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How to Start a Photography Business in 2022 [Ultimate Guide]

A photography business is a lucrative business anyone with a camera and some great photo editing skills can easily start. If you know how to find potential clients, such as engaged couples or local businesses, you can easily find a way to earn a living by starting a photography business. Photographers who create a solid business plan, build a list of new clients, and take great photos can be well on their way to success, even in the first few months of starting their business.

In this article, you’ll learn how to start a photography business in 2022 and a lot more. So, if you’re looking to grow your photography business, get ready to learn plenty of profitable ideas.

Here’s a quick list of things we’ll cover:

How Much Does a Professional Photographer Make

A professional photographer can earn between $35,000 to $100,000 per year, on average, depending on skill level, number of clients, seasonality, and more. Wedding photographers typically only work seasonally in the spring, summer, and fall, whereas product photographers might work throughout the year.

If your photography work is highly impacted by seasonality, the good news is that there are various other ways for a photographer to earn income other than taking in clients. This includes selling digital photos online, selling photo prints, selling online courses on photography, and more!

how to start a photography business

Pros of Starting A Photography Business

1. Low barrier to entry

Many photographers are drawn to the idea of starting a photography business because all you need is equipment and clients. It’s relatively easy to get started if you already own the equipment yourself. You don’t need any formal education to become a photographer, but photo editing skills are of course highly helpful when starting and growing a photography business.

2. Earn money through services

The most profitable way to earn money online is through services. After all, the margins are a lot higher in service businesses. So naturally, people who take high-quality photos like the idea of trading their time for money while also being able to scale their businesses by selling canvases, photo books, and other types of artwork to their clients.

3. Meet new people

You can grow your business as a photographer relatively easily since you’ll always meet new people. A photographer typically networks at events they shoot photos at where potential new clients will ask for their business card. They might mingle with guests at a wedding or network with local businesses at events. But if you’re looking for a side hustle where you can meet new people, a photography business is one of the best professional businesses you can start for that.

photography events

3. Opportunities to travel

A lot of photography gigs come with opportunities to travel. Many wedding photography clients are willing to pay for their photographers’ travel expenses in order to get their photos taken by a photographer that they love. If you’re pursuing non-commercial genres such as wildlife photography, you will most likely travel to breath-taking places such as mountains, deserts, and more.

4. Flexible hours

Say goodbye to the nine-to-five life. You have the full control to accept and reject clients when you build your own photography business. This makes it much easier to prioritize other things in your life such as work-life balance, childcare, and more.

Cons of Starting A Photography Business

1. Expensive equipment

One of the cons of starting a photography business is that the equipment photographers use is often costly. From cameras to photo editing software, there are many costs associated with the tools associated with starting a photography business. And some of those tools might need to be insured in case they get stolen at an event.

2. Income is seasonal

Depending on the type of photography business you start, you might find that there are seasonal dips and swings. As a result, you might need to find other ways to supplement your income during the slow season to help pay bills or save extra during the peak season.

3. Odd hours

Most people work Monday to Friday with weekends off. This doesn’t ring true for photographers. Most photographers work evenings and weekends, especially for wedding clients. The odd hours aren’t always practical for families, but if you have a lot of free time this could be a good arrangement for you otherwise.

photography equipment

Photography Business Ideas

There are many photography business ideas you can start here are a few:

  • Wedding
  • Product
  • Fashion
  • Family Portrait
  • Food
  • Newborn
  • Real estate
  • Sports
  • Travel
  • Pet
  • Stock

food photography

How to Start a Photography Business

1. Choose A Type of Photography Business

There are two main ways you can start a photography business. The first option is by selling digital photos online, such as being a stock photographer, selling canvases, selling nature photos online, and photos for a website or blog. The second option is to sell services, such as being a wedding photographer. Fortunately, you can also combine the two business models of service and product to earn even more money online.

START A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS

Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip

Payhip is a digital product website builder that allows photographers to sell photography as a product and as a service. If you choose to sell photos as digital files, Payhip offers instant file delivery, as well as many other features associated with digital downloads. If you choose to sell services, you can use Payhip’s features for selling coaching services, and modify it accordingly to suit your photography business. Payhip also offers features for you to be able to sell photography online courses if you’re interested to generate extra income through teaching.

2. Plan Your Business

Creating a business plan for your photography business is a good idea before you get started. Take time to think about how you’ll find new clients, deal with seasonal swings, and run your business year-round. Having different product offerings, such as offering services and products can help you earn more money. You might also take some time to think about how to keep clients on board longer. For instance, a newly engaged couple could turn into a wedding photography package, then be offered a newborn photoshoot, and eventually family photos. Many photographers should consider building an email list so they can retain clients for their services long after the initial period. So consider all the aspects of your business to ensure you can run this business for years to come. Really consider the brand you’re building when you first start coming up with the marketing plan for your company.

