26 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting My Photography Business // Part 2


So here I am, sitting down to write this post, over a month after publishing the first half. I thought maybe I was a couple weeks late. But nope. An entire month.

It’s slightly embarrassing to be so tardy, but at the very least it makes for an easy lead-in to the first point, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Here we go.

14. Be Organized

By now you’ve probably guessed that I am not a naturally organized person. My default mode is clutter. But as we’ve been running our business for 6 years now, we’ve come to learn that good organization is absolutely critical. It’s not just a matter of being neat and tidy. It really comes down to saving yourself many headaches and a whole lot of time.

Here’s an example. When we got started we didn’t have a system for organizing our images. At the time it didn’t matter too much, since we only had a small catalog of work. But now, 6 years later, we have tens of thousands of photos to try to deal with, and the disastrous lack of organization meant that when we have to go back to our old work, it took hours to find the right files. This year one of our projects was to reorganize everything so that we’re set up going forward. It took weeks to get everything in order. And all of that headache could have been avoided if we just set up a system from the get-go!

The same deal goes for your business files. Contracts, orders, client details — being able to easily access these is critical to the smooth operation of your business, so get organized NOW and save yourself in the future.

15. Value Your Time

This is a lesson new photographers will hear coming at them from every direction. Charge for your time. Value it. But when you’re just getting started, you often do work for less than your ideal rate, or even for free, just to get the ball rolling. That’s cool, you gotta do what you gotta do to get your business running. But it’s easy to let that mindset stick around, even when you should be charging for all of the time you spend on your business.

We’ve been very bad at this for years. It’s a lesson that never really sunk in until we heard it put another way.

Your time is the ONLY thing in your life that you cannot get more of.

Please take a second to consider that. It’s really important, which is why it’s in bold AND italics. Even the richest dudes in the world cannot buy themselves more time. It is most valuable thing you will ever possess.

Once you really take that lesson to heart, you’ll find that the way you approach life changes. If someone wants your time, you think carefully about what you get in return. And whether it’s really worth it.

So this isn’t just about charging the rate for your work that your local market has decided is “fair”. This is about realizing that your time is all you have. And I don’t know about you, but I want to use my time well.


16. Focus On What You Love Most

With that very limited time of yours, you’ll find that you want to spend it doing things that you really enjoy. And that should include the time you spend doing your work. Some people would consider that concept a luxury. So if you’re one of the lucky people in this world who gets to choose what you do with your work, and decide to do what you really love, then you should really take advantage of that!

Beyond just a matter of spending your time doing what you enjoy, focusing your work on what you love most is going to help both the quality of your images, as well as make it easier to run your business.

We’ve tried our hand at a pretty decent range of work in our short careers. We’ve done commercial photography, headshots, weddings, portraits, graphic design, teaching… And from that experience I can tell you that if you are doing something that you aren’t head over heels in love with, your work will suffer. Your heart won’t be fully into it, and that lets everyone down—both you and your clients. It also makes it harder to put in the effort to handle the business side of things, when you’re lacking the passion.

So focus on what you really love to shoot. You’ll still have to put in a ton of work to make it happen—you’ll never get around that. But you’ll enjoy the work more, and the end result is that you’ll create better images, and be happier doing so!


17. Hire An Accountant

These have been some heavy lessons, so here’s an easy one to give you a break. Hire an accountant. We put this off for years, and when we finally got around to it, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t done it earlier.

An accountant is there to help you save money. Sure, you pay them to do it. But they should be saving you a lot more than you’re paying them. Plus they save you a LOT of time and headache. So just do it. The first time we had a meeting with our accountant, Rob walked out and said it felt “like going to a spa for your business”. It can be seriously relaxing to know that a professional is looking out for you and your business!


18. Ask A Ton Of Questions

This one is so simple to do, and the results are astounding. It works particularly well with your clients. Ask them a LOT of questions about themselves when you meet.

