How to open a photo studio?

However, as we know photo studios today, they did not immediately begin. Now, as a rule, those who wish to take a picture are offered several interiors for shooting to choose from. Each studio offers something of its own. Therefore, based on his idea for a photo shoot, the client gives preference to one or another photo studio, which has the necessary decorations.

Today photography is an integral part of our life. Literally every event that happens to us, we want to capture with the help of a photo. And not only that now almost any person is «endowed» with a camera in his smartphone, most of us want high-quality and beautiful photos made by a professional photographer in the studio. Therefore it is not surprising that at present the opening of the photo studio is a promising business idea.

Literally about 10 years ago, under the photostudio was meant an elementary room with exposed light and a monophonic paper or fabric background. If there were more backgrounds than three – the studio already labeled the «professional league». Premises with an interior or with scenery could afford only magazines, clothing stores or «cinematographers».
At the present time, few people will be satisfied with the photo essay on a chair in the middle of a white background with some hat on the head, which they handed over to the studio «for beauty». Today we are used to a completely different level.

If we talk about the features of today’s photo studios, then also do not confuse photostudio with the photo studio. In the latter they make a photo for documents and print photos on various planes: from paper to T-shirts. Similar things the studio usually does not deal with.

In addition to the above nuances, you will need to consider one more. You have to determine for yourself: what services do you provide?

Do you rent out a studio for photographers, or do you have your own photographer in the state, and you provide the population with photo services?

The difference is fundamentally important, because you need to be responsible for the quality of your services. It’s one thing if the photographer does not like the furnishings or equipment, the other – if the end user does not like the photos taken.

Today, the format of photo studios providing photo services is the most developed. The studios that rent out the premises are just starting to appear. The specificity of the latter is that they are oriented to large rooms, expensive equipment and are more suitable for commercial filming. In such photographic studios there are cyclorams, various light variants and even the possibility to rebuild special scenery. Of course, if you wish, everyone can rent a zone and arrange a photo session in such a studio, it all depends on the client’s ideas and financial possibilities.

First step

Before opening a photo studio in a particular city, you should analyze the market. How many already there are working studios? What services do they offer? Where are they located? How much is one hour of shooting, etc.

Having received a complete picture of the photo studio market in the selected city – you can more deliberately and profitably build your business strategy. Perhaps you do decide not to «go» to this city or completely change your concept of the studio.

Anyway, opening a photo studio, you will have to give customers something that the market has not yet had. In other words, find a free niche. And if the city is so oversaturated – find or come up with something new will be very difficult.

In search of a «fresh» idea, do not forget to see what is on the market of other cities, regions and countries. Maybe you will find there what suits you and what your client has not seen yet, or you will be inspired to create a completely new model of photo studios.

However, plunging into the ingenious ideas, remember that they should like someone else besides you. Find out how relevant your topic is to the population of the city, what is the demand for existing services. This information is extremely important and will help to avoid unnecessary monetary costs.

Investment size

In order to open a photo studio, you will need 1 – 3 million rubles. Everything depends on the choice of equipment, interior and area of ​​the room. Investments can be more than 3 million rubles, if you want to provide the studio with very expensive equipment or redeem the property.

One way or another, the main expense item when opening a photo studio will be the purchase of equipment.

You will need:

  • Camera;
  • Lens;
  • Sources of light;
  • Accessories (curtains, reflectors, nozzles);
  • Stands under the light;
  • Flashmeter;
  • Synchronizer

Keep in mind that equipment is unlikely to cost you less than 600 thousand rubles.

As for the choice between specific brands and models of lighting equipment and cameras, then there are three options. First – you rely on your own preferences, if you are familiar with this issue. Second – you find a specialist who understands the studio equipment. And finally, the third option – just buy the most popular models.

Another nuance: if you decide that you will have a regular photographer and a retoucher, then you will also need a computer and photo processing programs. You also have to take into account their costs in your financial plan.

In addition to equipment, you need decorations and necessary renovation of the premises. Specific figures in this case is difficult. Each studio «aims» at its customer segment, accordingly, someone spends 50 thousand rubles on the scenery, and someone – all 300 thousand rubles. But monochrome backgrounds are necessary for everyone, and here it is possible to keep within 10-15 thousand rubles. The amount you will spend on repairs also depends on the initial state of the room and your desires.

