How to Run a Successful Photography Business


A talent for photography can be turned into a successful photography business. Parents, newlyweds, graduates and pet owners, among others, want quality photographs to record special events and to share their memories with friends and family. You will need to do some research and preparation to operate a successful photography business, even if you already have the skills for taking photographs that appeal to potential customers.

Determine an area of specialization for your photography business. Decide whether you will do portraits or action photos, children or adults, or other types of photography such as for pets. Your specialty area will also help you decide where to operate your photography business.

Determine whether your business will be based in a studio or if you will be mobile. If you decide to run your photography business out of a studio, you will need a convenient location. Your facility will need to be equipped with areas for setting up equipment and for taking the photographs as well as a reception and waiting area.

Work with reliable vendors to purchase equipment. For studio photography, you will need lighting, backdrops, and props. For a mobile photography business, you will also need a vehicle to transport your equipment.

Work with a small business counselor to develop business and marketing plans. The counselor can help you determine financial considerations as well as any licenses or business registrations you will need. For example, if you operate a photography business out of your home, you will need a permit for a home-based business which can be obtained through your city or county.

Promote your business by using contacts in the appropriate area. If you are going to specialize in photographing newborns, work with hospitals and doctors’ offices to spread the word about your services. If your photography business will specialize in wedding portraits, work with other wedding vendors such as hotels and florists to promote your business.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a website for your business and ask your photography subjects for permission to post their photographs on the site, as examples of your work.
  • Purchase only the amount of photography equipment you will need for your particular specialty area, to keep your overhead costs to a minimum.

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