The challenges and joys of starting a business in Photography

An unbiased, honest view based on my own experiences

The challenges and joys of starting a business in Photography
In short -> It's a mixture of light and darkness


It's something many of us have an interest in and use or experience every day, it's everywhere from the selfie taker to the advertising boards on the side of busses and yet many of us don't think about making it into a business and using it to make money or as a living.

I'm not one of those people and I am presently going through the experience of trying to set myself up a business selling my photography and using it to earn a living and let me tell you, it's been a long, bumpy, winding road!

I'll be honest with you, for me taking a photograph is the easy part, showcasing it and setting up a website to sell your work, marketing and even getting a client base... Now that is the hard part.

The photography platform is saturated, I've heard so many times people saying "You'll never make money", "It's a wasted adventure" or even "Everyone can take a photograph, no one will want to buy them anymore!"

You'll be amazed just how often I have heard that last one over recent years...

Well here's the thing, they're kind of right but also oh so wrong, sure anyone can take a good photograph, look at how many people upload to Instagram or Facebook every day but not many think about monetising what they do and this is where the challenge but also the great photography comes to play.

Setting up a business, as I said earlier, is a long, bumpy and winding road, one that I've been on and off of for the last couple of years and only recently made the decision to take full throttle and move to the next level but you have numerous obstacles and my fellow website owning photographers out there will know this all too well.

1 - You don't need good content, it needs to be great, it needs to be captivating and it needs to be sale worthy.

2 - You need a reliable, feature-rich web host and/or the know-how to integrate and utilise web design, sales, marketing and development.

3 - You need to find a niche or be exceptionally good at marketing to get noticed.

4 - You aren't going to make a load of money within your first few months or even up to a year or more

And finally...

5 - If you can't stick it, adapt and refine, get demoralised easily and really just cannot be motivated to push and expand constantly, you truly are never going to anywhere.

This is only stage one, my realisations and trials.

I now have a website set up and running, I have marketing going and my product line is growing, slowly but surely.

I am yet to make my first sale but you know what?

I don't mind as I intend to keep moving, making a lot of money or not.

I intend to keep adapting and refining my work and products.

I intend to never give up and this...

This I feel is the key to making a living from a passion or just letting your passion remain just a casual hobby.

I would like to end with this for anyone who wishes to get started.


Plan, develop, adapt and plan again.

Don't expect it to be easy because it won't be, nothing worthwhile ever really is but oh it sure is worth it.

Focus on what matters... I mean sure, money is one of the main goals of a website and setting your work up for sale but your focus should be primarily making a product that is sale worthy, this starts in camera and doesn't ever end but your focus should be more on doing what you love.

Seriously... Do... What... You... Love

I cannot stress this enough, if you do something you don't love but you know will make you loads of money, you'll never truly be as successful and feel as fulfilled or satisfied as you would if you did something you love knowing that it's not going to make you a quick profit.

My last note for this part is don't be a slave, it's a passion, it's your business but do not lose sight of what matters, your family, your friends, your other passions, this is a tool a method to make money, do not let it consume you and take away your life, if you let that happen it loses it's fun, you lose the passion and this from my experience is where most adventures fail, when it is no longer fun or challenging or when you just... simply... give... up.

Don't give up and don't lose that passion and take the light with the dark.


Read next: 4 Ways To Find Inspiration As A Beginner Photographer
Ryan Smith
See all posts by Ryan Smith