How to Write a Photography Business Plan

How to Write a Photography Business Plan
A detailed photography business plan will help you define your purpose, create business goals, and help you maximize your profitability. Here are the six elements to include when creating a plan.
by Colleen Egan Jun 08, 2018 — 4 min read
How to Write a Photography Business Plan

You can use this plan to monitor your progress and evaluate any changes or new projects you want to take on. Additionally, if you’re looking for investors or partners, a business plan is something you can show them to aid those discussions.

If you’ve never written a business plan — or if you need a refresh — here are the six elements you should include when creating a photography business plan.

Executive summary

Your executive summary should serve as a clear preview for your reader. This is where you define the objectives of your photography business and your mission statement. You can dive deeper into your clientele and target market later on, but you should use this space to talk big-picture about your specialty (weddings, portraiture, kids) and what sets your business apart.

Include the key components for the success of your business in this section, whether that’s the experience you provide during a shoot or how you market your business. Writing these down will help you implement them later on.

Company description

You may have a clear vision for your business, but you need to be able to communicate that to others, like clients and financial backers. A company description is written to highlight the most important points about your photography business.

First, decide on the business entity that best fits with your current business state by researching your business formation options. Talk with a lawyer or financial advisor to determine what structure is best for you.

Then, determine where you want to do business. If you’re doing a lot of studio work, it might make sense to lease or buy a space. But if you primarily shoot events, a studio might not be necessary.

Market analysis

Your market analysis allows you to uncover specific nuances of the local industry and identify trends vital to your success. Your market analysis should include:

From this, create a SWOT analysis of your photography business:

Photography services

Expand on your service offerings, such as event photography, editorial, portraits, or commercial work. Include the location — whether it is on-site, in a personal studio, or rented studio space.

Also, determine the photography equipment needed for services, whether that be rental equipment, computer and editing software, printers, a leased space, or additional props for photoshoots.

Marketing plan

Your marketing plan is a comprehensive examination of how to sell your photography. You’ll want to start by writing a positioning statement explaining how your business fills the consumers’ needs better than your competitors’ do.

Then you’ll want to make sure to cover:

And don’t forget that you can advertise on social networks as well. Most provide pretty solid targeting tools, so you can be sure your message will get in front of an audience in your area.

Financial plan

One of the most important components in your photography business plan is creating a solid financial plan, and a large part of that is startup costs. These costs include legal advice, website design, photography equipment and technology — basically everything you need to get your business off the ground.

Estimate how much capital this will take and then explore your funding options, which could include sources like small business loans, grants, and crowdfunding. Next, complete a break-even analysis to help you determine how much money you need to make to cover your costs.

Later on, once you’re up and running, you might include other financial statements in this section — like a balance sheet, cash flow and income. These types of statements help you create a cash-flow analysis and monitor the financial well-being of your business.

If you’re less familiar with the world of finances and accounting, you might think about reaching out to a professional for advice. (You might even propose trading financial advice for some free headshots.)

Remember, writing a photography business plan is a crucial step when you start a business. But when it’s complete, don’t let it sit in a folder and collect dust. Your plan should be a living document that you update regularly to reflect the state of your business.

Colleen Egan
Colleen Egan writes for Square, where she covers everything from how aspiring entrepreneurs can turn their passion into a career to the best marketing strategies for small businesses who are ready to take their enterprise to the next level.


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