At first we thought the goal of a meeting was the opposite. We’d tell them all about us, and what we did, and why we did it. And that’s all lovely, but should take just a few minutes to explain. What really matters is who they are, and how you can help them. And by asking questions, you’re ensuring that you are focusing on them, and getting interested in who they are. That’s a very valuable thing for a few reasons.

Firstly, that helps them to feel like you really care about them. And folks want to work with people who actually care about them!

Secondly, it will help you to create better images for them. You’ll know more about their personalities, and be able to focus on those moments that really capture who they are.

Finally, it simply helps you meet their needs as a service provider. So when you ask them a ton of questions about their wedding day, the style of photography they like, how they hope to show off the images after the wedding, and what parts of the wedding day are most important to them, it’s going to be incredibly easy for you to:

  • Send them some great referrals to make the rest of their planning super easy (and they’ll love you for that).
  • Ensure that you’re the right photographer for them, and understand what about your work they enjoy the most, so you can focus on that, and be confident in creating images they’ll love.
  • Make sure you shoot images that will work well for the products they hope to purchase (this is especially important for an album!).
  • Be totally prepared to capture those moments of the big day that they care the most about.

See how well you can take care of them, just because you asked a few key questions?


19. Make Things Easy For Your Clients

When we first became professional photographers we had never actually hired a professional photographer. We were oblivious to the fact that the process could be incredibly time-consuming, confusing, frustrating, and stressful!

I’m sure we can agree that those are feelings that you don’t want your clients to be experiencing when trying to book you! So the more you can do to make it easy for them, the more they’ll love you for it.

This includes things like:

  • Having the location of your photography business easily visible on your website. Imagine how frustrating it is for clients who can’t tell if you even work in their city!
  • Creating PDFs that help them through the entire process of working with you.
  • Having a payment system that makes it super easy for them to get money to you

And just generally being as helpful as you possibly can! That mindset can be the difference between one-time clients, and those that book you every year and tell everyone they’ve ever known how awesome you are!


20. Keep Track of Details

This goes along with being organized. If you keep track of details in your business, like how many inquiries you get, how many bookings those turn into, how much you make from different types of shoots, and so on and so forth, you have some seriously valuable insight into your business!

Guess what. We never really did this. And I regret that big time. I mean, when you decide to make some changes to your business to improve it, you need to know what your baseline is so you can tell if what you did actually helped! But without details, you are really just guessing. And when you are putting so much time, money and effort into what you do, you need to be knowing, not guessing.

So start now. Don’t make our mistake. It doesn’t need to be fancy, I’m sure just a simple spreadsheet can do the trick! Or if any of you are awesome, and do this, let us know your system!!


21. Set Goals

Goals are magical. Have you experienced this before? You can be just floating along with no real direction, and as soon as you set yourself a goal, you get a burst of energy, and things start happening!

Goals are great ways to direct your work. You’ll be putting a lot of time and effort into your business. You want to make sure all that energy is taking you where you want to go! A goal keeps you in line and focused.

We’ve spent far too much time working without an aim. For the first few years our only goal was to survive! And while we did manage that, we didn’t do a lot of growing as a business. Once we stepped back, and decided where we wanted to go, long term, with our work, our approach to everything changed, and we started to see a lot more success!

So set some goals for yourself! Do it right after reading this article if you don’t have any. It only takes a few minutes of thinking, and can make a world of difference in what you manage to achieve! Goals come in all shapes, so set lots. Goals for the day. Goals for the week. The month. The year. 5 years. 10 years. They’re all fantastic, and valuable, so get to it!


22. Failing Is Totally Ok

A discussion of goals should definitely be followed by a reminder that it is totally ok to fail. Chance are you’ll fail in many ways, many times in your business. That’s just the nature of taking risks and doing something new!

I’ve spent a lot of my time living in fear of failure. And I’ve found that the more I let go of that fear, the more fun I have, and the more wonderful things I achieve.

