How to become a photographer from scratch and make money on it

Considering various business ideas, we decided to consider how not only a professional photographer can open a photo business, but also a person who was able to study the intricacies of this profession on his own through the Internet and specialized literature.

How to start working as a photographer?

Before you start developing a plan for starting a photography business, first of all, you need to purchase a high-quality SLR camera with good resolution and create a minimal portfolio that will help you get an internship with a professional photographer (if you are a beginner) or to attract the first customers on the Internet. Do not copy other people's ideas, carefully and painstakingly develop the style inherent in your photographs.

Once the portfolio is created, you can start looking for a job or internship for aspiring photographers. Here you will get your first skills in professional photography, on the basis of which you can open your profitable photo business.

Opening a photo business

To start your own business and start working confidently in the field of photography services, you first need to go through a number of preparatory stages:

  • creating a business plan for a photographer,
  • renting and repairing a photo studio,
  • purchasing the necessary equipment and consumables,
  • registration with the tax authority as an individual entrepreneur.

After all the stages have been passed, you can safely start working and develop your photobiz in the chosen direction.

Photo business directions

The main areas of business in this area are “photo for documents”, private photography (photo sessions) and advertising photography.

  • Photoshoot

An increasing number of sites appear on the Internet that need materials. It is for this reason that almost every person who wants to, who has a small list of necessary qualities, can try himself as a photographer. The financial issue also plays an important role. What do you need in order to earn money with a camera?

Of course, the first thing a photographer needs is a professional camera. The most preferable here is a SLR camera. It alone will not be enough. Therefore, you should worry in advance about purchasing interchangeable lenses, a telescopic tripod, an additional flash, as well as an illuminator and a tripod for it. A professional photographer will definitely need all of this.

But not only the technical part plays a big role. It is not enough just to have a good camera, you need to have the skills to work with it, as well as to have some experience in graphic editors. After all, even the best shot will still require fine-tuning. And without experience working with graphic editors, it is difficult to achieve good results. For the sake of fairness, it must be said that modern software allows you to edit photos even for people who do not have much experience with such programs.

Orders for photographers can be found on freelance exchanges. In addition, some people independently advertise the search for a photographer on websites or in periodicals. This is where you should turn your gaze. But more often than not, the photographer has to look for a customer on his own and advertise his own services. We will talk about this in the next section of our article.

What are the ways to advertise your services? First of all, you need to publish ads on free message boards on the Internet. Such ads are available to a wide range of users, and therefore you can count on the presence of your potential customers among them.

You can also print advertisements for photography in local newspapers. Not everyone uses the Internet exclusively.

Do not underestimate commonplace flyers either. Such print ads can be posted in crowded areas.

Your personal website will also play a huge positive role in promoting your own services as a photographer. But you will have to spend money on creating a website. You will have to donate either your personal time, which you will spend on building the site. Or you will have to sacrifice the money that will be paid to professionals for the creation of the site.

Don't forget about social media as well. Here you can create a group dedicated to your work as well as your services. In such groups, you can place examples of your work. Such a sample will play a positive role in making a potential customer an ordering decision.

What kind of soil can be considered the most fertile for a photographer? Of course, the category of the most profitable projects includes shooting holidays, as well as various celebrations. This includes weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, children's parties, proms. People want to capture all this in good quality and are willing to pay big money for a good job. But the level of your material should really correspond to the cost of services. In this scenario, you can avoid unpleasant excesses. But everything comes with experience!

For this very reason, at the beginning of your career as a photographer, you should not charge too much for your own services. But as your professional abilities grow, you can increase the prices for your own work.

Another option for a photographer to earn money is selling photos on photo stocks. They are also called photobanks. The essence does not change from this. Such resources act as a platform where you can sell your photos. Moreover, each site has a set of rubles. It is best to sell your own photographs on foreign websites. Of course, in this case, you will need basic knowledge of the English language. But in the Western world, creative work is much more valuable! Therefore, learning English can be considered a rather appropriate and promising business.

It will take a lot of patience and work to start a profitable business out of hobby. The organization of the work of a photo studio, in fact, is an interesting and profitable business.

Business: selling photos on the Internet

To open a business, in addition to a camera, you need access to the Internet. Today, photographers receive money for copyright photographs by listing them for sale on numerous websites.

Trading platforms on the Internet play the role of a kind of intermediary between those who want to buy works of authorship and photos. This is useful when there is a potential for fraud. Buyer's funds as well as each photographer's copyright are protected by state-of-the-art resources. To make this way of making money possible, you need to regularly create high-quality photos of a specific subject and put them up for sale. Also a profitable business that can be opened on the Internet.

In order to capture a sufficient number of high-quality photos, you will have to spend a lot of time creating the material from which these images should be selected. In this case, professionals recommend to shoot everything.

To open a business, you will have to work in any genre of photography. Only in this way will every amateur find a suitable topic for himself. You need to post your photos on multiple sites to increase your chances of selling.

After a time of hard work, having accumulated enough funds, you will need to start developing a photo business in order to increase your business income.

Consumer Market Research

There is enough work in the business of photo salons for everyone, so any novice entrepreneur can safely count on the opportunity to open a second and third salon in the future.


Small businesses require a preliminary registration procedure. You do not need to obtain any licenses to work in a photo studio.

To open a photo salon, you need to choose the form of ownership. This type of activity falls under the UTII taxation system. You need to try to take advantage of the opportunities provided and choose this particular system.

