If you aim to earn a living from photography, you must know how to start a photography business. It is well known that a creative field involves a lot of hard work and sweat equity. Just like music, painting and designing, photography requires dedication.
Pursuing any of the above fields professionally, demands you be persistent and patient. Moreover, it expects you to be a fluent communicator as well as a marketing person. You must be able to sell your work and skills with confidence.
When you step into the industry, the market is filled with competitors. There are hundreds of people with various (sometimes better) resources, who enter the photography profession. So how do you stand out? What should be your unique selling point?
Don’t Worry About How To Start a Photography Business
As a beginner, you may get caught up with numerous questions in your head when deciding to start your photography business. You might be asking:
- When should you start charging for your hard work?
- How am I going to find clients?
- What should you charge?
- What kind of work do you wish to do?
- Should you specialise in one or explore different genres?
- What platforms do I need to start marketing myself?
- And the most bewildering of all, do you change your artistic morals for commercial purposes?
Photography is a profession that makes you work hard consistently, for days and nights for no monetary gain. When starting a business you don’t need to worry about how to start. Instead, we highly recommend you jump in and begin learning. After learning a little bit you will then naturally want to put your new learning into practice.
Beginning a Photography Business
Don’t sweat it. Learning is part of every and any process in life. You may decide to listen to podcasts, watch Youtube videos, follow a course or attend a workshop. Whatever the case as long as you are absorbing knowledge then you should be absolutely fine. Practical learning or learning on the job is also highly recommended when starting out. Some internships offer low or no financial gain, however they give you all the tools you need to run a business (just not your own).
Be Realistic: Starting a Photography Business Takes Time
Photography has its meaning to each individual. The reasons, the manner, the outlook, the purpose, all differ from one photographer to the other. However, there is one common base that gathers all photographers under one hood. It's the driving force and the will to keep going in the hardest times and the respect for it.
To reach a point where you flourish as a photographer, you might require 3-5 years of day jobs as you burn the midnight oil. It can be an uncertain road, but it is possible to emerge successfully.
In this article, we will explore a plethora of resources that will add to your knowledge of how to start a photography business. Some of these resources are free of cost, whereas a few require paid subscriptions.
Podcasts That Will Help You Start a Photography Business
As technology advances, so too has the way we learn. When starting a photography business listening to sound advice via a podcast can go a long way. There's nothing like learning from some else's costly mistakes and growing your business mind at the same time.
Podcast Scenario is a series of vocal information for photographers. It describes the behind the scenes experiences of a particular photographer. We recommend listening to this podcast for the profound and inspiring photography stories.
A Photographic Life is a weekly podcast by Grant Scott. He is a writer, lecturer, photographer and filmmaker. He speaks about issues related to photography and current affairs in the field. The podcast is intellectual and has depth. It offers a blend of life with photography.
Six-Figure Photography Podcast
If you are waiting to earn the big dollars, then Ben Hartely shares his experience on how to make it when marketing yourself. As a self-taught photographer specialising in wedding photography, he shares his experience and knowledge while openly discusses his achievement of a 6-figure business over two years.
Ben likes to share tips and tricks that will enhance your entrepreneurship, so it is well worth applying some of his experience to your own photography business. If you wish to know how to start a photography business, this is the perfect podcast to begin your journey.
Fro Knows Photos
Jared Polin is well-known for his Youtube channel 'Fro Knows Photo' and his podcast of the same name. While he can be outspoken on some aspects, his knowledge of the industry is excellent. When listening to Jared, you will learn how to hustle to get the best shots with the gear you have. He provides educational content around photography and talks about business, life, reviews and gear.
This podcast is extremely profound. Martin Bailey delivers content that is inclined towards art, culture and creativity. This is another podcast that provides intellectual insights into the field. So make sure to follow Martin as he also conducts interactive sessions to keep his listeners informed of others opinions - which is great to hear.
YouTube Channels to Absorb Photography Business Wisdom
Chris Bray Photography
This well-followed channel is hosted by Chris Bray, who started photography at a very early age. He developed a professional calling after encouragement from Australian Geographic. With this fantastic opportunity, he commenced his career in photography.
In this course, he shares his journey through travel and wildlife photography. He also speaks about how he used his resources and knowledge to manage a successful business to sell prints, stories and ideas. So if you are into wildlife and nature photography, Chris is highly recommended as an online mentor.
B&H Photo Video
If you are a photographer, you probably are already aware of B&H Photo Video. They are amongst the most informative resources in the eCommerce space. From their training rooms, B&H covers everything that revolves around photography and videography. From equipment to educational content - they are essentially the one-stop-shop for all your needs. If you can't visit them in New York, then YouTube is the next best thing.
The YouTube channel of B&H has detailed tutorials and projects that you can easily follow along and apply in your own photography business. The channel introduces you to famous photographers, their work and how they 'made it'.
Karl Taylor has set a benchmark for a photographer who loves to work with lights. He specialises in product photography. However, in this channel, he not only talks about products but also content for increasing one's general knowledge about photography.
He offers practical sessions on lighting set-ups for various products. The videos he produces will show you step by step on what you need to do to get the best shots. Karl Taylor is an inspiration to a lot of budding as well as pro-level photographers.
The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography is another well-known YouTube channel by the popular Ted Forbes. He provides practical suggestions for photography and gear reviews. There are also photo assignments to brush up your aesthetics in photography. By honing your skills, you can charge more in your own business.
YouTube has made all kinds of information accessible to us and brought the work within our reach. You will find various other channels, depending on what you require.
