17 Ways to Grow a Photography Business – A Comprehensive Guide

As good as you might be as a photographer, starting, building up, and running a business is a whole other ballgame. But being prepared for the challenge and armed with the knowledge and wisdom of how to navigate through this challenge can make all the difference between success and failure.

I’ve compiled a list of 17 ways to help grow a photography business to help you off to the right start or to help grow your current business is you’ve been at it a while.

So without further ado, let’s get into it and get your photography business growing.


It’s important in this day and age to hone in your skills and specialize in a specific area within your niche that provides value. Find something in the industry that you can do particularly well or a specific skill set that might be underserved in the market, that you would be able to master and stand out with.

It’s better that you are an expert in a certain aspect of photography compared to being averagely skilled in everything.

An example of this would be it would be to maybe specialize in pet photography. Go all out and perfect the craft of photographing pets until you eventually become known as the pet photography master.

Whenever there is a need for pets to be photographed, you will be one consumer reach out to cause of your specialization as opposed to hiring one of the other random photographers in the market who does a bit of everything.

That being said, you would need to learn and be good at photographing everything else, it’s just not what you would be advertising yourself as. But you might get many other opportunities for different kinds of photography gigs and should then be able to deliver on them equally well if you choose to take them on.

Social Media

Use social media as a way to grow an audience organically.

The photography business is one that caters mostly to local communities and it does this through a very attractive, visual medium.

To attract customers they should first be able to see your work before they would inquire about your service. Social media is a great way to get your work out in the market and show everyone what you’re all about and the quality of work that you can deliver.

You should be posting some sample pictures that you get from working with other clients and sharing it across all your social media platforms. Just make sure to get permission from your clients of course.

Another way to build your portfolio on social media is by working with freelance models who already have a bit of following on social media or who also needs to build their portfolio. This way you can benefit from the additional exposure and they can benefit from yours as well.

Invest more

Another way to grow your photography business is by always providing a better service. This can be achieved either through business experience, investing in better gear such as lights, better cameras, by hiring more personnel, etc. to help you achieve better results.

In the skill department you can either practice through test shots, get better through actual work experience on projects, by taking more courses to have a better grasp of photography concepts, or by honing in your skills on a specific area of photography to become more specialized.

This will all add to your business and can help you improve the quality of your service. It can also help you narrow down your market to something more suited for you and your particular skill set, and it will certainly give you an edge in a market.


A way to grow your photography business is to make better connections through networking with clients and other industry professionals.

Photography is a service-based business, so you will be working with clients and these clients will have specific needs and expectations and as a growing business it is expected of you to be able to meet these needs.

Find the most convenient way possible for both of you and with this there’s a good chance that if you did a good job they will recommend you to others and you will be able to grow your client list through these referrals and recommendations.


Advertising is also another way that your photography business can grow, although, for such a localized and hands-on business, I’d suggest advertising locally to reach potential customers within your vicinity and closest to you.

If you want to advertise online, I’d suggest going for a blog on your website and social media platforms as it is fairly easy to reach potential customers at a reasonably low cost.

Another way that you can help grow your photography business is by offering promotions to your customers.

That does not necessarily have to mean offering discounts to your customers, but instead you can create a loyalty program for your customers, which would give benefits to them based on how often they make use of your services for example. This would work especially well with small businesses that constantly needs photography work for their advertising campaigns or local wedding planner who always have to suggest or hire photographers as part of their service offering.


Another way to help grow your business is by creating a referral system in which clients would receive benefits such as a discount from you on future projects, or even a bonus instead of a discount. who refer other people to use your services.

This might seem like a very antiquated system, but it definitely still works and absolutely something worth trying to help grow your business.


Another great way to grow your photography business is by partnering with small businesses on a retainer, that provides photos for all their company needs.

This could range from taking employee photos, headshots, I.D. Photos, photos of the company’s products or services for promotional purposes, photos of company events, etc.

This works by creating a package, which is exclusive to the company and cheaper compared to what a regular customer would get.

The best way to find companies within your area is either by contacting them individually or through referrals. Send them an email with a link to your online portfolio and if they’re interested, set up a meeting so you can discuss the business side of things (more on this later).

This goes back to how important networking is for a localized business like photography.


Utilizing Instagram is a good way to grow your photography business. This is because Instagram is a photo-based social media platform, which will allow you to be able to grow your company through engagement. This is because people on this social media platform are inherently there because of the content within Instagram which consists of mainly photos and videos.


Although you are a professional photographer, having your own business means that you are an entrepreneur as well and you need to handle the business aspect of your photography business as well for it to grow.

A big part of a photography business, mainly due to it being a localized business, is by building up a good reputation for yourself. The easiest way to build your reputation as a good and trusted photography business is by simply delivering great work and by being fair to your customers.

To consider what is “fair” with your client you have to set up a contract, a price, and a checklist. Communication is key to the client. Be clear on how much you are charging them and make sure to justify your price.

The next thing to do is writing down and signing a contract. Within this contract are the expectations that you have from the client and the client’s expectations from you. The contract should also clearly state what is not included in your photography package for that specific project.


Utilize your website to achieve three objectives. The first one is to present your portfolio, the second one will be your faqs and the third one would be how to contact you.

A website looks much more professional compared to a social media page. A website will require more work to set up and to maintain but it is an essential asset if you want to grow your photography business.

It might be tempting to stay on social media platforms only, however, it’s a good first impression to have your own website that shows how legitimate and professional your photography business is.

Make sure to constantly update your work sites with works that you recently have done. This is just assuming that as you go along you’re constantly getting better and the quality of your photographs are improving.

Price setting

The next tip for growing your photography business is by setting the right prices.