Think of it this way. When you were in school, failing an exam seemed like a big deal didn’t it? And now, looking back, it seems laughable that we would care so much about one exam that actually had no impact on our “real life”.

I’m guessing that in 50 years, we’ll feel the same way about the things we’re afraid to fail at right now. And our future selves will wish they could tell us to lighten up, take chances, and enjoy ourselves. Just a guess though. :)


23. Don’t Compete On Price

One of the first things we did when we were getting started was to look at the prices of other photographers in our area, and then set our own price based on how we felt we stacked up to them in terms of experience and quality. So really that meant we just charged less than them.

Now, that was a silly move, because we didn’t stop to figure out what we would need to charge to keep our own business running. I can pretty much guarantee that every single photographer we looked at had a different business model, and different needs. And their prices were set to take care of their own situation.

So step one is to make sure you’re setting your prices based on your own unique business, and not those around you! If you need help, make sure to head over to The Modern Tog, who has an amazing free pricing guide.

And then step two, is to avoid making your competitive advantage a lower price. It seems like an easy way to get bookings—just charge less. And it certainly can be a strategy. But if you took economics, you’ll know that to win that battle, you have to work more to make the same amount of profit. So basically lower prices means you’re doing more work for less money, just to get by. That doesn’t sound fun to me at all.

Set your prices where they need to be for you. Then make your competitive advantages fun things like better customer service and better images. Taking care of your clients, and working on your art are much more fun ways to set your business apart than low prices.


24. Find The Balance

Ask our friends and family, and they’ll tell you that for the first 4 years of our business, we were pretty much invisible. All we did was work, day and night. We’re lucky they stuck around! While we learned and progressed a lot in that time, we also came close to burning out on multiple occasions, and were not very happy or healthy.

These days we try much harder to create a balance between working and taking time away from work. It’s still a challenge, especially when you’re self employed, and know that your business is the only thing keeping you from homelessness!

But that balance will not only keep you sane, but also help you to enjoy both life and work more. You know how they say absence makes the heart grow fonder? Spend some time away from your business, and chances are you’ll look forward to getting back to it. And that genuine energy will help you do even better work!


25. Never Stop Learning

In the early days of becoming a photographer you spend most of your time learning—reading blogs, books, practicing, and trying out new techniques. But there might come a point where you feel like you’ve figured it out, and are ready to go and actually do it!

Well, you might be ready to start making things happen for yourself. But you are never ever done learning. I don’t think we really understood that concept until we were a few years into our careers. Once we got things rolling, we coasted for a while, and spent all our time working. We didn’t make time to learn, and a lot of parts of our business never improved because of that.

Now, these days, if we go for a while without learning something new, we feel stagnant. Your brain is like a muscle, and if you’re not working it out by challenging it and learning new things, it will get weak.

So make sure you commit to the concept of non-stop learning as early as possible. And then do it. That’s one of the surest ways that I know of to find success!! (The other one, by the way, is hard work).


26. Don’t Be Afraid

We’re here at the end of the list, and I hope that by this point you have tons of big dreams, goals, and ideas for your future. But, if you’re like most people, you’ll have something else fighting against those dreams and goals. And that is fear.

I can tell you that a lot of times I have chosen not to do something because I was afraid. I regret those decisions a lot.

I can also tell you that a lot of times I have done something, even though I was afraid. I’ve never regretted those decisions. Even if it ended up as a flop, I was glad to have simply tried, and I always learned something from the experience. It made me stronger and better. You don’t learn anything when you just avoid doing something.

So, take it from me. Kick fear in the butt. Don’t let it stop you. You don’t have time for that nonsense! Instead, just get out there, do what makes you happy, and make awesome things happen. It really can be that simple.


Get Started Now!

If you’re ready to start a photography business, check out our full video tutorial, Essential Photography Business Lessons to get even more insights and guidance!


Your Turn

What do you wish you knew before starting your photography journey? Share with us in the comments now!


Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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81 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. You guys are just awesome. That is all.

