Photography businesses are very popular. There are numerous occasions individuals will want to have a photographer. The most popular is obvious weddings, but parties, corporate events, and even gifts can all be lucrative revenue streams for photography professionals. Many professionals are not employed by large businesses, but are instead self-employed or run their own LLC. So in this article, we will detail how to start a photography business.

Why Start a Photography Business?

There are numerous reasons why an individual will want to start a photography business. In the USA, the industry is worth more than $36.42 billion and is growing at a rate of about 10% year-on-year. Therefore, there is plenty of growth to support numerous businesses.

In addition, numerous revenue streams allow professionals to earn from their trade. Not only can you sell your services to cover events, but you can charge for prints. And you can diversify your portfolio. For example, you can take pictures of situations, environments, or more and sell these images via your website or on other platforms. Selling the rights or the prints of these images can earn a lot of money.

For example, you could take a picture of a sunset and then work with a print-on-demand distributor who can print and deliver canvas or posters on your behalf. The advantage of this model is that you own the rights to the image and you are only charged for the product when there is an order.

Therefore, using your skills, you can earn a good salary. The average photographer in the USA is earning $17.46 per hour, which is more than double the US minimum wage.

Challenges to Starting a Photography Business

There are several challenges to starting a photography business, but there are also ways that you can overcome this. One of the biggest challenges is getting your brand out there and finding clients. Some of your clients are going to be gained through word of mouth, where a customer finds you from their friends and family who have recommended you.

How to Start a Photography Business

Another way is online. Using keywords and a strong website, you can get yourself listed high in your local area for photography and related services. The challenge here is that everyone is targeting this option and therefore, if there are four or five photographers, two are going to miss out significantly.

Those who are listed within the top three results in any search term are going to be getting about 70% of the traffic. The next two results will get about 25% of the traffic and the rest on the first page will get about 1% of the traffic.

An example of this is with “New York Photographer”. There are 200 searches per month for this search term, so the top three positions will get 140 visits per month, with the next two getting fifty. Then those in positions six to ten on the first page will only get 2 visits per month from Google.

Now there will always be more keywords to use, but it is a good illustration of how building your SEO can be vital for success. Especially as conversion rates can be as low as 3-5%, which means you need at least 20 visitors to make a sale. But with two per month accessing your website, you might make a sale every 10 months!

How to Start a Photography Business

How to Start a Photography Business

Here are the steps that you need to follow when you want to know how to start a photography business.

Step 1 – Identify Niche

There are lots of niches that you can follow when you want to start a photography business. You might be more interested in covering events like weddings, birthdays, corporate events, etc. Or you might want to take photos of nature/landscapes and sell them online.

Part of the decision might be based on your preferences. You might not like to be social, therefore landscapes can be a great option. Or perhaps you love seeing people marry and want to focus on that market.

Or you might be tempted to fill a gap in the local market. There might be lots of people who specialize in portraits in your area, but there are few who specialize in weddings or corporate events.

Step 2 – Create a Brand

How to Start a Photography Business

Now you need to think of a brand. You need to start with a name for your business, but that can be a challenge. Most names that you can probably think of have been taken. And you will need to have a name that identifies you, and your ethics and is unique. That is one of the challenges.

However, you can easily overcome this with a few simple steps. One of the first steps is to use a photography business name generator. This online tool will provide you with lots of potential brand names that you can use.

Then you can test to see whether the names have been used. There are several steps to the search including:

  • A domain name search.
  • Social media name search.
  • Business name search in your state/other states.

Step 3 – Register your Brand

How to Start a Photography Business

After you’ve chosen a name for your brand, you can then register the name. You want to register the name as a domain and social media for sure. You might also want to consider registering your business as an LLC. There are numerous advantages to this. For one, it will protect your name legally, allowing you to use the name without someone else stealing it.

A person operating an LLC also protects their personal assets from debts that the business has.

Step 4 – Build a Website

Next, you need to build a website. A website for a photography business can be on almost any platform. You might want to have a Shopify, Wix or Squarespace website, to sell prints or you could have a WordPress portfolio website.

The most important factor is that you want a fast website. Fast websites achieve both a higher rank and conversions. Therefore, you can have a better website.

Think carefully about SEO as well. Check for the keywords that are most used in your area and then incorporate them into your business’ website.

Step 5 – Market your Business

Now you need to market your business. There are several ways that you can market your business with Facebook advertising, SEO, email marketing, trade events, and more. Though it is always important to get customers to leave you a review on Google. Google uses the reviews in its ranking algorithm, so the more high-star reviews you have, the higher you will rank.

How to Start a Photography Business

You will also want to try to get customers to recommend you.

Email marketing can also be a very effective option to market your business. Email marketing has one of the best conversion rates and ROI of any digital marketing channel. Some email marketing campaigns can offer a return of $44 for every $1 spent.

Final Word: How to Start a Photography Business

If you are a professional photographer and are looking into how to start a photography business, then you need to read the steps above. These steps can help you build an effective business from scratch that will sell products, regardless of the revenue stream that you choose to do.

The importance is making sure that you have the drive to push through. Starting a photography business is not easy, like any other business. However, with a good head start using the tips on how to start a photography business like those mentioned above, you have every chance of success.

Numerous platforms can be useful for starting a photography business. Three you might want to consider are Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. However, if you want to sell products on your website, then you might also want to consider Shopify.
Unless you take active steps to protect your name, there is no protection for your business name. Registering your business in the state can cost, but it is worth the price if there is someone who takes your name and forces you into a rebrand.
A photography business needs to consider each page for ranking. The more pages you have, the more keywords you can target. Each page should have one/two main keywords with a dozen secondary keywords. No two pages should have the same main keywords.
A photography website's costs can vary. A domain name is about $10 per year, with hosting about $15 per month. Building the website can be achieved for free if you have the skills. Otherwise, costs can range from $99 to $5000.
The average wedding photographer will charge about $2,000 per event. However, some will charge as low as $1,200 or as much as $3,000. There will also be some who have varied pricing depending on the individual.