How to Start a Photography Business from Scratch

How to Start a Photography Business from Scratch

Whether it is for commercial purpose or just for fun, photography is something that brings out the creative in creativity. Photography as a profession attracts thousands of individuals every year. In fact, it has been seen a lot of times that people working in different sectors leave their jobs to pursue photography because it was their passion all along. But that’s another story. We are here to talk about how to start a photography business from scratch.

If you are still in high school, fresh out of college or working in some other industry, and have no idea about how to start photography then it’s totally fine. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about starting a career in the photography industry and setting up your own business.


Photography as a Business

While some think photography as an activity or a way to capture the world, there are a lot of people out there who are already making money doing this ‘activity’. Photography doesn’t only feed the craving to pursue passion but it also fills the pockets of photographers who wake up early in the morning to capture that rare shot. Now, it is easy for photographers who are already working in the industry but for beginner photographers, the thought can be a little daunting. It’s even scarier when the beginner doesn’t know a dime about photography in the first place.

If you are an individual who doesn’t know a lot about photography, it is best to get enrolled in a diploma program that can give you basic knowledge of using a camera and lens. There are many professional colleges who provide degree courses specifically for photography and cinematography. So, you can consider studying first, before starting a photography business.


Photography has Different Types


Types of Photography, Start photography business


Now, in order to start a photography business, you have to know that there’s no one type of photography. There are many different types of photography genres that one can choose from. Every photography genre demands a different approach and use of lenses. To give an idea about different types of photography, here is the list of genres that you can make a career in –

1. Portrait photography

2. Food Photography

3. Wedding Photography

4. Golden hour photography

5. Event Photography

6. Travel Photography

7. Photojournalism

8. Architecture photography

9. Sports photography

10. Wildlife Photography

These are some of the types of photography in which you can start your photography business. So, make sure that you gather great amount of knowledge about these genres before making the final decision of choosing one.


Get Familiar with the Basic Photography Equipment


Start photography business, photography equipment


It goes without saying that before you start a photography business, you have to get yourself familiar with different photography equipment. Firstly, learn how to use a camera. As mentioned above, you can learn by joining a school who specializes in photography courses. After that, know about different kinds of lenses.

There’s a difference between photographing with a telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens. So if you are asking “how to start a photography business”, you should be familiar with basic camera equipment. There’s lighting, softbox, tripod etc. Once you are familiar with the equipment, you have already completed the first step towards making a career in the photography industry.

A wise man once said, “Your first 1000 photographs will be the worst.” So, cross that number as soon as you can. Be consistent and practice every day to get better.


Before starting a photography business there are a few things you can do to furnish your photography skills-

1. Volunteer-

There are many companies out there who are constantly looking for a photographer. Whether it’s for pet photoshoot, product photoshoot or portraits. Find a way to use your skill more and more so that you can get better with time.

2. Leave Home-

Wait! We don’t mean that you leave your house for good. We just mean that don’t sit on your couch and expect to become a professional photographer. You have to be consistent in order to get close to being perfect. So, go out there every day and click as many pictures as you can.  

3. Internships-

There are many agencies who hire photographers as an intern. Whether they pay you or not, depend upon the company’s policy but one thing is sure, you can get a good amount of experience while interning as a photographer.

4. Go on YouTube-

If you are really serious about bringing your A-Game to the industry, you can try out different tips and tricks that can be found on YouTube. There are many photographers like Thomas Heaton, Jessica Kobeissi, etc. who give out some really amazing tips to improve photography for beginners as well as professionals.


Starting a Photography Business


Design portfolio, photography business


Now it’s time to get serious. You know everything about the camera, you know exactly how to shoot and in fact, you also know the type of photography genre you want to make a career in. So, now it is time to talk about some business.

Let us warn you that starting a photography business can be a struggle in the beginning. There can be high’s and there can be low’s. The key is to be consistent with your work and going with what’s trending while maintaining your individuality in the business. Photography is a great way to make money but the beginning can be hard. The hardest part is to rope in the first 10 customers. Once you achieve that, the road starts to look less bumpy. So, if you are wondering how to start a photography business, here’s what you can do.


1. Build a Portfolio

In order to start a photography business, you have to attract your potential customers. A design portfolio website should be your first step towards starting a business. A portfolio website is where you showcase your best of work and put your contact details etc. It also contains a call-to-action where the customers can easily approach you. So, make sure you have a website where people can see your work.

