Photography Business: How to Start a Professional Photographer Business

Start a profitable photography business you can do while RVing. Professional photographers have endless opportunities. Here a pro tells you more from planning to picture taking.

How to Start a Photography Business

~ by Jennifer James, author

Are you intrigued by the idea of using photography to make time stand still, and creating keepsakes that will be treasured for generations?

Maybe you love being part of the excitement that comes with important moments in human life: weddings, comings of age, and celebrations. You want to be there to record them forever. You can get paid to do what you love when you start a wedding photography business or a portrait photography business.

When you start a photography business you will be able to earn a living creating unique and creative images of people's cherished moments. Professional photography has been around for decades, yet it continues to be one of the most innovative and creative art forms in the world today. Being your own boss and determining your own schedule are just a few of the perks.

The family and wedding photography industry is booming right now. The real emphasis placed on the importance of family has seen a surge in portrait photography, and couples in love are spending thousands of dollars on their wedding photography.

Add in the fact that professionals of all types need headshots for business use, and there is no shortage of work for the aspiring professional photographer.

It's not difficult to start a photography business - all you really need are a good camera with the necessary lenses and equipment, and an eye for composition. But in order to attract clients and create a thriving photography business that you can call a true career, there are a few other things you'll want to do.

Here's some advice from the FabJob Guide to Become a Professional Photographer that will help you achieve your goal of starting a wedding photography business or a portrait photography business.

1. Plan and prepare

Before setting up studio space, buying equipment, or looking for clients, you'll need to plan what type of photography business you'll be running. Will it be wedding photography, portrait photography, pictures of young children or high school graduates, or some combination of these? Think about the type of photography you're most passionate about, the services you'll offer and the type of image you want to present.

To build your photo-taking skills, you can take photography classes at a local art school or community college, buy some good how-to books, and most importantly, practice by taking pictures of friends and family. Getting feedback on your work from other professionals will also go a long way to helping your build your skills to the professional level.

2. Get the right tools for the job

As mentioned, professional quality digital photography equipment is a must. This includes at least one digital camera with a few interchangeable lenses, and digital memory for file storage. Additional lighting and backdrops are a great addition if you plan to shoot portrait work inside. If you need to shoot onsite (at weddings, for example), a durable-but-lightweight camera bag will help you protect and transport photography equipment.

Many photographers find it difficult to work without the help of a computer editing program, and a website to attract customers is important too. A good training book and some business planning will help you start a photography business knowing exactly what tools and equipment you'll need for the services you have in mind.

3. Set up your studio or office

Starting a photography business requires a studio or an office where you will be able to greet prospective customers, review prints, fill out forms, and conduct other in-person business. When you set up your space to start a photography business, keep in mind the services you're planning on offering. The reception area of someone who plans to work primarily with weddings will be very different for someone doing headshots for aspiring models and actors, for example.

When deciding whether or not to invest in things like studio space, consider the advice of Mike Copeland, an official photographer for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics: "If you have the space, it's great to run this kind of business from home. We have our living room set up to meet with wedding clients, and a workspace in the basement." If you don't have the funds to equip a studio, you can still shoot outside or on location.

4. Find customers

When you are ready to start your photography business, you'll want to let the public know you are available for their photography needs. You can pay to advertise your services, although display ads may be too expensive when you first start a photography business. Instead, consider press releases and other low-cost marketing strategies such as referrals.

When your market your photography business, show how your work is unique, without moving too far away from the traditional expectations of your target market. Online directories and a website for your photography business will also help generate and increase sales.

This article is based on the FabJob Guide to Become a Professional Photographer by Jennifer James. The complete guide offers detailed step-by-step information about how you can start a photography business and become a professional photographer. It is available online through .

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