How Much Does It Cost To Start a Photography Business

What is the Startup cost for Photography Business?

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Put your best estimation forwards: how much do you believe it would cost to launch a photography company?

Startup cost for Photography Business
Image from Unsplash

The answer might come as a surprise to you, particularly when you consider the additional expenses and fees associated with establishing a legal firm- the photographic company that’s in compliance with the law.

However, being upfront and honest about charges is the single most critical thing you can do if you aspire to have a career as a professional photographer.

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A photography business is comparable to a new venture company in many ways. If you want to make sure that you are able to continue pursuing your passion for as long as possible, the safest approach is to do some financial planning and create a budget before you make any money from photography.

In addition to this, you will need to be aware of the costs associated with running your company in order to be able to calculate accurately the fees and rates that you should be charging your customers. More will be spoken about that at a later time.

Do you have a deep appreciation for photography? Intent on launching a photographic enterprise? If that’s the case, you’ve probably thought about starting a photography business but were concerned about the financial commitment involved.

A photography business cannot start without first conducting extensive research. The cost of launching a photography business is broken down in this article.

Here are some of the expenses we’ll discuss in starting a photography business.

Let’s divide the costs into 5 different categories

  1. Registering Your Photography Company( Setting up Biz name, domain name, Logo, and so on)
  2. Photography Gear & Equipment ( Camera, lens, Tripod & Lighting)
  3. Tools needed – Hardware & Software [ Laptops, PCs, Adobe Photography plan) Or Just Adobe Photoshop Or Adobe Lightroom, etc]
  4. Online Photography Courses to Upskill your Photography skills[ Optional]
  5. Marketing & Outsourcing costs[ website build, SEO and marketing]

Registering Your Photography Company

It’s Vital to Establish yourself as a legitimate Photographer with your own business.
It is suggested that you establish your photography business legally if you are a photographer. I am not a lawyer or a certified public accountant, thus I am unable to make any suggestions regarding the kind of company that you could establish.

Expenses Incurred When Beginning a New Business.
If you don’t have a license and pay your taxes, you won’t be able to establish a photography business. The process of determining the financial and legal requirements of your new business will be vastly different depending on where you choose to set up shop, not to mention the decision of whether or not to incorporate the company.

A business license is necessary to be obtained in the state of Washington, in addition to the fees associated with forming an LLC (recommended for most photographers).

On the subject of finances, make it a point to get a business bank account and meticulously record all of your company’s expenditures.

After that, you have the option of employing a bookkeeper or tax preparer to deal with this on your behalf.

You also have the option to purchase online accounting software in order to assist you in doing it yourself. One more time, you get what you pay for, therefore make smart investments.

  • The cost of obtaining a business license and incorporating is $150.
  • The accounting software XERO costs $29 per month to subscribe to. They have a 30 days Free Trial to try on
  • Services for preparing taxes once a year cost $300.

Legal Fees
If you want to save money on legal expenses, the most important decision you need to make is whether or not you want to get aid from an attorney to draught or go over your photography contracts. When working with customers, having correct contracts is crucial because these documents protect both you and your assets. Due to this, having these documents is very necessary.

However, the costs associated with attorneys can be rather high. Although this agreement has not been examined by a legal professional, you are welcome to Purchase & download the photography contract template ..from the link Here.

Consider obtaining pre-written contract templates from Christina Scalera, often known as “The Contract shop ” so that you can save time and money. She is an attorney, and she has designed templates that may be used for a number of situations.

Photography Gear

( camera, lens, Tripod & Lighting, and …)

Bare Minimum Camera Gear
Every professional photographer should have at the very least one primary camera body and one backup camera body in their possession at all times in case the primary camera body breaks down.

There is no single event that may be more detrimental to the success of your company than an inability to carry out a picture session as a result of malfunctioning equipment.

Always ensure that you have a backup. When it comes to lenses, you should have one or two that you are able to employ easily and dependably in order to take the necessary photographs. When it comes to lighting, the answer is dependent on the type of photography you do.

Photographers that specialize in events, food photography, or real estate photography almost always require at least one Speedlight flash.

What kind of photography equipment do you require as a startup?
You are going to want at least two professional cameras if you intend to pursue photography as a profession. In the event that something goes wrong with your camera, you absolutely must have a backup camera that is of professional caliber and ready to go

It makes a difference whether you plan to take portraits or pet photos or fashion Photography since the equipment you require will change accordingly. Since wedding photographers have to be prepared to shoot without flash in the worst of conditions and need gear that can handle difficult situations better…

If I were to start out in this industry today, I would definitely consider purchasing everything on the following list.


For Portrait Photographers: Purchase 2 Nikon D7500 cameras, body only ($650 each) as the kit lenses that come with it are not pro-level lenses. Total cost: $1300

Real estate / Wedding /car /pet /Photographer – Purchase 2 Nikon D750 cameras, body only ($900 each) as the kit lens is not worth it. Total cost: $1800

For Product /Jewelry Photography:


As for lenses, I’d recommend the following for both portrait and wedding photographers.

