starting a new photography business


New member
now i know this area is heavily saturated with people that think they are photographers. my wife and i have been working toward setting up a business to make our venture legitimate.
legalities aside. those of you that are doing this professionally how did you get started? how did you market yourself successfully?
we have basic tools photoshop, lightroom, and are running a decent dslr for now. 55mm kit lens and a 300mm lens as well. looking into prime lenses soon. working on lighting equipment and other essential pieces for weddings, portraits, etc.
the hardest thing we face is finding clients willing to pay the low price we are asking. friends balking at $100 for an hours session etc. never mind the editing time
my opinion on the matter is to get her photography skills to a point where our market changes to those who dont mind paying for quality, or at the very least are willing to pay for our services.
any insight is appreciated

Shawn Trooper

Active member
Standing at the edge....starring into the depths of the rabbit hole. I don't have all the answers however i can provide some help feel free to give me a call.


Active member
You're right about the market-saturation thing. The saying is "Everyone is a photographer until they try Manual Mode."

Photography isn't my primary business but I now have it at the point where it could be with a little aggressive marketing. I have learned a few things...

Have a backup system at ALL event shoots. The problem with events is that mistakes cost more than your fee. A botched wedding shoot will cost the couple something much more. That's quite a responsibility. Make sure that all of your equipment works flawlessly and you have a backup. Also, get lots of practice in. There's not much worse than a bride/groom waiting to cut the cake while their photographer is scrolling through menus trying to figure out how to get exposure settings right.

Make sure that your equipment is pro quality. That doesn't mean new. You would be better off with a 5 year old camera with a fixed aperture than a brand new outfit from Costco.

Learn off-camera flash. It's the best way to make your pictures professional looking.

Learn Photoshop and Lightroom but don't depend on them. Try to get it right in the field. You could spend hours on Photoshop fixing something that you could've avoided with a little forethought in the field.

Read stuff. One of my favorites is Picture Perfect Posing by Roberto Valenzuela. Get on Amazon and look for good reviews.

Charge much. If someone isn't willing to pay for a $1,500 wedding shoot, let them get one of the wanna-be's you spoke of. Make sure that you're ready to deliver a product worth the price you're charging.

The business is mostly about referrals. In service oriented business, there is something called the Rule of 200. Do a good job and there's a potential for 200 people to hear about it. When you do a bad job, there's something called the Rule of 500.

Senior portrait season is here. That's a good way to get good rep.

Good luck. I hope that helps.


New member
I do video, but marketing for me is networking. I get almost all my work through referrals and repeats and the rest through search.



New member
How much do you think you need to make year one? = A
How much can you charge a customer? = B
A/(B*.6)= # of customers you need in year one.

I need $10,000 year one.
I can charge $1,000 per customer.
100,000/(1,000*.6)= ~17
If you are not sure you can get those 17, the 10k is unlikely.

Completely forget about the specifics of the service. Just run the numbers.

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