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    How to Start a Photography Business in Canada

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    how to start a photography business Canada

    Looking to grow your passion for photography into a profitable business? Here are the seven steps you need to take to get up and running.

    Pursuing photography as a profession involves more than a love of taking pictures. If you’re new to the world of professional photography, there are a few important things you need to do in order to form your business.

    In this article, APOLLO shares how you can start a photography business with no experience in seven simple steps.

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    7 Steps to Starting Your Own Photography Business

    From acquiring the right equipment to lowering your risks, below are the steps you need to take as a business owner in your journey to becoming a professional photographer.

    1. Purchase your photography equipment

    In order to start your business, you’ll need the proper equipment. While you may be able to take an incredible picture on your iPhone, as a professional, you should have an actual camera!

    Here’s a list of tools and equipment you should consider investing in:

    • Camera

    • Back-up camera

    • Lenses

    • Camera bag

    • Tripod

    • Reflectors or lighting

    • Computer

    • Editing software

    • External hard drive

    2. Attend a workshop for professional photographers

    If you’re starting your business with no experience, attending a workshop can be a great way to build your confidence. These types of classes can also provide you with tips and techniques to help you define the style of photography you want to pursue.

    3. Decide on your photography services

    Once you’ve tried out a few different types of photography, you’ll need to decide on the services that your company will provide.

    While you don’t necessarily need to pick just one type of service, it may be easier to build your business if you specialize in one or two areas of photography.

    Below are common types of photography that professional photographers often offer.

    • Wedding photography

    • Portrait photography

    • Landscape photography

    • Black and white photography

    • Travel photography

    • Event photography

    • Sport photography

    • Product photography

    • Fashion photography

    4. Create a business plan

    Pursuing photography full time means that your business will be your primary source of income. As a result, you’ll want to put time and effort into creating a business plan that can help you become profitable as a company.

    This is a comprehensive document that outlines everything from your mission, vision, industry research, market opportunity, and product or service. It also typically includes your:

    • Financial Plan: In this section of your business plan, you’ll make note of what your startup costs will be, as well as your annual expenses. This is also where you’ll outline where you plan to get your funding from, if applicable.

    • Marketing Plan: Use this portion of the document to define your target market and how your business can solve their main pain points. Here you can also share key competitors and how you plan to market yourself.

    • Business Structure: Before officially launching your company, you’ll need to decide how you would like to operate as a business. Sole proprietorship, partnership, and incorporation are all options.

    • Trademarks/IP: Document your registration for any branding trademarks or intellectual property to protect your company name, logo, and more.

    • Name Registration: Include a copy of your name registration to keep the legal representation of your business easily accessible.

    5. Set up your business finances

    As an official company, you’ll want to open a business bank account and set up other essential financial services, including your:

    • Tax registrations: This includes registering your business with the CRA, as well as getting your GST/HST Number – if applicable.

    • Advisory team: For support with any legal or financial advice, you may want to hire a bookkeeper or lawyer.

    • Payment systems: Once you start taking on jobs, you’ll need a way to accept payment and keep track of any outstanding invoices.

    6. Protect your photography business with risk mitigation

    Owning a small business can come with many unforeseen risks. Planning for the unexpected can help protect you and your company in the event of property damages, disgruntled clients, stolen equipment, and more.

    Here are a few ways to lower your risks as a business:

    7. Promote and market your business

    After you’ve taken care of all the admin details of starting up your business, it’s time to get your name out there! Below are a few ideas that you can use for inspiration as you start to promote your new company.

    Create a website with an online gallery

    In addition to word-of-mouth and more traditional forms of advertising, having an online presence can help potential clients find your business.

    Ensure that you have a website that allows you to showcase your work. There are lots of different templated options out there for you to choose from. Look for one that includes a gallery section or way to present your online portfolio in an eye-catching way.

    Optimize your site with keywords

    You may also want to consider investing in search engine optimization (SEO) in order to reach a wider audience in your area. This involves improving your content to direct unpaid and organic traffic to your site.

    Be active on social media

    Social media is a great digital avenue to showcase your work and find clients. Take advantage of platforms like Instagram that are focused on visual media.

    Try paid online advertising

    You can also choose to pay for digital advertising on relevant websites. For example, if you’ve decided to specialize in wedding photography, you could put up ads on the websites of popular venues in your area.

    Form local partnerships

    Partnering with other companies in your industry that are not direct competitors can help you find more business. Continuing with the above example, you could partner with other vendors that are involved in weddings, such as local florists or makeup artists.

    Hand out business cards

    Tried and tested, business cards remain an impactful way to share your contact information with potential clients. Think of it as a mini bio about you and your company. It should include your:

    • Name

    • Title

    • Company name

    • Company logo

    • Email

    • Phone number

    • Website

    When working at events or shoots, don’t be afraid to hand out your business card to people who seem interested in your work!

    Protect Your Photography Business with Professional Liability Insurance

    Starting a small business can be really hard. Finding the right insurance doesn’t have to be.

    With APOLLO’s Professional Liability Insurance, you and your photography business will be financially protected in the event of:

    • Liability claims

    • Errors and omissions

    • Damaged or stolen contents

    Start your online application now, and get covered in minutes.

    APOLLO Has You Covered

    Get the protection you need in minutes with custom Business Insurance from APOLLO.

    Learn More

    Originally published June 3, 2022, updated August 25, 2023

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