How to Start A Photography Business from scratch

Updated on June 7, 2023 in Photography by

How to Start A Photography Business from scratch

If you are an aspiring photographer, looking to Start a Photography business out of your passion, you are more than welcome in this vast field of opportunity and creativity. But before, you learn all the thicks and thin of the industry, you must remember one thing.

Just like any other business, you would need to give all your efforts and hard work to start a Photography business. Assuming you already have a little experience in the field of photography, this article will be suggesting a step-by-step guide for you.

Hold on tight cause this guide might be lengthy, but the insights you get here are worth understanding word-by-word. So without any more delay, let’s understand How To Start A Photography Business In 2023.

How To Start A Photography Business In 2023?

1. Choose the niche you want to work in

There is a major misconception, that is dedicated to a niche restricts you from exploring other parts of photography. But the truth here is that working in the niche lets you learn in and out of Photography as a whole. Moreover, if you master a niche, it would be great to build your source of capital in the first stage.

Other than this, there are no hard rules that hold you back from exploring other niches while you are working in a particular one. You are free to explore any niche of photography, but it’s important that you master one niche that can help you become a known brand within the industry.

But as a beginner, you have vast options to choose from. On a broader level, some of the most known niches are as follow:

Product Photography: As the name suggests, this field deals with capturing images, particularly about the products for eCommerce, booklet, online selling, and website. But this isn’t just saturated till this. It includes food photography, jewelry photography, real-estate photography, and much more.

Product photography
Product Photography

Event Photography: Event Photography is another, broad, and interesting niche that can be just summed up in a para or two. It includes wedding photography, sports photography, portrait photography, and much more. There are countless more subdivisions and more ways to go for you. And most commonly, these niche deals with clients who are a family or an organizer, etc.

event photography
Event Photography

Wildlife Photography: It is among the most known yet sacred photography when compared to other niches. In it, you will surely have captured photographs of animals, birds, or insects that come your way. Moreover, it may also include landscape, sky, and more. Usually, these are priced by magazines, books, NGOs, etc. 

Wildlife Photography
Wildlife Photography

Street Photography: In the modern world cities are expanding and so does the culture of street photography. It includes skyscrapers, people on the street market, traffic, and more lively moments captured around us.

street photography
Street Photography

As you see, there are a vast array of options to choose from. And the style and tone aren’t fixed for any particular niche. But the motive of your photography varies from each other. So here’s what you should do. Ask yourself the following questions to begin your photography business.

What kind of industry do you want to work in?

As you can see, you have a pool to choose from. And certainly, diving into each one of them would just allow going shallow and slow. Hence, see whether you like to capture wedding images, or do you like going into jungles to capture rare shoots.

Do you like capturing pre-planned photo shoots for products, couples, or fashion shows, or do you like, going to random capturing candids, streets, nature, etc?

The options are endless, but focusing on one would give a clear path to grow your photography business.

What are your strengths?

While you are choosing your niche, you may also keep in mind what are the skill sets that you have by your sleeves. It wouldn’t and shouldn’t affect the desire for the niche as any required skill can be learned, but while beginning this journey, knowing your very own strengths and polishing them would get the required pace in your career. 

So ask yourself, whether you are good with portraits or are you good with macro shots. Are you good with daylight photography or night photography or studio shooting?

There might be overlaps, but stay true to yourself,  and make sure you work towards learning.

How much time can you give to photography?

Lastly, you must ask yourself how much time are you willing to invest in your business. Do you wanna work on weekends or regularly? Are you going to work occasionally out of passion? Or would you completely be dedicated to this?

The option is whether you can work part-time, full-time, on a contract, or occasionally. This would surely be a big impact on your investment with regard to money and equipment that we will be discussing further in this article.

2. Choose the way you want to work

The next step in your way to starting a photography business is to choose How to make money through Photography? The question is very important as it would allow you to set your goals, the amount of time you would be investing, and other important factors. This point is also a key factor to decide how much photographers make so make sure you go thoroughly to these points. From a broader perspective, you earn money in photography in three ways.

Client Work
client work

The first and most common method of earning money in photography is working for clients. At the start, you can approach some people looking for a photographer in your niche or make cold reach out to those who would be interested in your service in exchange for capital.

As this is a beginner guide to starting a photography business and assuming you are a beginner you can even work for a discounted price at the beginning to acquire clients and build connections for the long term.

