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How do I Open a Photography Studio?

Dana Hinders
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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If you enjoy taking pictures and dream of leading an entrepreneurial lifestyle, you may find yourself wondering how to open a photography studio. While becoming a successful professional photographer is not easy, opening a photography studio is not as difficult as you might expect. In fact, many people choose to run a photography studio as a part-time business while carrying on their regular full-time employment.

As an enthusiastic photographer, you're likely to already have the basic camera equipment needed to open a photography studio. However, you'll still need to make a few purchases before you can get your business running properly. Digital image editing software, such as Adobe® Photoshop®, is a must for any professional photographer. A wide selection of props and photo background options is also needed, since your customers will want to have many choices available for their sittings.

A website is a key component of the marketing strategy for any successful photography studio. A website should make it easy for prospective customers to see samples of your work, learn more about your professional background, view rates or special promotions, and book appointments online. Hire an experienced Web designer to create a site for your business; don't try to save money by tackling the job on your own. It's important to make a good first impression on those who are interested in taking advantage of your services.

Referrals are a key component of the photography business. If a client is pleased with the pictures you take, he or she will be likely to recommend your services to anyone who sees the images. Do your best to make sure every client is satisfied, and consider encouraging referrals by offering a discount off future print orders or a free sitting fee as a reward for helping you generate new business.

Photographers, like writers and other creative professionals, often prefer to focus more on their work than the administrative details of running a business. However, when you own a photography studio, you need to have a plan in place for keeping accurate records of expenses and income generated so you will be able to pay proper taxes on your earnings. If you lack the skills to handle this task yourself, investing in the services of an experienced accountant is a smart move.

As your business grows, you'll find it more and more difficult to handle everything on your own. Hiring an assistant can be a good way to free up some of your time. Photography teachers from nearby community colleges or state universities can be good resources for finding talented young people interested in learning more about what it takes to run a successful photography studio.

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Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the WiseGeek team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.
Discussion Comments
By dkarnowski — On Oct 19, 2010

What was photographers fail to realize when they are opening their own photography studio is the costs that are associated with the overhead expenses of operating the business out of a commercial location.

my digital photography studio is quite flexible in my location even though I do not have a large space available to me. Improvising with such tools as a chromakey background, also known as a green screen, I am able to create the look and effect of having a giant studio with simply a few backgrounds.

Sometimes these green screen images can come out very unreal but it is all about your technique and the way that you create the composition on the computer.

By saving on a smaller space and location for your photography studio, you can spend your money and capital resources on proper photography studio equipment that will make the difference in image quality that you have to as opposed to the fancy location of your clients to come see. There is definitely a balance that needs to be struck between the location of the studio as well as the output performance of the images that you are taking there.

By IceCarver — On Oct 19, 2010

I am the owner of a family photography studio here in my location. While I have thought about opening my studio business inside of my house and operating the complete business without the use of commercial location, I think that having a professional location of your studio as to the ability your clients to recognize the professional level at which you are offering. It is very possible to have a family-oriented local photography studio inside of a home organization or situation, but the appearance may not be the level of professionalism that you are trying to achieve.

There are some things that I would never do at my house for instance glamour photography studio work as well as fashion photography studio work.

By JoseJames — On Oct 19, 2010

@thumbtack, You are correct in your analysis that having a photographic studio at your home can be a great way to start your business. The only problem with this, besides the type of photography that you would be limited to, is the need for a space inside your house and were able to set up photography studio lighting, and the necessary equipment to be able to complete professional level studio sessions.

a true professional photography studio out of space to the types of backgrounds and services they are offering to their clientele. Sometimes you there is the availability of photography studio rental locations that can aid in your need for location to shoot your indoor photo sessions. These types of rental locations are usually only available in larger areas.

By thumbtack — On Oct 19, 2010

One thing to consider when opening your own photography studio is that it might be a good idea to start your own house. Often you can build a large clientele by simply taking portraits of families on a consistent basis and some of the moment concepts that they should update their family picture often.

By having this clientele already in place you have an automatic advantage when you open your doors in a commercial location. depending on the type of photographic studio that you plan on opening, operating out of your house may not be a solution that is possible.

For instance, if you are opening a commercial photography studio, you would most likely need a commercial space to operate your business so that your clientele will be able to come to your office.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
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