Location of the photo studio

A professional photographer who offers his services to the public has a real opportunity to make money on his skills. A business plan for a photographer provides for risk assessment and profit calculation, organization of an advertising campaign and business promotion in the service market.

The transition from film to digital has allowed many creative people to discover photography from a completely different perspective. The ability to see and evaluate the frame on the camera screen at the time of shooting has significantly changed the approach and prospects for the development of photography, and various effects of editing programs allow you to turn a photo into a masterpiece if you have the desire and certain skills.

However, it is not enough just to buy a professional camera to call yourself a photographer. The growing competition every day requires from a person offering his services in this area, skills, craftsmanship and high performance. What should a beginner photographer take into account in order not to be disappointed in business and in himself?

How to start a business for a beginner photographer?

Market and Competitor Analysis

It's no secret that the competition in the photo business is high. But the presence of a huge number of proposals does not mean at all that there is a high-quality photography workshop behind each of them.

Accessible marketing research will help assess the state of the services market. Since advertising tools are usually the Internet and local media, you should pay close attention to them:

  • material from two dozen sites will give a rough idea of ​​the list of services provided, shooting conditions and prices;
  • advertisements in newspapers, on local television will tell you which photographers is the most popular;
  • groups on social networks will allow you to evaluate not only offers, but also work with feedback, analyze customer reviews, their requests and suggestions.

Portfolio creation

After evaluating the ads of competitors, you can proceed to creating your own portfolio: without a demonstration of work, finding clients will be very problematic.

In addition to photographs on paper, it is worth making a selection and posting it on the Internet: create a thematic group on social networks, offer material to specialized sites. Later, when the number of commissioned works will increase, the photographs will “go public” and potential clients will see them. At first, questions about where and how you can view photos will constantly arise.

  • Photos in the portfolio must be of high quality, without blemishes. Here you need to strictly follow the rule "less is more."
  • Photos should be sorted into albums according to the theme (wedding, children's, romantic, stage, landscape).
  • The portfolio must provide the client with a certain amount of personal information about the photographer, it is necessary to indicate the presence of special education (if any), participation in exhibitions and competitions.
  • The client must clearly see the prices of the services offered, this will save time for both parties.
  • Contact information - phones, e-mail, vibe must be valid.

In an online portfolio, you should place links to sites on the Internet, social groups, and provide for the possibility of feedback. An additional bonus in the piggy bank is the reviews of satisfied customers.

Tips, cheat sheets, articles will never help you make money from photography if you are just reading them. Time to act! Introducing Jim Harmer's 12 Ways to Make More Money in Photography.

Every day I hear complaints from photographers that they can't make money from photography. It's a tough job, but worth it. Although I believe that many photographers put a cart in front of a horse, thereby only harming their business. I mean, most of my colleagues put all their energy into the fight for the client, but this is a haphazard action in which the photographer does not understand how much money can really be earned on the services provided to a particular customer. They also do not pay enough attention to the formation of special offers that help the client to make a choice in your favor.


So I think it's not such a developed idea now. But if you think about it - how often do families order photographers for events? Not so often, isn't it, especially on a paid basis, no matter what kind of event it is: shooting a newborn, Christmas, playing or performing children at school, weddings. In most cases, a photographer is only hired for a few events, but this is an exceptional case if the same family will pay you for shooting events all year round. The main reason for the emergence of unstable clients is the financial side of the issue.

Consider selling mini photo shoots to these clients. Perhaps 20210r. for filming a Christmas / New Year's Eve - this is too much, but the client will definitely want to order a short 30-minute filming of a newborn baby for a price three times lower. I understand that it can be a shame to work for almost free, but mini photo shoots will keep you afloat - it's better than sitting and waiting for some hypothetical generous client. Remember that the time you spend sitting in front of the monitor and advertising your services does not make you money. Money is shooting and selling photographs.

How much can you earn by implementing this idea: it depends on many factors, but you can take 2-3 mini photo shoots a week - the profit is small, but you also spend a minimum of time, and together these photosets will bring you the same 20,000 that you previously refused.


You have expensive photographic equipment at your disposal, you have the opportunity to take great pictures, but still you spend most of your time waiting for the client. Don't waste your resources! Grab your model and go to the studio! Dedicate 30 minutes of filming, which can be posted on iStockphoto or other sites like Fotolia (you can read more about stock photography here).

Stock may not bring significant profits at first, but this is a huge plus to your portfolio and better than sitting out the fifth point idle. Take pictures, practice, models or ordinary people - it doesn't matter, get your hand in.

How much money can you make with this idea: Many stock photographers say they can make $ 1 per image per month. Not a lot if you have a small portfolio. But the more your work is in the stock, the more profit.


This is a super-secret feature that I have never shared with anyone before, but it works 100%! Would you like to make $ 350 at each wedding, while the profit is not from the client? As easy as shelling pears!

When shooting a love story, ask clients what kind of photo they would like to receive in a large format to post at home. Not just A4, but a LARGE photo that will occupy the most prominent place. If a client chooses a photo to print, you tell them that it can become their family heirloom, and then name the price. Of course, the fact that such a huge photo (like a picture in a gallery) will cost about $ 500 will throw them into confusion. So, they want a big frame of them, and you need money. How to get the corresponding amount without charging a couple in love?

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