How to start
a photography studio

The process of starting a photography studio business can be a challenging task, especially if you don't know where to begin. Most photographers looking to start a photography studio business think it is about getting the space and buying a camera and a lens. Nothing can be further from the truth. There is so much to plan and execute. Today, we are going to discuss the step by step plan for photography business. We'll also discuss how to make money with photography. Just remember that hundreds and thousands of photographers have already done this; it's not difficult.

So, let's get started.

Importance of business plan

A business plan is like a long-term goal for your business. It is like setting a target for your business that you wish to accomplish over a period of time. Think of your business plan as a long-term vision. It is the platform on which everything hinges. Let's say you want to become the best wedding photographer or newborn photographer in town. Can you rent out space as photography studio – yes, you can. There are hundreds of ideas to start a photo business once you've setup. Once you've that, you need a solid business plan. It is a long-term business plan for you and your business. Everything you do, every step of the way, should be focused on achieving that dream. Your business plan defines your process and guides your actions.

Costs & budget

Budgeting is a science. Every business plan needs to have a budgeting analysis. Without that, your costs could soon spiral out of control. Budgeting checks every aspect of expense, ensuring that every dollar spent is accounted for and within a budgeted expense plan.

Budgeting requires a detailed assessment of costs. Therefore, budgeting is best done by professional hands, people who know the costs of doing business, the price of products and services required, and the price of tools that need to be purchased. Small and medium businesses rarely do budgeting using professional hands. The business owner always does the budgeting based on their experience—a reason why 20% of small businesses fail within the first two years of operation.

If you are going to do the budgeting on your own, ensure you include all aspects of the cost of running a business. Ensure that you include all recurring expenditures, including any rental payments, power bills, maintenance, repairs, and the cost of hiring expert hands, among other expenditures.

It is not always a bad thing to take professional help for budgeting. Professional budgeting helps get an accurate cost estimate based on actual data and scientific market research.

Starting a studio

In these easy steps to start a photo business, we will touch all the major aspects a photographer stumbles on as a beginner starting a studio.

Starting a photo studio

Professional experience

The professional experience of a photographer is his capital when he starts a photography studio business. The knowledge that he has gained over years of working on various photography assignments helps him when he starts a studio on his own. The professional experience helps him to manage the photography side of things while he eases into his new role as an entrepreneur. Managing a studio requires a set of skills that are different from taking photos. But being good at one aspect of the job gives the confidence to be better in the other areas and makes your photography studio profitable.

Being good at one aspect of your job gives the confidence to be better in the other areas

Show your work

No matter the genre of photography you are interested in, you must find a way to showcase your work. Whether framing the best work on your studio walls, posting it on your website, or on a social networking platform, you must have a system to share your best work with prospective clients. There is no better way to impress prospective clients than to bombard them with your best work and convince them that you are a good photographer.

Another great way to showcase your work is to do solo exhibitions. Solo exhibitions are a great way to draw eyeballs and spread the word about your work. Solo exhibitions are not only a great avenue for selling your work, but it is also an excellent channel to reach out to prospective clients.

Camera gear

Most photographers tend to make the usual mistake of investing in gear they don't require. Don't go head over hill investing in the best and the most expensive photography gear you can lay your hands on. Being frugal is the way to go. Think of it as working with the least amount of equipment and sensibly investing in your business.

By that, we don't mean that you should not invest in the required gear. For example, you will need a good enough camera and a set of lenses to go with it. You will also require a set of lights. There is no compromise in this.

Your primary focus would be the lens Because the magic happens in the lens and not in the camera. Invest in the best quality lens that your budget permits, and then pick up a camera to go with it.

To set up a studio lighting infrastructure, you need at least two lights - a key light and a fill light. It will serve as your background light for subject separation if you can afford to have a third light.

Apart from your photography gear, you will also require a computer, An external hard drive, preferably two, a screen calibration tool, and photo editing software. Most good photo editing software is available on a subscription basis. That means you don't have to pay much upfront to own software. You can pay as you go. But you will have to invest a decent amount of money to buy a computer system. Most photographers prefer an iMac. It has the best screen resolution and perfect color when properly calibrated. However, iMacs can be expensive. You can also opt for a Macbook on a lower budget.

Pricing plan

The pricing plan you want to implement will depend on several parameters. One of those parameters is the demand for the photography service you plan to offer. Let's say it is a newborn photography studio that you are planning on starting. Suppose the market is already saturated with photographers doing newborn photography. In that case, It could be very difficult to land your first client unless your pricing is competitive and you are willing to offer more than the competition. The pricing plan will also depend on the customers' expectations regarding your service. Find out what your competition is offering and the kind of pricing that they are charging.

As a photographer just starting, it's always a good ploy to leave your pricing a touch below what the competition offers. We are not great fans of undercutting pricing. We are certainly not big fans of starting a pricing war. Pricing war always ends with the side having the deepest pocket winning the fight. As someone starting a photography studio, you may not have a deep pocket to sustain a long fight.

Studying the pricing policy of your competition and keeping your price points slightly lower can make you an attractive proposition for potential clients.

The best thing about scheduling software is that it works 24/7, even when you are asleep or busy shooting on a project.

Scheduling software

You need a scheduling tool to run your business. Scheduling software is an excellent tool for photographers because it allows a photographer to organize all his appointments in one place. The best thing about scheduling software like Vev is that it works 24/7, even when you are asleep or busy shooting on a project. Clients can check your availability and book the days when you are available. Everything works seamlessly without you being present when the booking takes place. For every order you get an e-mail informing you of the booking details. A scheduling software works like a remote assistant who works 24/7 taking care of your business while you focus on what you do best - take pictures.

Registering your business

Registering your business is the process of legalizing its existence. It is the process of registering with the local authorities, setting up a legal name, paying the registration fees, and fulfilling the allied registration process.

Every country has its process for registering a business. But everything starts with finding a suitable name for your business. Make sure that the name you choose is easy to remember, has the element of your business as a part of the name, and can be easily established as a brand name in the area where you wish to operate.

These days finding a domain name also starts while you are planning the business name. You must register your domain name as soon as you finalize the business name and have it registered.

Registering a business tends to vary according to the country in which you are located. There are three business registrations - sole proprietorship, an LLC, and add a corporation. In some countries, you can also register a business as a partnership. Choose the business type that best fits your requirement.

We also recommend you do a quick search with the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that the business name is not in use. Additionally, you can also opt to register your business with the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that nobody in the future can use that name for themselves.


Starting a photography studio business need not be a complex process. All it needs is a solid costing budget, a definite plan, and a lot of hard work. If you've some space that you can use, you already have everything you need to make money with a photography studio setup. In these easy steps to start a photo business, we have touched on all the major aspects that a photographer stumbles on as a beginner starting a studio. Hopefully, you will not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to start a photography business?

Not really. Starting a photography business is like starting any other company. It requires meticulous planning, accurate cost analysis, and the zeal to work hard towards achieving one's goal.

How to make money with photography studio?

You can conduct shoots on assignment, rent out the space to other photographers, and conduct workshops for budding photographers. There are many ways to make money with photography studio.

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