How to Start a Photography Business

You're a good photographer, and you really enjoy taking pictures. It's time to turn your hobby into a business. You can start a photography business by following these steps:

  1. Write up a business plan for managing and growing your new business. Identify your goals and lay out all the financial requirements [source: SBA].
  2. Find out what your state's legal requirements are for starting a business. You'll also need to find out if your state has any insurance requirements.
  3. Come up with a name. You can just work under your own name, or come up with a new one for the business. You may want to enlist the help of a lawyer, especially if you want to incorporate your business [source: SBA].
  4. Open up a business bank account. It's important to separate yourself financially from your business.
  5. Buy the equipment you need to get started. You don't have to buy every camera and image-processing machine you've ever dreamed of right away. Buy only the most essential gear at first, like cameras, lenses and digital storage. If you will shoot portraits, you'll need basic lighting, backgrounds and tripod accessories. You also need to buy essential office equipment like a computer, fax, furniture and whatever else you need. Make sure to insure your equipment [source: Heller].
  6. Advertise you new business so you can find your first customers. Send portfolios to agencies, newspaper and magazine editors and art directors. You can also create a professional Web site showcasing your beautiful work [source: Heller].
  7. Copyright your images to protect your business and efforts. You can register all of the pictures you've taken at one time at As you take more and more photos, continue to copyright your images [source: Heller].