Also, note that most of the niches in photography will fall under this “workspace” where you would be working on a project for your client. This field also allows you to learn and work much more than any other as you would be exploring new work, working with deadlines, and much more from your day-to-day life.


The next way you can start earning in the photography business is by teaching your people photography. If you have managed to learn skills and insights about photography you teach it to the newcomers and make money out of it.

These courses can again be offline or online or both. And regarding the courses, you can teach anything regarding photography for eg: Food photography, mobile photography, basics of photography or anything that you would like. For this, you can charge an amount based on the sessions and the value you would be giving out of it.

Secondly, there are multiple ways you can conduct online teaching of photography. You can either create a live session of yourself or create a course and put it on the learning sites. This way the whole world would get access to your course and you can earn whenever someone opts for your course.

Selling your Photographs
selling your photographs

Another great way that you can make money in the Photography business is by selling your photographs. The Internet has opened various ways you can make money online. Either you can upload them on stock image sites where you would be earning an amount whenever someone uses your photograph or you can license your photograph and sell it to a particular firm, cooperation, or magazine for their particular use only.

3. Starting your business

Finally, after exploring all the options and answering all the required questions you are set to start a business of photography. It is a very important step and should be done very carefully as all your efforts and investment would be surrounding this particular step.

Choosing the business name

The first step would be choosing the name of your photography business. You can either be creative or can keep it simple, it’s completely your choice. But I would suggest you choose a name that is easy to remember. The last thing you want is that your customer does not even remember your brand name. 

In addition, having a separate business name and bank account would give you tax benefits. So choose a name you will be working under, start earning, and set up a business bank account.

Setting up your business goals

Now as you have started working professionally, it is very important that you set your goals from the starting itself. This goal could be anything from earning $50,000 this year or acquiring 20 new clients this year. But the goal must always be achievable. No hypothetical claims but actual data only.

To help you set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound Goal) you can go through the following steps.

Choosing your Audience

In Photography Business, First and foremost choose who your audiences are? Now the niche you choose before would play a very important role in choosing your audience and setting up goals for your photography business.

Choosing your audience would let you do what kind of work your audience is interested in. How you can get their attention and whom you can contact based on your experience and skills.

It will also help you determine who your competitors are, and how you can overtake them to grow your business.

Setting up your tariff

After choosing your audience, it’s time you set your tariffs for your photography business. Choosing your audience is one thing but acquiring them is another challenge. Moreover, you wouldn’t like to be undervalued for your work.

So set charges that don’t undermine your work and you get paid rightfully for your work. Now many factors will come in, such as, what established photographers are charging, what your competitors are charging, what value are you providing and How many clients would you be able to acquire.

To give you a start, you can go with the following tariff.

Beginner Photographer: $50 – $150/ hour

Intermediate Photographer: $100 – $250/hour

Professional Photographer: $250 – $500+/hour 

Future planning

Goals are about the future. Every major step that you take in order to start a photography business is all about what you want to achieve in the future. So make a road map to your success. Point out your turning points and set up short goals that are focused on a greater goal.

While doing so, you shall always be analytical about everything that you are planning a roadmap. Don’t forget about adding the expenses of equipment, rent charges, business cards, insurance, accounting, and other miscellaneous charges.

4. Choosing the right equipment

Photography is a field where you will find an exponential amount of equipment. Some of which have a very important, serving purpose to your art and others are the one which isn’t necessary for all kinds of photographers.

Some of the important equipment that you shall invest in to start your photography business are:

DSLR Camera


The very first investment that you should make is purchasing a good DSLR. Some people get a camera for rent to learn, which may be the right start, but when you are working professionally it’s always good to have your own DSLR camera

Now to be very honest, there isn’t anything like the “Best Camera”, as each camera has its pros and cons. You would require to make a judgment based on the niche and your budget. You don’t need to break a bank or go broke, by buying an expensive camera, rather buy a decent one.

Further, the result would be based on your skills, and the time you give yourself you explore your own likes and dislikes. To begin with, I recommend you go through the Best Camera Brands which will help you make a better choice. Additionally, PixelPhant has even curated a detailed break down of the best camera for product photography. If that’s your niche, have a look.



Similar to the DSLRs, you have a wide variety of lenses from which you can choose. And it goes without saying that the type of lens that you choose would totally depend on your photography niche and style.

