Small business of digital photography

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Business, Insights

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Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Considered the #1 authority on engineering profitable customer acquisition campaigns, Kwabena is the marketing expert other experts go to when they need help

INSIGHT: Digital Photography Business in Ghana

Photography business has been in existence for centuries. The business has undergone several changes over the years. Certain elements have however not changed – it is still a business of capturing memorable images.

Technology has played a big role in the evolution of the photography business in the areas of capturing, processing, storage, sale and delivery.

If you love photography, now is the time to start your own digital photography business. It is very easy and quick to set up a digital photography business, as barriers to entry continue to diminish by the day with the growing technology in the field of photography. It has become easy with affordability of digital cameras and processing programs.


Like every other business, it is important to have a business plan before going into business. It is to identify your goals and map out strategies to achieve those goals within a given time frame. Once this is done, a business must be registered in order to operate within the laws of the land.

Level of experience and photography skills (technical proficiency), business acumen, and type of cameras and processing programs used are some of the main determinants of success in this business.

Client management and marketing are also major determinants of success in the photography business. Marketing is a necessary function in the photography business – just like many other businesses. It’s even easier these days to market your photography business given the numerous digital media platforms available for marketing. Instagram and Facebook are particularly effective for marketing one’s work. They are powerful platforms with which to attract new clients.

Having new clients all the time is good. But to do this you need to do a good job for your existing clients in order to guarantee referrals. It is through this that you are able to gradually build a strong fan base. So beyond the elegant pictures, you need to consider the other elements that guarantee repeated business. Time is equally important. Being on time for photo shoots and delivering photos at the agreed time is what can distinguish you from other photographers.

Read: Beginners’ Guide on How to Sell Photos Online

Pricing is not a major factor. Some photographers price low whilst others price high. It depends on several factors mentioned later in this article. Clients are usually ready to pay good prices for very good work done.

Professional Pictures from Apag Studios


There are two major ways of making money as a photographer – shooting on assignment or as a stock photography. Most photographers are able to combine both, and it is actually advisable to do so since you’re not guaranteed all year business with just one option. Assignment photography is one in which a client commissions the photographer to take a set of photos of a particular event or subject related to sports, weddings, festivals, christening, funeral, products, and even underwater photos.

Read: Beginners’ Guide on How to Sell Photos Online

The second option is taking photos on your own and in advance of being sold. Usually, this takes a lot of skills and awareness to succeed as these photos have to be captivating, intriguing, or at least having something special to attract attention to warrant a purchase. Stock photos are used in numerous ways including calendars, websites, magazines, newspapers and marketing materials.

Pricing of photos or the photography service ranges from very high prices to very low prices. This depends on several factors including but not limited to the skill and experience of the photographer, the cameras used, and the nature/complexity of the shooting job itself.


Below are estimated revenues from a photography business for a year and assuming that two assignments are engaged each month and one thousand stock photos sold in a year.

Type Qty Price (GHc) Amount (GHc)
Assignment                24             2,000                 48,000
Stock          1,000                     2                   2,000
Total                 50,000

These are only estimates based on certain assumptions. All figures are pretax.

Costs associated with the digital photography business also vary, based on whether this is run as a home-based business or not. Most photography businesses run from homes and do not really incur costs such as high rent, utilities and other operational costs. However, it is important to charge these expenses against revenues in order to determine the true profits of the business.

Digital camera is the main capital expenditure involved in digital photography, especially in cases where only soft copies are delivered to clients. Camera cost is about $7,500.


Major risk involved in this business is key man risk. The business usually rides on the skill and experience of the photographer and as such his absence will hugely impact business and continuity. Another is the risk of losing the camera within a period prior to recouping the amount invested, through theft or irreparable physical damage.


Investment sector:      Creative arts

Tenor:                         3years

Expected Return:        25% in yr 1, assuming total cost of GHc40,000

Payback Period:        10months

Risk:                             Medium

Liquidity:                     Medium

Attention required:     High


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