Tips To Start A Photography Business Part-Time – A Virtual Business Model

Here’s how to start a photography business on a limited budget, with minimum experience, with minimum knowledge, with limited resources, and most of the other costly resources, often thought, needed to successfully start a photography business.

This model is simple, effective and very affordable (as in, free or very low-costs). It’s written with the assumption that the readers of this content are photography enthusiasts that:

  • Don’t have a photography studio.

  • Are new to the business side of photography.

  • Have limited photography equipment.

  • Have limited ‘professional’ photography experience and knowledge.

  • Don’t know where or how to start a photography business.

  • Don’t know how to set their pricing for photography.

  • Don’t know how to get customers.

Other assumptions are that, as a photographer, you want to:

  • Be taken seriously

  • Be more confident

  • Present a confident and professional image as a photographer (although you're new at this)

  • Have increased name recognition

  • Have a commercial web presence (as in, it’s O.K. to make a few bucks) without the technical hassles

  • Try some successful part-time photography business strategies that cost as little as possible and still are effective

This photography business model is not for everyone. This model involves establishing an internet presence (not just a website) that has the capacity to display work, share or sell photos, and assist in the establishing of prices. This model does not offer steps on how to start a full-time photography business.


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Photographers And A Web Presence

All photographers, experienced and amateur, that want to be taken seriously, must have a ‘web presence.’ This business model is largely based on having a web presence. However, it isn’t limited to only doing business online. More on that later on this page.

Set Up Online Account

  • This step will involve you deciding whether to use the free online photo sharing services like Google, Yahoo, Flickr, Photobucket, etc. Or deciding to use an online photo sharing services like,,, etc, which cost money. Either method will allow you to be successful with this model. However, the services that you pay for, obviously, have many advantages. (If you’re just looking to test out the effectiveness of thisbusiness model without incurring any expenses, I recommend that you start with the free online sharing services.)

  • Practice uploading photos, making online albums, making online galleries, etc.

  • Practice setting prices (you can’t set prices on the free services – viewers can purchase your photos, but you won’t get any money for it). On the paid services you can set photo prices (most of the services suggest a basic price for each size photo – you decide the amount of profit and set it in the price that the viewer will see). Also, with paid services, make sure to set the pricing for the photo specialties that most of these services offer, for example, mugs, key chains, t-shirts, puzzles, etc. Note: the specialties are nice and offer options to your customers, but, properly pricing your photos is one of the most significant purposes of using paid services. There can be exceptions, such as Sports Photography, which I mention later.

Business Cards

  • I recommend that you design and produce your own business cards. If you don’t have confidence in your designing skills, don’t fret! Simply look at great looking business cards that you see and model yours after that style. Use a desktop publishing software program.

  • I design and produce my own business cards using an HP inkjet printer. I use glossy business card stock (either Avery or the store brand of the large office supplies stores). Technology has dramatically improved. Self printed business cards can convey quality and professionalism (I stay away from the flimsy business card stock) in a manner impossible just a couple of years ago.

  • Determine your basic information needs. You do not have a photography studio or other physical location – so, there is no need to put a physical address on your business card. I suggest that you give good thought to including an email address on your business card. If you have a website, then you can use a ‘Contact Us’ form. I suggest that you establish a dedicated email address that you include on your business card (if you decide that you must do so).

  • Email note: you should get into the habit of getting the email addresses of your potential customers. Sure, give them yours, if that’s a part of your marketing strategy. But, make sure that you ask them for theirs. Why? Because, in my opinion, when someone gives their email address as a result of me requesting it, then, they have given me permission to send them emails. I make sure that I don’t spam them. But, I do send them notices when I update a photo gallery. As a rule, I don’t attempt to sell through email. I use their email addresses only to keep in touch with them, to build a relationship with them and to keep my photography name in front of them.

A Great Business Model To Use To Start A Photography Business Part-Time

    1. This business model is perfect for the part-time photographer. It doesn’t require large sums of money to successfully start, to successfully operate or to successfully maintain a viable photography business.

    2. This model assists you to successfully establish a functioning photo viewing, photo sharing and photo processing infrastructure that you can use to build a successful and profitable photography business.

    3. Another significant advantage of this model, in my opinion, is that it allows the photographer to do business in different photography niches. Photographers can then test the  profitably and popularity of different niches This allows photographers that use this model to test different photography niches for factors like workflow process, local popularity, most lucrative photography niche, etc.

Start A Photography Business By Testing These Photography Niches

Event Photography – Establish an online album for each event. You can then email the URL of the photo album. Most services also allow you to password protect albums. Customers or selected viewers can be sent the password to view the photos.

Model Headshots – Establish an online album/portfolio for each model. You can also password protect their photos. I personally enjoy using this service for Model Headshots. (Models appear to have a need to look at photos of themselves for a very long time, in my experiences. Having private portfolios allow them unlimited time to do so as well as to share their private portfolios with others.)

Sports Photography – Establish a gallery for each team. Prior to shooting the event, have business cards printed (or other marketing tools) that has the online gallery URL. This is a category that often purchases the specialty options such as mugs, buttons, puzzles, t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, key chains, etc.

Photojournalism – In this category, establishing a portfolio is required. This portfolio might include local community events. It might also include ‘slice-of-life’ photos (these are photos that fall, broadly, in the stock photography niche). I live in California which offers me a wide selection of events, activities, ‘celebrity sightings,’ and other public photography opportunities. Having business cards (and/or other marketing tools) with the URL address that allows people that are interested in following up is a step that must be taken first, for this category.

Portraits – In this category you can establish albums for each portrait job. Here is a category where setting prices is important. Of course, pricing is important in all niches, but portrait pricing has a certain quality value, in my experiences. Note: although this is information about the importance of establishing your web presence, you shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that everyone is on the internet. They aren’t! Even the photography customers that are willing and able to view their photos online don’t have enough confidence in ecommerce. They prefer to do business traditionally – face-to-face and person-to-person. This is an example of how having this service allows you to have the photos that you take processed professionally. This is key! Having the web presence is very important to have. But, all of the people that you want to be your customers don’t do business online. Besides, photography, even with all of the technological advancements, is, in reality, “old-school” (as in, up close, real and personal).

Photography Special Report

Pet photography is a lucrative photography niche that’s often overlooked by photographers.

Pet Photography – This category continues to prove to be one of my best revenue stream generators. Click here for an example of how I use this model category. Pet photography, in itself, is a lucrative photography niche. But, I continue to find that pet photography is a gateway to other photography business, especially people portraits.

Stock Photography – This is a category that is far to comprehensive to adequately put a summary of how helpful this model will ensure your success.

Start a photography business easily…
Start a photography business that fits your style…
Start a photography business that allows you to test photography niches…..
Start a photography business with photo processing and fulfillment services that contribute to your professional knowledge and professional image…..

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