Balancing Art And Income: Business Skills Every Photographer Needs

Balancing Art And Income: Business Skills Every Photographer Needs


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

A common misconception about being a professional photographer is that the only skill you need is to be able to take stunning photographs. No matter where you are on your photography business path, you are probably laughing at how incredibly untrue that is!

While creating amazing artistic images will help get you noticed, a photography business is still a business. Even if your goal is to be a creative one, running any successful company requires solid business skills.

Top Seven Photography Business Skills

1. Marketing

Marketing is ever-changing. Staying current with what works and what doesn’t regarding social media, email, online, and paid advertising takes time and effort. However, marketing your photography business is vital to its success. Photography, specifically portrait photography, is a saturated industry in many areas. You will need to know how to stand out.

The first step in creating a marketing plan that works is to know your target audience—figuring out who you are speaking to and who you want to hire you can make a world of difference. The more thought you put into a marketing plan, the more potential clients you can reach, and the faster your business will grow.

2. Client Communication

Portrait photography is a very client-facing career. While professionalism is essential in any business, it is also crucial to note that having portraits or family photographs taken is a vulnerable experience. Communicating thoughtfully and putting your clients at ease will lead to better photographs, happier clients, and increased word-of-mouth referrals.

Effective client communication starts even before a potential client first reaches out. It’s vital that you are reachable if and when they have questions. Successful client-centric communication is important not only during a session but also in messages, boutique in-person consultations, and boutique in-person ordering appointments. It is a good rule to always aim to exceed client expectations.

3. Time Management

Running a small business can take over your whole life if you don’t learn to manage your time effectively. There’s so much to do, and photographing clients takes up just a fraction of your work week. Developing an efficient and streamlined workflow can help keep each day on track.
It’s important to understand that you will spend the majority of your time on emails, marketing, editing, budgeting, and all the other tasks that fall into the business side of things. Calendars, schedulers, and productivity tools are your friends. Set clear priorities and goals and schedule each day to help you achieve them.

4. Sales and Pricing

Learning how to price your services and products is one of the most challenging skills for a photographer to learn and one of the most crucial for business profitability and success. Before setting your pricing, you must first have a clear understanding of the costs associated with running your business and the market that you’re in.

Once you’ve decided what to charge for sessions, prints, and products, it is crucial to communicate those prices and answer any questions and objections confidently. Always know your worth and the value of your services. Part of your job as a photographer and small business owner is to help your clients choose the images and products they will proudly display in their homes. Remember that selling is serving your clients.

5. Budgeting

As we’ve discussed, being a photographer is not all about taking excellent photographs. For long-term business success, you will need an understanding of your expenses, income, taxes, and profitability. While this list can be daunting, budgeting and money management skills are what will keep your business afloat.

Even if you hire a professional to handle the detailed accounting and number crunching, it is still important to have a sense of your business overhead and revenue. If you want to invest in new equipment or sign up for a course, you should always weigh the costs with the possible return on your investments.

6. Delegating

One important lesson to learn when running a small business is that sometimes you can’t do it all. Knowing when to delegate, whether with accounting, image editing, or scheduling, can be the difference between smooth sailing and feeling overwhelmed.

7. Networking

Developing relationships with other local creative professionals and small business owners can be huge when growing or starting a photography business. The connections you make can lead to more client referrals and project collaborations and provide both professional and personal support.

No photographer is going to be an expert in all of these skills when pondering how to start a photography business. Many creative business owners need help striking the balance between making art and generating a good income. Schools like the Photography Business Institute exist to help bridge that gap. If you’re starting out or looking to expand your business further, consider enrolling in a photography business course or educational workshop or hiring a photographer business coach for extra guidance.


Unlock the secrets to thriving in professional photography with our infographic guide. It’s time to dispel the myth that stunning images alone make a successful photography business. From mastering marketing strategies in the competitive portrait photography market to fostering strong client relationships, dive into essential skills like time management, pricing, budgeting, delegation, and networking for lasting success.

7 Photography Business Skills Infographic


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