Starting a Photography Business: Five Mistakes to Avoid

March 20, 2014

Starting a Photography Business: Five Mistakes to AvoidStarting a photography business isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes years of hard work and dedication to build a successful business from the ground up. Avoiding the common pitfalls that plague many beginning photographers can make the process easier and get you started on the path toward success. Here are five common mistakes.

Not Creating a Business Plan

Think you can make a go of it without a solid business plan? Not so fast. Business plans don’t just benefit million-dollar companies; they are also essential for start-ups like you. You must research your market and set achievable goals. You also need to treat your business like, well, a business. This includes setting up an LLC, filing tax returns, hiring an accountant to tackle the nitty-gritty and taking out an insurance policy.


Many budding photographers think that charging a reduced rate when they start out makes sense. After all, as a newbie, you don’t have a ton of experience under your belt, and charging less will attract more customers. Unfortunately, this idea won’t pan out in the long run. You need to know how much to charge in order to make a profit after expenses, taxes and insurance costs. If you don’t plan ahead, you will need to raise your prices down the road and will end up losing your initial clients. Search online and chat with other industry professionals to get an idea of the going rates in your area. Then set a rate and stick to it.

Failing to Reinvest in the Business

Don’t expect to make an immediate profit from your business. You may start out making some cash, but if you fail to reinvest most of that money right back into your business, you’ll never make it through the long term. Spend some of that money on top-of-the-line equipment and software. You’ve already got your great training and education, so you need the right gear to start fine-tuning your skills. Additionally, put some money aside for the inevitable dry spells.

Avoiding Marketing

Many photographers tend to avoid marketing. Big mistake! While marketing and reaching out to potential customers can be a bit of a hassle, it’s essential to building a successful business. Use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to build relationships with potential customers and other photographers. Begin cultivating a mailing list, and send out quality email campaigns on a regular basis. Attend trade shows and start doing in-person sales.

Not Staying on Top of the Latest Technology

Photography is an ever-changing world. Technology, software and equipment can all change fast. If you don’t keep up-to-date with these changes, you’ll get left behind. Never stop learning and improving your skills.

Avoiding these common mistakes when starting a photography business can help pave your way toward success. It may be a rough road to travel, but the payoff – earning a living doing what you love, never having to answer to another boss and making your own schedule – is more than worth it.

Photo credit: Flickr