But as we are discussing how to start a photography business from scratch, especially for beginners you shall have three types of the lens by your side.

Prime Lens

It is a basic, yet very versatile lens that you usually get with your camera. It can be used for low light photography, depth effect, right blur, and for all various basic image capturing. But the drawback is the Zoom. There is no zoom and to get closer, you would have to be near the subject. Also to note, it has only a single focal range.

Zoom Lens

Zoom lenses are much more versatile than the prime lens as they have multiple focal lengths. As the name suggests the main advantage of this lens is that you can get a closer shot of your subject, without a need to go close.

Niche lens

Other than two basic lenses your next lens should be based on your niche. To be noted, this isn’t an urgent buy expense that you need to take care of. Rather when you have already started your photography business. They are an improvement over the above two and you can even find common ground to fulfill your requirement.


photography lighting equipment

Another important investment that you need to start a Photography business is lighting equipment. Again, this depends on the niche whether you need to go full throttle or would basic lighting equipment is enough for you.

External Flash

Flash is nonetheless the most used photography equipment after camera and lens. It can come in handy in countless situations and is totally worth buying.

Ring light, Strobe Lighting, or Continue Lighting

Other than flash if you are working in the niches of indoor photography, ring light, strobe light, or continuous light (based upon your budget). They will be your regular companion so investing in the right lighting equipment would be very helpful. I highly recommend you to read the 101 Photography Lighting Equipment Guide for Beginners.


product photography equipment

Again, this completely depends on the niche and your style of the photography business, but a tripod is any amazing equipment that will come in handy in your journey. It would help you bring stability, consistency, and quality to your images.

Other than the following equipment such as Grey card, diffuser, reflectors, etc but to start a photography business, the following investment would be enough.

Further, you should note that all the equipment should always be bought out of necessity, not based on your emotion or pressure. Hence make sure to put your mind where the money is going and get most of your pre-owned property.

5. Growing your Photography business

Congratulations! You now know everything to “START” your photography business. But in order to reach your goal, you need to grow. The photography business is among the businesses that can never grow old, rather it just keeps evolving with time and needs. 

Hence are a few ways you can grow your Photography business.

Building Portfolio

The first thing you should aim toward is to make a portfolio of your own. Your customer would want to make sure that he is putting his money in the right place and showing your previous work is a great idea to grow your business.

As I said, photography is an evolving field, you would be required to update your portfolio also. The best way to do so is by creating an online portfolio. This would save you a lot of time and money. You can start a website of your own, upload your best click, and start gaining new customers for your photography business.

Also, Read – Make a Brilliant Photography Portfolio

Using Social Media

Using Social media is another great way to showcase your work and engage with your potential clients. The best social media that you can use today is Instagram. Upload some amazing pictures, and engage with your audience. If you are consistent and you are posting high-quality images that people like, you would build your very own customer base to grow your photography business.

Gaining referrals

Referrals are and will always be the best way to grow a Photography business. But here’s a thing about the referral. At first, you may get it easily through friends, but in order to gain more, you would need to make sure your clients are satisfied with your work. If they are in no time you grow your photography business.

6. Turning over to marketing

Lastly, in order to grow your photography business successfully and sustainably, you need to make sure you market your business. When using social media and websites, don’t hold back on running targeted ads. Also, work on your local SEO to get higher ranking google local searches. This would help you bring new customers who are looking for your service.

Mistakes to avoid in this journey

Till now you have managed to learn everything you need to know about starting your own Photography business and growing it. But here are a few things that you must make sure are checked to avoid any possible mistakes.

  •  Cover your important equipment such as camera lights lenses insurances as they are among the highly-priced. In case something goes wrong, insurance would be helpful to you.
  • Take a 30% advance payment and 70% after the shoot. This would reduce the chances of your loss of money in most cases.
  • Keep learning and evolving no matter at what stage you are. This will help you stay relevant to the field and in the eyes of your customer.
  • Make your client comfortable with you and your service so that they trust you with all the future projects and work
  • Never underprice yourself as it would just make you look less professional.
  • Invest in new equipment only when necessary.

And with this, you are all set to start your photography business of your own. But as said before, photography is a broad niche that lets you explore your own creativity. So trust yourself, and keep exploring your own calling. If you wish to learn more about Photography, product photo editing, eCommerce, and much more, subscribe to the Pixlephant email newsletter for free and stay updated. We highly recommended reading this blog Make a career in Photography.

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