Use realistic and conservative estimates. Consider hiring a financial professional to help with this section if needed.

9. Appendix

What It Is: The appendix includes any additional information that supports your business plan.

  • Resumes of key management team members
  • Permits and leases
  • Legal documents
  • Detailed market research data
  • Product photos

Tip: Only include essential information that adds value to your business plan.

Final Tips for Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan requires clarity and precision. First and foremost, keep your business plan clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or complex language that could make the plan difficult to read or understand. Your aim should be to communicate your ideas effectively and efficiently.

Next, be realistic in your approach. Ensure that your goals and financial projections are attainable based on your research and understanding of the market. Overly ambitious projections can undermine your credibility and potentially lead to unrealistic expectations.

It's also essential to remember that a business plan is a dynamic document. As your business grows and market conditions change, you should revisit and revise your plan regularly. This helps you stay aligned with your goals and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Finally, seek feedback from experienced business professionals. Having someone with business experience review your plan can provide valuable insights and help identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. Their feedback can enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of your business plan.

By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to create a robust and effective business plan that can guide your business towards success.

The bottom line is that starting a business plan may seem challenging, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a comprehensive guide to steer your business toward success. Use this step-by-step guide to ensure that all essential components are covered, giving your business the best possible start.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business and the founder of She Means Profit . As a Business Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps women making mid-career shifts, to launch their dream businesses, and I also guide established business owners to grow their businesses to more profitably.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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Jeremy Schoff of York leads his oxen, Pete and Red, during the ox pull on Thursday at the Ossippe Valley Fair in 2021. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

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12 hidden gems of this year’s Maine International Film Festival

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Spectators watching a previous year’s Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Our weekly events roundup includes the East Bayside block party in Portland and the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls. Should you make it to the festival on Saturday, don’t miss “American Idol” alum Julia Gagnon singing at 1:30 p.m.

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One with Everything from Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs. Photo by Ray Routhier

Need a break from standard-issue hot dogs? We love them too, but sometimes a new twist is just what your taste buds need. Ray Routhier stopped by Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs cart . If you like what you read, you can find it parked from 4-9 p.m. Thursday at Apres in Portland, then on the roof of Bayside Bowl on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Sick of red snappers? Try an Icelandic hot dog instead

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Summer Cyanotype Workshop (Main)

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Join local photographer and artist Edie Bresler for a fun hands-on workshop on cyanotype, a method of photography that uses the sun to develop prints! Participants will learn all about the process and techniques used in this photography method and create their own small cyanotype print with natural objects.

This event will take place outside of the Main Library in Joan Lorentz Park, in the shade and in direct sunlight. Please plan accordingly.

Note: If rain or heavy clouds affect our ability to make prints outside, we will offer this workshop inside in the Community Room with artificial light sources.

About the artist: 

Edie Bresler uses a broad range of photographic approaches to engage ideas of perception, truth and collectivity. 

A recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, several Somerville Arts Council awards and a Berkshire Taconic Artist, Bresler's projects have been featured on Good Morning America, PBS Greater Boston, Photograph Magazine, Lenscratch, Slate, Esquire, Photo District News, Business Insider, and more.

A popular speaker and educator, Bresler often partners with community organizations to produce local community photography art projects.

Registration for this event will open at 9 a.m. on July 1, 2024.

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