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Photography business start up: photo studio idea


  1. Introduction

  2. What is required to open a photo studio

  3. Photo business ads and promotion

  4. How much does opening a photography studio cost

  5. Conclusions and a few tips on launching a successful photo studio business

#1 Introduction

A photo studio is a good business idea to start. The business is in demand as clients are happy to pay for catching the memorable moments of their lives, creating CV photos, etc. On the one hand, the business idea is prosperous because of its crazy demand. On the other hand, there is nothing complicated in starting a photo studio.

  • The photography business ROI is relatively fast. So starting an average photo studio, be sure that the business will repay itself in about a year.

  • Starting a photo business is a must-have for professional photographers. It is one of the easiest ways of increasing profit. If you have already coped with finding your first clients as a freelance photographer, working at proms and weddings, try launching a photo startup!

  • You can start the business by yourself, then hire one or two skillful photographers to grow together. Some business owners prefer working every day, and others enjoy managing the work process. Anyway, starting a business is always a good idea.

  • There is also a chance to succeed without even being a photographer. Any business-oriented person can rent premises to create a good photo studio and begin work. A photo studio is also a good idea for rent. You can design premises, create a pleasant atmosphere, then offer the rooms for rent. All you have to do first is select a suitable location, renovate it, then promote.

Makeup artists, photographers, and their clients will gladly use the service you offer. The demand is high, so why not create its supply?

Photo studios usually provide such services:

  • Document photos.

  • Professional portfolios: for a CEO, artist, fashion model, designer, etc.

  • Photo sessions: personal, family, corporate, thematic.

  • Photography services: advertising, interior and reportage photos, as well as animal photoshoots.

  • Photo printing: on T-shirts, cups, stationery, bags, etc.

  • Rent of premises and props for makeup artists and photographers.

Outdoor photoshoots are also popular. Consider organizing a photo session in the park, on the boat, in the office, at home, etc.

We will calculate all the expenses in this article. In general, the investments will be about $30 000. The investment size depends on the location.

Sure, it does! A photo studio software will soften the pr process. It will also optimize client management and marketing.

Plus, it is a perfect chance to get affordable online appointments.

The business ROI is pretty quick. Usually, it'll take you about a year to cover all the expenses. However, there are some ways to fasten the process – for example, CRM connection.

#2 What is required to open a photo studio

Only you can decide whether you would like to start with offering a full range of photo services or growing step by step. There is no one correct answer. Of course, if you have an unlimited budget, it would be perfect for presenting a photo studio as a multifunctional one. But if there is no budget to spend on offering various services, develop quality. It won't cost too much, but clients will appreciate the high-quality photo and video materials you'll provide. Offering quality services will also fasten the ROI.

Let's look at all the trifles a business owner has to take care of when starting a photo studio.

The initial stage includes:

Business registration

This step is essential as, without official registration, you can't work. Usually, you can open a photo studio under LCC or sole proprietorship. We advise the second option as then you'll pay fewer taxes and get simplified registration requirements. However, it'll work out only if you are starting a business by yourself. If there is a team idea, consider opening an LCC.

The competition analysis

The demand is starting to create its supply. There are many photo studios, so there are a lot of competitors. The best you can do is to study the market to see how your business can stand out. The easiest way is to google the photo studios nearby. Check them according to the following criteria: location, size, style, price.

For example:

  • Interior photo studio in the center – 120 sq.m., 10 classically themed photo zones. 6 hours cost $550.

  • Retro photo studio in a residential area – 75 sq.m. Photo zones designed in the country and Provenance styles. Pricing starts at $100 per hour.

  • Lounge photo studio far from the city center – 175 sq.m, 12 photo zones. The most popular service is pr photoshoots. One project starts from $225.

The data you'll get will let you understand the competition and your competitors' weak and strong sides. It is the only way to find your niche and stand out. The market analysis will also help set up the competitive pricing and decide on the most popular services. Offering unique photo services is a perfect idea to increase customer flow.

A photo studio can stand out by:

  • Offering the most affordable pricing.

  • Providing clients with original services, makeup, and costumes.

  • Implementing online appointments.

  • Creating thematic photo zones.

  • Selecting premises and style

The most important is to place a studio as far from the competitors as possible. If you can start a project in the city center, it is simply perfect. However, if you have the budget for launching the startup in the residential area, do it. The location plays a role, but services and renovation are even more essential.

Make sure there is spacious parking near the studio. Clients will usually come to you by car, so it is a must-have. The premises have to be big as well. The minimum size is 70 sq.m.

Before starting the renovation, ensure there is enough space for 5-10 photo zones, a waiting area, and WC.

The common practice is creating various photo zones, considering the season, fests, and local traditions. For instance, a cozy festive interior is a must-to-have for Christmas.

Photo studio equipment

If you are already a professional photographer, you may know that simply having a camera with a tripod and a computer won't help when starting a photo studio. It is okay for freelance use, but a photo studio has to be very well-equipped.

The equipment you have to get to start working:

  • Pulse flash – $150.

  • Continuous lights – $200.

  • Softboxes with at least two modifiers – $185.

  • Collapsible beauty dish for portraits – $275.

  • Umbrellas and diffuser reflectors – $100.

  • Camera exposure meter – $250.

  • Photo printer – $575.

  • Paper or fabric background photophones – $700.

  • Administrator's stand (computer, table, chair) – $1200.

  • Dressing rooms arrangement – $3500.

