Six Steps To Jumpstart Your Photography Business

Are you starting your own photography business? If so, this is a great time to jump into a business that will support the work you love to produce.

Starting a photography business doesn’t have to be cumbersome or overwhelming; in fact, by the following six steps we offer here, you will see how the specifics of each section combine into a business plan that will support the growth of your business for many years. Let’s get started! 

Step 1: Know Your Audience 

One of the most important parts of starting a business is knowing who the target audience, or demographic customer, may be.

Knowing your preferred model customer will set the stage for setting up your business to satisfy that customer.

For example, if you want to shoot primarily graduation or family portraits, you’ll need to design your business around the components that will meet those customer needs.

If your focus is to shoot headshots for corporate purposes, you’ll plan every aspect of your business around that type of setting and customer need.

Carefully assess your photography skills, desired type of business customer, and build your business models from there. 

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Step 2: Study Your Competitors

As important as it is to research your target customer, it’s equally important to research your competitors.

Assess as many photographers as possible within your chosen specialty. Determine the prices charged for services, any unique aspects offered to clients, or bundles that create special pricing.

Note the locations of the photographers and study the photographs in the online portfolios of each photographer.

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Consider any advantages that you may be able to offer or styles you can share that are an upgrade to your competitors.

Differentiate your business as much as possible in the crowded field of professional photography.

Step 3: Start Building Your Business Plan 

Crafting a well-defined business plan is critical for the growth and long-term success of your photography business.

A business plan includes an overview of your business, marketing and sales strategies, operational plans, financial projections, and other information that will help in making informed decisions in this initial phase of your business.

If you do not have a business plan, consider using this photographer business plan as a comprehensive guide to building a sound business. 

Your completed business plan will be used internally; however, it will also serve as a tool for obtaining financing from lenders, investors, banks and other financial institutions.

Investors and lenders will especially appreciate a well-crafted, realistic business plan when considering funding your photography business. 

Step 4:  Calculate Startup Costs And Secure Funding

Given the risks involved in starting a photography business, it’s important to estimate the costs of starting and operating your small business.

Having an accurate picture of expected expenses can help determine if you need additional funding or a business loan.

If you would like clarification of your expenditures or financial model, use this photography profit model to further outline where you stand financially.

Additionally, understanding potential sources of financing and having a financial plan in place can ensure that your business has the resources necessary for long-term success. 

Step 5: Create Marketing Strategies That Work 

In order to successfully start and maintain a photography business, your company must attract potential subjects for portrait photography or, depending on the business you want to build, a variety of executive business portraits, landscapes and subject-matter photography, or other specialty photography.

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Although many of the marketing efforts you will make will be via word-of-mouth from satisfied customers, you’ll want to reach the best pool of potential customers with marketing strategies that will make a difference. 

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Consider using the platforms your current customers use. For example, if everyone is using Facebook or Instagram to post photos and make comments, you’ll want to create marketing ads for those platforms.

If most of your customers use emails, you’ll want to use email to inform customers of additions to your services, offer spectacular examples of your work, or to announce holiday specials. In each case, tie your marketing efforts to the preferences of your customers. 

Step 6: Put Your Plans Into Action 

As a final step, gather everything needed to launch your business, including photography equipment, samples of your work, and office supplies.

Set up an online portfolio of your best photography shots to showcase your work. If you have an office location, prepare the space you’ll use to shoot portraits or headshots.

Scout out ideal locations where you may shoot photos outside. Announce your business opening online and by word-of-mouth to family members and friends.

And, finally, check your business plan to ensure it is complete, and then sit back to create the long-term growth and success that comes with your planning and preparation for your own photography business. We wish you the best of success! 

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Ella Marcotte

Jonathon Spire

Jonathon Spire

Tech Blogger at Jonathon Spire

My diverse background started with my computer science degree, and later progressed to building laptops and accessories. And now, for the last 7 years, I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant.

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Jonathon Spire

I blog about a range of tech topics.

For the last 7 years I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant, so I write about those the most.

Full transparency: I do review a lot of services and I try to do it as objectively as possible; I give honest feedback and only promote services I believe truly work (for which I may or may not receive a commission) – if you are a service owner and you think I have made a mistake then please let me know in the comments section.

– Jon