How much does it cost?
Photography is a business you can run from home - but you'll need to set aside some space for administration and storing equipment. If you're going to be a wedding photographer, you'll also need a relaxed and informal area where you can talk to couples about their wedding plans. If you're planning to take passport photographs and portraits, you'll need a studio as well.
Many home-based photographers convert a garage to provide all-in-one studio, admin, storage and reception facilities. A double garage attached to your home is ideal for doing this. If you want a studio with a professional feel, which contains high-spec equipment and complies with building regulations, you'll probably have to budget around £7,000 for your conversion costs.
Alternatively, you can rent a small shop with a display area and a small studio, prices vary depending on your location. But, of course, a shop will give you a higher public profile and you may not need to spend as much on marketing your business.
It goes without saying that you'll need photographic equipment, and here it's crucial that you shop around and know where to look.
A top-of-the-range professional quality camera typically costs at least £2,000, and you may want to add other pieces of kit such as a telefocus lens (which typically costs between £200 and £2,000), a separate flash gun (£200-400), a tripod (£100) and a remote trigger (£50). When you also factor in things like studio lights and backdrops, it can get very expensive.
However, if you do your research, you don't have to break the bank for photography kit; indeed you can get a reasonable camera and lens, studio lights and backdrops can cost as little as £5000 if you know where to look. Trade bodies such the MPA and BIPP run their own second-hand catalogues, but be warned - these items may have been well-used by professional photographers before you.
A good alternative equipment source is Amateur Photographer, which offers good prices on equipment previously used by amateur enthusiasts. Amateurs generally don't use their equipment quite as much, so you've got a good chance of getting something near-new. You should also check out sites such as the Flash Centre, which offer a range of discounted equipment packages.
Ideally, you’ll buy two of everything, plus three lenses (standard, wide angle, portrait) – professional photographers work on the basis that something could go wrong with any piece of equipment at any time!
Printing and additional costs
The actual printing of the photographs is often left to a specialist printer, such as Digital Lab - you can source one near to you by asking for recommendations from trade bodies or existing professional photographers. If you want to buy your own printer, you can pick one up for a major retailer such as Canon, or visit a price comparison site such as System Insight. You'll also need to budget for the usual administration costs of any go-ahead small business - stationery, business cards, brochures, phone and fax lines plus e-mail facilities and a decent web site. You should allow between £1,000 and £3,000 a year upwards for this.