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Examples of Photography Business Ideas Do you love to take photographs? You can do this as a profitable full-time business for others. Here are examples of photographic businesses you can learn from.

By Nicole Crampton

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


If you have the right equipment and experience you can offer your photography services to both local and international customers. There are a lot of opportunities for someone with a good eye for images. Before you get going here are 10 examples of successful photographic business ideas you can learn from:

1. Stock Photography

Stock photography is when you sell your photographs to a marketplace or platform. You can take images of numerous types of pictures of whatever you want from buildings, to people, to nature. You'll need to see which ones sell better and then adjust your photography strategy.

Before you get going here is some information about a stock photography site:

Business Name: iStock Photo


Established Date: 2000

About the business:

iStock is a marketplace where photographers from around the world can post their images and get paid every time one is sold. Your image will stay on the site for as long as you want it there accumulating passive income.

Innovative business offering

You'll want your images to stand out from others so perhaps focus on something unique to South Africa. You'll have to trial-and-error which images sell better than others, but once you know you can capitalise on that market.

2. Pet Photography

Pet owners love having their furry family members photographed. If you're an animal person, have experience with multiple types of animals and you're good at photography this could be the photography business idea for you.

Related: A Free Business Plan Example to Launch Your South African Business

Learn a few lessons from this successful example of a pet photography business:

Business Name: Bonilla Pet Photography


About the business:

Erin Bonilla specialises in pet portraits and she aims to capture the personality and uniqueness of her customers pets. She has designed her studio to accommodate her clients and pets and has also gone to extra measures to ensure their safety and comfort.

Innovative business offering

Erin Bonilla employs professional trainers and vet technicians to assist with the photography session and to ensure the animals always feel safe and comfortable. She also has pet sized props, and some designed specifically for pets.

3. Photo Mugs and Plates

Many customers want their photos on mugs, plates, t-shirts, bags etc. If you have the right equipment you can offer this service. The more experience and equipment you have the more objects you can personalise for people with their photographs.

Before you start investing in the right equipment, learn a few strategies from the photography business below:

Business Name: Say it Creative


About the business:

Say it Creative is an online gift store that offers uniquely personalised gifts. Their customers can have gifts with personalised photos, dates, names, monograms, event names or special messages. Say it Creative creates and delivers the item so all their customers need to do is design it on their online platform.

Innovative business offering

Say it Creative also offers event planning services and offer the extras their customers could need for hosting a special party or event. They have a physical showroom for those who want to see what the items could potentially look like before ordering them.

4. Photography Courses

If you have the right equipment and several years of experience you can run your own photography courses and give the gift of photography to others. Ensure you offer multiple courses so your customers can keep coming back to your business.

Related: Learn How to Turn a Profit With Photography

Before you get going you can learn a thing or two from this example of a photography business:

Business Name: Digital Photography Courses


Established Date: 2010

About the business:

Danie Bester is a fine art photographer and lecturer who has taught classes all over the country. He has gathered a world-class team, all specialists in their own fields, to teach a broad variety of photography courses.

They have a hands-on approach and have an extensive amount of practical class time and excursions.

Innovative business offering

Digital Photography Courses offer a variety of photography courses from beginner to more sophisticated courses aimed at advanced and professional photographers.

Students also have access to online student platforms where they continue to receive support and feedback even after they've completed their courses.

5. Portrait Photography

If you enjoy photographing people, specifically portraits, this could be the photography business idea for you. There is a lot of competition in this space, so you'll need to offer numerous products and potentially even branch out into different kinds of photography.

Here is an example of a successful photography business you can learn from:

Business Name: Bridget Corke Photography


Established Date: 2005

About the business:

Bridget Corke specialises in many different types of photography but has done family portrait photography for 13 years. She likes to capture raw emotions from her clients, and her photographs are either in black and white or with minimum props.

Related: 25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Innovative business offering

Bridget Corke offers a Then and Now option for her family photography clients. She uses this product for return business so families can have new and old family photographs.

