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5 things you need to know starting a photography business

Starting a photography business brings together two popular realms of life: photography and entrepreneurship. However, many creative individuals, including photographers, often prioritize the artistic aspect while neglecting the business side. I, too, was once captivated solely by the magic of photography, with little understanding of the business side. Through years of learning, trial, and error, I’ve gained valuable insights that I want to share with you. Here’s what you need to know when getting into the photography business.

5 Things You Need To Know Starting A Photography Business

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1. Photographer = marketer + psychologist + creator.

When I first acknowledged to myself I wanted to be a photographer, I had this romanticized idea that being a photographer meant just walking around with my camera, capturing beautiful landscapes and people, and later receiving praise for my work. In all those dreams, I’d never asked myself: “How to find those beautiful people and landscapes? Or “How do you make people feel comfortable during the photo shoot? “How do I promote my photo art?” “How do I help ideal clients find my art?” Even though, at that moment, I was on my way to receiving a master’s degree in art, I never realized how important communication, marketing, branding, and sales are for success in photography business and art. 

Marketing is crucial for a photography business because it helps you reach potential clients and effectively showcase your skills and services. By promoting your work through various channels: social media, websites, networking events, and advertising, you can build brand awareness and credibility. Without a solid marketing strategy, even the most skilled photographers may struggle to expand their business and achieve their full potential.

Communication plays a vital role in the work of photographers specializing in weddings, portraits, children, and family photography—basically, any photographer capturing people. Imagine a wedding day: a gorgeous bride might look serene outwardly, but inside, she’s brimming with emotions. How do you capture beautiful photos when her face reflects all her worry and distractions keep popping up? This is where understanding psychology comes into play and helps a wedding photographer.

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2. Second source of income.

Having a second source of income is crucial as you venture into the photography business. Achieving any goal requires dedication and persistent effort, and photography is no exception. Building a good portfolio, acquiring regular clients, and securing a stable income all require years of dedication, investment, and hard work. Having a second source of income at the beginning of your photography career can help you maintain your financial stability, avoid getting into debt while you build your portfolio, and establish yourself in the photography industry.

When I started my photo business, I had to maintain my second job (concierge at one of the IHG hotels) for several years. It provided a necessary financial pillow and allowed me to stay creative in my photo art

Even with a second job, stay focused on your primary goal – growing your photo business. With determination and persistence, success will eventually follow.

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The third point naturally follows from the second. When you look at the life stories of successful individuals—whether they’re photographers, actors, artists, athletes, or inventors—you’ll notice that their paths to achieving their dreams were never easy. What keeps them going is belief in themselves and the goals they’re pursuing. And, of course, staying patient! Enduring the highs and lows of the journey toward success requires lots and lots of PATIENCE!

4.Photo forums

Many aspiring photographers often lack knowledge about the photography business. You can spend countless hours scouring the internet for valuable information. You may end up on photo forums, signing up, and then… just like on any social network, you find yourself lost in the endless stream of forum posts, trying to sift through what’s helpful and what’s not. It’s a time-consuming process! While photo forums can offer some valuable insights, try to limit the time you spend there. Understanding photography theory is essential for beginners, but nothing beats practice—lots and lots of it. 

things you need to know starting your photography business

5. Photo equipment   “I want  it all!”

When starting a photography business, it’s common to misunderstand what makes a great photo. So, you might think that having the best camera, lenses, and other gadgets is the key. Good equipment matters, but it’s only part of the story. Even the highest-quality lens won’t capture genuine human emotions on its own. That’s where the photographer’s skill comes in—knowing how to capture the right moments, which comes from practice, experience, and a passion for working with clients and photography itself. So don’t rush to buy every new gadget when starting. Investing in high-quality tools and photo equipment step by step is better.

Also, remember that success in any business, including photography, requires sticking to your goals, growing confidence, being disciplined, and developing your “courage muscle.”

Stay inspired,

Elena Sullivan 

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