You don’t need a college degree, a fancy studio, or tens of thousands of dollars in equipment to make money with your art. It’s entirely possible to start your photography business from home (I’m living proof!). You can start making money today if you want to, but in order to create a truly sustainable, aligned business, you’ll need to dig deep and get serious.
Here are a few steps to take as you craft your business and find your flow.
1. Start With Your Passion & Purpose
When I ask my clients why they’re starting their own photography business from home, I often get the same answer: “I love photography.” And I’m glad! The opportunity to chase your passion (and make money off of it) is one many people are too afraid to take.
That being said, I guarantee that your passion runs far deeper than your for the artform. Many people love photography, but few build successful businesses around it. Before you can step into your role of entrepreneur and professional artist, you have to get clear on your true passion and your purpose in life. (A tall order, I know.)
Uncovering Your Human Design
I’m a huge proponent of bringing self-reflection into your business. When you gain clarity regarding your Human Design before starting your photography business, you can truly build your business model in a way that works with your natural tendencies, not against them.
There’s plenty to uncover in your Human Design, but the biggest piece is your Human Design Type. There are five types: Manifestor, Generator, Manifesting Generator, Projector, and Reflector. By finding your type, you can better understand how you receive ideas and how you bring them to life. In your business, this can look like:
- Manifestors. You may feel like you’re often misunderstood. People in your life might call you “bossy” or “too much,” but that’s only because you’re the kind to take charge of your situation. You don’t wait for the world to create an opportunity, you create it for yourself. In business, you’re full of ideas and always running at full-speed. As you start your photography business, you might need external reminders to slow down every once in a while, and you may find that you start more projects than you actually finish.
- Generators. You’re a problem solver. You see what needs fixing, and then you fix it. You may be easily overwhelmed when there’s too much to fix, so don’t be afraid to seek help determining where to start. If you find yourself frustrated in your business, it’s most likely because you’re not able to get into your creative flow. You want to work hard at something that matters, and that goes double for your own business.
- Manifesting Generators. Like a Generator, you see where the problems lie and have the energy to fix it. And like a Manifestor, you have the ability to plunge head-first into a new idea and bring it to life. The biggest difference between Generators and Manifestors is that you work in shorter bursts of energy, not in long, slow sessions. You’re a multitasker, and you’re always looking for the most energy-efficient way to get something done. In business, don’t be afraid to automate tasks, take on multiple projects, and follow several passions.
- Projectors. You might not think you’re cut out for business, but I guarantee that you are. As a Projector, your purpose is to follow your life’s passion, hone your skills, and become a leader in your field. You value education and knowledge, and you’re always trying to learn more about whatever topic lights you up. In business, follow your passion, find a way to make a living off of it, and step into your role as an expert.
- Reflectors. Of all the types, you are most in-tune with those around you. You reflect what’s in your environment, and you recognize who needs help and exactly how to help them. In business, you put service first, success second. Be careful not to give too much of your energy away for free, but also lean into your tendency to help others. You may find that genuine connection is your strongest asset and your best marketing tactic.
Understanding how you operate is a huge piece to building a sustainable, aligned business that you actually love. Click here to get your Human Design chart, and then click here to chat with me about how to use it in your own business.
Define Your Why
In addition to learning how you should operate, you should also reflect on why you want to start a photography business in the first place.
For me, I wanted the freedom to create my own schedule, follow my passions, and define my own success. For you, you may want more time with your family, the opportunity to travel, or more wealth. Whatever your why, meditate and reflect on it regularly. The more clear you are on your why, the easier it will be to push through the inevitable obstacles of running your own business. When you truly know why you started, you’ll have a good reason to keep going.
2. Get Clear on Who You’re Helping
So many new business owners start out trying to help everyone. They take on all types of clients, shoot in whatever style the client requests, and accept low pay for tons of work.
I have news for you. You can’t help everyone. Nor should you.
Who Are You Going to Help?
As you start your photography business, consider who you absolute ideal client would be. Are they a laid-back new mom? Adventurous engaged couple? High-society family of four? The more clear you can be on who you’re serving, the better you can adjust your marketing efforts to attract those people.
It may seem scary at first to niche down your target audience. You may be tempted to market to everyone in the beginning, especially as you’re trying to grow your business financially. I promise you, though, that trying to serve everyone is a surefire way to lose yourself. Instead, define your dream client and go after them.
How Are You Going to Help Them?
Now that you know who you want to help, how are you going to help them? Many photographers limit themselves to just taking pretty pictures, but when you truly serve your clients, you do so much more than that.
As a photographer, you’re capturing a memory that your clients will never be able to get back. Whether it’s their wedding day or a quiet morning at home, that moment is fleeting. By documenting it, you create a portrait of their life right now that they’ll be able to reflect on for decades to come.
Not only are you capturing a memory, but you’re also helping create one. The family you’re shooting today might not have gone to an apple orchard had you not suggested it. Your engaged couple might not have taken a hike had it not been for your presence. You and your art give people an opportunity to be adventurous, have fun, and push themselves out of their comfort zone. In my opinion, that’s a huge service in itself.
3. Get Organized From The Get-Go
Once you’re aligned with your purpose, it’s time to jump into the more granular details of starting a photography business. These steps might not seem “fun,” but they’re vital to creating a sustainable, financially-viable business.
Organize Your Finances
Don’t even think about starting a real photography business from home without registering your business, opening a business bank account, and creating a plan for your business finances. This unfortunately means setting money aside for taxes and learning how to pay yourself. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary.
Trust me. If you neglect this step, you’ll only create headaches for yourself later on.
Streamline Your Marketing
When you first start your business, you’ll be tempted to show up everywhere: social media, in-person events, even talking to strangers at the coffee shop. Your best bet, though, is to pick one or two avenues for marketing and become an expert in those areas.
For me, I’ve learned that I thrive in a storytelling format. I share my experiences on social media and on my blog, but I’m not hustling to run ads or share content on every single platform. By honing in on a few avenues, I can be more consistent on these platforms and build genuine connections with my audience.
Manage Your Clients
Once you land a client, you need a system for managing their experience. Whether you do it all by hand or invest in a CRM like Honeybook, take the time to map out your client’s experience from the moment their inquire with you to the day your offboard them. If you really want to save yourself some energy, automate the process as much as you can. Then, you’ll be able to spend your energy on the parts of your business you love most.
Allow Yourself to Grow
Above all else, allow yourself to grow and evolve as you start your photography business at home. Becoming a business owner (especially for the first time) is a journey. Try new things, see what feels good, and give yourself time to practice self-care and -reflection. Chances are, you’ll learn more about yourself in your first year than you did in all your years of school. I know I did.
If you’re just starting your photography business (or just getting serious about it), I’d love to share this free resource with you. Click below to learn more about mentoring, so I can help you to attract your absolute dream clients without the constant hustle.