man in a jacket holding camera

How to Start a Photography Business: A Guide for Hobbyist Photographers

So, you’ve been capturing some stunning shots and now you’re thinking about turning your photography hobby into a full-time gig? That’s great, but what do you need to get this right? Let’s talk about how to start a photography business, with a high overview.

You can contact me directly (contact form top right) if you’re interested in personalized coaching.

For a more in-depth discussion on the many facets of starting and running a photography business, check out my Photography Business 101 series on YouTube:

1. Find Your Specialty

First things first, you need to decide what kind of photography you want to specialize in. Are you into wedding photography, portrait photography, or maybe landscape photography? Finding your niche will help you target your marketing efforts and attract the right clients. You have to know where you’re aiming.
PRO TIP: Avoid the urge to want to cover everything. Yes, it’s important to know what genre you prefer and enjoy, but once you choose a niche, stick it out! People want to hire a professional in a certain sector, not an average generalist.

tilt shift lens photography of five assorted vegetables
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2. Write a Business Plan

Next up, you’ll need a business plan. This might sound a bit daunting, but it’s just a roadmap for your business. It should cover things like your business goals, target market, pricing, and marketing strategy. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a novel. A simple one-page business plan can work just fine when you’re starting out.
Keep it simple, straight to the point. This is more for you than anyone else. It helps you keep your true north in mind as you head into starting your business. Trust me, you’ll be glad you took the time to sit and work out all the specifics of your business beforehand.

woman in black coat
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3. Get the Right Gear

Now, let’s talk about equipment. You probably already have a camera, but you might need to invest in some additional gear like more lenses, flashes, and memory cards. Remember, you don’t need to break the bank here. Start with the essentials and upgrade as your business grows.
It helps knowing what your niche is, because if you don’t need a top-spec camera, don’t waste the money on it. Rather buy equipment suited to your clients needs. However, if you can buy the better quality items, they will serve you much longer.

close up photo of dslr camera
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4. Create an Online Presence

In today’s digital world, having an online presence is a must. Start by creating a website where you can showcase your portfolio. Then, set up social media profiles to connect with potential clients and show off your work.
Just like your equipment, you don’t need to go overboard here. You can use one of the many free website hosting platforms available.

cheerful surprised woman sitting with laptop
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5. Build Your Portfolio

Speaking of portfolios, you’ll need to build one that showcases your best work. This will give potential clients a sense of your style and skills. Remember, quality over quantity. It’s better to have a few amazing shots than a bunch of mediocre ones.

6. Attract Clients

Once you’ve got your portfolio set up, it’s time to start attracting clients. This is where your marketing strategy comes in. You might want to offer a discount for referrals, run a social media ad campaign, or partner with other local businesses.
Knowing your niche becomes important here, because now you know who your potential customer is. Now you need to work out how to get yourself seen by that customer.

man and woman near table
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7. Grow Your Business

As your client base grows, so will your business. You might need to hire an assistant, invest in more advanced equipment, or expand your services. Just remember to keep your business plan updated as your business evolves.
Slow and steady wins the race here. Don’t get too eager to grow before you have your foundation well established. The last thing you want is some staff you need to pay (with no income) or a cupboard full of equipment you’re not using.

person holding a green plant
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8. Never Stop Learning

Finally, remember that the best photographers are always learning. Stay up-to-date with the latest photography trends and techniques, and don’t be afraid to experiment and push your creative boundaries.


How much money do you need to start a photography business?

The cost of starting a photography business can vary widely depending on your specialty and the equipment you need. However, you can start a basic photography business for around R100,000 to R150,000.

How to start a photography business from home?

Starting a photography business from home is similar to starting any other business. You’ll need to find your specialty, write a business plan, get the right gear, create an online presence, build your portfolio, attract clients, and grow your business. You do not need a studio or office space to begin operating your business.

What do photographers need to start a business?

Photographers need a camera, lenses, flashes, memory cards, a computer with sufficient memory, editing software, a website, a business plan, and a marketing strategy to start a business.

Is photography business worth it?

Starting a photography business can be a rewarding and profitable venture. However, like any business, it requires hard work, dedication, and a knack for marketing.

Starting a photography business can be a fun and rewarding journey. With a bit of planning and a lot of passion, you can turn your photography hobby into a successful business.
So, what are you waiting for? Start working on your foundation and the rest of your business will grow.

If you’re interested in 1-on-1 online coaching to help you get yourself going, please get in touch with me via the contact form (top right).

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