How to Start a Business in Photography: From the Pros

How to Start a Business in Photography

Capturing moments through the lens is not just a passion; it’s a thriving profession for those who turn their love for photography into a thriving business. In today’s digital age, where visual content is in high demand, embarking on a photography business journey can be a rewarding endeavor. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer who has a love for storytelling or a seasoned shutterbug looking to transition into entrepreneurship, this guide on how to start a photography business will be your compass on this exciting voyage. Furthermore, learn from industry veterans who uncover the secrets to transform your photographic talents into a flourishing enterprise.

Meet the Pros

Let us introduce you to outstanding individuals who have mastered their craft and are making waves in their respective industries. In this series, we peel back the curtain to reveal the stories, experiences, and insights that have propelled these experts to the top of their game. Throughout their journeys, we gain valuable perspectives on the challenges and triumphs that come with honing a passion into a profession. Whether you’re a fellow enthusiast, an aspiring pro, or simply curious about the people behind the exceptional work you admire. Check out the worlds of these industry experts as they share their secrets to success.


Hogan Hickman

Hogan Hickman of Hogan Rebekah Design, is a  passionate photographer with six years of experience under her belt. Hogan brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to the world of photography. Her journey began as a casual camera enthusiast. Then evolving seamlessly into capturing the essence of graduation and senior moments during high school. Today, Hogan’s lens primarily focuses on college graduation and engagement shoots. This helps on reflecting her genuine love for people-centric photography. Although she occasionally explores the realms of product and pet photography, her heart lies in crafting unforgettable moments for individuals and couples.

Where is she now?

Currently, Hogan is in the final year of her college education at Covenant College in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Though her roots trace back to Indianapolis, which she proudly calls home. As a graphic design major, she enjoys the flexibility to pursue her passion for photography alongside her design pursuits. When she’s not behind the camera, Hogan can be found savoring coffee, scaling new heights while climbing, and embracing the great outdoors.

Sarah Artico Photography

Sarah is a seasoned photographer with a decade of experience behind the lens. She embarked on her photography journey a decade ago. Five years ago, she established Sarah Artico Photography Inc. This was a creative endeavor dedicated to capturing the beauty and essence of her clients through captivating portraits. Her specialization spans across various genres, with a focus on crafting images that not only showcase the physical beauty but also evoke the inner radiance of her subjects. Sarah’s portfolio includes stunning work in portrait, maternity, family, boudoir, newborn, and headshot photography.  Her Photography reflects her versatility and commitment to making every client look and feel their best. Beyond her photographic skills, Sarah’s passion and dedication shine through in every frame she captures.

Words of Wisdom from the Pros

For photographers embarking on their business journey, Hogan emphasizes the significance of networking. She advises them not to underestimate the potential of existing connections and their local community. To elaborate further, by initially showcasing their work within their immediate circle, photographers can naturally expand their network as word spreads. Additionally, building relationships within the community can lead to more opportunities as people connect them with others in need of photography services. These organic connections, as Hogan points out, can become a valuable cornerstone of their thriving photography business.

Hogan also acknowledges the importance of utilizing social media, even though it might not be everyone’s favorite aspect. In addition, she suggests sharing photos that resonate with both the photographer and their clients. By doing so, these visual stories can attract people to their work and help them reach a broader audience. Social media platforms can be powerful tools for exposure and engagement; moreover, Hogan encourages photographers to harness their potential. Ultimately, she firmly believes that finding the right balance between personal connections and online presence is key to succeeding in the photography industry. In essence, it’s the fusion of these two realms that can truly propel a photographer’s career to new heights.


One of the most significant challenges photographers often face when starting their own businesses, based on Sarah’s experience, is pricing. It is crucial not to undervalue oneself as a photographer. Photographers invest substantial time, energy, and expertise into their work. Their craft is the result of countless hours of specialized training and significant investments in equipment, props, studio space, staff, editing programs, and more. Unfortunately, Sarah has observed some photographers charging as little as $200 for “all the pictures,” which not only undervalues their skills but also undermines the entire industry.

Overcoming Challenges

To overcome this challenge, Sarah strongly advises new photographers to invest time in learning how to calculate their Cost of Doing Business (CODB) and adjust their pricing accordingly. It’s essential to charge an amount that not only covers their expenses but also allows them to draw a reasonable salary and make a living from their artistry. In essence, clients hire photographers to create beautiful, lasting artwork that they will cherish for a lifetime and beyond. Therefore, knowing their worth and pricing their services accordingly is not only vital for their business’s sustainability but also for maintaining the industry’s standards and integrity. By adhering to these principles, photographers can navigate the complex terrain of pricing with confidence and ensure their long-term success.

Marketing Ideas

Building a solid client base and effectively marketing oneself are pivotal for a photographer’s success in the business world. Hogan believes in the significance of creating a positive shooting experience for clients and ensuring they feel comfortable and authentic during sessions. It’s not just about instructing them to pose and smile on command; instead, it’s about collaborative work to achieve natural and genuine expressions, leading to client loyalty.

Furthermore, Hogan emphasizes the value of engagement on social media platforms, particularly Instagram. When clients post photos from their sessions, she recommends following up, encouraging them to tag you, and proactively reaching out. This helps to engage with the broader online community. Friendliness and a personable approach are key ingredients in building lasting client relationships and expanding your photography business.

Building a client base

Sarah believes that building a client base and effective self-marketing are vital for success as a photographer in the business. She has employed several strategies and approaches to attract and retain clients. Among these methods, one of her preferred techniques is connecting with local groups, which includes active involvement in Facebook groups, moms groups, BNIs, and various networking groups. By doing so, she has successfully raised awareness of her brand within the local community. Consequently, her proactive engagement in these forums has facilitated not only client acquisition but also the establishment of a strong local presence. This multifaceted approach to marketing has proven to be instrumental in her photography business’s growth and sustained success.


In addition to community engagement, Sarah has found value in using advertising to fill her calendar. By allocating a budget of $500 per month to advertise her services, she has been able to secure between 4 to 8 bookings. This approach not only covers the cost of the ad but often yields a substantial return on investment. According to Sarah, effective advertising can prove to be a cost-effective means of expanding one’s photography business.

Iris + Email Marketing

Using Iris Works Email Marketing can be a powerful tool for growing a photography business. With Iris, photographers can efficiently manage their client database and send targeted, personalized emails to engage with their audience. By utilizing email marketing campaigns, photographers can keep their clients informed about special offers, promotions, and upcoming events.  Fostering a sense of exclusivity and loyalty. Iris automation features enable photographers to streamline their email workflows, saving time and effort. 

By leveraging Iris Works Email Marketing, photographers can effectively nurture relationships with their clients, expand their reach, and ultimately grow their photography business.  Want to learn more about this professional photography tip? Check out our guide to grow your business with email marketing.

Final Thoughts

In the end, photography is more than just a profession; it’s a passion, an art, and a way to preserve moments that transcend time. Sarah and Hogan’s journeys are a testament to the enduring power of creativity, perseverance, and the unwavering belief in the beauty that can be found in every click of the shutter. So, go forth, capture your world, and let your lens tell the stories that words alone cannot. Your photography journey awaits, and with the right mindset and strategies, the possibilities are limitless.

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