How to Start a Photography Business as a Teenager

Young woman with a camera on a tripod out in the grass smiling

Are you one of those teens who loves taking photos with your smartphone? Do you spend hours scrolling through Instagram and being in awe of the beautiful photography?

Then it’s time to turn your passion for photography into a business.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 627,000 new businesses are starting each month in the United States.

No lie.

You really can start an online photography business using just your smartphone camera app and a few other helpful apps. In this blog post, we’ll explore why starting an online photography business is a great idea and how you can get started.

Reasons to Start an Online Photography Business

Impressing college admissions officers. Starting an online photography business is a great way to stand out on college applications. Admissions officers love seeing that you’ve taken the initiative and started something independently. It shows that you’re passionate, creative, and driven.

Becoming an influencer. Starting an online photography business can help you become a social media influencer. Instagram influencers such as Emma Chamberlain, Madelaine Petsch, and Gabbie Hanna all started out by posting their own photography and content. They each built a following and eventually became influencers in their own right.

Making money doing something you love. Starting an online photography business can also help you make money doing something you love. Whether you do it as a side hustle or a full-time gig, an online photography business can provide a steady income stream.

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s dive into how you can start your own online photography business.

7 Steps to Starting Your Photo Business

Here are seven steps to guide you on your way to your new venture.

1. Safety first: Keep trusted adults involved

As a teenager, you should always get permission from your parents or guardians before starting a business. They can help guide you through the process and ensure you make safe and informed decisions. They can also help you with things such as setting up a bank account and filing taxes.

2. Select a specific platform

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when starting an online photography business is choosing a platform to showcase your work.

There are many platforms to choose from but start with Instagram. It’s a visual-based platform that allows you to share your photos and build a following. The platform’s algorithms prioritize visual content, which makes it an excellent platform for photographers. It also includes a payment mechanism allowing you to sell your photos directly from the app.

When you set up your Instagram account, optimize it for business. Ensure your profile picture and bio represent your brand and include a link to your website or portfolio.

Your username should be easy to remember and related to your business. Increase reach and engagement by using relevant hashtags. Lastly, post high-quality images regularly to keep your followers engaged and attract new ones.

3. Enhance your photos with these apps

Sometimes the quality of your photos may turn out differently than expected. Fortunately, there are various apps available on both Android and iOS platforms that can enhance the quality of digital photos. These apps can adjust the exposure, brightness, and contrast and remove unwanted elements.

One popular app is Adobe Lightroom, which is available for mobile and desktop use. This app offers editing features such as adjusting exposure, contrast, highlights, and shadows. It offers color correction tools and the ability to crop and straighten photos.

It can also remove unwanted elements using its advanced healing brush tool. The app is user-friendly and offers a range of presets that can enhance the quality of photos in just one click.

Another popular app is VSCO, known for its wide range of filters that can be applied to digital photos. It has a minimalistic interface and offers various editing tools such as exposure, contrast, saturation, and highlights.

The app also provides a range of preset filters, which can be adjusted to fit the desired look and feel of the photo. Additionally, it has a community feature that allows users to share their edited photos with others and discover new inspiration.

Snapseed is another app that offers a range of editing tools and filters to enhance the quality of digital photos. It offers selective adjustments, curves, and white balance adjustments. It also provides a range of filters that can be customized to fit the desired look and feel of the photo.

One unique feature of Snapseed is its ability to create custom presets that can be saved and applied to future images.

Use these apps to turn a mediocre photo into a stunning masterpiece.

4. Pick a target audience

Once you’ve gotten permission from your parents or guardians, it’s time to pick a target audience. Who do you want to appeal to with your photography? Do you want to target teenagers? Adults? Families? Businesses?

The possibilities are endless. Selecting a specific target audience can tailor your photography and marketing efforts to appeal to that group.

black digital camera with a white coffee cup on the screen

5. Establish and nurture a following

Next up, it’s vital to establish and nurture an online following. This can be done through social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Instagram is an excellent platform for photographers as it’s visual and lets you showcase your photography in a grid format.

To establish an online following, post your photography on social media platforms. Use hashtags to help people discover your work and engage with your followers by responding to comments and direct messages.

Additionally, it’s essential to be consistent with your posting schedule. Try to post at least once a day to keep your followers engaged.

To nurture your online following:

  1. Focus on building relationships.
  2. Engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts.
  3. Host giveaways and contests to encourage engagement and growth.

Additionally, listen to feedback from your followers and make changes based on their input.

6. Give away free content

While you may be tempted to start selling your photos immediately, giving away free content first is essential. This is a critical step in building a following and establishing yourself as a photographer. By giving away free content, you show potential clients what you can do and how to help them.

When giving away free content, be sure to watermark your images. This will prevent others from stealing your work and passing it off as their own. Additionally, watermarking your images will help people remember where they came from and potentially lead to future business.

You can give away free content in several ways, including:

Social Media: Share your images and encourage your followers to share them with their friends. This will increase your reach and potentially attract new clients.

Blogging: Start a photography blog and share your work with the world. This will allow you to showcase your skills and establish yourself as an expert.

Collaborating: Collaborate with other photographers or businesses and offer to take photos for free. This will give you exposure and potentially lead to future paid work.

7. Give people something to buy

Once you’ve established a following and given away free content, it’s time to start selling your work. There are several ways to do this, including:

Prints: You can sell prints of your images either through your website or a third-party platform like Etsy. Make sure to price your prints competitively and offer a range of sizes to appeal to a wide range of customers.

Stock photography: You can also sell your photos as stock photography. This involves licensing your images to businesses or individuals for a fee. Sites like Shutterstock and iStock allow you to upload and sell your photos to a global audience.

Workshops: If you’re an experienced photographer, you can offer workshops or courses to teach others your skills. This is a great way to monetize your knowledge and connect with other photographers.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Starting an online photography business is an excellent way to turn your passion into a profitable venture. You can capture stunning images and sell them online with just your smartphone camera app and a few helpful apps.

Remember to choose a specific platform, give away free content, and offer products for sale. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way. If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our list of online business ideas for teens and students.

By: Robert Puharich | March 23, 2023 |