how to start your photography business

24 Things I Would Do if I Was Starting My Photography Business in 2024

Starting your photography business the right way is essential to setting yourself up for long-term success. Early on, you should plan for the structure of your business, pricing, and finances, efficient processes, branding, marketing, finding your ideal client, and providing an incredible client experience that leads to repeat business and referrals.

When I Was Your Age…

I started my business full-time in 2010 and things were a little different then. I built my portfolio, developed a website, and marketed myself like crazy within my local market. I developed a referral campaign, bought Google ads, and ran a print ad campaign as well as a direct mail campaign. Yes, I made some mistakes along the way (like overspending on print advertising or not saying no enough) but I was able to build my business profitably from the start. I think it was easier and more simple to do in 2010.

There were no Facebook groups, no Instagram or TikTok, very little on youtube, and the Google rankings of the photographers were of photographers who had been around a long time. I took business courses and focused on my portfolio as well as my profits. There was less “noise” online and your visibility as a photographer was not quite as vulnerable as it is now with platforms, rules, and algorithms changing overnight.

Now, new photographers have access to so much information that can be extremely helpful, while at the same time extremely overwhelming. To help break down the process of starting a photography business I put together this list for you.

24 steps I would take to set myself up for success if I were starting my photography business in 2022

  1. Of course I would read the how to start a photography business E-book for step-by-step guidance on successfully launching my business.
  2. Make an appointment with a CPA or LegalZoom to set up my business legally and get expert direction on a legal structure, business bank accounts, and even pricing. Determine whether or not the business is a viable option at this time.
  3. Make an appointment with SBA and Score to access free resources that prepare photographers for success.
  4. Join industry associations to network and learn from established photographers. Also, join local photographers’ community groups. Join the chamber of commerce to network and also find other small business owners to discuss running a business in this area.
  5. Continue to fine-tune my style and genre.
  6. Build a portfolio so I have enough high-quality images for a profile page and website. I would determine the location and cast for the portfolio shoots to ensure that I get the right experience and images to showcase my brand. I would not just give away my work for free.
  7. Take courses from respected photographers and business coaches. Expert advice would help me feel confident and prepared, instead of just winging it on my own.
  8. Read helpful books like Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim, Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout, Contagious by Jonah Berger, Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman, and This Is Marketing by Seth Godin.
  9. Research my ideal client like crazy.
  10. Buy my domain name. I would choose a simple, easy-to-spell name that makes my brand and services easy for potential clients to understand.
  11. Begin researching website designers and builders.
  12. Work with a graphic designer to create my brand image and marketing materials. I would start with the logo because I can use it for my social media and profile pages, even before my website is 100% ready to go.
  13. Work with a copywriter to write the copy and bio for my website. I can use the bio for social media as well.
  14. Claim all my social media handles, fill out the profiles, and begin adding images and content. Add it to my workflow to regularly add content.
  15. Learn Facebook ads and/or hire someone to develop and place FB ads. It’s important to have a basic understanding of Facebook ads so I’d take a course on Facebook ads even if I was outsourcing.
  16. Hire someone to build my website that also knows local SEO. Take a course on local SEO to understand its importance.
  17. Claim my Google business page. Begin filling out and populating it. Add it to my workflow to regularly add content.
  18. Learn google ads and/or hire someone to develop and place google ads. It’s important to have a basic understanding of google ads so I’d learn the basics of google ads even if I was outsourcing.
  19. Research what other local businesses would be attracting my ideal client. Follow them on social media, like, comment and share their posts.
  20. Write blog posts (or outsource a great writer) on local businesses that my ideal client would frequent, post to social media and tag the businesses in the posts. I would then send an email to them to let them know they have made it to my blog!
  21. Plan my marketing for the year. I would determine my slow season and crunch time and develop my calendar for the rest of the year. I would work in marketing to my workflow to ensure I am building awareness.
  22. Establish consistent, efficient processes for managing booking, deposits, contracts, and client communication (I would use Picsello for that as the calculator would also help me set prices).
  23. Send an email to all my friends and family announcing my upcoming shoots and social media presence. Build my email database for future promotions. Focus on my mindset. It’s easy to have a scarcity mindset as an uncertain new business owner in a creative field. But the world is a big place, and there are plenty of clients for all of us!
  24. Focus on my mindset. It’s easy to have a scarcity mindset as an uncertain new business owner in a creative field. But the world is a big place, and there are plenty of clients for all of us!

Final Thoughts on Starting a Photography Business

These steps will help you create a business that stands alone, is different from the rest, and will provide an experience that clients love. Clients will become raving fans and refer you like crazy, leading to long-term profitability. We created Picsello so you don’t have to learn your lessons the hard way. You can avoid the mistakes most new photographers make and set your business up for success right from the start. Visit

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