  2. Maria O'Donoghue says

    Another really great article guys! I always leave your site feeling happy and inspired :D

  3. Awesome continuation of the first article! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  4. Yes! Don’t be afraid!

  5. BEING ORGANIZED allows for me to focus on so many of the other points you make. Truly my number one.

    • That’s an excellent point, David! Being organized gives you to the time to do all the other important things for your work!

  6. i am so thankful for a blog like yours! you both always share such wonderful information and helpful tips! i greatly appreciate it!!

  7. Have you guys ever written a post on how manage your files? Things such as organizing them and how you name files. That would be a great post or guide! Keep up the good work. Love the blog and so inspirational.

  8. The bullet on organization of image files is really interesting to me. I’m just not sure how to handle them all. Is there a good article somewhere with suggestions?

  9. I’m laying the foundation for my own photography/video business, and I very much appreciate your 26 points. Many of them affirm much of what I’ve felt during the lead up to my start up. You’ve provided invaluable counsel, and I commend you for sharing your expertise and experience in this way.

  10. I’m in the process of pursuing photography as a full-time career. It really is just baby steps at the moment, but your 26 points have been really useful, encouraging and inspiring! I’m sure I’ll be referring to them many times in the future. Thanks for great content!

  11. my boyfriend sent me the link to this site and i couldnt stop reading it!! I’ve spent hours reading and soaking in all this super helpful information! thank you so much for existing and inspiring me and my business! :D feeling like i can conquer the world for the first time in my photography career :)

  12. Love all of this, the photography bits are amazing.. But the stand out is the overcoming fear portions! You have no idea how much you just changed my life. I guess I never actually put those thoughts into terms like you do. I just found about 10 quotes I will be posting around my house for motivation. Thank you thank you thank you.. Life changers!

  13. Fantastic list, thanks for making it. I especially love #26!

  14. This post is great and so helpful!

    My girlfriend and I are in the process of launching our photo business (maternity and newborns) – and not having much business experience it feels very overwhelming so this information really helps out. Thanks!

  15. Yepp, the word ‘inspiring’ definitely springs to mind! This has made me feel a lot more confident about starting my own photography business! Thanks guys! x

  16. Thank you for this post! I am inspired to get moving with my photography career. I was happy to see I already have several of your suggestions done!

  17. thanks soooo much for these tips…i do feel like i can stop worrying and get on starting a photography business…yeaaayyy

  18. Priscilla says

    Thank you for writing this list! I can’t tell you how blessed I feel having stumbled upon this website. I really like how approachable this blog is. Other blogs are scary and stressful about the realm of photography for some reason, but you have such a warm and funny approach that calmed my nerves. I recently just decided to pursue a career in photography because you gave me the confidence :P Good golly, thank you from the bottom of my little hearty-heart!

  19. Anna Macmorland says

    This is seriously inspiring. My absolute passions for as long as I remember have been photography and music, and I’ve always been afraid to do anything about it. So much so that I chose to go through three years of a Maths degree (mostly hating it) for security. Your article has really driven me to take risks and strive for my dream career so thank you for sharing this. I currently have very little to no knowledge of setting up a new business, but I’m confident I have the skills so hopefully with a lot of commitment and trust in myself I can get somewhere..

    Thanks again, I’ll be reading more of your blogs for sure.

  20. This post series was seriously awesome guys! I’m teetering with starting a part time photog business and these tips were so, so helpful! I found myself writing down goals and to-do’s as I read it. And clicking through to other posts in new tabs.
    Thank you for continually great content! And for your tutorials of course, without those I’m sure I would have been tearing my hair out and definitely not as progressed as I am now with photography.

  21. Bill Hoffman says

    Thanks for the inspiration. I have experience with many of the things you mention that it takes to run a business. Now I just have to piece it all together, set those goals, and get after it.