Where can I get money?

The question is eternal for entrepreneurs. The best option is to find investors. That is, any way to reach out to those who may be interested in investing in your business. The second way is to take out a loan. Everyone knows that a loan is not a very good idea, but you can also resort to it if there is no choice. And the third is a grant. You will have to spend a lot of time and energy, but the possible result is worth it.

Step-by-step instruction

After you conducted the market analysis, it will be easier for you to determine the format of the photo studio, its concept. Depending on your ideas and plans, you can already write down an initial financial plan and understand how much investment you will need.

As it was said above, the main item of expenses will be the purchase of equipment. In addition to the fact that you yourself will have to «sparse» forums, articles and specialized literature, you should not neglect the advice of a specialist. A professional in the photo industry will be able to correct you and pick up equipment suitable for your purposes.
For example, if you are going to provide photo services for individuals who simply want to have beautiful photos in their personal archive, it’s not advisable to buy very expensive photoapparks and devices for production-filming.

With the scenery, the same situation arises. You need to know what color the background gives what effect on the photo. It is necessary to be able (and if you do not know how, to invite a specialist) to create beautiful interiors for different photo sessions, to know what items of furniture and decor where you can buy and what size and quality they should be. And if your studio is focused on production-shooting and serious projects – the level of your knowledge or knowledge of your consultant should be more than worthy. In general, what you buy should match your goals.

Having dealt with the equipment, you need to think about a good photographer. Even if you decide to rent out a studio and not hire a full-time photographer, you need to start somewhere and somehow advertise. Therefore, it would be nice to have friends who would sometimes shoot in your studio, thereby promoting it. Because beautiful photos in social networks with reference to your studio speak more eloquently than any words.

If we talk about a staff photographer, then the choice depends solely on the quality of his work, feedback and the ability to properly communicate with customers in the studio. Scandals and those who spoil the property, you do not fit.

Do I need staff?

If you decide that you are opening a standard photo studio that provides photo services to the public, then you need employees. This photographer, make-up artist, hairdresser, retoucher (if the photographer does not retouch) and the administrator. However, they do not necessarily have to be registered as staff members and «sit on the salary.»

As a rule, the administrator works every day, is a regular unit and he is assigned a salary of approximately 25 thousand rubles. The rest of the employees usually work piece-work. Because to keep a salary, for example, a photographer and make-up artist with incomplete workload of the studio is very expensive.

How to move forward?

The studios are advertised mainly through the Internet. Beginning businessmen make special emphasis on social networks.

Still, the photography studio business is based on high-quality photos, so this social network is suitable for promotion best.

When there is a financial opportunity, a photo studio creates its own website. As well as in social networks, all necessary contact information, examples of works, scenery options, information about promotions, reviews, etc. are placed on it. A good site is expensive, so if it is, it shows that the studio has existed for a long time and very successfully.

In addition to promoting on the Internet, photo studios often earn a clientele through cooperation with advertising agencies, magazines and shops selling equipment for photographers.

A place

The next important stage of opening a photo studio is renting a room. Ideally, entrepreneurs, of course, are advised to purchase the property. But if you can not afford it at the initial stage, renting up to 100 thousand a month is considered acceptable.

Not a small amount of rent is formed due to the large area of ​​the premises.

Also, the room should be with high ceilings with a height of at least 3 meters. Usually, businessmen try to find an area with 5-meter ceilings.

It is worth noting that the appropriate premises are not so easy to find. Because in addition to large dimensions and high ceilings, space should not be separated by vertical beams.
Today, entrepreneurs open studios, as a rule, in the center of the city. However, to find areas of more than 100 square meters in this part of the city is difficult, so the photo studios begin to open in industrial zones. There are warehouses with a large area and high ceilings, which can be converted. But here businessmen are faced with another problem: people are not used to «ride» in industrial areas at a photo shoot. The place for the quality of the services should be really «on top», otherwise the customers will not come and prefer the usual studios in the city center.

The same applies to photo studios in sleeping areas. The studio does not provide essential services to count on people living in neighboring homes. And to lure customers from all parts of the city, you must be the best in your segment.


