Very often, I get asked questions about how to become a professional photographer.

A business requires more than your passion and skills; it also needs equipment, legal documents, and strategies to become profitable. With these 8 must-have things every photographer needs for their business, you can market your services, book more clients, and earn more income.

8 Must-Have Things Every Photographer Needs for Their Business

Aside from enhancing your shooting skills, you also need to invest in camera gear, a portfolio, as well as editing and storage tools. Additionally, you must have logistical and technical investments such as a marketing plan, branding, payment systems, and legal documents to operate a successful photography business. 

Whether you're a newbie photographer or a seasoned one looking to level up your business, these things can make your business more professional and rewarding. 

Editing Software

One of the things that prevent photographers from managing an efficient business is the lack of proper editing software. Photoshoots and post-processing come hand-in-hand, so you need a reliable editing program like Adobe Lightroom. 

You can learn how to use presets to adjust your images which helps streamline editing. After that, you can catalog your files for easy exporting. 

I use a base of SMAL presets, by Sven Malojlo that have helped me achieve more consistency.

Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy can help you create a plan to effectively sell your products and services while also catering to the needs of customers. You can try these ways to step up your marketing plans.

  • Boost online presence: With the pandemic driving more people to go online, you need to expose your work on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
  • Connect with circles: One of the most effective ways to market yourself is to showcase your skills to those close to you. They could be your neighbors, officemates, or even a fellow parent at your kid's school.

Shooting Equipment and Accessories 

Every photographer must invest in high-quality camera equipment. While you don’t need the most expensive equipment on the market, it is important that you find gear that is reliable. The last thing you want happening is a piece of gear to stop working while you’re in the middle of a session.

Here’s a list of camera equipment to consider: 

  • Camera
  • Lenses 
  • Lighting
  • Tripod
  • Chargers and extra batteries 
  • Reflectors  
  • Camera bag 
  • Backdrops

Storage DeviceS

Backing up your files is important to ensure the safety of the pictures. If you have an internet connection, you can also use online storage platforms such as Dropbox or Google Drive. 

Pro tip: Backup your images to more than one place! Hard drives crash, so don’t let this be the only place you’re storing your RAW files. Consider using both a hard drive and uploading images to the Cloud to have multiple backups available. 


If you already have a portfolio, update it using new photographs depending on the market you want to attract. For example, highlight your best product photos if you want to work with families who created a small business in this pandemic.

Suppose you want to collaborate with vendors for intimate wedding ceremonies and birthday parties. You can highlight even your pre-pandemic shots, as long as they show intimate celebrations. 

If you're going to use a website, make sure that visitors can easily access it and navigate your galleries, blogs, and other relevant matters. 



Branding is another must-have because it helps build client perception about your photography business. Likewise, it tells people what to expect from your products and services. 

The goal is to use branding to distinguish your business from competitors. Hence, it's essential that your name and logo identify what your business offers. Print and digital collaterals should guide people in understanding your work.  

Booking and Payment Systems

Across the world, 41.8% of people use a digital wallet. About 24.6% prefer credit cards, while only 10.6% use debit cards. With several payment options available, it's crucial that you keep up with these innovations to provide the best customer service. 

Legal Documents

Making your business legal sets you apart from other businesses. While the process can be time-consuming, putting effort into making your business legal can protect you and your customers. Find time to secure a business license, contracts, and insurance policies. 


Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is so worthwhile.

With your photography skills and operational investments, you can manage a small business legally and systematically. While these may mean shelling out money upfront, these purchases can get your small business growing faster to bring in more clients and money.

Guest Blog post by Angela Brown, from Shootprof.

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