  22. I am currently looking forward to owning and creating a photography business. I am planning on going to college for it, and learning more about economics. This website helped me out so much!!! I jotted down a whole bunch of notes, and I couldn’t be more thankful that you did this! :)

  23. My question is in reference to something you mentioned above in #19. I’ve debated using PayPal or other services, however I came to a pause after seeing how much of the profit went to fees. When you set up your system, did you charge a little extra to cover the fee or did you just absorb that cost?

    • Hi Blake! Great question!

      Now we never charged extra to except credit cards (I believe that practice may actually illegal), or against the terms of service of most credit card payment processors (make sure to read the fine print!).

      The extra cost of payment by credit card was just a cost of doing business.

      A couple tips:

      First, you should take payments for deposits by cash or cheque (credit card companies can actually reverse charges for deposits).

      Second, talk to your bank about what options they have for setting up a merchant account. Depending on the volume of business you do, it may be cheaper to accept credit cards through your bank instead of using Paypal.

  24. Thank you so much for all.

  25. Sammy Graham says

    This was SO extremely wonderful and helpful! Thank you so much!! :)))

  26. Thank you for writing this.

    I’ve been working on my art for nearly 10 years, working for other big name photographers, perfecting my craft, drilling my brain in different techniques. I officially started my business 10 months ago. It’s been tough. I’m new to WA state and started out with no network of professionals or clients. I booked 3 gorgeous weddings (which was practically a miracle) and have booked only 3 this year. I’ve almost convinced myself that I’ve wasted 10 years of my life (that’s my dramatic self trying to break through. I know she’s full of BS, but sometimes it seems easier to listen). But here I am still trying to capture life and meaning.

    This article was very helpful in giving me perspective on the time it takes to get the business established.

    I know I’m good (most of the time) and with advice from people like you, I’ll get there.


  27. Love it. Thank u so much for sharing!

  28. Reading this article really opened my eyes. I tried starting my photography business 2 years ago and I didn’t do so great. People said I was a great photographer but I was horrible with everything else . To this day people are asking me when will I get back into it and the fear of messing up and not committing has me giving up on photography altogether. After reading this article, I see that I was going at all wrong.

    Thank you for writing this article. I plan to go back into photography but this time I will be a little more wiser.

  29. Great article! I was wondering what system you used, or what system you recommend, for organizing all your photos. I’m already starting to get quite a collection and it’s cluttered everywhere right now!

  30. I just wanted to say thank you for this article and for #26. I have been going back and forth with myself and making excuses on why i should not go ahead and begin my own photography business. Taking great photos of people has always been a passion of mine and your list has given me that push that i have been needing. You are AWESOME and wonderful for giving back and helping those out by giving advice to live by from your own shortcomings and successes. THANK YOU!!!

  31. Thank you for the great articles. I have recently begun to put my photography dreams into action and a simple Google search led me here. I think these articles could apply to more than simply photography. Thank you for sharing everything that you do. Speaking only for me, these articles leave me with a better sense of direction. Cannot wait to read more!

  32. Íris Santos says

    What a fantastic list! You guys really know how to empower new photographers out there :)

  33. I like to thank you for all your details on business and reading this gave me a lot of information, what I need to do. Most of all the balance is one of the greatest things you can’t take away from family and friends

  34. Great points, all of them. I do believe fear of failure is what holds most people back from taking the next step. Just yesterday I reserved a business name at the Secretary of State in the state where I live and I will file my LLC Articles of Formation today. I have been shooting for years and long toying with the idea of starting business. Thank you for your excellent blog and site.

  35. One comment on “focus on what you love most”.

    In my own experience, and from what I heard from other photographers, this is just not how that works. At least not in the beginning.

    Many photographers starting out (and I guess that’s who you aim this article at) knock on many doors and then a door opens for paid work. For those who don’t find enough paid work, the dream of being a professional photographer ends when they run out of money.

    So “focus on what you love most”, by all means, but don’t do that in a naïve way. Being a professional in any areas means finding enough paid work that pays the bills.