Paid Photography Courses To Increase Your Photography Knowledge
Photo All Star by Shotkit
Shotkit offers many online courses that are perfect for beginners. Photo All Star is one of these popular courses which starts with the basics and gradually introduces you to the professional aspects of understanding how to use your camera. Presented by Grand Master Photographer, Peter Eastway, you will certainly be learning from the best. So, if you are new to photography or looking to touch upon your skills, then this course comes highly recommended.
Pro Edu is run by Gary Martin. The site offers many online courses which cater to working professionals. It is a medium to share experiences, tips, and knowledge for budding artists. Online courses are effective ways of learning, and there are plenty of other options that you can learn from as the site has recently purchased Resource Magazine which offers many free tutorials on photography and how to run a business.
Photography Websites That Teach Business Secrets and Photography Knowledge
Digital Photography School
Digital Photography School offers daily tips, resources, and tutorials at basic as well as a professional level. If you have ever googled something about photography, no doubt you would have read one of their articles. The platform provides all essential information from pre-production to post-production and will certainly help you along your journey when dealing with clients.
Through dPS, you will gain the right tools to enhance the quality of your thoughts, thereby improving your photographs. The content on photography equipment also helps you improve your technical knowledge. You will also find a plethora of e-books and courses to learn from.
CreativeLive is a platform that gives holistic knowledge. It discusses self-confidence, consistency, and all other aspects that help your career flourish. Along with adding to your information, it also guides you towards refining your personality. It prepares you for success and hardships.
The website connects you to world-famous photographers like Lindsey Adler, Nigel Barker, and many others. Inspiration and lectures from these personalities are key to success in the field.
PetaPixel for Photography News (Free)
PetaPixel is a well-known website with all kinds of news in the photography community. This established site provides its readers with updates about the photographic world and typically is a first page read for most photographers. PetaPixel also has The PetaPixel Photography Podcast hosted by Mike James aka 'Sharky'. Again, this is an excellent resource to digest the news and hear the opinion of an ex-pro journalist/sports photographer with a catchphrase of 'Next' (you have to listen to understand what that's about).
5 Day Deal
5-day deal is a website curated by successful photographers and businesses. They have joined hands to pool in various photography related gadgets and accessories to sell them at a huge discount.
The package consists of good quality products from renowned brands. Though the sale lasts for five days, it is an immense boost to the confidence of people across the world. Finance is a major requirement while starting a business, and this website offers a bundle of joy at affordable prices. If you are looking for a bundle of resources to help grow your photography business, then this is a great option.
Client Management Systems to Manage Your Photography Business
Studio Ninja is a client management workspace that enables structuring and streamlining of your wedding or studio workflows. It takes care of all your deals from start to end. By taking out all the frustrating paper trails and liaison between clients, Studio Ninja is something many photographers have turned to - as it is a hassle-free option.
The software is a complete package for organising as it features calendar updates, invoicing, statistics, address book and more. The interface is extremely simple to work with, as well.
PayPal is well known in the world for transfer of money; however, did you know there is also PayPal Business? The platform initiates the online money transfer system using state of the art invoice creation tools. With the increase in digitalisation, it offers a great service as an online payment processor for vendors and commercial users.
Quickbooks offers an accounting interface for small and medium business organisations. So if you have a team and are managing accounting apps or payroll, then Quickbook can save you a lot of headaches. It's certainly worth the small investment if you are starting to make some traction in your business.
ShootQ is designed by photographers as an easy platform for management. It includes various functions such as online booking, generating invoices, updating your calendar, and more.
The website also has a set of templates for emails, workflows, questionnaires, which is handy if you are setting up your email or website for the first time. There's also an accounting base to manage your profit and loss which is handy around tax time.
Books to Learn About Photography and How To Run a Photo Business
Stunning Digital Photography
The book is a five in one offer. This great read has access to 20-hours of video streaming. There are practical sessions and quizzes at the end of each chapter to help you gain experience, adding to the interactive learning. The author has also created an online community for support which is available along with the book. Lastly, it provides an e-book service with lifelong updates after the purchase.
If you are a beginner and are looking to learn about the basics of photography, BetterPhoto Basics by Jim Miotke is for you. Throughout the pages, you will find a friendly tone that's easy to comprehend. The author shares tips and explanations that are essential to start your photography career.
The Digital Photography Book
This book opens the door to hundreds of tricks and cheats that will make your life easy. Scott Kelby offers technical knowledge as well as quirky tips that can be implemented easily. If you are starting a business, this book will come in handy for quick ideation while shooting. It will also give you confidence in the output and leave a great impression of your brand.
Photography Meetups to Meet Like-Minded People
Meetups connect a group of people in the real world with the same interest together on an online stage. The site includes diverse categories such as travel, business, technology, career, and so on; however, it's the photography community that thrives. When joining a meetup, you will quickly find like-minded people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience for free.
As an event management website, you are bound to find some exciting photography events or workshops near you. When attending, you will get to learn from experienced photographers who can guide you in the right direction. Just ensure you read the reviews and ask questions before buying a ticket. Various photography retailers also host events through Eventbrite, so you are likely to see one in your local area.
Don’t Give Up: Starting a Photography Will Be Rewarding
Starting a business is complicated and full of risks. However, it is a risk worth taking. As a photographer, you must be aware of what element of this profession excites you the most if you wish to build a business with a team or portray yourself as a brand.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and continue to grow. Further, organise your thoughts towards a clear understanding of what you want to achieve in the short term and in the long term. Before stepping into the business aspect of photography, you should be confident - arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is the key, and awareness is valuable when it comes to starting a business.
Besides, practical experience is also equally important. Socialising and implementing the gained knowledge and skills will keep you on your toes for this adventurous journey.