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7 Steps For How to Start a Photography Business

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How to Start a Photography Business

The answer to how to start a photography business is both simple and complex at the same time. Starting any business is actually very easy if you’re simply talking about registering and creating a company. All you’ll need to do is create a DBA (Doing Business As) or a LLC (Limited Liability Company).

How to start a photography business that is successful and makes money is the complicated part. Below you will find a guide that will help you get started.

Table of Contents

How to Start a Photography Business

Open an LLC

In general, I would recommend that you open up an LLC from the beginning. This will allow you to make tax deductible purchases right out of the gate. Regardless of the size of your business or how large you intend to grow it, opening an LLC is going to be very helpful and necessary down the road.

Opening an LLC is a pretty straight forward process and can most likely be done through your state website. Check out this Legal Zoom article to read more and see a step-by-step guide to opening an LLC in your state.

Decide What Gear You Need

If you don’t already own photography gear, you’re going to need to decide what gear you’ll have to purchase. The gear you purchase largely depends on your genre of photography.

No matter what type of photography you’re planning to start your business in, it’s important that you don’t go out and spend all your money on gear right away. This would be detrimental to how to start a photography business.

Staying frugal and only buying what you need is a business practice that will help a lot over time. You don’t need all the newest and best gear to get your photography business started. What you do need is the essentials, plus extra capital for things like marketing and business insurance.

For hopeful real estate photographers, below is an article that shows you everything I carry in my camera bag. Although you probably won’t need all the gear right away, it’s helpful to see what you’ll need to get started in real estate photography.

Inside A Professional Real Estate Photographers Camera Bag

Also, check out our Gear page with reviews and recommendations for loads of Professional Real Estate Photography gear. Once you buy the gear, figuring out how to start a photography business becomes much less expensive and much more rewarding.

Create A Portfolio

Now that you have the gear, you’re going to have to create your own photography portfolio. Your photography business isn’t going anywhere without first developing a strong portfolio to show future clients. But how do you go about creating a portfolio?

Luckily, we already have an article dedicated to helping you create a beautiful portfolio that will be sure to land you some clients. Great photos are a big key for how to start a photography business.

If you’re not a real estate photographer, many of the same tips and tricks will help you create a portfolio in your chosen genre of photography. Above all, the best thing you can do is get out there are shoot!

4 Tips on How to Build A Real Estate Photography Portfolio

Create a Business Plan

How to start a photography business, or any other business for that matter, really starts with creating a business plan.

That doesn’t mean you need to sit down and create some formal document that must be followed at all times. It does mean that you need to set some realistic goals and come up with some strategies to achieve them.

The first thing you need to do is define the services you plan to offer and your target market . Using Real Estate Photography as an example, you would state something like “real estate photography services in the greater Boston area.”

You can expand further and say something like “high-end real estate photography services in the greater Boston area for select clients.” You’ll need to figure this out if you’re going to figure out how to start a photography business.

Second, you’ll want to price your services and analyze your competition. To do this, check out our article that talks about how to know your value as a photographer. Then use our Real Estate Photography Pricing Calculator to evaluate the price you can charge for your market and skill level.

Know Your Value: Real Estate Photography Pricing

Real Estate Photography Pricing Calculator

Next, you need to make a budget and set some monetary goals. Since you now know how much you’ll be charging for services and who your target clients are, you can come up with some obtainable goals for your business.

Factor in how much you’ll be spending on gear and marketing, then figure out how much you plan to pay yourself. Once you come up with a realistic figure, you’ll have your monetary goal.

Finally, come up with some sort of timeline for all of this to happen. Maybe you work best planning for the whole year and then getting to work. Maybe you need a monthly timeline with tasks to accomplish and goals to achieve. Use the timeline as a motivational tool to keep you focused on your business plan.

Also, check out our Business Resources page for various resources with are sure to help you in the future.

Create a Marketing Strategy

Although you could consider your marketing strategy to be part of your business plan, I’m giving it it’s own section because it’s that important. Without a marketing strategy, you won’t be landing any clients, and that means you won’t be running a successful business.

There are a number of  different strategies you can use, but the best marketing strategy is going to be the one that you will stay dedicated to. What I mean by that is, the important thing will be to pick a tested strategy that you know you’ll enjoy, or at least be willing to dedicated some real time to every week

For example, social media can be an excellent tool to use and is more than worthy of being a full marketing strategy in itself, but if you’re not that type of person that’s going to constantly update and engage in a social profile, then it’s not going to work for you.

You would be better suited with a different marketing strategy, like cold calling/emailing or website SEO work. You’ll need to stay dedicated to a marketing strategy in order to figure out how to start a photography business.

Find which one works best with the type of business you want to run, then commit yourself fully to it. This may be the most important step in figuring out how to start a photography business.

Get Business Insurance

To answer your first question, yes, photography business insurance is necessary. Even though it may seem like you don’t need it when starting out, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t insure yourself and your gear.

Read about Why Photography Insurance Is Necessary and then check out our article on the Best Insurance for Photographers.

Get a Free Quote from Hiscox Small Business Insurance (our pick for the best insurance for photographers) and see how much you’ll need to budget for your photography insurance needs.

Land Your First Client

Landing your first client is an extremely rewarding feeling. It’s evidence that your marketing strategy is working and your portfolio is good enough to convince a realtor or real estate professional to pay you.

We have a full article that goes into detail on ways you can land your first, and then many more, clients. You’ll be sure to find a strategy that will work for you and be on your way to not just starting a photography business, but making money from it as well.

5 Tips on How to Get Clients for Real Estate Photography

Additional Information

Be sure to check out our Beginners Guide. It’s full of articles with helpful ideas and tips exactly like this one. Our Business Resources page has all the resources you’ll need to get your Real Estate Photography business started on the right path.

Finally, go check out our Gear page to get up-to-date reviews and recommendations on todays best gear for Real Estate Photography. All the resources on this site will help answer the question of how to start a photography business.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to start a photography business?

It depends on which type of photography you plan to offer, but generally speaking you will need at least a few thousand dollars. This will cover the costs of a camera and lens.

Is a photography business profitable?

Yes, absolutely. With the growing need for professional looking, quality digital content, the demand for professional photography is only continuing to grow.

How do I start a photography business with no experience?

The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase a camera and lens that is ideal for the type of photography services you plan to offer. After that, you’ll need to create a solid portfolio to show prospective clients.

How to start a photography business
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About author
Matthew Digati is a professional Real Estate and Architectural Photographer. Matthew has worked as a Real Estate and Architectural Photographer since 2015 and has photographed properties and projects all over the United States.
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