    Most photographers will not fill 100% of their time with paid work anyway, many have plenty of free time at their disposal (one of the advantages of being your own boss…) and are able to run projects in areas where their passion is. And paid work may well come out of this.

    Be a dreamer and be passionate. But also be smart, finding your market and enough paid work to feed the dreamer and passionate artist.

  36. This article is incredibly helpful! Thank you so much for sharing your valuable insights and experience. I’m Photography Concentrate to my ‘list’ of go-to photography resources!

  37. hi my friend .. your article is amazing and i love it

    please guide me … i have onlione store and i sell clothes and scarf in my website…

    i will take shot clothes and scarf in home … and i will take shot fashion (modeling for clothes) in outdoor

    what is good dslr for my job ? please guide me for dslr camera (sharp and good quality) .. lense …


  38. ifiogho lovely says

    i have being inspired.off i go to put my skills into practices.thanks to the author of this great write up.

  39. Hi there! These tips are more than helpful. I’m just starting out as a photographer. I want to start up my own business taking family and individual portraits. I need to upgrade to a good dslr camera and lens. Any suggestions? There are so many options. Also what would you suggest for editing programs? Thanks so much!


    • Ashley, you can take good portraits with something like a Nikon D3xxx and 18-55mm kit lens. One inexpensive lens to consider is the Nikon 50mm f1.8 G, don’t get the cheaper D verison, it has no focus motor and the D3xxxx don’t have focus motors in the body. Not sure about Canon, but the Nikon kit lenses are quite decent, optically. The entry level DSLR’s give you great image quality these days.

      I dare the the 18-55mm focal range (on crop) is good for general photography, including portraits, individuals and groups. The 50mm will allow you to easier achieve “shallow depth of field…”, but you can achieve the same look if you place your subject away from the background, and use the maximum focal length of the kit lens, ie 55mm.

      But it’s not about gear. A portrait photographer, more importantly, has to be a people person, able to interact with, and direct people. A camera, no matter the price, will never give you the expressions or poses you want – YOU have to do that.

      Another important question for you: How do your clients find you, and, if you have a potential client in front of you, how do you convince them to hire you? Do you have a portfolio? A website? And if someone makes a booking, do you have the skills to create portraits you clients are actually happy to pay you for?

      I would consider it difficult to start a business without a good portfolio. No matter what camera you own.

      Regarding software, I personally recommend people check out the Corel products, instead of just buying Adobe. Corel is easier to use and cheaper, IMO. AfterShot is very much the faster software, compared to Lightroom. I use Corel AfterShot Pro for Raw processing and PaintShop Pro for editing. Both Adobe and Corel give you free 30 day trials, best you check it out before you buy.

      Be aware, photo editing software is surprisingly quite demanding on the computer, you need a fast processor and a lot of RAM. I use an i7 laptop with 16 gig of ram and a hybrid SSD/HDD disk… and I wish I could afford an upgrade to a pure 1TB SSD…

      I’m also asking myself, if you have to ask for editing software – how do you review, manage, edit or backup your images now? Going over your images after the shoot is an essential learning experience, if you ask me.

  40. LaRoice Turner says

    Instead of what I wish I knew, I wish I had some of the photography business software that exists today when I first tried to start my own photography business. I had lots of experience shooting, but I lacked the organization. Software like StudioGenie and Studio Cloud were the missing piece for my success as a business owner and give me a lot of hope for success in the future.

  41. I’m on the brink of starting my photographer business and not really sure where to start. This article just sums up everything I think I need to know. Thank you!

