October 3, 2019 Last updated February 9th, 2020 544 Reads share

How To Start Your Very Own Profitable Photography Business

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When you’re passionate about photography the next thing on your mind is how to start your very own profitable boudoir photography business.

It’s natural, you LOVE photography and you know others are making a living doing it, so that sounds like a great idea to you too.

Below we will cover the two main areas where it will be easiest for you to get started in a photography business of your own.

So, without further ado, let’s focus on the first subject.

We will cover two completely different types of photography businesses that you can start and run and then later why it’s actually best to do both at the same time.

No worries, it won’t overwhelm you, it’s really easy and you’ll see exactly how they are a perfect fit for each other.

How To Become A Wedding, Portrait And Business Photographer

This is a business that you can start with very little money comparatively if you follow our advice, and it can start generating cash flow from day one.

Doesn’t Require A Ton Of Money

You can run this business out of a spare room in your home, your garage or do all your photography outside of your home.

Utilize a spare room in your home or create a studio or in your garage with just a few two by fours, a little drywall, and some paint.

Of course, you can go rent a studio if that’s within your budget.

If you choose not to have a studio at all, then turn that into your benefit.

How would you do that?

Easy, just set up ‘your name’ Mobile Video & Photography. This way it’s 100% convenient for your clients because you go to them.

Instead of having a backdrop wall, you just carry a couple of colored and one white mobile screens with you that set up on stands.

The sky is the limit, however, here are a few of the things that you’d be doing in your business.

A). You’ll travel to them to take their portrait photos. These could be outside in nature, in their home, at work, with their significant other and countless other scenarios.

B). You’ll travel to weddings to video and photograph their special day.

To set yourself apart, focus on getting the shots that other photographers would miss because they don’t even see them.

We once saw a photograph that had the bride and groom standing on the grass at the edge of a lake.

The funny thing was, there is no lake at that venue.

The photographer got level to the ground and use a puddle with them standing in just the right perspective spot.

It looked just like a lake and the couple was thrilled.

Not only that but he got tons of work from that one photo because it went viral on social media with another photo in the meme of him on the ground taking the shot with the couple in that shot too for the complete perspective.

Once you’re done you can post process the photos and videos before you send them to your client. They will have paid you in advance, so you’re all set.

C). In business photography you have to be ready for anything.

It might be product photography in a lightbox, photographing a company dinner, their new car line or damage from a recent storm or event.

You never know, so just be ready for anything.

What Photography Equipment Will You Need To Start Your New Photography Business?

There are a few things you’ll need to launch this business, but just how little you need may actually surprise you.

1. Of course, you have to have a camera.

You may already have one, but if you don’t may we suggest a very nice mid-range DSLR.

You can find great mid-range cameras in both the Canon and the Nikon lines with Nikon being our favorite for price vs value.

Anything in the D series from D5600 to D7500 will do quite well as they will all have the highest number of focus points and really good low light capabilities with their impressive sensor sizes.

2. You’ll need lenses.

Our recommendations to start will be to go with Nikon’s 18-55mm kit lens as it has a very functional depth of field range, is image stabilized and has a relatively quiet autofocus motor.

If you find that you can hear the slight autofocus motor noise from any of your lenses, look for a shotgun mic that protrudes further than the focus motor.

This will do the trick in most cases.

No matter what lens you get there will always be a tiny noise picked up by today’s high-end camera microphones.

Next, you’ll definitely want a telephoto lens.

If you go with Nikon, their 70-200mm is a fantastic lens with autofocus, image stabilization, and some really well-made glass.

Not to mention the with an f stop of 2.8 you’ll be able to get some pretty decent bokeh should you choose background blur.

Check the reviews on it and you’ll see that lots of photographers love it. 

Yes, you can use your telephoto lens as your portrait lens, and it can do a great job in some circumstances.

However, we absolutely love the 50mm f 1.8 prime lenses.

It’s fixed focal point means that you’ll have to use your skills to compose your shot.

