Photography Business Ideas

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photography business ideas

Calling all enterprising photographers! Check out this list of profitable photography business ideas to start your own company.

If you have talent, basic camera equipment (or even just a good camera on your smartphone), and some entrepreneurial spirit, then you are ready to start making money in your own photography business.

These business ideas include tips on how to get started, estimated startup costs, and if it can be home-based and operate online. Come along and let’s get busy launching your photography business with one of these money-making ideas.

Looking for snappy photo business names? Check out this list of photography business name ideas

Photography Business Ideas to Start Today

Idea #1: Stock Photography

This business idea involves selling your photos through popular online stock photo sites such as Shutterstock and Getty Images. Photos of all types are needed for website content, brochures, and books. As such your photos of landscapes, offices, people and travel locations are in demand.

Startup Costs: Lowest $0-25 (If you have camera equipment)

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #2: Pet Photography Portraits

The worldwide pet market is booming. People are getting more pets and treating them more like children every day. As such, the demand for creative pet portrait photography is strong.

You can take traditional portraits of beloved pets or whimsical ones with funny pet costumes or even action shots of animals at play.

Create a business card (or postcard) with a cute pet portrait (it could be your dog!) and distribute it in veterinarians’ offices, pet stores, and dog parks.

Startup Costs: Low under $100 for low-cost business cards (under $35 for 250 cards at Vistaprint)

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #3: Boudoir Photography

Consider starting a boudoir portrait business taking sexy photos for brides and couples. Here you will take romantic photos of people for them to send to their sweethearts to fuel their romance. Tastefully done these images can be beautiful and lucrative. These are especially in demand for long-distance relationships and military couples.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 for low-cost business cards (If you have camera equipment)

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #4: Portrait Photography

There are many types of portrait photography in demand such as families, engagement, pregnancy announcements, and new babies. Offer your portrait photography services and see what types of niche specialties are in demand in your area.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #5: Children Photography Portraits

One of the largest markets for photographers is child photography. Loving parents want to capture their children’s special moments to save for a lifetime. Your beautiful photos can accomplish this.

Some of the most popular photos are outdoor shots of children having fun. A friend of mine started a profitable business with almost no start-up costs by photographing children in the park with the camera she already owned.

She had an innovative (and cheap) marketing technique. She would post the photos on Facebook so that the parent’s friends and family could enjoy. Then she got lots of referrals and new orders from the family’s Facebook friends.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #6: Printed Photo Products

Today’s printing technology allows easy digital printing of photos onto coffee mugs, plates t-shirts, and tote bags. You can print these with specialized equipment that you own and offer personalized items for individual customers and subcontract printing for other photographers.

There are also online services where you can create these personalized gifts and mementos such as Vista Print. They have two photo mug sizes available in black and white, with 8 color options for handles and mug interiors that can be further customized with your photos, text and more.

Get 20% Off Your First Order of Photo Mugs or Business Cards + Free Shipping on orders $50+ for New Customers at Vistaprint

Another aspect of this business could be creating photo products with images from local attractions to sell to tourists. When I lived in Hawaii one of the most profitable businesses on the Island was printing photos of beautiful landscapes onto mugs and plates which were sold in local souvenir shops.

Startup Costs:  $500 to buy or lease digital printing equipment or under $100 if you subcontract work to online printing companies.

If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Considering opening an Etsy shop? Check out my Etsy startup guide with step-by-step instructions, a list of fees, and examples of the most profitable shops on Etsy.com

Idea # 7: Greeting Cards and Calendars

Create greeting cards, postcards, and calendars with your images of local landscapes. and attractions. If your area has visitors, second homeowners, or tourists this can be a very lucrative business.

In my area, The Hamptons in New York,  we get a lot of lots of visitors in the summertime. A smart local photographer makes a ton of money selling photo calendars and postcards of our local lighthouses, beaches, and sunsets.

This is a very practical business model because with just one image you can continue to create new products and profit for many years. In fact, this photographer told me that his highest revenue image was taken 15 years ago!

Startup Costs: Moderate under $500 to print postcards and calendars.  If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea # 8: Professional Headshot Photos  – Actors & Models

People who make their money based on their appearances such as models, actors, and dancers need professional photographs for their portfolios. Additionally, online social media influencers on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook also need professionally done headshots.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #9: Executive Bio Photos

Executives and business people will need photographs for their online profiles and to post on their company websites. You can offer this photography service by traveling to their offices and taking photographs of the company executives.

Savvy photographers specialize in going to large companies and taking photographs of a large staff; such as the employees of a hospital, school or bank.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea # 10: Personal Photos for Social Media Profiles

These days people need personal photos for their online profiles, social media accounts, charity websites, passports, and online dating profiles.

