As digital cameras and photo editing software become more accessible to smaller businesses, the role of a photographer becomes less specialized. As a result, the market has become oversaturated for a photography business, with many people offering essentially the same product: sitting in front of a camera and clicking away.
The good news is that there are still ways to set yourself apart from your competition. For example, you can look to offer specific services such as event photography or family portraits – but there’s also an opportunity to go back to basics and provide a service that addresses the core need every photographer fulfills: documentation.
11 Ideas for Starting Your Own Photography Business
1. Aerial Photography
Aerial photography is a form of photography that many people enjoy as it depicts what a place looks like from above. This could entail photographing a city, countryside, mountain range, or seascape from a bird’s eye view.
The advent of DJI Mavic 3 Cine drone technology has made it much easier for individuals to capture images from high above the ground with ease and affordability.
Aspiring aerial photographers should learn how drones function and how to use them effectively before attempting to take photos from them because any mishap while taking photographs will lead to poor results that won’t add value to their portfolio. Skilled aerial photographers are in demand by major companies that are into the real estate business.
These professionals can capture the entire landscape of a property, giving potential buyers an idea of what they can expect before visiting it. This form of photography is also used in filmmaking, so if someone wants to be an aerial photographer, for this reason, they need to have skills in cinematography too.
2. Event Photography
Selling photos of live events is a tricky business, but those who work it successfully do really well for themselves. If you can position yourself at the right place and time, taking shots of bands as they perform on stage or movie stars as they arrive on red carpets just before premieres and awards shows, your skills and experience could lead to some high-paying gigs.
You can go after more traditional types of jobs, such as weddings and parties, too. So what sets you apart from the other photographers on these shoots? Usually, having a certain artistic flair can help; if that’s what you’re aiming for, then shoot to make compositions that are both beautiful to look at and tell about the event itself.
3. Land Mapping and Surveying
If you have an eye for detail, a desire to use high-tech tools to uncover information about the world around you, and credentials that set you apart from others who are just starting out in a photography business, then land mapping and surveying might be your perfect fit.
With experience, you could work with satellite imagery or even start branching into data analysis with geographic information systems (GIS). These are excellent skills to have if oil prospecting is more of interest to you; companies are always looking for people to help them identify new drilling prospects or predict how much profit they will yield.
4. Real Estate Photography
If you know how to handle your camera, the ability to take beautiful pictures should not be too hard to develop with practice. And it turns out that this set of skills is quite desirable among real estate agents who are constantly on the lookout for talented photographers to take shots of their properties and put them up on websites for prospective buyers.
While many photographers working in this area focus mainly on home exteriors, doing so limits the scope of opportunities that come your way; think about taking one or two shots inside each house as well, so that customers have an idea of what living there would really be like.
Also, consider getting familiar with architectural photography if you’d like to target companies looking for employees who can capture the look and feel of new buildings under construction.
Once you have a good amount of experience under your belt, videographers can charge much more than photographers for basically doing the same thing: making people look good in front of a camera. This is especially the case for event and wedding videos; while some companies offer both services, there are plenty who only produce one or the other (or neither).
Having a keen eye and an artistic sense will help take your videos to the next level, but you’ll also need lots of energy and enthusiasm if you want to really stand out from your competition. Try building up a portfolio that shows off everything at your disposal (e.g., drones, Steadicam rigs, etc.), then get ready to give clients plenty of reasons why their projects will be better off with you on board.
6. Stock Photography
Suppose you’re already uploading your images to stock photo websites like Shutterstock. In that case, all that’s left is to create a portfolio that showcases your best work and start pitching clients who can’t afford (or don’t want) full-time photographers on staff.
If the first approach doesn’t work, try reaching out directly; these companies are looking for people like yourself who understand what they need and are ready to offer it at a fair price.
The good news is most sites let you choose how much—or how little—work you have to do to get paid, so if one of them isn’t cutting it anymore, consider giving others a chance before moving on. And even if a particular website doesn’t make you a whole lot of money, it can still introduce you to new clients in the future.
7. Photo Journalist
Photojournalism has become a popular form of journalism in the past decade. A photojournalist provides visual journalists with interesting and insightful images to newspapers, magazines, news agencies, or website’s audience.
Many times, this is achieved through press photography. Additionally, photojournalists can work for one company in an employee capacity or freelancers who sell their images to different companies.
With technological advances in recent years, anyone can take great photographs with their mobile phone. However, having knowledge in the field of journalism along with excellent skills when it comes to photography help individuals land jobs as photojournalists.
8. Freelance Photography
Another way to make money from photography is by being a freelance photographer. Freelance photographers sell their images to online and print magazines, newspapers, or ad agencies. When selling photographs to different companies, the photographer has more bargaining power. They can choose what they want to do and who they work with.
9. Fine Art Photography
As a fine art form, photography deals with creatively arranging photographic elements within a frame, telling a story, or creating emotion. When someone says “fine art photography,” they usually refer to a subset of the artistic or creative process. These photographers can also sell their work in galleries across the globe.
10. Industrial Photography
Another worthy profession in the world of photography is that of an industrial photographer. Industrial photographers use digital or film cameras and capture pictures in a studio environment for advertisement or training manuals for future employees.
These professionals may also shoot vehicles, heavy equipment, and even housewares to be appropriately marketed by big corporations.
11. Fashion Photography
Fashion Photography has excellent prospects in the area of photography. With its scope of creativity, travel opportunities, and recognition, fashion photography is one of the most sought-after budding photographers.
Fashion photography offers both monetary benefits as well as fame. As more and more people are getting attracted to the glitzy lifestyles of models and actors featured in various fashion magazines, the demand for fashion remains high even today.
Besides, with increased spending power among youngsters, photography business opportunities for this segment are expected to rise manifold in times to come.