The 3 Things You Need To Start Your Photography Business

If you are a budding photographer, or thinking about becoming one, you’re likely being bombarded with ads for cameras, lenses, lighting, accessories, and all this stuff that you don’t need. Even if you’ve been at it for years, you’re probably still seeing those ads.

I’m going to tell it to you straight: the photography industry is full of lies.

But they don’t know they’re full of lies! Each subcategory industry of lights and lenses and carrying cases thinks that they’re doing a service, that they’re helping you. They’re not. They’re just confusing you and making you uncertain, which is just rude!

So I’m going to set the record straight: there are only 3 things that you need in order to start a successful photography industry!

#1 A DSLR Camera

Duh! I know it’s so obvious, but did you notice that I didn’t specify a certain type or brand or model? There’s a reason for that. It’s because it doesn’t matter! When I first started out, I used a D50. It was a terrible camera, but I made money with it!

So you need to get a DSLR. Here’s what I would recommend you do: I would recommend that you either get it refurbished or used. I don’t buy any of my gear new. It’s actually worse to buy your gear new, and I’ll tell you why. Refurbished is, in my opinion, the best because it means that that camera already had problems, and it means that the company fixed it. If you buy new, then you’re going to be the one who has to deal with sending it in to get all the problems fixed. I know this firsthand because of all of the used and refurbished gear that I’ve bought, I’ve had zero problems with, but I’ve had tons of problems with the gear I’ve bought brand new.

#2 A Lens

I’ll get a little more specific here, but not by much. I recommend getting a 50 millimeter 1.8 lense. It’s a great, basic lens perfect for photographers that are just starting out and don’t have dollars to drop. Yes, a 1.4 is a better lens, but it’s also quadruple the price and honestly not that necessary. I used my 1.8 lens for ten years and loved it! I still do!

 #3 A Computer

Unless you’re outsourcing your editing, you’re going to need a computer. A laptop or a desktop, doesn’t matter. You need something to do your editing, your showing, your ordering, and all of that. You can try and do it all on an iPad, but I promise that you’ll want to pull out your hair if you do that. So get a computer. Again, doesn’t matter what kind, if it’s brand new or used, just so long as you can do what you need to on it.


So that’s all you need! Three things and you’re in business!

A lot of you might be realizing that you already have these things. Good! Then you don’t have to go out and buy new stuff; you can start your business right now. It’s that simple. You don’t need the latest and greatest, you don’t need everything the photo industry is trying to sell you. You really don’t.

That’s why I’m going to give you a bonus thing that you need for a successful photography business:

#4 Education

Of course I’m going to say that, but that’s because I believe in it! Think about it: you are where you are with the education that you currently have. If you want to get to the next level, you need to know more. To get to the next level, and the next, and the next, you need information, because that’s the key that unlocks the door. The most important tool for every business is education.

That’s where I come in. My Boudoir Certified program is designed to provide you with the know-how to build and scale your business, whether you have a D50 camera and no studio, or a D850 and three studios. If you’re ready to get started, let me know in the comments and I’ll hook you up!

The 3 Things You Need to Start Your Photography Business

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.