    • Hi Danielle, the above article is not focused on starting a photography business, but rather running a photography business. It is about what Rob and Lauren “wish they would have known.”
      For starting a photography business, if you want my opinion, this is essential:
      • I assume your skills are at a level you can go professional and produce images that satisfy your clients and they are happy to pay for. There are people who are the best photographer among their friends, but compared to professionals, they are hopeless amateurs. Keep in mind, if you want to go pro, there has to be a fair exchange of value – you give your client the images he wants and expects, you in return are paid. A photographer may find love his own images great, but the client may consider them ‘rubbish’ and does not want to pay for them. Not sure I explain this very well. I guess the point is, not you have to consider yourself ready to be a professional photographer, but your clients.
      • Create a good portfolio, or, body of work, that shows examples of the type work you want to do. If you want to be a portrait photographer, you need portraits you can put in front of your clients. If you want to be a wedding photographer, you need good wedding photos to show your clients. Many photographers these days have their portfolio on a tablet or laptop – some still swear on having a physical book. If you want to do fashion, don’t put a portfolio full of sports before your client.
      • Market yourself. Advertise appropriately for the work you want to do. Build a website that pops up on the first page of google. Not everybody may agree, but I’d say register on websites like Modelmayhem or Starnow. For some types of photography, eg commercial or real estate, door knocking still is the best approach. (When you go door knocking, a good portfolio is essential.)
      • In the beginning, avoid unnecessary expenses. Let photography related expenses follow your business, not run ahead of it. Expensive gear is not essential to start. If you find paid work, you can invest a large portion of that money into gear. But if you spend tens of thousands on gear and cannot find the work to pay for that, you may drive yourself into financial trouble quickly.
      • If that is feasible, start professional photography on the side, next to your “daytime job”. This works well for wedding photographers, because many weddings happen on Saturdays. Weddings are also comparatively easy to pick up and well paid. For wedding photographers winter is slow, you will be happy to have a second leg to stand on.
      • Develop serious business and people skills – they are at least as important as being a good photographer.
      • Find a mentor. In this age, you can find a lot of info and advice on the web, for example on this fantastic website. However, a mentor is invaluable.
      • Don’t be discouraged. You will have difficult clients (bride-zillas), be stood up by clients, not paid for your work, have dry periods, creative block. It’s all part of being a professional photographer. Learn how to deal with the challenging aspects and get through, come out victorious.
      In my case, I am a part-time professional for 3 years now. I do weddings, portraits, events, corporate head shots, model portfolios and whatever else “people photography” comes my way. I enjoy my “day time job” and is very well paid, so I won’t give it up… for now. But I enjoy photography and like that for professional work, I have to “stretch myself”.

      • Hi Peter M,

        Thank you for the excellent tips! They are a massively useful and sounds not that difficult to follow up.

  42. This was an awesome list! Very helpful for someone aspiring to have their own photography business! Thank you!

  43. Anthony koller says

    Great advice, you give more advice than all the starting your business advice books out there.
    One question if I may, what advice can you give. If you are starting out on your own and you would like to do your own tax return. Which software is the best to keep track off all of your cost and records.
    There is a few software out there, but you have to pay monthly for the license.
    Your advice would be a great help for me.

  44. You are really great. ..your piece of writings has turn my thought round especially the last point. Thanks

  45. Palkit Nagori says

    Thank you so much for helping me in my photography business…

  46. Hi
    I really enjoyed reading your article. I am in the process of starting my photography business on a part-time basis for now. There is so much to do before my company can officially be launched. Like you I love photography and enjoy everything about it. Admittedly, I was and am “affraid” of failing but as the saying goes ” you can never fail if you don’t give up”.
    Your tips will help me immensely on what to do and no to do. Your Pricing guidelines advise is literally priceless. I will keep in mind what you said and not lowball my prices.

    Thank you Again

  47. Thank you Lauren so so much for these priceless advises! It’s loads to take on when starting something new, especially a delicate thing as a photography business. You have hands on experience and it’s great to see things via your “lenses” :-)

  48. Starting out, litterally just in beginning stages and I’m always researching while i continue to finish my on line class. I plan to quit my job and do this full time but I have a long ways to go b4 that happens. This by far is the best article and advice. Hit all aspects of questions in my head. I’m not artistic or so I think but I love photos so hoping my passion will lead me. I’m smart too so that helps some, right!?!

