How To Start a Photography Business


January 6, 2023

Kelly Van Dyke Photography, Ravenwood Wedding Venue

Have you ever wanted to turn your passion into a business? Are you wondering where to start? Well this post is for you! It’s going to be focused on how to start a photography business, but you can really follow these same steps to start any new business you want to! This is your year! Let’s do this!

1. Brainstorm a Business Name

Summer Star Ranch Wedding Venue

Depending on how long you have been dreaming of starting a business, this may be the easiest step or the hardest! Some of you have had an idea in mind for years, where others have to ponder multiple days or even weeks to figure this out! Funny story…I started my business back in 2016 under “Generation Photography” not “Kelly Van Dyke Photography”. I was simply too shy to use my name, but a great photographer I looked up to for years, and eventually got to meet (Amy & Jordan Demos), said that by using your name, that’s one less thing your followers will have to remember when recommending you. This also will come in handy with choosing your domain name (more on that in Step 4), but you might want to check the Google Domains database to see if your business domain is available before you choose a business name.

2. Apply For An EIN With the IRS

You can go one of two routes with this step. You can pay your business income tax with your social security number, or apply for an EIN number through the IRS. No matter what, make sure you are legally legit as a business owner. Don’t skip this step!

I learned the hard way, but you don’t have to! Pay your taxes quarterly! What I do every month is look at my income after expenses, and I save 30% of my net income for taxes each month. It has been a great system for me, and I end up saving too much each year, which is great, because 1. I never have to worry come tax time, and 2. I just roll that extra money I saved for taxes to the following year which is a nice little way to start the year!

3. Register Your Business With the State

Once you choose your business name, it’s time to register it with your state. Often times you can find this online with your Secretary of State website, or if you can, simply go down to your business registration office in your town. For Montana business owners, this is a very simple process, and in the town I live in, it’s only $10 to renew my business license!

4. Secure a Domain Name & Start Your Website!

Kelly Van Dyke Photography Helena Montana Newborn Photographer

Now for the fun stuff! Go to Google Domains and secure a domain name. If you are lucky, you checked on this in Step 1, and hopefully you can find a domain that will cost you around $12/year with Google. This is also when calling your business after your name might help you find a domain with Google because it’s more rare than a common name.

As far as starting a website, there are a lot of options out there! My all time favorite company is Showit! This company is run by the best and most helpful people on the planet. They have become like family, and they throw an epic get together in Tempe, AZ every November! I highly recommend them! They have a ton of tutorials and premade websites you can choose to customize for your business!

5. Invest In a Client Management Software Program

Kelly Van Dyke Photography

Getting organized before you begin is crucial to running a business. Finding an excellent way to keep all of your client communications, invoices, contracts, etc. is imperative to a successful and smooth business. I highly recommend Honeybook! It is seamless, simple, and easy to use for both me and my clients! A win-win! It collects all emails for me, which allows for easy communication and email marketing. When a client is interested in my services, I can send them an online proposal where they can easily see all emails, their invoice, contract, etc. I can even send feedback forms, questionnaires, and various guides to help my clients look forward to their shoot with me!

Well, there you have it! The 5 first steps to starting a business! There are more steps to running a successful and profitable business, but I will save that for another post!

Big hugs!


If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

The Best Business Tools I Love!

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