For a photo studio, both PI and LLC are suitable. It all depends on your personal plans and views on this matter. For example, if you are going to attract investors, perhaps they will want to act as founders, then the choice will fall, of course, towards OOO. If there is no such need, then from the point of view of taxation, the IP is easier to discover.

Being an IP you can choose a simplified taxation system and pay 6% of your income. There is also an option to purchase a patent (patent system of taxation). The latter allows you to completely forget about the tax inspection for the entire duration of the patent.

According to the law, a patent is issued for a period of one to 12 months inclusive within one calendar year. For how many months does the entrepreneur himself choose to purchase it. It is worthwhile to clarify that the term of the patent can not be transferred to the next year, even if it has not yet expired, so when purchasing a patent, it should be taken into account. After the expiration of its validity for the continuation of activities within the patent system, you must submit an application to the territorial tax authority before December 20.

As for the design of the studio for OKVED, that is the code 74.81 (Activity in the field of photography). It includes several subsections:

  • services photo studio and photo-cinematographic laboratories (018000 4),
  • production in the pavilion of black-and-white and color artistic, including combined photographs (018102 9),
  • artistic photography on prior order of the population (018107 6),

By the way, the activity of photo studios is not subject to licensing.

Concerning inspections of Rospotrebnadzor it is necessary to say separately. Of course, photo studios do not belong to the category of the consumer market, which the inspectors are especially interested in. Still, this is not a grocery store or a beauty salon. However, few of the visitors to the studio like running mice, cockroaches and a collapsing ceiling.

By law, you can only be checked after three years of work, and time will be enough to eliminate all violations. However, it is not superfluous to find out from the owner of the premises before renting or buying, whether the premises meet all necessary standards and whether there is a documented proof.

Check-list of opening

  • Analysis of demand,
  • Analysis of competitors,
  • Development of the concept of the studio,
  • Search for options for renting or buying and selling,
  • Evaluation of the premises,
  • Conclusion of the lease / purchase agreement,
  • Registration of IP and registration with the tax inspection,
  • Room metering for a design project,
  • Creation of a design project for each zone,
  • Drawing up an estimate of construction (list of necessary furniture, building materials),
  • Search for a repair team,
  • Purchase of construction materials,
  • Ordering furniture and necessary interior items
  • Repair work,
  • Purchase of equipment,
  • Search for staff or freelancers (the main thing – the photographer),
  • Development of an advertising campaign,
  • Placement of advertisements in social networks and the Internet,
  • Order printing: banners, flyers, etc.
  • Development of forms of internal accounting (form of inventory, receipt, drawing up of an employment contract),
  • Festive opening.

Is it profitable to open

Of course, everyone who decided to open a photo studio is interested in the issue of payback and how soon the business will bring real income. The timing may vary depending on many factors: the city in which you opened up, the quantity and quality of the advertising you give, the professionalism of the employees, after all, of the invested funds. Here you can only indicate approximate payback calculations.

In case you provide a photographic studio for rent to a photographer, and do not provide photo services, the calculation looks like this. If the photographic studio has three shooting zones on average, and each zone will be busy at the same time for five hours a day (taking into account that the hour of the arena of the hall costs 1000 rubles), then in a year you will go to zero. This applies to the initial costs (for equipment, repairs, decorations, etc.). However, you also need to pay the administrator’s salary (depending on the established salary), the monthly costs for advertising, promotion, rent, as well as utility and other periodic payments, in the cost of an hour of shooting.

If you provide photo services, the hour’s cost is additionally increased by the fee of the photographer, make-up artist, retoucher and other professionals you hire.

Do not forget to take into account unforeseen expenses like repairing equipment, installing a certain zone, replacing furniture, which was spoiled by negligent customers during the photo session, etc.

Summing up, we can say that the opening of a good photo studio is not an expensive occupation, and you must make great efforts to at least return your initial investments. In addition, this line of business is actively developing, and there are more and more competitors. The quality bar increases, accordingly in order to attract regular customers, you need to try very hard. Do not forget also that this is a rather specific type of business with a lot of nuances in which you must understand. Of course, when you open any business, a lot of unexpected little things arise, but in the case of a photo studio, ignorance and hindsight can turn into a catastrophe.

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