5 Must-Haves to Start your Photo Biz

We’re all dreamers here, right? I’m FOR SURE a dreamer, and I’m guessing you are too or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now.

As dreamers, we get so excited about our passions and dreams that sometimes, we get a little ahead of ourselves. I totally get it! We’ve got a vision and we want to put it in action. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need the all of the fanciest, techy-est gadgets on the market to help us fulfill that dream. But that’s NOT true by a long stretch.

Today I want to talk to you about what you ACTUALLY need to start your business the RIGHT way.

In my opinion, there are TWO categories of necessities you will need to get your photography business off the ground. They’re both equally important and you just won’t succeed with out them. They are…

Gear & Moxie

Let’s start with gear, because this one is obvious!

A Camera

Duh! You obviously need a camera to be a photographer, but do you need the fanciest most expensive camera on the market? Heck no. So you have a Canon Rebel? So what! Work that Canon Rebel and take the BEST possible images you can with it.

The fact of the matter is, it’s not what camera you have in your bag that matters, it’s all about how you use it. Learn that camera inside in out. I personally like to read my camera manuals as if they were a good book before bed. By knowing all of your camera’s functions, you’ll be that much better and making decisive decisions when shooting.

So please, before you go out and get yourself into debt by buying the latest and greatest…Master your camera. No matter how cheap or expensive it is. Trust me, you’ll get to the point where the money for that dream camera comes in and you have no problem buying that baby in cash.

One Lens

That’s right, one lens. You don’t need 3-5 lenses like all your fav photogs have on Instagram. You literally just need one. And it doesn’t have to be the most expensive either! Start out with a basic, zoom lens to get you started. I recommend a 24-70mm or something like it.

Now, I realize that both of these things take money. And you may be wondering where you’re going to come up with it! I’m going to let you in on a little secret…if you don’t have enough money to buy a camera and a lens… you can RENT! Find your local camera store and rent the heck out of your gear until you can afford to purchase your own. I rented gear for the first 10 years of my business. 10 YEARS! (West Photo is the bomb!) To rent a lens at our local camera store here in MN it’s $35 for an entire weekend. Don’t go out to dinner one night this month and bam, there’s your $35. If you really want it, you’ll find a way.

Now let’s talk about MOXIE.

What you truly need to start your business goes way beyond your gear. You have to be willing to put in the work to get this thing off the ground if you truly want to succeed. Entrepreneurship is not easy, in fact, it’s the very opposite. There are so many learning curves and moving parts and you HAVE to be dedicated to see it through. Below are the three most important things you need to really succeed with your new business.


This business is harddddd. It is a LABOR OF LOVE, friends. Being your own boss is so freeing and so rewarding, but it takes a lot of moxie. You’ll need all the self determination and stamina you’ve got to get through the busy seasons. If you don’t you’ll be swallowed up in the.. I have a gazillion things to do today, I need to call this person and send this invoice and order these prints, and make dinner for my family and omg i’m going to be up until midnight and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Drive is what will get you through.


Comparison and self doubt are things every entrepreneur faces. The good news is, they can be managed or even squashed with the right discipline. In this day and age, the constant demands of social media make it easy to question whether you’re good enough. And let me just stop you right there because YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. That being said, it sure helps to be able to believe in yourself even when your creativity feels lacking and your motivation is literally nowhere to be found! So how do you do that? Start by stopping the scroll and unfollow the people who make you feel less than. Do YOUR thing and tune the others out. Tell yourself you’re the bomb, even if you don’t believe it at first. They may sound like silly things to do, but these silly things will go a long way for your self esteem.


People say that when you turn your passion into your career, it’s not fun anymore. And sometimes, that might be true. But that can’t be true for you. You must remain just as passionate as you were when you started, and if you find that that passion is slipping, then you need to be driven enough to light your heart on fire again. This career isn’t one where you can skimp on your passion and creativity. It’s something you have to tap into daily. How do you do that? it’s different for everyone. Learn to see a different way, shoot in a different location, learn new camera techniques. The important thing is to keep learning. Knowledge will fuel the passion!

So now you know the 5 must haves to start your photography business the RIGHT way. As much as you want to invest in your gear and buy all the things, STOP. Take a deep breath and invest in yourself instead. The clients and the money will come in faster, easier if you do. And before you know it you’ll be running a kickass business with that fancy camera you always dreamed of.


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