So, the photo studio equipment will cost you about $10 000.

How to hire the best photo studio staff?

Working alone may sound attractive, but it won't let your business scale. The ideal solution is hiring a few photographers and a manager.

Management is essential. Salon administrator has to have passion for the photo business. This person has to be interested in photo studio promotion. It is better to hire people with good communicative skills. The average salary for an administrator is about $1700. You can also delegate to the employee some additional tasks like SMM. Maintaining a photo studio Instagram account is essential for effective PR.

A freelance photographer can help your business to scale. It is a good solution for the first time. First, hiring the specialist, consider his experience in photo shooting and editing photos. Then you can work together twice more effectively. For example, today, you do a photo shoot, and the employee is editing photos. Tomorrow it is vice versa. The average photographer's salary is about $2200.

#3 Photo business ads and promotion

Promoting a photo studio business is a challenging task. Once you've got your first clients, there is a need to excite them. Customers are sophisticated and require only the best. Presenting the business, then its constant development, is a daily routine of any photo studio owner. Let's take a look at the handy tool you may use in this rush.

Digital marketing

  • Website. A landing is a perfect chance to present a photo studio. You can place all the services, their prices, team, contacts, location, etc. Creating a personal website is expensive. EasyWeek offers a handy alternative. We provide our clients with a public page that works as a landing. The option is available in every EasyWeek tariff.

  • Widget for online appointments. The 21-st century must-have that you'll also get for free.

  • Accounts on social networks: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.

  • Targeted and contextual ads. Google Ads, ads on YouTube and in online magazines.

Print ads

  • Handouts: business cards and flyers. The best is to offer them in malls, at significant business events, etc.

  • Ads in magazines and newspapers. Check the print circulation. The bigger it is, the more clients will see the announcement.

Photo contests and other competitions

  • Photo exhibition. You can participate in one of the local photo exhibitions or create your own. Even one successful event will help to scale.

  • Master class organization. It can be performed at the exhibition. Then negotiate this moment with the exhibition management.

Local events

Keep in touch with the local traditions, fests, and holidays. They can become a perfect place to take photos for your portfolio. Choose the most exciting events as they will also influence your reputation. Offering free photo services for charity is a perfect idea. This way, you'll not only help but also get the desired image of a caring professional. Clients respect those who help people in need.

#4 How much does opening a photography studio cost

Business and financial planning are the basis of a photo studio's success. If you want to start the business and make a competitive profit, spend time planning the startup. Once you have finished the business plan, ensure its financial part looks strong.

The initial investments are the following:

  • Business registration and other legal requirements – $2000.

  • Rent – $3000.

  • Renovation – $3500.

  • Equipment – $10 000.

  • Furniture and consumables – $2500.

  • PR campaign – $2000.

  • Staff commission (2 employees/1 month) – $3500.

  • Other expenses – $750.

A photo studio launch will cost you $25 00-30 000. The calculations are exemplary. There is a chance to minimize the expenses by purchasing second-hand equipment and buying stuff directly from manufacturers. Then you won't pay any commission.

The second thing to remember is that the calculations depend on the location and premises you are getting. The place in the center will cost more while residential areas are affordable. The final price also depends on the style of the premises, equipment and pr expenses.

Photo studio ROI

The average monthly photo studio income is $6000-10 000. Big cities offer better revenue. The ROI of a photo business is about a year. So, you have to think about smart budgeting for these 10 months. The smarter you plan the startup, the faster the ROI will be.

The ROI is dependable on:

  • Initial budget.

  • Location.

  • Quality of pr campaign.

  • Professional skills of employees and their passion for the profession.

  • Risk factors

Never forget about the issues that could happen to your business. There are some objective and subjective factors to remember when planning a photo studio. For example, your employee will accidentally break an expensive lens, or a short circuit in the studio wiring occurs. Plan B is a must-have.

Photo studio risks include:

  • Low-professional workers.

  • Bad PR.

  • Obsolescence of decor and props.

  • Basic (not enough) number of services

  • Wrong pricing policy

Rely on the budget you have right now. There is no point in looking for an investor when you don't have an idea. Once you've created a concept, develop it into a plan. The business plan is a reliable thing to show to the investors. Economy, good planning, and be sure you will return the investment and scale the business.

#5 Conclusions and a few tips on launching a successful photo studio business

A photo studio is a good business to scale in 2022. The world is crazy about visual content. So someone has to create it. That's why professional photo services are trendy.

Starting a photo business is similar to opening any other studio. The first and foremost is planning and clear budgeting. Then a professional team and well-thought-out promotion. Some entrepreneurs neglect PR. It is the first mistake to make when starting any business. Next, you should present the startup, so the audience will understand who you are and what you offer.

If you are low on budget, work with social networks. A simple account on Instagram will boost sales. Add a personal story about the business launch, tell about your dreams and problems. Talk to clients and let them feel the story. It will create a unique connection and help to attract visitors.

We have collected some handy life hacks to use when opening a photo studio:

  • Prepare a good business plan with financial calculations. Mention there two options:

    If the business goes up at once and if a photo zone won't attract many clients at the beginning.

  • Take your time to develop a concept and a PR campaign.

  • Automate a photo studio. For example, connecting CRM will help to optimize business processes by delegating routines to the software. CRMs get freedom for employees from useless work. Use the photo studio software to boost sales, scale, and simplify the salon work.

We wish you a great start and only the best software choices!

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