According to the experts over at Wikipedia, “a professional is a member of a profession, or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity.” So you’re ready to make the plunge from photography hobbyist to full on camera pro – whoot whoot! This is a super exciting (and incredibly nerve wracking!) decision, but I know you can do it! Today we are sharing a few key things you can do to start a photography business the right way and ensure success in the long run.

Start a Photography Business the Right Way

Get Your Legal Ducks in Order

To become a legal begal here in the Hampton Roads area, you just need to register your business with the local Commissioner of the Revenue, record and report any earned income accurately, and pay appropriate taxes to local and regional tax authorities.

You can check out all the local requirements for your state/city via this link.

Creating a business plan is pretty important because it can outline what the goals are for your new business (to make lots of money and create gorgeous pictures) while giving you a useable roadmap to actually get there. Plus, if your business needs to take out a loan, these will usually be required by the lender.


Track Income/Expenses Associated with Your Business

Let me tell you from personal experience: it is incredibly painful, and time-consuming, to go back and look through credit card receipts to tally expenses (did that Target receipt actually go towards work stuff or personal?!). The easier option is to spend one day every week/month to tally income and expenses. That way you will always have an idea of where you are financially.


Gear Head

There will ALWAYS be more photography gear on your “must have” list, it’s only natural to want whatever the latest and greatest our camera manufacturers out out! The difference is to figure out what are your needs vs what are your wants. Do you really NEED that $6ooo camera, or will the $3200 one work just fine for they type of images you create?


Get Social Online

Maintaining an online presence is vital for letting people know about your business, as well as enticing new clients to give you a shot. It starts with a great website (do you own your domain name and URL?), and utilizing popular social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, etc. The best advice I could give you is to pick two or three platforms and really dedicate your time to working within those programs. Remember, consistency is the key, so make sure that your brand/image is the same across all your platforms – even with something as simple as having the same profile picture on each one.


Virginia Beach photography class


Get Social In Real Life Too

The internet is awesome for connecting people all over the place (I just booked a photography job down in FL because of Instagram!) because it does not limit us to just friends and acquaintances.

However, it has also made us a very anti-social bunch. No one wants to talk on the phone anymore, it’s harder to get people to meet face to face, and most business is being done via email interaction. It get’s the job done, but if you are a person who feel that you bring more to the table because you have a big personality (umm, hello!), then you could have a harder time infusing that into your online “personality”.

Focus on reaching out and forming genuine connections. Who can you reach out to today, not for what they can do for you, but for what you can do for them? Be positive! Encourage or congratulate someone, and be genuinely happy for the things they have accomplished!


Whew! Have I given you a few things to think about this morning?!

If you want to start a photography business the right way, it can be hard in the beginning. However, with a little persistence and a lot of hard work, it will turn into something that is incredibly rewarding – especially once you find that thing that makes your heart happy!

Remember that we all make mistakes, and it WILL get better!

If you are interested in getting help to start a photography business the right way, we offer one on one lessons to cover anything your little heart desires when it comes to photography, business, or who makes the best latte! You can check out all that we offer on our Education Page and drop us a message there!