How to Start a Photography Business: Quick Guide and Useful Services
- Five steps to start your photography business
- Six stock photography websites to sell your work
- Five best blogs for your inspiration
If photography is one of your hobbies, it’s only natural that you might be thinking about monetizing your skills. To do that, you need to learn how to make professional photo shoots and promote your services. From this quick guide, you’ll find out what it takes to start a photography business, develop a savvy strategy, and where to sell your work.
Five steps to start your photography business
As with any business, you need to start with analyzing your competition and target audience. The next step will be planning your budget and developing a marketing strategy.
1. Pick a niche
Surviving in the photography industry is a tough but not impossible task. Picking the right niche is of crucial importance. It’s your first step to building a successful business. You can specialize on shooting weddings, family events, pets, etc. Fashion and food photography are also very promising and profitable niches. Also, you can build a career as a stock photographer.
Before you proceed, ask yourself these questions:
- What photography genre am I good at?
- Who are my target audience?
- Who are my main competitors? What are their strengths?
- What is it that I have that my competitors don’t?
2. Plan your budget
Photography is the last job where you want to make budget cuts and buy cheap equipment. Take the time to assess your initial costs to make sure you can afford to start a photography business.
- Equipment. Be sure to purchase a high-quality photography equipment by a renowned brand. Keep in mind that prices for good cameras start from several thousands of dollars.
- Accessories. In addition to a camera, you’ll also need lenses, light reflectors, flashes, chargers, etc.
- Software. Your job will be not just making photos but also editing them. Think about what graphic editing programs (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) you’re going to use and how much they’ll cost you.
3. Build a portfolio
A portfolio is the first thing your potential clients will want to see. Look through your works and select the most captivating images. If, however, you don’t have any material to show to your clients yet, we have a few tips for you.
- Work as an assistant to a seasoned photographer. It’s a great way to start your own portfolio and gain so much needed experience.
- Do a photo shoot for your friends or family. You can do it for free or for a symbolic price.
- Find aspiring models who need to build a portfolio just as you do.
4. Set your price range
As a novice, be very careful with your pricing policy. Stick to average market prices. Here are a few things to consider:
- Decide whether you’re going to charge an hourly rate or fixed price.
- When determining your rate/price, take into account the time you spend editing photos.
- Come up with several pricing plans so that your clients could pick the one that fits their budget.
5. Promote your business
To reach out to as many people as possible, you’ll need a smart marketing strategy. For a photographer, business promotion mostly takes place online.
- Create a website or blog to display your portfolio. Publish your best works and customer testimonials. Open up about your creative process and other curious aspects of your job.
- Be sure to leverage the power of social media. Create accounts with social platforms that focus on visual content, such as Instagram and Pinterest. It’s one of the best ways to drive target traffic to your website.
- Advertise your services on bride forums and photography communities on social media. Those are endless sources of potential clients.
Six stock photography websites to sell your work
A great way to monetize your skills is to place your photos on major stock photography websites. Before joining one of such websites, be sure to carefully read the terms. Most of the time, a photographer gets a commission on each sale.
This website sells photos and videos in a variety of genres, including travel, fashion, kids, business, etc. The content is available across 44 countries. Photographers earn 30% to 60% on each sale.
Bigstockphoto offers photos and illustrations across multiple categories, from abstraction, to sports, to animals.
Along with a decent commission on each sale, this website offers several bonuses to creators. Your uploaded images become automatically available on Fotosearch, a major stock photography source. This is not all, though. If you invite another user to join Can Stock, you’ll be getting a commission on each their sale.
This photo stock has been operating since 2009. Registration process for the service is standard: you need to pass the exam, upload several of your works and verify your identity.
The level of earnings from a purchase depends on your Contributor status. You can go to the next level after uploading a certain number of images.
This website stands out through its efficient design and interface. New photos are displayed at the very top of search results so that users can easily see them. Also, the platform boast powerful statistical tools for tracking your sales performance.
Dreamstime is another potent source of graphic images and video clips across a variety of themes, from cooking to design. You’ll be earning 20-25% on each sold item.
Owned by the creative service Adobe, this stock photography website is your shortcut to success. Just think about it: your works will be seen by millions of people worldwide! Upload your photos and video right from the photo editing program you’re using (Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Bridge CC, etc.) and track your sales online. You’ll get 33% on each sold photo. For videos, the commission grows to 35%.
Five best blogs for your inspiration
Before you embark on your own photography journey, take a look at the amazing blogs run by successful and acclaimed photographers. Don’t be shy to borrow the ideas you like!
Joe McNally is a celebrated award-winning photographer. He has worked in more than 70 countries shooting for FedEx, Sony, ESPN, Adidas, General Electric, and other big-name brands. He uses his blog to showcase his best works and share curious technical aspects of the shooting process.
An American photographer Zack Arias has worked in every corner of the world, from busy Hong Kong streets to Morocco mountains. In his blog, Zack reveals the behind the scenes of the shooting process and displays his spectacular works.
The name of this website speaks for itself! ExpertPhotography is the world’s second-largest educational platform for photographers of all levels. It’s a one-stop website for useful manuals, online courses, e-books, and other materials that you can use to hone your photography skills.
The next gem on our list is a blog run by an Indian photographer who turned his photography hobby into a full-time career. Keen on the newest technologies, Axis is always happy to share his knowledge with his readers. Check out smart photo shooting tips and tricks, check lists, camera reviews, photo editing guidelines, and much more!
Andy Scott is a talented Los Angeles-based photographer that works across multiple genres. His blog is an endless source of inspiration and motivation for artistic people who are looking for their unique style.