How to start a family photography business

Photography Tips

Are you at the early stages of turning your love of family photography into your dream job? Or are you looking for ways to streamline your business allowing you to spend more time with your own family? Here’s the low down on how to start a family photography business.

Below I share the tools and resources I use to run my business (along with special discount codes). From building my website, to managing leads and creating beautiful client galleries, I hope to take some of the uncertainty out of this exciting step in your photography journey.

When starting my photography business I remember feeling really excited to start a profession that I loved so much. But I quickly became overwhelmed with how much I needed to have ready. I needed a website, beautiful blog, client management system, online client galleries, legal contracts, insurance, labs for printing, client guides… 

Yes, the list seemed endless as I constantly looked at ways to take my business forward. But by focusing on one thing at a time I got to a point where I had all the basics in place. Suddenly the overwhelm disappeared and I started spending less time in my business and more time creating the images I envisioned with clients I loved. 

Below are the must-have aspects of my photography business that helps it run smoothly, ensures a high level of customer service and avoids burnout.

Insurance: PolicyBee

One of the first things I did when setting up my business was to buy photographer’s insurance with PolicyBee. They provide protection for my work, my gear (camera, lenses, laptop you name it), and of course my reputation. As a business I have Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 which is especially important as an outdoor family photographer where I’m always out and about meeting clients.

Save £20 with PolicyBee.

website: WordPress & Divi

Next on my list was to build my website. I purchased one of the beautiful Design Space Themes which worked perfectly with WordPress and Divi (Elegant Themes), and I built the rest from there. My domain name is from GoDaddy and I use SiteGround to host my website. It was a huge learning curve made easier by investing in training from The Marketing Fix that guided me step-by-step on how to set everything up. They also have a lovely supportive Facebook Group for all members where you can ask all the silly questions (I had a few!). I was so proud to find out that my website had been listed as one of the Best Photography Websites of 2022. Proving you don’t always need to pay the big bucks to web developers when you’re starting out!

client management system: Studio Ninja

Once my website was up and running I quickly found I needed a better way to manage all my client enquiries coming from it. It quickly became apparent I needed a client management system. In the early days I used Táve as I loved all the extra customisation it had including creating your own custom fields. But after a while I wanted to simplify things and moved over to Studio Ninja. It was super quick to set up and I now have workflows and automated emails set up to promptly respond to new enquiries. I can’t tell you the amount of time it’s saved me.

Use this promo code: BHAU8P4258446F and get 20% off your subscription to Studio Ninja!

Client Galleries: Pic-Time

The best thing about Studio Ninja is that it has Pic-Time integration. And this was one of the reasons I moved from Shootproof to Pic-Time, I loved the automation that integrated tools brought to my business. Pic-Time is a next generation online gallery platform designed specifically for professional photographers. Not only does it provide beautiful client galleries but it has a smart store partnered with all my favourite professional photo labs. What’s not to love!

Pic-Time offer a 30-DAY FREE TRIAL to get you started (no credit card required) and you can receive an extra one month free when you upgrade to any paid plan using my special code: 2TFVWW

accounting software: xero

One of my other favourite things about Studio Ninja is that it has an integration with Xero. All my invoices created in Studio Ninja are now automatically imported into Xero as revenue. Payments into my bank account are recorded in Xero and automatically synced with Studio Ninja. Plus Xero allows me to manage my expenses and profit-and-loss reporting making yearly Tax Assessments super simple.

Cloud Backup: Crashplan

Don’t do what I did. I put off backing up my family hard drive for over a year and yep you guessed it my hard drive failed. A few frantic calls and £500 later and luckily all my photos were saved. But it was touch and go for a moment and I was momentarily crushed by the thought of loosing a lifetime of family photos including those special newborn pics of our kiddies. It was a hard slap in the face to get my backup sorted. CrashPlan only took a few minutes to set up and now all my client and family photos are automatically saved to two places: a hard-drive and in the cloud. CrashPlan is constantly monitoring my laptop and looking out for new files to backup. It sits there running in the background and gives me so much peace of mind. This is not a job to put off!

Marketing: Canva

I love Canva, so much so that I recently signed up to their pro account. They have thousands of professional templates, images and quality content to choose from that keeping your marketing on brand becomes a doddle. All my brand colours, fonts and logos are saved in Canva so it’s as simple as picking a template and clicking a button to apply my branding. I’ve also used Canva to create my family brochure and location guide. It just makes everything look so professional. And the best part you can link up all your social media accounts and schedule your posts directly from the tool using the beautiful new designs you’ve just created!

business EDUCATION: Togs in business

Julie is the face behind Togs in Business and is an incredible marketer, teacher and photographer. Her membership includes over 80 easy-to-follow courses and workshops, a step-by-step roadmap of learning and action, weekly live Q&A coaching sessions and the most lovely supportive community. I’ve been a member for over a year and learn something new every week from her courses. I only wish I had joined right at the beginning of my photography journey!

Use this link to sign up to a Togs in Business Membership.

Photography Education: Click Community

If you’ve been around a while you may have heard photographers talk about Clickin Moms. If you wondered where it had gone it’s still there just rebranded under the new name of Click Community to better reflect the diversity of its community. When I started in photography this became my first place to learn new shooting and editing techniques. And it’s still a huge source of inspiration today.

Use this link to become a member of Click Community.

Mentoring: Nina Mace Photography

Right at the beginning of my photography career someone told me to find those people who are at the same stage of your journey as you and then find someone who has already done it and is where you want to be. For me that person was Nina Mace. I signed up to her 1:1 mentorship program and it completely changed how I ran my business. We covered everything from my photography and editing style, to branding, client communication, local awareness, finances, social media, marketing planning and diversification. And soooo much more. Nina is so knowledgeable in so many areas and I always came away with pages of notes. I loved our year of mentoring and I can’t recommend her enough.

Book a session with Nina here.

That’s my roundup of how to start a family photography business. I hope this give’s you a starting point on what to focus on first and how to banish that overwhelm. Plus the extra benefit of discount codes if you decide to sign up using the links in this blog! If you have any questions pop them in the comments below 🙂

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Photo credit: Richard Parkes Photography (Another talented local photographer on that journey with me)

Anna x

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