3. Buy the Right Equipment

Before your first photo session, you’ll need to have the right equipment in place. You might have an in-home studio where you take photos of newborns or families. You’ll need everything from a camera to lighting. Here are a few common types of equipment photographers buy for their business:

  • Camera
  • Multiple lenses
  • Tripod
  • Adobe Creative Cloud subscription
  • Desktop monitor
  • Filters
  • Specialized cleaning products
  • Flash

photoshop

4. Create a Website

A reputable photography brand needs to have a website with a blog, that allows a client to connect with the team to book appointments, buy products, or write and post a review about their experience. Your website could include a list of tips on what to expect from your booking. You can also include a list of all your social media pages, so people can see carefully curated pictures or other marketing assets you have.

Having a website will require you to do SEO to rank well in search results, so you can be found locally by the community and market your services to people you wouldn’t otherwise find organically. Payhip offers tools for you to be able to optimize your website’s SEO for free.

Spend time carefully creating and investing in your website to build a brand. You can hire a developer to design your website. However, these days digital product website builder’s like Payhip allow anyone to easily set up a website for free. Payhip offers a Free Forever plan that only charges a 5% transaction fee for products sold via your website, so if your website doesn’t earn income for one month, you won’t need to pay, making it the ideal choice for growing photography businesses.

photographer website
Example of photographer website

5. Register Your Business

Depending on your location, you might need to register your business. Every city has its own laws and legislation regarding starting a business locally. You might need to earn a minimum amount before you register your business or you might need to register before you earn depending on where you’re located. Most cities offer advice on starting a business at the local government or city offices, where you can learn more about getting started.

Registering your business will require you to decide whether to start a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Most photographers choose to start a sole proprietorship if they’re operating solo, partnership if they’re joint with a friend or spouse, or corporation if they’d like to reduce the risk to their personal assets. You can research more about those topics to decide what’s the best business model for you.

6. Insure Your Business

For the most part, photography companies offer little risk, but that doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen. A photography brand might need to insure their business in case of theft, an accident that prevents them from making it to the client shoot, or anything else that could happen. You might want to spend some of your income insuring your photography gear as it’s expensive and easy for others to resell in case they’re stolen.

Having waivers and contracts might also become a staple for your business to help reduce risk, such as lawsuits if images don’t turn out the way the client likes them or if there are issues with a video that’s been shot. From rainy days to car accidents on the way to events, you can never predict what will go wrong with photography sessions, so working to eliminate risk as much as possible will help you run a successful business in your community, so you can continue to grow.

7. Promote Your Photography Business Online

Photographers can promote their company via social media by posting photos and videos from shoots on Instagram and TikTok. By sharing your photography style online, you’ll attract free clients by exposing your photography to a whole new audience. The way to grow is to be consistent by publishing new content often.

Your brand could also benefit from a blog if you want to grow your website. Publishing new blog posts that are SEO-based will help you rank higher in search. SEO includes getting backlinks, writing blog posts, and updating old content at least once a year. Brands who focus on online growth just by being consistent about their posting schedules will likely yield big results over time. It won’t be a fast way to grow but it does compound enough that you can become very busy with your services. And one day you won’t need to market yourself as much, but you’ll still reap benefits with continued social media and blog posts.

8. Promote Your Photography Business In-Person

Depending on the type of photography you do, you might have some opportunities to network in-person to find people who want to hire you. For example, wedding photographers are often at weddings where it’s possible to find other engaged couples. Event photographers might be at an event where they take photos of guests who come in who they can network with.

If you’re an out-of-studio photographer, the opportunities to mingle with others will be endless. However, if you own a photography studio, you might do some live events photography just to help promote your company and find a new audience or client. The higher the number of events you do, the more successful you will be at promoting in person. It’s easier to grow once you’ve grown. So, put yourself out there as much as possible to grow organically through in-person events.

promote photography business in person

9. Promote Your Photography Business Via Referrals

As we mentioned earlier, Payhip is a digital products website builder that is popular for photography companies. One feature Payhip has that can work in a photographer’s favor is its affiliate marketing feature. You can offer a commission to your customers for referring a friend or family member to your business. So that way there’s a bit of an incentive for people looking to recommend you to others. Referrals are a great way to grow your audience and connect with paying customers. It’s also not complicated to create a referral program on Payhip and you can set it up in only a few simple steps.

10. Manage Your Books

As a photographer, you’ll have a number of sales through client bookings, product sales, stock photo sales, and more. Plus, you’ll have various costs associated with your business, such as equipment costs, referral payments, and the salaries of your team. Whether you use an Excel spreadsheet or accounting software is up to you. However, keeping track of all revenue and expenses each month will make tax season easier for you. Plus, it’s always good to see on paper how profitable your business really is, so you can celebrate that you’ve officially made it as a paid photographer.

FAQ

What is the most profitable photography?

A corporate photographer will likely be the most profitable type of photography as businesses typically are willing to spend more money for good talent.

How can I start as a photographer?

To start as a photographer, you’ll need to buy a camera and some photo editing software. You’ll also need to build a website using Payhip, create social media profiles, and build out a blog for SEO. Then, you need to promote your services to find new clients.

What’s the best website builder for photographers?

Payhip is the best website builder for photographers as it allows you to promote your services, products, and offers an affiliate service so you can pay for referrals. Plus, it has a Free Forever plan with only a 5% transaction fee.

Payhip

The easiest way to sell courses, coaching, digital downloads, memberships and physical products.

https://payhip.com