How to Start a Profitable Photography Business

Have you ever thoughts about turning your love for taking pictures and all things photography into an actual paying job?  I certainly have.  Although right now photography is just a hobby of mine,  at some point I’d like to explore making money with it.  Photography can be a lucrative side hustle if you play your cards right.

To really be successful at photography you must start taking it seriously.  To do that you should do these two things:  Take courses and invest in a good camera.  You don’t have to purchase a camera with all the bells and whistles on it right away, but as your business grows, or you start making money, you’ll want to upgrade your camera.  But for now, here are 2 good cameras to start off with.  One great camera that’s more on the higher end that’s good for beginners but has all the bells and whistles you’ll need is this one.  If you’re on a budget or really just want the basics with a few must-haves for good picture taking then consider this one.  Still great for beginners (and pros) but less expensive and not as many extras.

Secondly, you want to start learning all you can about photography.  This means taking courses.  Even if you have a natural eye for photography or already know a bit about cameras, taking pictures, etc., you still need to continue learning. There is so much information to learn regarding photography. Naturally, we all like the free courses, but if you are serious about photography you should consider taking some paid courses as well.

Here’s a couple of really good classes to check out on Udemy.  They are all very reasonably priced with tons of great information.

This one is for beginners:

Beginning Photography

This one will help you learn about the mechanics of your camera:

Mechanics of a Camera

If you already know a bit about cameras but want to expand your knowledge take this course:

Professional Camera Techniques – by a working pro

Here’s a fun one if you want to learn how to take great pictures on your iPhone first:

iPhone Photography Take Professional Photos On Your iPhone

Here’s a free photography class for those on a budget.

Before we get into ways to make money with photography, here are 2 important factors you should look at when buying a camera if you’re just starting out.  Don’t make things too complicated.


Two popular brands that deserve your consideration when it comes to entry-level dslr cameras are Nikon and Canon.  Do some research on them to see which brand suits you better.  With either one you’ll be making a great decision.


Overall, you don’t really need a camera with an extremely high pixel count although many people might say otherwise. Just look for a camera that can do well with whatever amount of pixels available. You really do not need the latest and most expensive equipment out there to take gorgeous pictures.

Other basic extras to be aware of include WiFi connectivity, built-in-flash, video capabilities, touch screen memory card slots, shooting speed, shooting modes, battery life, and weight.

How to Start а Career in Photography

First things first.  Just go out there and start taking pictures!  You will be surprised at how much you can learn just by practicing the art of photography on your own.  Take pictures, see which ones look best and what the circumstances are surrounding the picture that makes it look so good.  Try taking pictures of different subjects.  Take pictures of people, places, and things, nature, black and white, you get the picture (pun intended ).  Take pictures in the daytime and night.  Choose different lighting settings.  Ask others what they think of your pictures.  Getting feedback from others can be a valuable tool to use to learn more about photography.  Also, experience with different settings and features on your camera.

Make a portfolio оf уоur pictures which is helpful if you’re looking to get an internship or job at some point.  You definitely want to display your work as a portfolio in some way.  I recommend setting up a website for this.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money doing this.  You only need a good theme, hosting, and domain name.  Then start uploading those pictures and expressing your creativity. Tell everyone you know about your portfolio and send your link.  If you’re not quite rather to start a portfolio or website, then join Shuttershock or Flickr and post your work there to start.

If you’re lucky enough to know others already in the industry or someone whose been taking pictures for a long time, hang out with them and learn the ropes.  This may also help you find your niche.  When starting out you may not know what types of photography interest you the most. There are many types to choose from such as weddings, babies, nature, travel, portraits, wildlife, real estate, and photojournalism.  Perhaps you may even want to just go work at your local Walmart in the photography section to get your feet wet.  There are many ways to get into photography.

Don’t underestimate good old fashion reading when it comes to learning.  Choose a few books that offer good insight and knowledge about photography and soak it all in.  Read a book for beginners and one for more advanced photographers to get a feel for everything photography has to offer.

Career Paths іn Photography

Freelance Photography

You will definitely need a portfolio to showcase your work if you want to get into freelance photography. The best avenues to explore freelance photography are through magazines, business publications, local and national newspapers, internet communities, and other corporate businesses who have changing needs.


A career in fashion photography can lead to a well-paid career. It involves dealing with all types of people from the fashion industry so you will have many varied and diverse options in the field of fashion.  It may involve traveling as well.  Attend fashion shows and perhaps start out as a buyer at a retail clothing store.  This is a good way to get exposure to fashion and learn what’s popular.  If you have an eye for fashion the opportunities are endless.  Start a fashion blog.  Work for a seamstress who creates outfits for others as a living.  There are many paths that will help you break into the fashion world.

Interior Design Photographer

A career as an interior designer can be very lucrative.  Designers can specialize in residential interior design, commercial, or both.  Explore interior design Houston to get an ideal of what an interior designer does and to see some examples. Professionals in this occupation work with interior spaces to improve the safety, functionality and aesthetic appeal of the area.  Selecting furniture, lighting, and color schemes are also some of the tasks involved in being an interior designer. Learning photography is a must in this field, as retouching photos, erasing elements in photos, and shooting small spaces is also required in some jobs.

Real Estate Photographer

Many real estate agents need good photographers to take pictures of the house they are selling.  Real Estate agents also need photographers who can capture the best pictures for staging.  Staging is when you hire someone to decorate an empty house (or redo a filled house) so that it looks the best it can in hopes that buyers are impressed enough to buy it.  Staging also helps buyers visualize where their items will go in the house if they buy it. Behind every good stager is a good photographer showing off the best angles and décor in an impressive fashion.

Journalism and Media

Thіѕ career option mау nоt appeal tо аll, but thеrе іѕ a tremendous scope of work out there for this type of photography.  Newspapers аnd оthеr publications thаt report news аrе always оn thе lookout fоr talented professionals whо don’t mind going оut аnd being іn thе thick оf the action аnd getting some images thаt tell а good story. People whо аrе genuinely interested іn reporting news frоm аrоund thе world саn explore thіѕ option.

Movie аnd TV show promoters and musicians аrе constantly needing new photo shoots tо publicize thеіr works, and are looking for professionals whо саn sell thеѕе creations tо thе general public. Competition is steep so you’ll have to find ways to stand out.


People whо have itchy feet аnd like tо explore new places оn а regular basis саn асtuаllу make а full career оut of travel photography. Thеrе аrе а number оf travel websites, tourism companies, travel publications аnd TV shows thаt will hire photographers.

Weddings or Events

Wedding photography can be a good way to build your portfolio.

Most weddings have аt lеаѕt one photographer whо іѕ paid tо capture thе joyous occasion. Other events such as family events, senior pictures, sweet sixteen parties, the birth of a baby, and quinceaneras are fun and popular events where photographers are needed.

Sell Stock Photos

You don’t need to be a professional to do this. There’s tons of people making money selling stock photos online to website owners and news organizations. A few companies that buy stock photos that come to mind are:


One good thing about Shutterstock is that you aren’t limited to just their websites when selling your pictures on there.  Some other places are strict on exclusivity. With Shutterstock you can sell your stock photos elsewhere.



500px Prime

Bloggers also need stock photos.  You can be one of the many people who sell stock photos to bloggers. If nothing else, think about how you can charge more just by improving your photography.  As your skills grow so can what you charge.  Food photos are widely popular and there is a huge market for this type of photography. Think recipe books, Pinterest, Ebooks, and more.

What better way to make money than by doing something you love and capturing other’s precious, beautiful moments in life through photography!

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