Starting a Photography Business During a Recession



Photography is a challenging business, but it can also be rewarding. Starting a photography business during an economic downturn is hard, but it’s not impossible. The first thing to consider when starting any business is your goals and motivations for doing so. It’s important not to expect quick growth or overnight success; instead, you should develop a good business plan that takes into account the realities of modern life in order to make sure you’re staying afloat through lean times.


Starting a new business during a recession can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Starting a new business during a recession can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Recessions are the ideal time for you to get started on your photography career.

Here’s why:

  • You can find inexpensive startup costs. If you’re starting your business on a tight budget and need to save money, then starting during a recession is perfect for you. In recessions, many businesses will try their hardest to keep up with their expenses—which means they’ll cut corners wherever possible. This means that they’ll often offer cheaper equipment, services and office spaces in order to stay afloat through the difficult times ahead. You should take advantage of this opportunity by purchasing discounted items when possible and looking for cheap labor sources as well as cheap real estate options wherever possible.
  • You can find inexpensive labor sources in other places around the world where unemployment rates are high due to recessions there too! Going back to our earlier example about Brazilians working abroad…you could hire them online through sites like Fiverr or Upwork at very low prices per hour because their home country has very high unemployment rates right now (like over 10%, which is three times higher than what Americans experience during economic downturns). Not only will this give them work opportunities while helping you start up your own company without having many overhead costs involved but also allows these talented workers access opportunities outside their borders without having any language barriers get in the way thanks to English being one major language spoken worldwide today thanks globalization efforts since World War II ended nearly 70 years ago now almost 80 years ago after it started back 1914 just before America entered the war against Germany…

It’s important to look at the big picture while also focusing on goal-setting and defining success in terms of your needs.

When you’re starting a business, it’s important to look at the big picture while also focusing on goal-setting and defining success in terms of your needs.

Long-term goals are going to give you something to aim for, but they’re also going to help keep you grounded when things go wrong or stress levels rise. A good way to determine long-term goals is by thinking about:

  • What do I want my business (or another area of life) to look like in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? 20 years? Etc., etc., etc.
  • What kind of impact do I want my work/life/business model etc., etc., etc. will have on other people/society/the world at large?

It’s wise to pivot your plan if you’re not seeing the growth you need.

If you’re not seeing the growth you need in your business, it’s time to reevaluate your plan. Look at what’s working and what isn’t, then make changes as necessary. You may need to pivot your strategy if the market is changing or if consumers are no longer responding to your current marketing messages.

Don’t expect things to come quickly–it takes time and hard work.

When you run a photography business, it’s important to remember that success doesn’t come overnight. You have to be patient and work hard throughout the years in order to build your business and make enough money to live on. Even when things are going well, there will be lean times when you don’t make as much money as you’d like or need.

If you’re starting a photography business during an economic downturn like this one, then it may take even longer for you to reach these goals because there are fewer people willing or able to hire photographers during difficult times like these.

Investing in yourself and your business is worth it if you have the right reasons for doing so.

Investing in yourself and your business is worth it if you have the right reasons for doing so.

  • Investing in yourself and your business is not just about money, it’s about time and energy too. Remember that you can’t cut corners, but if you’re willing to do what it takes then there’s no place for excuses! You might feel like you’re going nowhere at first, but with persistence and patience, things will start to turn around eventually (and when they do, it feels amazing).

Recognize that you’re in for a rocky ride.

Recognize that you’re in for a rocky ride. It’s a long road, and there will be many ups and downs. But it is also worth it. As you start your business, be prepared for the ups and downs by creating a plan that includes managing your finances, keeping up with your contacts, maintaining your equipment, and so on. You’ll need to take advantage of opportunities when they arise as well; networking is key here!

Develop a good business plan.

A good business plan will help you to make decisions about your business, such as:

  • What are the most important and best ways to spend money?
  • What is the best way to structure my company?
  • How much should I charge for my services?
  • How many clients do I need to be successful?

Your business plan will also serve as a roadmap for the future, helping you keep track of where you started, what progress has been made so far, and how close (or far) you are from reaching your goals. A good business plan will help secure funding from investors or banks because it makes clear that there are both demands for your work as well as a sound strategy behind how it will be produced. Lastly, having a good plan enables us photographers who want nothing more than to take pictures all day long with fewer distractions and more focus on creating great work.

Don’t quit your day job just yet.

  • Don’t quit your day job yet.
  • Don’t invest too much money in the business until you have a solid plan.
  • Don’t quit your day job until you have a steady stream of income coming in.

Keep your costs low.

To keep your costs low, try to reduce your overhead. Look for ways to cut costs on supplies, equipment, and travel expenses.