If you are thinking of starting a photography business from scratch, you have to have a business website where potential customers can reach you or contact you.


2. Be Active on Social Media

Common question: “how to start a photography business?” Professionals do everything right from building a website to uploading the latest work. But they forget the one thing that can help in giving their business some exposure. It is social media. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., if used right, can bring a lot of traffic to your business. Also, social media platforms are best for doing digital marketing. It is cheaper than offline marketing and provides you immense opportunities to promote your business online.

Another boon of social media is that it can help you reach and target your potential customers. Social media is a place where people follow stuff they like the most. So, if you have a follower base, know that most of them are there for your content. So, come up with strategies to sell your product or service to them.

Also, you can use social media to know about your competition and track their activities to stay one step ahead of them. This will help you in avoiding any mistakes and give you small goals to achieve.


3. Be Unique

Now, this one may sound a little obvious but most of the professionals who set up a photography business, do it just like everyone else. They have the same style, fee structure, service packages etc. So, if you want to stand out among the many photographers who are already working in the industry, you have to be different from them. Firstly, work on building a unique photography style. Follow other photographers and see what they are doing. This can give you the idea of what not to do. Overall, strive not to stand with the already established photography business, strive to stand above them.


4. Search Engine Optimization

Now, this one is very important when you have a website and you want to be on top. You have to make your website SEO friendly so that it can appear on top of google ranking. Use relevant hashtags and keywords. Also, you can post regular blogs, photos and videos to increase your website activity.

Blogging is really important when it comes to gaining the attention of potential customers and converting them into loyal ones. Don’t write for the sake of writing and do keyword stuffing. Rather, create a plan, write relevant stuff that your readers might want to read. Use keywords appropriately and write good quality content. This way, the customers will return to your website more and more.


5. Affordability

Since you are starting a photography business, you can’t expect the customers to pay thousands of dollars for your service. For them, you are relatively new and so is your business. The best way to bring in customers is by providing an affordable service. This way more customers will get attracted to your business.


6. Spread the Word

After interviewing more than 100 top photographers from the industry, we came to know that around 80% of a photographer’s work comes from the references. When the word from existing client reaches their friends or family, you know the work coming from them will be authentic.

 But building references can be a task when you have to rely on the word of mouth of potential customers, who don’t always refer your business to the people. That’s why you have to make sure that you have a continuous references builder for your website that can help you in lead generation.  


7. Testimonials

People tend to use your service when they see positive reviews from your previous customers. So, press hard on reviews from customers so that you can gain the attention of potential customers. You can choose to post those testimonials on your business website.


All of the above factors were more technical. Those are the technical way in which you can build a photography business from scratch. Here are other factors that need to be kept in mind while starting a photography business.


- Invest in Equipment

Being in the photography business, you have to have good quality equipment. Now, this can be expensive at first but once you get customers, you can cover the cost of that equipment.


- Know Your Customers

If you are a fashion photographer, you can’t be targeting those customers who are looking for an animal photoshoot. Look for events that specifically ask for your skills and expertise.

While asking, how to start a photography business, there are many other things that can affect your business such as competition, demand and market value. Make sure that you are flexible with your services and follow up with your customers so that they can always come back for your service. Starting a photography business isn’t that hard if you know how to put the best foot forward. If you are not sure about starting your business instantly, you can work as a freelancer. It is also a great way to take up multiple events and learn something new every day.


Frequently Asked Questions –

Q1. How much money does it take to start a photography business?

Ans. To start a photography business with no money, you have to be realistic. There’s the expense of equipment that you can’t avoid. But you can rent the equipment to avoid paying thousands. Create a portfolio by clicking as many pictures as possible. To avoid printing cost, make digital copies of your work. You can choose to post photos of your work on social media to get attention. Tell people about your business through word-of-mouth or social media announcements. There are a few expenses that are unavoidable but you must try to save money wherever you can.

Q2. Do you need a license to start a photography business?

Ans. It highly depends on the rules and regulations of a country. In some countries, no license is required to set up a photography business while in others, license is required. But there’s one way to start a photography business without a license. You can work as a freelancer to start a photography business without a license. Work on building contacts and creating an outstanding portfolio.


If you have any query about setting up a portfolio website and making a career in the photography industry, contact us at or call our experts on 011-66104020.





Written By - Ramnish on 14 Sep, 2019