  49. Holly Stevens says

    Thank you so much for this inspiring article! I have had the dream of being a photographer since I was in high school 10 years ago. Now here I am finally deciding that I can’t sit by and wait for my dreams to happen… I have to put my mind and my heart into it and MAKE IT HAPPEN!! I am literally at square one today and reading your article was just what I needed to give me a starting point, and a direction to head. Thank you again! I’m off to write my goals down now!! :)

  50. Gosh, you guys have such a happy website about photography (:

  51. Thank you so much for all your words of wisdom!! I loved reading your article and it has really put things into perspective. I want to take my love and passion for photography further, but just like you said I let fear hold me back. Your article inspired me!! Thank you!!!

  52. Hello!!! Thanks for your blog! It’s awesome! ……I’d like to ask you how did you manage to get 30 weddings in your first year? if you had never done a wedding before, how did you find your clients and if you didn’t have a wedding portfolio how could you show them something to make them trust you and hire you?
    Thanks a lot!

  53. Shane Drummond says

    I dont read much photo articles and I’ve been doing photography for a couple years but you caught my attention and had me sit and read many of your articles.

    It feels great to know people who think like me are out there thanks for helping me to get back organized!

  54. am glad to read this article it was my first time,i am also a beginner photographer your ideas are so amazing it inspires me a lot and now i feel am in good way thanks a lot guys

  55. Gavin McGrath says

    Thank you for this two part article! Hugely helpful to me as I contemplate starting up, eventually, my own photography business. Loads and loads of questions and your article helps address some of them. Do you still have the video on Lightroom use? Gavin McGrath (Sevenoaks, Kent, UK)

  56. Alabi Ayoade says

    This first and second part of this topic are very much insightful! Thank you so much for illuminating my mind as regarding very important details in photography start-up.

  57. This is some seriously good advice. Thanks a ton. I have actually saved both your articles for future refereence, as I am just about starting on this journey of setting up my own online business.

  58. Lauren, I absolutely love this article series! I think it applies to any kind of business–whether you run a blog, a home daycare, a Fortune 500 company, or a photography business! Thank you so much for sharing all of these insights–I will be visiting this list again to keep myself on track!

  59. ​Wow!!! Thank you so much for this valuable information. You have really inspired me. I really appreciate you taking your time to share this great list. Blessings. ​

  60. This is such a great site. Im about to go into photography majorly as a hobby but i intend to make a few bucks also. i couldnt have found a better site. There are invaluable informations here. I just cant leave

  61. I’m sitting here at Panera right now taking my first steps in starting my dog/ whatever else photography business and I feel like I was meant to find your website!!

    I just read your 2 part series on the things you wish you would have known before starting your business. I just wanted to say thank you!! It was such a refreshing article that I feel is really going to help me get started!

    Im going to kick fear in the butt and instead of AliKate Photography just being an instagram/ facebook account I am going to give this whole business thing a whirl!

    Thanks again,
    Allison Kraus

  62. Mine would be to use photo shop to get my photos great, It’s better if you can take a great shot to begin with that
    makes you a great photographer.

  63. I love this article so much (part 1 and 2). It’s full of practical information and inspiring at the same time.

    I have been shooting for friends and family for 5 plus years because I love it as a hobby but have been too scared to go professionally. How do I know I’m good enough? Would people pay for my work? All those thoughts have stopped me from pursuing photography as a business… but reading this has ignite that passion again.

    So thank you :)

  64. Anirban Nandi says

    An absolute charm to read through your list of ‘MISTAKES’ :). You are an artist, in true sense. Not only does your passion for photography is enlightening, but also, your flair of writing is so intimate that the article touched my heart from the very first sentence. I have been searching to read something like this for a while and you nailed it perfectly. All the points are relevant, valid and honest. I wish you all the best to both of you for a wonderful and prosperous career. I hope to learn a lot from you both.

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