You can arrange a group photo session in a local hair salon, clothing boutique or coffee shop.  Set up your camera equipment, then hire hairstylists and makeup artists and offer mini photo sessions for each person.

This idea came from a retired event photographer that started his successful business when many people requested this service.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea # 11: Portfolio Photos -Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists

Another type of photo portfolio service in demand is for the creative work of hairstylists, makeup artists, fashion designers, and fashion stylists. Here you could offer to go to their location and take photographs of their work for use in their portfolios, online and in brochures.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea # 12: Architect and Builder Portfolio Photos

Building contractors and architects need professional photos for their portfolios to attract prospective clients. Here you will travel to their job sites and photograph their home designs and building projects.

Consider also selling these types of photography services to landscape designers, masonry firms, interior decorators, and custom cabinet makers.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #13: Photo Journalism and Publicity Shots

Newspapers, magazines, and online news sites all need photographs for their publications. Plus organizations, nonprofits, and businesses need photographs for their publicity campaigns, press releases, and media packages.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #14: Travel Photography Expert

Travel influencers photograph travel destinations, sightseeing attractions, museums, and vacation resorts. Create a money-making business by posting them on a blog and making affiliate income (check out the 77 most profitable affiliate niches here).

Or you could sell them to tourist boards, hotels, and travel agents for their marketing materials.  Additionally, you could sell those photos for stock photos, or create products such as postcards calendars and t-shirts or tote bags (check out Idea #6 above).

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #15: Teach Photography Courses

Beginning photographers want to learn from experts such as yourself about how to improve their photography and make money from their hobby. Consider teaching photography classes locally at your library, community center or online.

Study the option of teaching photo specialty classes based on your particular expertise in fashion photography, portrait headshots or travel picture-taking.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #16: Real Estate Photography

One of the most lucrative photography business ideas is real estate photography. Today all real estate listings (residential and commercial) require many high-quality images of home interiors, exteriors, neighborhoods, and surrounding areas.

Connect with local real estate brokers and property management agents to get assignments.  Remember to contact other types of businesses such as; restaurants, hotels, and bed and breakfasts, to sell your real estate photography packages.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #17: Aerial Photography

Aerial photography is booming. Profit from this photography trend!  Sell drone photos of weddings, real estate listings, and travel destinations. Aerial sports photography is highly in-demand for teams, stadiums, and individual athletes.

Read more about aerial photography and other drone business ideas here

Startup Costs: Moderate under $50 If you have basic drone camera equipment such as this package at Amazon, then buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

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Idea #18: Sport Photography

Sporting events and individual athletes want to hire photographers to take photos and document their accomplishments. Sports events of all types can be your potential customers including; car races, horse equestrian events, rodeos, surfing competitions, marathons, gymnastic meets and golf tournaments.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #19: Wedding and Event Photography

Think about becoming a wedding photographer and help preserve the happy couples’ big day with beautiful images. Be sure to include video services and possibly aerial photography to increase your profits and make your company stand out among your competition.

In addition to weddings, all types of events hire professional photographers such as family reunions, birthday parties, and retirement celebrations.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea#20: Corporate Event Photography

Another profitable business idea for photographers is corporate events. These can include sales conferences, training seminars, and trade shows. Corporations hire photographers to take photos of the presentations, speeches, attendees, and event venues.

Fundraising events are also good opportunities to sell your photography services. Nonprofit organizations want photos to post on their website, include in their press releases and brochures.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #21: Art Photography

There is a specialty niche for photographers to take photographs of the finished artwork. These photos would be used by art galleries and individual artists for their marketing materials and website portfolios.

This type of photography requires special techniques and expertise to take good photos of artwork, especially if it is highly texturized such as oil painting, sculpture, and fiber art.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes (advertise your services online and have artists send you their work for photographing)

Idea #22: Photographic Artist

Create art with your camera and sell it to art collectors. All types of photographic art are in demand such as black and white, abstract, and landscape.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #23: Photo Restoration and Digitize

Become a photo restoration expert and help save antique and vintage photos for conservation purposes and to preserve family memories. Also, offer digitization, scanning, and video services to transform photo prints into digital files.

Startup Costs: Moderate under $150 for scanner and special software, then buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes (have customers mail you their photos for restoration(

Idea #24: Photography Retouching

Use your talents in photo editing to become a photography retoucher. Almost all photographs require some retouching of blemishes, altering backgrounds, and modifying light and color levels.

Offer your digital photo editing services locally, to individuals and photo studios, and online via marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork.

Startup Costs: Moderate under $200 for software, then set up a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #25: Jewelry Photography

A profitable photography specialty is to become an expert at photographing jewelry. It is challenging due to the clear and shiny surfaces of light-diffusing gems.  Photos are often done in extreme close-up angles to create attractive images to sell expensive jewelry. Use this jewelry photography kit for best results selling under $100 on Amazon. 

