April 28, 2017

25 Things You Need to Start a Photography Business


To open a photography business, you need two things: the skills and the gear. Here's a list of the equipment you need to start a photography business.

Looking to start a photography business? There are plenty of potential photography niches out there for small business owner. But no matter what you plan to actually photograph, there’s some essential equipment you’ll need. Here are 25 things you need to start a photography business.

Equipment You Need to Start a Photography Business

A Good Camera

The first thing you’ll need when it comes to starting a photography business is a good camera. There are plenty of options out there to consider. Some work better in certain situations than others, so you’ll want to do a lot of research on what models will work best for your particular niche.

Tripod

A tripod is also an essential piece of equipment, since it can help you keep your camera steady and allow you to take many pictures of each subject without moving the camera around.

Camera Bag

When you’re transporting your camera from place to place, you need to make sure it’s protected. So invest in a good camera bag that you can use to keep your camera from getting broken or damaged.

Lighting

Lighting is an essential element of any good photograph. And while natural lighting is usually preferred, you’ll also likely want to invest in some studio lighting for when there isn’t sufficient sunlight.

Lenses

There are plenty of different lenses you can use to get different types of images on your camera. So it can be a good idea to invest in some different lenses to improve the quality of your photos.

Backdrops

Depending on what types of photos you plan on taking, you might find it necessary to purchase or create some backdrops that you can use for studio or portrait photographs.

Props

It can also be a good idea to have a variety of different props on hand. The types of props you choose can depend on your niche. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you probably won’t want the same props that a pet photographer uses. But having a few different options can be a good idea.

Studio Space

You might also find it necessary to rent or purchase some studio space for your photography business, especially if you plan on having clients travel to you for photos.

Reliable Transportation

Alternatively, you might be more interested in starting a photography business where you travel to clients. In that case, you’ll need some reliable transportation in order to get to and from your shoots.

Smartphone with a Good Camera

While you aren’t likely to use a smartphone or mobile device as your main camera for your photography business, it can still be a good tool. Since social media can be a great tool for sharing photos and behind the scenes shots, it can be useful to have a smartphone that can take decent photos for those purposes.

Editing Software

Once you’ve taken your photos, you’ll also need a software program that lets you edit and fine-tune those images. Programs like Photoshop and Lightroom can be good investments for photographers.

Computer

That also means that you need a computer you can use to actually edit and store those digital photos.

Mobile Photography Apps

In addition, when you take photos on your mobile device, it can be helpful to download some photography apps that you can use to improve your mobile photos.

Social Media Channels

You should also sign up for some social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram so that you can share your photos and updates with potential customers.

Domain Name

A professional website can also be a helpful tool for a photography business. So purchase a domain name that fits with your business and branding.

Online Portfolio

It can also be beneficial to showcase your photography work on your website or in other locations online. So you’ll need to work to build up a portfolio of images over time.

Business Cards

When you go to jobs or interact with clients, business cards can be a great way to showcase your brand and give potential clients an easy way to get in touch.

Accounting Program

You’ll also need a way to manage and keep track of your finances. So you can invest in a professional accountant or accounting program.

Payment Platform

And you also need a way to collect payments from clients. So you can set up a payment system online or have a mobile payment platform to offer clients.

External Hard Drive

Digital photos can take up a lot of space on your computer. So it can be a good idea to invest in an external hard drive you can use to store all of those large files when not in use.

Business License

It may also be necessary to register your business with your local or state government. Look into any business licenses that might be required for photography businesses in your area.

Insurance

In addition, you might consider purchasing some business insurance or a policy that protects your equipment in case it gets lost or damaged.

Client Contracts

When you get new clients, you’ll likely want to get them to sign a contract so both sides understand what is expected. You can create or find contract templates to use with each new client.

PPA Membership

The Professional Photographers of America is a group that provides resources to professional photographers like contract samples and industry data. You can pay to join in order to take advantage of those resources.

Photo Printer

When printing out proofs or marketing materials, you’ll want to make sure that your photos are high quality. So invest in a good photo printer that will make your images really stand out.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

1 Comment ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

One Reaction

  1. wrong, completely worthless advice. i built a six studio operation. you need marketing skills, and lots of shooting experience. you need tech skills, photoshop/lr and a work ethic were a 60 hour work week is your average. 1 day off each week. you need to spend less than you make. if you make money, then buy some insurance,

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