Starting a photography business is less difficult than it seems. The initial investment for starting a photography business is not as high as you may imagine.
Let me introduce me: I am a doer, a pragmatist. I believe in making things happen. Where other may see issues, I see opportunities; where other may see difficulties, I see actionable tasks. Moreover, I have a tendency for minimalism, and it is quite easy for me to identify the minimum set of elements needed for starting a photography business.
In this post, I will show you how you can plan less than £2000 for starting a photography business that is all yours!
What do you need for starting your photography business?
Let’s try and keep things realistic and pretty minimal. For starting a photography business, you will need a camera, a computer to process your images, a website to promote yourself, and a marketing strategy. Everything else is additional, a bonus, but it will not make you a better photographer.
Few things aside, all the remaining money can go to your photographical education, be it a good workshop or to creativeLive.
Camera: less is more!
The tendency for up and coming photographers when they are starting a photography business which is extremely dangerous: the Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). In the industry, there is the pretence that a better camera will take better pictures. There is also the false idea that the more expensive your gear, the easier it will be to become a good photographer.
Starting a photography business from these ideas is going to be extremely expensive, and not at all rewarding.
Start with one body and one lens. As long as the camera has a manual mode and the lens can have a nice aperture, that camera looks great. Pick a small Fuji X100s or X-E1, or go for a DSLR like the Canon 600d coupled with a 50mm f/1.8 and for less than £1000 you are ready to go (at least if you have a memory card).
Seriously, for starting a photography business you don’t need a lot of fancy gears. What you will need is one lens that you will have to master and a semi decent camera. That’s it. And forget about flashes: learn to walk before being so keen in running. Master the natural light before trying to get experimental with additional setups!
The Gear acquisition Syndrome is the worst enemy for starting a photography business.
Fuji X-E1 = £369.00
35mm XF f1.4 R X-Mount Lens = £ 407.00
It is 2014 and we all shoot in digital. You need to import your images and process them. Your computer does not need to be the latest generation, with a lot of fancy gizmos attached to it. If I had to put some priorities, I would focus on a good screen and a lot of storage space to be attached to it. Faby and I work on Mac, which are great machines, even if they are more expensive than a PC. The entirety of my work is done on a 13′ Macbook Air, but there are solutions which will spare you some money, at least while you are starting a photography business.
We use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CC for all our needs, and for less than £9 a month we are done with the softwares. Every other software we use is open source.
Of course, please keep in mind you will have to spend a little bit more for an external hard drive to store all your files!
Macbook Air 13′ = £849.00
Adobe CC for Photographers = £100.00/year
External Hard Drive = £75.00
If you think that starting a photography business can be expensive, you are probably right. It can certainly be. But if you think that starting a photography business can be cheap, you are equally right.
Your online presence is vital for starting a photography business, and it is one of those things that can cost an arm and a leg. Truth is that if you roll up your sleeves and do some learning, it can be as cheap as £10 per year.
Go on WordPress.com and open your own WordPress website. Pick a nice theme amongst the thousands freely available and buy a domain name to have a nice name. Understanding how to create web pages, galleries and blog post won’t take you too long and you can have your portfolio for starting a photography business for (virtually) free. If you are starting a photography business, there are no excuses for not having a website!
Google will host your email for £30 a year, and your domain name will cost £15 per year, but you can open an account with Outlook.com for free.
WordPress site = £0.00
Domain Name = £10.00/year
Outlook.com branded email = £0.00
The real challenge for starting a photography business is getting known. You need to decide who you want your customers to be. You need to know where they go, and then be there for them. Marketing is an important element that too many photographers underestimate, but it can also be a bottomless pit where to throw your money.
Hold your horses on Google or Facebook adverts and don’t go close to magazine advertorials, at least not when you are just starting a photography business. Print tons of business cards with your phone number, your email address and your website and give them to every possible customer or connection. You will be ready to go!
Business Cards = £25.00
Investment for starting a photography business
Camera Gear = £776.00
Computer Gear = £1,024.00
Website = £10.00
Marketing = £25.00
Investment for starting a photography business = £1,835.00
Now you can really roll up your sleeve and do the difficult part: becoming a better photographer!
PS: with the £165 remaining you can afford one of our 7Eleven photography courses, which will give you an in-depth insight in the photography market!
PS: did you know that we started photographing in our flat? We invested £100 in an IKEA sofa-bed and £10 in white sheets.