The lenses that are listed below will be worthwhile on all cameras, including full-frame and cropped-frame cameras. Because of this, I recommend these lenses over cheaper versions or similar lenses that may not work properly if you upgrade your camera:

In addition, for Realestate/ wedding/sports/ pet Photographers:
Nikon 70-200 f/2.8: This will be useful if you have to observe a private moment between a couple in total darkness, such as at a church where you are not permitted to approach the altar.. $2400

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 Lens$160

Other Gear

RealEstate & wedding photographers will need at least 2 flashes for their cameras. I recommend the Nikon SB-700 ($400 each). Total Cost: $800

Backdrops & Lighting ($300 – $900)

You’ll also need to purchase camera bags, memory cards, reflectors, light stands, flash triggers, etc. This will vary based on your photography style. Total Cost: $600-$1600

I have written blogs On camera and lens requirements for various Photography Niches

  1. 5 Best Cameras for Car Photography[ Budget, beginner to Pro]
  2. 9+ Best Cameras for Photojournalism in 2024
  3. Best Cameras For Jewelry Photography: All the Stats, Facts, and Info You’ll Ever Need to Know
  4. 7+ Best Sony Camera for Photography, Vlogging & 4k Video
  5. 7 Best Cameras for Wedding Photography
  6. 7 Best Cameras for Pet Photography as per Experts | For All Skill Levels (Updated 2024)
  7. 11+ Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork in 2024
  8. 7+ Best Sony Camera for Photography, Vlogging & 4k Video
  9. 7 best 360 cameras for real estate Photography in 2024
  10. 9+ best Point & shoot cameras

Tools needed(Computer hardware and software)

Computer hardware( laptops, Tablets & PCs)

In order to be successful as a professional photographer, you will require not just camera equipment but also tools for photo processing.

Even though the Apple MacBook pro costs approximately $4300, the Apple MacBook Pro is still by far the most popular choice among all of the available computer brands and models. Windows-based personal computers are gaining popularity and can now be purchased for a lower price.

Photo editing Tools( Adobe Photography plan)

Get your Adobe Photography plan

Adobe Photography Plans

A trial version lasting just a few days is available- Check out Adobe Photography plan Review.

Get them both in the Creative Cloud Photography plan starting at just US$9.99/mo. 

Consider the expense of photo editing software as well, such as Adobe Photography plan which grants you access to both PhotoShop and Lightroom for a monthly fee of approximately ten dollars.

When it comes to the expense of storing your essential RAW and JPG images, physical backup hard drives and cloud backup software are both important expenditures to consider.

Online Photography Courses to Upskill

There are many Photography courses for various Niches that I have listed below…

They cost around $90 One time.

Marketing & Outsourcing costs

Website Build & Content management

For professional photographers working in today’s market, not having a website is just not an option. Many Photography photography websites are responsible for fifty percent of the new business leads they receive.

The majority of the time, these new customers explain that the primary reason they decided to work with Photographer is that their website left a positive impression on them.

When this is taken into consideration, it is not a good idea to utilize a website template or service that is free. Because you get what you pay for in terms of websites, it is important to make an investment in a reputable website provider or designer.

If you’re having trouble getting started, have a look at this beginner’s guide to putting together a website for your photography business.

  • The annual cost of $90 for website hosting and domain registration
  • A one-time payment of $60-$70 is required to purchase the photography website template or theme.
  • SEO management – 100=200/Month

Wrapping up Note

The Full Initial Investment for a Photography Company
While your expenses may differ, I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the bare minimum to launch a successful business.

Even though there are many things you might want/like to invest in, such as flashy branding packets and logos, props and nicer & Priceir gear, and an office or studio space, But, I have compiled this list to be the bare minimum of what you’d need to get started if you were serious about doing this professionally from the get-go.

Starting a Portrait/pet/food/ Photography Business will cost between $8K and $11K

Starting a RealEstate/ Wedding /Pet/Car/fashion Photography Business will cost between $12K and $15K in total.

A portrait photography business can be launched for about $10,000, and a wedding /car/Fashion/photography business for under $15,000.

About the Author:

Manny Acharya is the co-founder of Artmellows. Your go-to place for Design, Digital Art, Digital sculpting, Photography, Design Tools and gears Info, and Product Reviews. Manny is a Digital Artist, 3D Sculpt Designer, Ardent Photography, Drone flying Enthusiast, and tech Lover. He supercharges Digital Art and design by crafting memorable 3D sculptures & 2D Design and art. Learn more About Manny:

PS: Manny has created a Beginner Friedly ebook to Learn the Nomad 3D Sculpt App. Know More about the eBook. Know more about Manny

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