Photography is an extremely compelling career path to go down, especially for the creative mind. There is something skillful about reading a scene and interpreting it through a lens – a skill for which many people will pay handsomely. But starting a business in photography can be tough, not in the least in terms of competition. Still, the very first steps to opening up your own business are simple. Here’s how to begin your photography career.

Create Your Business Plan

The first step in building a successful business of any kind is to draw up a robust business plan. A good business plan considers your first six months in close detail, as well as your long game. Having a good grasp on your five-year plan will give you a lot more to work with – and something to work towards.

This is also the point at which you should choose your niche. Photography is a wide-ranging field, with photographers in high demand in a number of capacities. Will you build your business as a wedding photographer, seeking lucrative contracts in the wedding season? Or will you lean towards contract photojournalism, completing commissions for news organizations? Your answer will change a lot about your approach!

Source Your Equipment

Whichever direction in which you choose to grow your business, you will need the right equipment to honor your eventual work commitments. Again, your specific needs will likely vary depending on your niche, but there are some essentials on which photographers rely across the board.

First, you’ll need a camera. You will already be aware of the various different kinds of camera available, from film SLRs to DSLRs and even mirrorless cameras. Each have their own specific benefits, but for the beginner on a small budget a decent second-hand DSLR body should be more than enough. Much of the magic will come from your choice of lens, though, so don’t be afraid to spend some money on lenses.

Digital cameras have become the gold standard for photographers for a reason. They are durable, long-lasting and incredibly versatile. The results are also extremely easy to edit and deliver. However, you will need to invest in your home editing rig to provide the best service to your clients. Firewire cables are used to connect your camera to the computer, and editing software used to edit the files you transfer over.

Build a Portfolio

In order to start out as a photographer in your chosen field, you will need to demonstrate your abilities. Your results are the best kind of marketing you could ask for. But, without any previous clients, how will you effectively demonstrate your skills and experience?

The answer lies in your portfolio. Even if you are completely green to your industry, you will need a portfolio of work to show off your skills. You can build this portfolio by fulfilling mock briefs, or by taking on free work from friends and family members. Your portfolio will pay dividends though, by winning you paid work in your field of choice.