There is a high demand for gem photography for websites, catalogs, brochures, and advertisements. My neighbors have a successful company focused solely on jewelry photography. They have a large studio in New York City and hire many photographers.

Startup Costs: Low under $100 for a jewelry photo kit with lighting, props and tripod at Amazon.  Then buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #26: Fashion Photographer

Fashion photographers are among the highest-paid in the industry. Magazine photographers work decades to become the best in the industry, however, you can begin your fashion photography business right away.

Start by photographing local fashion shows, fashion designers’ collections, and local boutiques to use on their e-commerce website and social media. Also, consider selling photos for fashion model portfolios.  Remember to target all market segments such as children, men, and accessories.

Get more of my stylish fashion business ideas for your next startup here

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #27: Food Photographer

The specialty photography niche in food photography is interesting. It can be challenging to make all types of food look delicious in photographs and stay within the guidelines of food photography regulations.

Photographs are needed for cookbooks, websites, blogs, and social media and restaurant advertisements. To start, consider contacting local restaurants and selling them a weekly photo session of their food dishes to post on their social media accounts.

If you love to visit restaurants or cook you can combine your food photography talent with writing restaurant reviews or recipes on your blog.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea # 28: Business Photography

All businesses need custom photos of their headquarters, offices, employees, teams, products and events.

The target customers most frequently hiring photographers are hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. They require photos for their marketing materials, websites and social media accounts.

Increase your profits by selling your artistic skills to create videos or slide shows for their business presentations and to post on their YouTube channel.

Expand your customer base by going into schools, churches, or clubs to take pictures of members for the organization’s directory and website.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #29: Trade Show Displays

Today’s modern trade show displays benefit from compelling images. Take striking photographs of businesses, products, and services, to be used on trade show display booths. These photos could be the business headquarters, buildings, teams at work, and multiple branch locations.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #30: Digital Printing

Digital printing equipment is less expensive and the demand is strongly growing. From printing short-run limited quantities of brochures, posters, or signs for public buildings, stores, and restaurants to custom items such as t-shirts, aprons, and tote bags the profit potential is excellent.

Alternatively, you do not need to invest in any equipment you could subcontract your work to online printing companies for your customer’s orders – dramatically reducing your startup costs to almost zero.

Startup Costs: Moderate under $300 with this professional heat press printer at Amazon.  Then buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #31: Photo ID of Valuables

Use your camera to document valuable property for homeowners and small businesses. Start a photo ID service and create digital records with photo proof for the property owner.  Many insurance companies require these photos to issue insurance policies for the contents of homes or offices.

Another service you could offer landlords and commercial property owners would be to document property conditions before a renter moves into a house or office space. These photos will be the proof of condition which needs to be maintained to leave the property in the same condition.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and a simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #32: Instagram Business

Instagram is a great social media site for photographers where you can make money with your photos. Popular subjects include fashion, cooking, and travel.  Earn money from brand sponsorship, product sales, and advertising revenue.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #33:  Sell on Photo Apps

A super easy and inexpensive way to get started selling your photos is to use a popular photo app such as Foap.  Use your smartphone camera and upload your photos, and videos, into your profile where people will buy your images.

Startup Costs: Low under $25 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: Yes

Idea #34: Memorial Photo Collages and Slideshows

Grieving families want to show photos of their departed loved ones at funerals and memorial services. Offer your photo expertise to compile collages, videos, and slideshows from their family photographs.

Your job will entail sorting through photos, both printed and digital, scanning prints and organizing a digital presentation. Often families are unfamiliar with technology and also find it hard after their recent loss to review these photos and complete the project in time for the service.

Expand your earnings by having extra copies of the photo slideshow on hand to sell to families and friends. Contact local funeral homes to offer your services.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Idea #35: E-commerce Photography

Ecommerce website vendors have a continuing need for photos of their products. There are lots of opportunities. Start in your local area contacting brick and mortar stores to offer photos services of their items to post online.

There is a women clothing boutique near me that sells more items online than in their store! They hired a photographer to do weekly photo shoots of new merchandise to sell on their e-commerce site.

Another target customer are artists who want photos of their work for selling online. Also, antique dealers and eBay sellers need custom photography regularly.

Startup Costs: Low under $50 If you have camera equipment buy low-cost business cards and simple DIY website.

Home Based: Yes

Part-Time Side Hustle: Yes

Operate Online: No

Now that you’ve read this in-depth list of photography business ideas it’s time to get started making money with your camera.

Pick one or two of these business ideas and get started today. Remember it is more important to get started than to be perfect. The secret to getting ahead in business is to get started! Launch before you are ready and learn as you go. That has always worked well for me.

Launch on my fellow entrepreneurs.

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