So You Want to Start a Photography Business? {Here’s a Cheat Sheet to Show You How}

When I was starting out I had no idea what I was getting into. I just wanted to start taking the money people were offering me to do what I love — use my camera! I started looking into starting a business and I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed. Lawyers, accountants, EIN numbers… all this stuff sounded intimidating and I began to wonder if starting a business would even be worth my while.

start a Photography business checklist

Fast forward 5 years and I can assure you, I’m so glad I sifted through all the small business info out there and started my business. Starting a business is a little bit like having a baby. When you first start out it fun and exciting, but if you want to bring that baby into the world it’s going to take hard work.

Click to Tweet: A business is conceived with an idea and born with action.

Maybe you’ve been considering starting your own photography business and aren’t sure where to start. Here’s a breakdown of some of the basic necessities when it comes to opening your doors to clients:

Click Here to Download Your How to Start A
Photography Business Quick Start Checklist

Make It Official

When it comes to starting a business, your first move is making sure you’ve filed all the right paperwork. You’ll need a business name, dba, EIN number, business license number and sales tax license to name a few. These requirements will vary based on where you’re located, so it’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney to make sure you’ve covered all of your legal bases. Insurance is a must before taking on clients as well.

Establish Your Presence

Before you can begin attracting the right clients, you’ll need to spend some time crafting the look and feel of your business. A little time spent on this now will help you clients quickly identify you through your brand. You’ll want to choose one or two fonts as well as colors and icons you’ll use in your communications and marketing materials.

From here you’ll move on to building a web presence. That means securing your domain name, if you haven’t already. Set up your website and any social media accounts you’d like to use to promote your business.

Define Your Services

Take some time to consider your ideal customer as you think about what types of products and services you’ll be offering. It’s a good idea to choose a specialty niche as well. You can always revise it as your skill set and vision grows.

Before you begin working with clients, think about your studio policies and write them down. How many family members are included with a session? How long with the session be? How many images will be included? These details are important to managing your client’s expectations. Create a contract that includes these important policies and  a model release. It’s a good idea to have your legal counsel review this document as well.


Now that you know exactly what you’ll be selling, it’s time to think about your work flow from start to finish. Going through the steps you will need to take with each session will help you to be efficient with your time. Systems can increase the quality and timeliness of client communication, editing and packaging, just to name a few.

Grow Your Tribe

The next phase of any startup is building a customer base. This can feel like the most challenging of all, but don’t stress an email list and marketing plan will have you well on your way to turning a profit in no time.

Ready to give it a try? Download my detailed Quick Start Checklist here:

Click Here to Download Your How to Start A
Photography Business Quick Start Checklist

Building a business may seem like an overwhelming task at first, but when you take it a little at a time each day you’ll be up and running the business you dream of before you know it.

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