Is photography your true passion? Do you have a good eye for outstanding compositions? Do your friends and family recommend you to their acquaintances as a photographer?
Then the chances are high that at least once you have already asked yourself the main question: how much does it cost to start a photography business in 2021?
Yes, you love taking pictures. But wouldn’t it be amazing, if you could get paid for it as well?
Unfortunately, there are so many articles out there that like to repeat the same statements again and again:
- «You have to be truly in love with your art».
- «You have to take thousands and thousands of shots every single day».
- «Social media has to become your main advertising platform».
And so on.
Of course, these are all important things that you have to take into consideration. But let’s talk business here. How much will the whole thing cost you? And, ultimately, is it all worth it?
All-in-all starting a photography business in 2021 will cost you $3.000-5.000.
But what is included in this estimated price? Is there a way you can save a bit on some of the points from the checklist?
You need numbers! And that is exactly what we are going to show you today.
Related: How to Start a Photography Business
The Main Things You Need to Know Before You Start
First things first, you have to be aware of what is going on in the photography business nowadays. Basically, anyone can become a photographer today and that can be something that will get on your nerves. In fact, every second Instagram page says that the owner is an amateur photographer. Moreover, anyone who has literally a smartphone can become part of this whole industry. Thanks to the great cameras in our telephones and various editing programs, all of us have the opportunity to take amazing shots, even without a degree and expensive equipment.
What we are trying to say here is that the competition is huge. And the chances are high that you won’t be able to find a niche that hasn’t been occupied by someone before you. So, always bear that in mind.
Another thing that you have to think about before starting to invest in your photography business is whether or not you would want it to be your full-time job or not.
In case, you decide to make photography a part-time job that does not necessarily mean that you would be paid less and vice versa. However, deciding for yourself how much time you are ready to dedicate to your passion and to the making of the business before you even start is incredibly important and will help you with your future business plan and schedule.
Related: Starting a Photography Business Checklist
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Photography Business in 2021?
1. Camera Equipment
Here is the deal, you don’t need to invest in the most expensive equipment to succeed. After all, the best camera out there does not come packed with talent, right? But, at the same time, you wouldn’t want to buy something that would simply stop working in a year or two.
Choose the equipment wisely. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, but it has to be able to serve for years and save you your precious time.
Related: Is Buying a DSLR Worth It?
Camera (Approx. $500 and Onwards)
You don’t need to buy a professional camera for thousands of bucks. In fact, there are semi-professional models that are just as good (sometimes even better). Make sure to do your research thoroughly and then get your perfect weapon of choice. By the way, you might want to have a look at the cameras that are not brand new. The condition of those, at most times, is amazing, but you would be saving hundreds of dollars.
Related: How to Choose the Best Camera for Your Needs – 7 Step Guide
Lenses (Approx. $250 and Onwards)
Your camera might already come with a lens and that maybe everything that you need. However, do take into consideration the type of photography that you want to specialize in. Of course, different genres would require different lens kits. So, in the future, you might end up spending thousands on the ideal lenses (because these things really do make a difference).
Also, you can check out our lists of the best lenses for Nikon, Canon, Sony and Olympus cameras.
Lighting + Backdrops (Approx. $200-$800)
Once again, you might simply not need these things because you want to specialize in travel photography, for example. But if you shoot portraits and other things that require special lighting and backdrops, then do include at least $200 into your photography business budget. Moreover, you wouldn’t want to try and save as much as you can on this type of equipment. Great light and a proper backdrop are incredibly important for the client and the overall results.
Related: Top 6 Best Portable Photo Studio Boxes in 2019 | Photo Light Boxes
Everything Else ($100 and Onwards)
When it comes to camera gear, the list can just go on and on. You might need such things as a memory card, a tripod, strobes, etc.
Related: How to Choose a Camera Bag: A Helpful Guide
2. Make Your Business Legal ($100-1500, Depending on the Country That You Live In)
This is the exact thing that will make you stand out from all the amateurs out there. Your business license. Whether or not you would want to invest in that – it’s totally up to you. After all, you will be able to find different jobs even without this official paper.
However, a business registration can help protect you in the future (if any questions arise) and it’s an important thing for a lot of clients who are willing to work with a dedicated professional.
Related: Photography Laws: Can a Photographer Use My Photos Without My Permission?
3. The Right Computer ($1500-2000) and Software (Approx. $200)
The chances are high that you already have a computer or a laptop. But if you are serious about photography, you would certainly need to upgrade the thing as you might be spending more time working on it than actually taking shots with your camera.
You need to ensure color accuracy in every picture, so make sure to add a screen calibrator.
You would also need to back up your works and the clients’ Portable hard drives are an important purchase. Your shot can certainly get to a whole new level with the help of great editing. So do invest in a Photoshop or Lightroom license.
4. Your Website or Page (Free – $500)
The great thing about our digital era is the fact that you can become a popular photographer with the help of solemnly an Instagram page, for example. That might be a great place to start. It’s easy to create a beautiful layout and if you switch to a business account, then you can put all the necessary information on the actual page.
Certainly, a social network page is not something that you would want to have forever. After all, you are a professional and you need something more ‘valuable’.
Your personal website is a great idea. But you can totally create an amazing page for free as well! Or for a small annual payment. Of course, you can always hire someone to create a website for you – then it will cost a few hundred bucks. Whether you need to splurge or not – it’s totally up to you.
5. Advertisement and Business Cards (Starting from $100 and Up)
You can have a beautiful presentation of yourself on social media. But that is absolutely useless until the pages start bringing you the clients. That’s why you would surely need to spend some money on advertising yourself online and on printing out your own business cards (for the people that you meet offline).
Prior to doing that, you should figure out what your ‘target audience’. It will surely depend on the genre that you work in and your overall style. Once you ‘draw’ the picture of your ideal client, start using targeted advertisements on social media, spend time on the right pages and forums and in real life go to the places to which your main audience likes to go.
Of course, there are other expenses that we haven’t mentioned. For example, you might want to rent a studio and that will cost you an additional few thousand dollars.
However, the points mentioned above do cover everything you would need to start a photography business.
Related: Should I Make My Photography Business an LLC?
Let’s make the calculations!
All-in-all, if you want to get started on a small scale, then you would need around $3.000-5.000 (depending on whether you already have a computer and some gear). You could save quite a lot if you decide not to register your business. But make sure to not regret this decision in the future.
How much does it cost to start a photography business in 2021? Well, now you know and I really hope you are happy with the answer.
If you feel like you have your own style and that there is definitely something great that you can offer to your clients – then go for it. Open a business that is based on your passion. Frankly speaking, that’s the first and the most important step towards success – getting started.
Related: How to Start a Photography Business with No Money?