  • Cut down on marketing costs. Use free or affordable marketing tools like social media and word-of-mouth advertising instead of paying for expensive advertising campaigns.
  • Buy used equipment instead of new equipment. Check out eBay and Craigslist for deals on used gear such as cameras, lighting kits, and tripods that can help you save money while still getting great results in the field.

Price yourself competitively, but don’t sell yourself short.

Once you’ve determined your target client base and have an idea of the prices other photographers charge in your area, it’s time to consider what your services are worth.

First, take into consideration the cost of living in your area. This will help determine if you can charge higher or lower than other photographers without pricing yourself out of the market.

Second, think about how much time investment is involved in each shoot (or session). The more time-intensive or complicated a shoot is, the more money it should cost clients—and vice versa: simpler shoots should be less expensive.

Third, consider your skill level compared to others’ levels in your area. Is there anything unique that sets apart from others? Do they have more experience than you do? If so, they may command a higher fee than someone with less experience but similar skillsets would receive for similar work done by either party’s standards under similar conditions at home where both parties live (and/or away from home where neither lives as long as travel expenses aren’t included).

Choose your personal branding carefully.

Your personal brand is the image you project to your customer. This means that it should be consistent across all platforms and reflect who you are, not what you’re trying to sell them.

  • Be memorable: Your logo should be simple and memorable—just like Apple’s apple, Nike’s swoosh, or Starbucks’ mermaid—so that customers recognize it when they see it again later on (and can’t forget about your business).
  • Create an authentic image: People want to know more about the artists behind their photos, so show some personality in the way you portray yourself on social media and elsewhere online! If someone sees a photograph of yours where there’s no photographer mentioned anywhere in the caption or metadata for that particular photo, do they think “Oh hey I wonder who took this?” Or do they just assume it was some random stranger who happened to them at just the right moment? If people don’t know who took their picture then why would they trust their memories or feelings about that moment with anyone else other than themselves?

Network with other photographers and related businesses in the area.

  • Find out who the other photographers are in your area.
  • Learn from their mistakes and observe how they market themselves.
  • Get to know them and exchange information.
  • Find out what kind of equipment they use, and whether it’s possible for you to afford any of it.

Take advantage of modern technology to spread word of mouth about your business.

There are many ways to get the word out about your business. You can use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to share photos of the work you do. You can also participate in relevant communities and groups that might be interested in your services (for example, if you’re a wedding photographer and you want to reach brides-to-be or even just bridesmaids). Share your photos on Facebook with a link back to your website; this will help people find you online and remember who you are when it’s time for them to hire someone for an event.

If using social media isn’t something that works for you—perhaps because of privacy concerns—consider email marketing instead. Email newsletters are one way that businesses have been able to stay in touch with their clients during tough economic times: they’re affordable (requires only writing skills) and easy (requires no special software). They also give businesses more control over how often they contact their customers: they may send monthly issues once per quarter or quarterly but never more often than once per month!

Ignore the naysayers.

You’re probably familiar with the saying, “The only person who can tell you that you can’t do something is yourself.” That’s true. But there are plenty of people who will try to tell you that your business idea is stupid, or that it won’t work, or even that they don’t believe in your talent. Ignore them.

Don’t let other people’s negativity get in the way of your goals, especially when they’re wrong! If someone tells me my ideas are stupid or unworkable or ineffective…I just ignore them. I know what I’m doing and how to make my photography business successful; I don’t need their advice about it!

Do some research

  • Start by doing some research on the market you want to enter. Look at how many people are in the area, what their needs are, and what they’re willing to pay for them.
  • Do some research on your competition—both local and national—and see how you can stand out from them in both quality and price. You can also do some research into how much money each company has been making from their photography business, which will give you an idea of how much money could be made as a photographer if things go well for you.
  • Look at where your customers live: If they live close enough that they can just drive over to meet with you when they need something is done (or even better, if they live right next door), then perhaps operating out of a home studio might be easier than having an office space somewhere else (which may require more time spent driving back-and-forth). If most of your clients live farther away than what’s convenient for them to visit (or vice versa), consider opening up a shop somewhere else near where most people live so that it won’t seem like such a hassle getting there all the time.”

Surviving a small business through a recession is possible, but you have to have drive and determination and be prepared for hard work and lean times…

Surviving a small business through a recession is possible, but you have to have drive and determination and be prepared for hard work and lean times. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t quit your day job
  • Don’t go into debt
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Plan on having long periods of no income at all due to the economy or other factors like bad weather (or even just lack of customers)


Starting a photography business in a recession is no easy task, but it can be done. You just need to keep your head up and remember that the only way to succeed is by doing what you love and not giving up in the face of adversity.


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