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10 Top Tips For Setting Up Your Own Family Photography Business

here are to top tips to help you navigate the early challenges of setting up your own family photography business.

| Portraits and People

10 Top Tips For Setting Up Your Own Family Photography Business: Siblings in a field

© Louise Downham



So you’ve decided to make a living from photographing families. Great! But, now what? 

It’s time to identify what makes you stand out from the crowd of family photographers, and what will make clients choose you. You need to develop your own style and find a way of marketing that to potential clients.

Here are 10 tips, from Louise Downham, that will help you launch your family photography business confidently and professionally - and, with a bit of luck, successfully:


1. Building Your Portfolio

Make use of your existing networks of friends and contacts with children. Offer complimentary family portrait sessions to help you increase your experience and build your portfolio. Local groups on Facebook can also be really helpful with this. Aim to photograph a range of ages, including newborns, babies at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months, toddlers and school age children.


2. Your Online Portfolio

Set up a website. Only show your best work, but make sure that you give a realistic impression of what you can offer.


3. Research Other Family Photographers

Their style, the format of their family portrait sessions, their packages, how (and if) they pose children and families, what products they offer. Make a note as you go about what you like and what you don’t, what you think will work for you.


4. Branding

Create a branded experience across every stage of your business - including your emails, website, online galleries and packaging. Ensure there’s consistency in the editing of your photographs too - clients need a good sense of the look they can expect from their own photographs.


10 Top Tips For Setting Up Your Own Family Photography Business: Newborns

© Louise Downham


5. Prints

Find a printer you can really trust - even if you’re not planning to offer prints to start with, you soon will! Look for a company that offers great quality, and is reliable and efficient. A great print can make all the difference to a client’s experience, and to building your business.


6. Search Engine Optimisation

Invest time in improving the SEO of your website, focusing first on keywords for your local area like ‘baby photographer manhattan’. There are several areas that will have a great impact on your search results, including alt tags for your images, keywords in your URLs and your H1 tags. There are some great resources available on metadata online.


7. Workflow

Create a workflow for each job so you can offer a similar experience to every client - from replying to their initial enquiry and your booking process to follow-up emails. Develop your own Lightroom or Photoshop presets based on settings that you find yourself applying to every photograph - this will help you reduce the time you spend editing, and help you establish consistency in your editing.


8. Specialist Software

Make use of services developed for photographers. There are some brilliant online galleries available, such as Foliopic, Shootproof and Zenfolio. Once you’ve developed a client base, consider using a database management service such as Tave or Light Blue.


10 Top Tips For Setting Up Your Own Family Photography Business: Happy girl

© Louise Downham


9. Pricing

Increase your fees as your experience grows. As a very loose rule of thumb, you need to photograph each age group ten times before you’ll have a feeling for a format that works for you for those ages. Yes, you’ll make mistakes in those first ten portrait sessions, but you’ll learn a lot from them - and the fee your clients are paying for those sessions should reflect that learning process.


10. Equipment

Have a spare camera body if possible, to protect you from the trauma of having a technical problem on the day. Likewise, have spare batteries and memory cards. If your budget is stretched (and whose isn’t!), consider hiring the equipment you can’t afford. This will give you a chance to get a feel for which lenses suit your style and the locations you’re working in. Popular prime lenses for family portraits include 85mm (very flattering for portraits), 50mm (good for a group shot in a tight location, eg at home), 135mm (great for group shots but requires a lot of room, eg outdoors - and take care with focusing it) and a 35mm or wide angle lens for setting the scene.


Ultimately, apart from the quality of your photography, it’s all about the experience and the package. Word of mouth is going to be one of your best ways of getting new business, even in this digital age, so make sure your clients receive your best work both before, during and after each shoot.

It’s worth the hard work required to get established - family photography is an incredibly rewarding business. Good luck!


About Author: Louise Downham

Louise Downham has photographed 1000+ babies and children to date, and her photographs have been exhibited internationally and published in national magazines. She runs an award-winning family portrait business, Louise Rose Photography:

If you're looking for friendly support with your own photography business, Louise provides a mentoring programme, too:

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