How To Start A Photography Business: Guide and Business Plan

How To Start A Photography Business: Guide and Business Plan

In 2015 alone, the global demand for digital photography was estimated at 77.66 billion US dollars. And according to research, this estimate is predicted to reach 110.79 billion dollars in 2021. So it’s no brainer that more people are dying to learn how to start a photography business.


But, starting any business including photography is not a walk in the park. For the most part, drawing a successful photography business plan requires a lot of brainstorming. Another thing is resolving the question “what do I need to start a photography business?” even when you have the capital to start. Except that you have a seasoned photographer entrepreneur as a guide, you can’t skip the roadblocks.


That is exactly why I have taken to walking you through the step-by-step process.


In this post, I’ll teach you how you can start a small photography business and grow it fully into a big successful one. See the breakdown below.


  • Pick a Specific Niche
  • Write Your Photography Business Plan
  • Draw Your Business Structure
  • Create Your Brand Name
  • Get A Legal Establishment
  • Buy The Equipment Needed For Photography Studio
  • Develop Marketing Strategies


In just 7 easy steps. Let’s dive in.


Pick A Specific Niche

When planning how to start a photography business successfully, the fastest way to grow a small enterprise from scratch into a full-blown empire is by niching down. That way, you can make significant capital investments and focus on one thing instead of aiming a stone at the two end poles of the earth. In photography, however, we have about 17 different niches. Here are some of them; fashion photography, stock photography, food photography, event, concert, and travel photography. So, here are things to consider to choose the best photography niche for you.


  • Ask yourself what you enjoy most and what you’re actually good at; so that working becomes more like a play and a personal development tool.
  • See if the niche suits your personality and lifestyle.
  • What’s the market competition like in the niche; you don’t want to compete with a lot of photographers.
  • What is the pay like?
  • Does it allow time for other businesses?
  • What is the photography business expenses like?


Write A Photography Business Plan

After choosing a specific niche out of the tens of photography business ideas alive, the next step is writing your business plan. Your business plan is your business roadmap to success. It stretches out and defines the goals of your business and outlines how you intend to achieve those goals at the same time. To write a functional one, here’s the step-by-step process on how to write a photography business plan.


  • Create an executive summary; that is the legal structure of your business. More on it later.
  • Write a description of your services; will you be offering workshops and tutorials for learners along the way? Everything must be stretched out in detail.
  • Outline your market; regardless of your niche, it’s important to define what part of the market you’ll be targeting.
  • Paint the competition; define who your main competitor is and know who your secondary competitors are.
  • Plan your financials; this is the point where you answer the question “what do I need to start a photography business?”. The equipment and tools you need are decided by your niche and capital.
  • Your SWOT analysis; define your strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat.
  • Sketch a timeline; this is your action plan.


Draw Your Business Structure

When it comes to deciding the best legal structure for your photography business, a lot of factors are stuffed into the bag. But majorly, the whole thing comes down to your niche, your capital, experience in the field, and your business scale. Considering all that, you should then pick from either of the outlined legal structure below.


  • Sole proprietorship; this is the ideal legal structure for anyone looking to learn how to start a photography business with no experience. It is the easiest to handle and manage when it comes down to taxes and job execution.
  • General partnerships; this is even better if you’re looking to link up with a seasoned photographer in the field. By creating a partnership, you open your business to growth and greater management.
  • LLC’s and corporations; I wouldn’t recommend this to a beginner but if you’ve been in the game for a while and want to up your game, creating a corporation is the best for assets protection.


Create A Business Name

Most entrepreneurs don’t know this but the name of your enterprise has a lot of input in your success or failure. Because your name eventually becomes a brand, it is therefore important to put a lot of effort into it. So other than using a brand name generator or picking a brand name randomly, chose a name that is;


  • Short and easy to memorize and remember by your customers
  • Represents your niche; like KidsPhotoCap or KiddiesImagery for a photo studio for kids.
  • Represents your goal


Get A Legal Establishment

At this stage, you’re getting the certification and authority to do business legally in any part of the world you choose to operate in. The first thing you’ll do is to carry out your company registration with the corporate affairs commission of the country you choose as your business base. After that, you register with an Investment promotion commission. Then you get a TIN (Tax Identification Number), TCC (Tax Clearance Certificate), and VAT (Value Added Tax) registration. Below is a recap of the step-by-step.


  1. Registration with corporate affairs commission
  2. Registration with the Investment Promotion Commission
  3. TCC, TIN, and VAT registration
  4. Bank account opening and capital importation


Buy The Essential Photography Tools And Equipment

Your studio is the home of your business as a photographer. Regardless of your chosen photography business idea or strategy, your studio must be sophisticated with the needed tools and instruments. And speaking of which I have listed the basic photography studio equipment for beginners and professional photographers below.


  1. A studio space
  2. An APS-C or a full-frame camera
  3. Professional LED ring lights
  4. Wireless triggers
  5. Flashes
  6. Zoom and prime lenses
  7. Tripod stands
  8. Props
  9. A standby power generator
  10. Backdrops
  11. Umbrella lights
  12. Softbox
  13. Shoot-through umbrellas
  14. Reflective umbrella lighting


Develop Marketing Strategies

Finally that you have everything set up. The next action in line is marketing. Marketing puts the word out for your brand. It is an integral business activity that serves as the magnet that generates leads and businesses. Therefore, a special budget must be set apart for marketing your services. Regardless of your budget, there are 2 ways to go about it. The first is done virtually, that is digital marketing. While the second is the traditional mode of marketing. Putting the 2 together make your marketing strategy more effective.



Setting up a business that grows over time to be successful demands a lot of effort. But everything becomes easier with the right blueprint in hand. Right? So far, I have explained how to start a photography business in 7 easy steps. Do you have a question on any of the areas I have shed light upon? Would you like to get more support? Use the comment box to receive my guidance.

Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is a Social Entrepreneur and an experienced Disaster Manager. I love discussing new business trends and marketing tips. I share ideas and tips that will help you grow your business.

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