You should always be able to justify the price to your client as to establish that what they’re paying you is fair for both you and them. To justify the price you need to communicate with your client how much effort the specific project requires along with everything that comes with your service.

You’re also providing the equipment, the software, the transportation, and the expertise required to take quality good photos and the reason why they would pay this much is that you offer a quality that cannot easily be created by anybody else.

What’s important in setting your price is highlighting the value of your work.

Work ethic and professionalism

A general tip that works for all aspiring businesses that wish to grow is to always have a good work ethic and work professionally with your customers.

When engaging with a customer, always be respectful and well-mannered. This can go a long way into how your brand is received and at a good indicator that clients use when assessing on whether they want to work with you again or recommend you and your services to their friends, family, or other businesses.

In terms of work ethic, make sure that you always deliver what you promised and you don’t slack on the job. It may be tempting and you could get away with sometimes delivering lower quality work, because only those working in the field will really be able to tell the difference between good and outstanding quality work in photography, but taking shortcuts will only hurt you in the long run.

Constant low-quality outputs will always get outshone by better quality outputs. Remember that the market is always a competition and that another business could easily outdo yours if they provide better service for the same price.


All of the tips that I have mentioned in this article can actually be combined into one, which is branding.

Branding is the image and perception that the market has of a business, and you should spend the time and energy in creating the best brand identity for your business that you can.

Feel free to check out my complete guide to creating a brand identity here, or get my free ebook on creating a brand identity here by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

Branding is not only limited to marketing strategies, but branding also includes other aspects such as all of your materials, all of your interactions with people, how people perceive you, and what people would associate with your photography business.

Good branding would include good visual materials such as business cards, flyers, prints, website, and social media. The branding that you have depends on what kind of business you are running. This depends on how you plan your photography business to be and what market you plan to cater to.

For example if you were to specialize in wedding photography, you would design your website in a way that would fit this aesthetic. This would be light colors with very light text and with images that are related to weddings. Think about smiling couples or scenic places with romantic items.

Compare that to what a more corporate-minded photography business would be like. It would be a more formal presentation of photographs and images. The text would be plain and standard rather than “artsy” and playful. The descriptions, faqs, and about part of your website would be very formal and straight to the point compared to weddings, which would be more persuasive and romantic.

The reason why you would want to be so specific about your branding is to appeal to a certain market. You can’t control everything you can’t take over an entire market.

As a service-based business, you would primarily want to cater to a certain type of client that would prefer to choose you, because specialize in exactly what they are looking for.

In summary, you use your branding to highlight your association and to attract customers within a certain market that fits within your specialization.


Another good option, if available, is to enter competitions to get your name out there. This will help grow your photography business by adding some prestige to your business and establish yourself as a good photographer.

Participating in competitions show that you are skilled and that you are competitive with your photography. Winning a competition is an even bigger bonus because it helps to validate you as a top-notch photographer.

This will help reassure clients that they are working with someone that really knows their stuff and at the same time it adds to your resume as something that describes you as being a leader in your market.

All markets are competitive and to get the customers that you want you’ll have to appear as the best choice for them.


A good way to get your name out there is to get involved with a charity.

This is a great way to be recognized in the industry because it helps you network and at the same time it gives you a good reputation. Now I’m not recommending that you work for free, however, if you do work for a charity that you support and believe in, it will help you accomplish the following things.

  • You will be able to get better
  • You will be able to network
  • You will be able to create use it for promotional purposes
  • You can add more things to your resume

These benefits are especially good for those who are starting out in the photography business and want to make a name for themselves and within the industry.

This is because it creates a better perception of you and at the same time, the connections that you could get from working with a charity could translate into businesses. From there you can use that momentum to further grow your business.


Once you are somewhat well established, there will be a point where you would need to pick between the projects you can handle and the ones you can’t because you are too busy.

The photography business is an active service so that means you earn as much as you work. Partnering up with other local businesses is a great way of referring work within your own little network of partners. You could then still benefit financially from those projects, even though you are not able to do them yourself.

You just have to make sure that you are partnering with someone that will be easy to work with and to fulfill their end of the contract. This will save you a lot of headaches and inconveniences that could end up costing you money and possibly lose clients.

Not all businesses will have this luxury of getting to choose your clients, however, you mustn’t simply work for anyone who offers you a gig.


When first starting out, don’t expect that people are going to be the one to look for your business. You are going to have to look for customers. Usually most photography businesses start out by working with friends and family. From there they would recommend you to their friends and then their friends, etc and you will be able to build a network of customers from there.

It has been often stated that you should be careful when working with family and friends. The general rule of thumb is that you should not offer discounts or special treatment to them. This, however, can be a tricky one so good luck with that.

You could also approach companies by simply emailing them. Asking if they are interested in your services does not hurt and in the future they might be interested in hiring you for their photography needs. The best way to do this is by setting yourself up so that when you approach companies, you’ll be able to market yourself to them.

The reality is you’re going to have to charge cheaper at first because you have not yet established yourself when starting out your photography business. The price point you set should be able to outshine all the other photography businesses in your area, but what you’re really after is building up your brand and building up your network. As you grow you can charge more.

Putting it all together

Putting it all together and summarizing what you need to do to grow your photography business is to assess your current standing in the market and from there work towards improving each and every aspect that you can, especially the aspects that you find lacking.

If you don’t have a website it’s best to create one as soon as possible. If you don’t have the proper branding in place, you should consider getting that done as a priority as well. If you don’t have that many customers yet, you can start working for family and friends or a charity and start building up your network.


Starting any business is a challenge and a photography business is no different.

Hopefully the tips I’ve highlighted in this article can help you on your journey and turn what I assume is your passion into a well-established, well-respected, reputable, and profitable photography business.

Similar Posts