A Beginner’s Guide to Financing Your Photography Business

Photography as an art form captures some of the most important moments in our lives. Whether you are an aspiring wedding photographer or a budding field photographer, you probably know the rush of getting the perfect shot. 

While photography is a very gratifying field, financing camera and studio equipment can have a pretty high cost. Not to mention that, in this digital era, you also have to incur the cost of high quality computer equipment in order to edit your photos well. 

All of this may seem a bit overwhelming for someone just getting started, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways you can finance your photography business without breaking the bank.

First things first

The first step to financing your photography business is actually figuring out what form of photography you plan to pursue. Different forms of photography require different kinds of equipment and set ups. A wedding photographer would need mobile equipment to use at the wedding site, while someone specializing in portraits would need a studio setup with stationary lighting and backdrops. 

No matter which photography lane you choose, there are certain pieces of equipment that are essential. You will obviously need a camera, preferably a DSLR with changeable lenses. You’ll also want to invest in a tripod, a reflector, battery chargers, memory cards and an external hard drive. Your kit should also include a camera bag for transport and a cleaning kit to keep your equipment in its best condition. The total cost of your setup will vary based on the items you choose to add to your kit.

Small business loan

If you’re pursuing photography as a business, a small business loan could be a good option to finance the equipment you need to get started. When applying for a small business loan, you will need to explain how your photography business earns money and where it operates. You’ll also have to meet size standards and be clear on how you will repay the loan. According to the US Small Business Administration, you can apply for funding, even if you have bad credit. 

Credit card

Financing your photography business using a credit card is a way to have more control over when and how you buy your equipment. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to apply for a business credit card that you can use solely for your photography business expenses. These kinds of cards often offer cash back or travel rewards that you can use to further grow your business. Just make sure you have a repayment plan in place to keep the debt on your card under control.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a popular method to finance projects these days, but it requires a bit more time investment than other methods. Sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter are some of the more commonly used crowdfunding sites that allow you to ask for a set amount of money to fund your project. You can also ask for money to buy camera equipment.

Patreon is another crowdfunding site that gives you the option to set up subscription style payments with supporters of your work. This setup offers a more steady stream of income on a monthly basis. That said, funding on Patreon hinges upon more consistent engagement with your supporters, usually involving access to some kinds of exclusive perks as an exchange for continued support.

Contests and grants

Applying for a contest or a grant is a way to put your hat in the ring for a bit of cash to fund your work. If you have a specific photography project that you would like to work on, applying for a grant is a great option. Keep in mind that grants are often community-oriented and will usually require some kind of open exhibition or workshop as a way of receiving funding. 

Contests are another way you can give a boost to your finances. If you have a portfolio of work that is high quality, it makes sense to start sending your photos out for consideration. Look for contests that fit your specific style of photography, have low or no entrance fee and that offer a monetary prize. 

It’s important to note that contests and grants can offer a great boost to your business budget, but it is not money you can count on. Both avenues are highly competitive and there is no guarantee you will be offered a grant or win a contest. 

Bottom line

Your dream to run a photography business can become a reality with proper planning. Financing camera and studio equipment doesn’t have to be hard if you take advantage of the resources available. 

Raychelle Heath

Personal finance writer

Raychelle has covered such topics as the best credit cards to use abroad and how to maximize credit card rewards. She’s originally from South Carolina, but now has adopted the life of a digital nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found teaching yoga or participating in arts outreach initiatives.