 That being said, there are very few lenses whose bokeh can compare to the creamy richness of the lens so regarded it’s been nicknamed the nifty fifty in many shutterbug circles.

It’s one of the few lenses you just can’t go wrong with.

3. Lighting sources

A three-piece lightbox set with one per each side and an overhead source should suffice along with a few reflectors to diffuse additional daylight onto your subject to round it out.

A few backdrop screens in different colors and a sturdy stand to ensure they stay where you put them will give you studio-like presence on the road and should be considered essentials.

We’ll get into the small lightbox in the section below as it’s best discussed there.

4. Sound equipment

Microphone needs can vary so widely from job to job that it’s best to be sure that you have a good shotgun mic, a lapel mic with either a long cord or a wireless setup.

Just a tip: If you’re going to go wireless, keep a wired lapel mic with you as a backup. Things happen with wireless microphones and you’ll be oh so happy to have a backup if they do.

A boom mic is also not a bad idea to carry along.

After that, you may find you have to go buy a piece or two of specialized gear for a job, but that’s common and then you have it for years to come anyway.

The next type of business we are going to cover is…

How To Start Your Own Stock Photography Business

Stock photography can be a lot of fun.

You get to choose your subject matter, compose the shot and capture the image. It really allows you to display your artistry and dive deep into each photograph.

In this photography business, you’re taking photos for online stock photo resellers such as iStock, Deposit Photo, Shutterstock and Bigstock.

One of the first dilemmas you’ll have is whether to be exclusive or not.

The larger agencies will want your images to be exclusive to them.

If you do this, then they pay more per download.

However, you miss all the downloads that you could have received from putting those same photos into all the other reserves.

In reality, at the time of writing Shutterstock is getting more downloads than the next several biggest sites combined.

So, do you want to make a little more per download and stick with the biggest by giving them exclusivity? Or, would you prefer to spread it around and get a little from everybody?

That’s a big question you’ll have to ask.

If you do go exclusive, it’s only on a per-image basis.

This means that any images that your main agency rejects can be uploaded to all the rest of them for additional revenues.

Yes, the agency will reject some of your photos.

They each have their own requirements and if that image doesn’t cut it, they don’t take it.

Camera And lighting Gear You’ll Need To Do Stock Photography

The only thing you’ll want to get over and above what we recommended above will be a nice tabletop lightbox.

These really come in handy for photographing everyday items like car keys.

Don’t laugh, a few years back a single key that looked like a house key was the number one downloaded image on one of the larger stock photo websites.

Once you get your lightbox set up, you’ll be able to switch out items really fast, which greatly enhances your productivity.

Why A Combination Of These Two Photography Businesses Is Your Best Solution

It will take time to build up each of these businesses.

Neither of them will likely make you a full-time income very quickly.

As such, you’ll have downtime from your mobile of studio-based business that you can be used to do stock photography while waiting for the phone to ring.

Having two income streams also increases your chances of overall earnings and stability.

In truth, you should set a reasonable goal of being a full-time photographer within 2 years or so.

Go for what you feel comfortable with, just don’t think that it will happen overnight because in most cases it won’t.

The Best Way To Market Your Business For Pennies

Start your website and name it something that makes sense and will be memorable.

Then go learn from Brian Dean over at backlinko.com or Neil Patel at neilpatel.com, both are excellent, and both have YouTube channels if you prefer to learn that way.

The gist of what they will teach you is to write insanely good content that’s better and longer than your competitors.

Write at least 40 of these articles focusing on keywords that you can actually rank for.

They have tutorials on that.

Keep writing articles and expect that those first 40 will start to rank anywhere from 6 months to 18 months after you published them if you did everything correctly.

Use links on all these blog post pages to drive the people to your services, and you should start to see conversions.

Once the traffic starts to become appreciable you can have a steady stream of customers for years to come.

Yes, building your business will take both time and work. You’ll have to plant seeds and just trust that if you plant enough, some of them will take hold and grow.

It will require patience and perseverance, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Daniel St Louis

Daniel St Louis

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