Getting Started in Commercial Photography

Taking a favourite hobby and turning it into a career is something most people dream of doing, especially for those who have a love for photography. The demand for commercial photographers is growing and while it is a competitive field, there are ways to make it easier for those looking to get started. Here are some tips that make breaking through into this field an easier, smoother process.

Getting Started Commercial Photography


Find A Niche

The key to staying relevant and grabbing people’s attention in photography is to find a personal niche and stick with it. Every photographer has their own unique style so it’s important to develop an individual look and way of doing things that is set apart from others. Whether it be doing just coloured photos or black and white, choose something that will appeal to prospective clients and make work stand out.

A Business Plan

Before starting any business it is imperative to develop a solid business plan. One should determine how to market their photography, what sort of packages they want to offer, specific pricing plans that include unexpected fees and how they want to advertise. Social media has become a huge tool for entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to get their ventures to take off. Developing a Facebook page specifically for the business and getting friends and family members to share it is a quick way to get the attention of prospective customers.

Necessary Equipment

Having a high-quality camera is of course the most important piece of equipment for starting out in the commercial photography field, but there are other things one should have. Having a variety of lenses is a necessity as well as a tripod, different types of filters,backgrounds, CD’s, computer software and lighting equipment are just some of the other pieces one needs to make sure their photos are of professional quality and standards.

Pick a Studio

In the beginning many commercial photographers start out working from home. If this is the case, one should try to set up a room specifically for their studio and make it as professional as possible. For those who are able to rent out a studio, they should choose a photographic studio that is in a central location and easy for clients to find. For those photographers who prefer to do on-site sessions, it is a good idea to look at any zoning restrictions that may apply.

Keep Work and Personal Funds Separate

Setting up a separate bank account for the business and personal funds is a must even for those who are just starting out. This is an important step so that all expenses and revenue can easily be tracked. It also helps in establishing a good budget and seeing where money is going and how to cut back on unnecessary spending.

Develop Confidence

A huge mistake beginning photographers make is not having enough confidence in their work and thinking they cannot keep up with the competition. While commercial photography is a competitive field, having confidence will show not only in the photographer but in their work as well. Set up reasonable prices and stick with them even if there are a few competitors who offer lower prices.

Research Clients Before Meeting Them

Before meeting with a client to discuss prices, try to research them as much as possible. If it is a business, see if they have a website to learn more about them and get a feel for what they are looking for. If it is an individual, have them fill out a questionnaire that specifically asks them what they want out of their photos. This will not only cut out any unnecessary editing but help on time management.

Pick and Choose Jobs Carefully

Before automatically agreeing to do a job, be sure to look over all the specifics. Be sure to find out what the client wants, if their needs can be met, where they want the session to be done at and what price they are willing to pay. It can be tempting to agree to almost any job at first but it is important to map out a plan and stick with it.

Develop Effective Advertising

Do not hesitate to advertise as much as possible. Handing out fliers is a good way to gain the attention of locals in the neighborhood. Developing an email list is also an excellent way to reach out to a broader list of clients. Send out special promotions and keep clients updated on any special packages coming up.

Build Up a Strong Portfolio

Before meeting with clients develop a strong portfolio. Ask local modelling agencies if they are in need of services, or local businesses if they need any photos for advertising done. If a friend or family member has an important occasion coming up, see if they want a session at a deeply discounted price to help make a strong portfolio. Following these tips will make getting started in commercial photography easier and help you get a bigger, growing client base to ensure success in the future of their business.


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