6. Real Estate Photo Service

Both real estate agents and homeowners need to advertise their homes, and nothing peaks buyers' interest like well-taken photographs. If you have experience with building and room photography, you can start this photography business.

Before you get started here is a successful example of a real estate photo service you can learn from:

Business Name: The Fourth Wall Photography


About the business:

Fourth Wall Photography focuses on bringing out the magic of any home or building. They offer Real Estate Photography, Aerial drone photography and real estate videos to help both agencies and home owners sell their properties.

Innovative business offering

Fourth Wall Photography is based in Cape Town, but for clients outside this area they are willing to travel throughout South Africa to offer quality, efficient and reliable photography.

7. Wedding Photographer

If you enjoy the magic of weddings and you're an experienced photographer with a good eye for action shots, this could be the photographic business for you. To ensure you get enough clients you can always partner with wedding venues.

Related: Want to Grow a Photography Business? Look Beyond the Picture.

Here is a successful example of a wedding photography business you can learn strategies from:

Business Name: Alexander Smith Photography


About the business:

Alexander Smith Photography have a style that could be compared to creative photojournalism, they candidly capture a wedding day from behind the scenes.

They also offer composed shoots, where they offer direction and ensure the lighting is just right to make their clients wedding photos stand out.

Innovative business offering

Not only do Alexander Smith Photography work throughout South Africa, but they also offer their services in Europe during the summer months, ensuring they increase their market and take advantage of the warmer months all year round.

8. Digital Printing Service

If you want to tap into the demand within the photography industry, you can offer digital printing services. With the right equipment, you can run this business from your home and offer customers and businesses your service. Here is an example of a photography business you can learn from:

Business Name: Snapfish


About the business:

Snapfish offers a multitude of digital printing products and options from prints to photo books and canvas prints. This ensures they are a one-stop-shop for their clients who will find everything they need in one location.

They also offer calendars, mugs and home décor items that clients can personalise with their photographs.

Innovative business offering

Snapfish offer customisable products or branded items for businesses. This allows them to cater to the professional market as well as the private market.

9. Aerial Photography

There are numerous industries that need aerial photography from the agriculture industry to construction. You can also offer aerial photography to events and parties to create new and interesting photographic memories.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started

Before you get going, here is a successful example of a photography business you can learn from:

Business Name: AerialShots


About the business:

AerialShots is a full-service video production company that specialises in aerial photography. They specialise in creative aerial photography using drones and capturing unique and interesting camera angles.

They use the latest drone equipment and state-of-the-art precision software.

Innovative business offering

AerialShots also offers video production and editing using the drone technology. They understand that each industry and business have their own set of requirements, which is why they offer cost-effective, tailor-made packages that can meet all budgets.

10. Mini Photo Sessions

Although full photoshoots are too expensive for the average consumer, the demand for mini photo sessions is on the rise. You'll need a space to take the photographs and you can even partner with a make-up artist and hair stylist to ensure your clients have the best experience.

Here is an example of a photography business you can learn some strategies from:

Business Name: Darrell Fraser Photography


About the business:

Darrell Fraser Photography offer mini photo sessions, that include a style consultation, make-up session and hair styling. They offer photographic sets with clothing and background changes to ensure their clients have a memorable experience.

Innovative business offering

Besides offering the mini photo sessions, Darrell Fraser Photography also specialises in portrait and wedding photography. Having multiple disciplines allows you to increase your target market, just ensure you're always offering your clients the best service.

Related: 20 Innovative Business Ideas Doing Well Overseas (That Could Make You Money In SA)

Nicole Crampton

Entrepreneur Staff

Sales Enablement - Content Developer

Nicole Crampton is an SEO specialist who contributes to She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa and has continued her studies with a Creative Writing degree from UNISA. Nicole has completed several courses in writing and online marketing, and continues to hone her skills and expertise in digital media, digital marketing and content creation.

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