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9 Tips for Starting Your Own Brand Photography Business

Are you trying to break into the world of brand photography?

Well, I can assure you that it will take more than a smile and a few pretty pictures. Yet, building a brand photography business isn’t as hard as you might think. 

I’ve done it and am excited to share with you how you can too. Check out these 9 steps that will get you started!

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1. Write a Clear Business Plan 

If you don’t have any idea what you’re doing, neither will potential customers and no one will hire you. Thus, the first step to getting started is to write out a clear business plan. 

The Harvard Business Review wrote about the importance of a business plan and what should be included in it in the 1985 issue of their magazine. The information is still relevant today and will help you write your own clear business plan. 

2. Build a Website 

In this day and age, you can’t even think about starting a business without building a website. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to know how to code or anything else super techy to make this happen. Companies like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, and even gallery delivery programs like Pixieset allow you to build your own website by dragging and dropping. 

Be prepared to pay a monthly fee for hosting, but I promise you a professional website is worth every penny. 

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3. Use Social Media to Show Off Your Work

Social media is another must in today’s world. One billion people worldwide are actively using Instagram — and that’s only one platform! Plus, it’s literally free advertising, so why wouldn’t you take advantage?

While posting anything is better than nothing, a strategized plan is even better. Choose a few content pillars to tell the story of your business and create posts that are relevant to each pillar. 

4. Get Your Business License

Whether you’re a product photographer or fashion photographer, to run a legitimate business, you need to have your licenses in order. 

In most (not all) jurisdictions in the US, no special license is required to become a photographer. However, to run a small business you may need a business license. In almost all states, you’ll also need a sales tax license to collect sales tax from your customers. 

5. Reach Out to 5 Brands a Day to Start Generating Leads

You can’t just become a food photographer and all the local restaurants will suddenly know about you. You’ve got to actively put yourself out there.

Posting on social media helps, but if you really want to get noticed by the right people, you’ve got to pound the pavement. Research local brands that you’d like to work with, then start reaching out. 

6. Get Out and Network

In the same vein, you need to start networking with local business owners. It’s true that the most successful photographers aren’t always the most talented, they’re the ones who know the most people. 

Visit local trade shows or chamber of commerce events to start getting to know people in your area. And don’t ever let a lead pass you by. Even if it seems like a long shot, always follow up on every lead. You never know where it could go. 

7.  Create a Portfolio

Posting on social media is great for showing off your recent work and you can always encourage potential clients to check out your Instagram feed. However, a carefully curated portfolio of your BEST work is also critical. Be sure to include a variety of images that showcase different techniques and talents. 

Take your time on this and be vicious. If you don’t 100% love an image, don’t include it in your portfolio. If you’re having a hard time finding enough images to include, maybe you need to spend some more time shooting for your portfolio. (Or you’re being overcritical, which is a whole other beast). 

8. Set up a Styled Photoshoot

To get those stunning portfolio images, set up a styled photoshoot. This allows you to perfectly choose every detail to create the best possible images. 

When creating content for clients, you are always a little bit bound by their expectations. Plus, you’re creating images that fit their brand, not yours. With a styled shoot, you can shoot for your brand.

9.  Find a Niche

As a new photographer, choosing a niche isn’t always easy. You might think that narrowing your craft to one niche will cut out too many potential clients. 

However, narrowing down your niche and becoming an expert in one type of photography usually opens up more opportunities. People like to hire photographers who are experts in the type of images they want. 

But what if the reason you haven’t chosen a niche is different? Maybe you don’t know what particular type of photography will make your heart sing. Here are some great tips on how to find the perfect niche as a commercial photographer!

Starting Your Brand Photography Business

It’s hard to tell you everything about how to become a brand photographer in one short blog post. This basic outline will get you started, but I’m sure you have lots of questions about execution. The big one probably being…where do I even start?

May I make a suggestion? Sign up for my Brand Photographer’s Blueprint course. In it, I will explain all of these steps and more, so you can start your own successful brand photography business. And I promise you, if I can do it, anyone can! 

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