apply to get sandra coan certified

applications open on May 16th!

How to Start and Newborn and Family Photography Business

I started my photography career in 1999.  And I can honestly say that being a professional newborn and family photographer is amazing!

I do what I love each and every day while also providing for me and my family financially.  

I get to make my own schedule and have the freedom to shape my work life around my personal life, not the other way around.  

I’ve had the privilege of watching countless children grow up before my eyes.  

I’ve even photographed the babies of grown men and women I once photographed as small children.

It really is an amazing job.  So how do you start a photography business?  Here are a few tips!

Figure out what YOU do, and craft a signature style

As photographers, we all have different ways of seeing that we bring to our work. You may want to offer maternity, newborn, and family photography, but it’s essential to define your specific approach and style! Do you want to be a life-style photographer?  Do you want to work in a studio?  Do you love the baby-led approach?  Or do you want to focus on more traditional newborn photography?  All of these are important questions to ask when first starting out. Also spend some time thinking about what sets you apart from other photographers.  All of this will help you determine your direction,  help you craft a signature style, and grow your brand.

Pro Tip: Your brand is more than just your logo and business name; it’s your style, the experience you provide, and how clients perceive you. 

Invest in the Right Equipment

While it’s true that what you do with your gear is more important than the actual gear itself, it’s still important to make sure you have the tools you need to do your job well.  A good camera and lens is essential, obviously, but investing in, and learning how to use lighting equipment will also SAVE you when you are faced with low-light, or ticky lighting situations.  

(To learn more about how to create natural looking light with strobes and flash, follow this link to watch my free training!)

Build a Consistent Portfolio

Before you start taking clients, practice with friends and family to build a strong portfolio. Focus on creating a consistent body of work that reflects your signature style.  

When you are just starting out, it’s easy to become influenced by other photographers, or by photography trends.  I’ve seen many new photographers get off track because they start shooting in a way that they think they should, rather than in a way that is true to them.

But on blinders!  Focusing on your own work and your own style will help you develop a solid brand much quicker!  

Pay attention to your favorite light quality and lighting patterns, learn to pose and direct, and make sure your editing is consistent!  If you need help with any of this, check out the Sandra Coan Certification program for one-on-one mentoring and group coaching!

Set Up Your Business Legally

Choose a business structure that suits your needs, such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Each has its benefits and legal implications.

Then register your business name, obtain necessary licenses for your location, and ensure you comply with local regulations. Consult with an accountant or lawyer to make sure you’re meeting all legal and tax requirements.

Also, make sure to protect your business with appropriate insurance. Consider general liability insurance, equipment insurance, and professional liability insurance.

Create Plan

You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going!  So sit down and create a plane for what you want your business to look like.

Outline your business objectives, both short-term and long-term.  How many hours do you want to work?  Will you see clients on the weekend or just weekdays?  How much time will you devote to admin duties during the week?

Develop a Marketing Strategy

Start by identifying your Ideal Client, then create a marketing strategy that includes a professional website, blogging and social media to reach your target audience. 

Pro Tip:  This part can feel overwhelming!  But don’t let it stop you!  Watch the FREE training to learn the marketing method I teach to the photographers I coach inside of Sandra Coan Certification.

Set Your Pricing

Pricing can feel intimidating, but it’s really not that hard! Look at what other photographers in your area charge for similar services. This will give you an idea of the market rates and help you price your services competitively.  Then figure out what you need to be profitable.  Remember, if you are not making money from your business then it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.

Pro Tip:  A lot of new photographers base their pricing on the amount of time they spend with clients.  Do not do this!  Your value is based on what you create, not how much time you spend with someone!

Provide an Exceptional Client Experience

Keep your clients informed throughout the process, from the initial inquiry to the final delivery of their photos. Clear communication builds trust and ensures a smooth experience.  To learn my approach to client communication, follow this link to watch my free training!

Make your clients feel comfortable and relaxed during the shoot. For newborn sessions, prioritize the baby’s safety and well-being at all times. For resource on my approach to newborn posing, follow this link)

After the shoot, follow up with your clients to ensure they are satisfied with the photos and the overall experience. Happy clients are more likely to refer you to others and leave positive reviews.

Seek Mentorship, Community, and Education

The biggest mistake I see photographers make is trying to do it all on their own!  Finding a good mentor, a supportive community and valuable education will fast track your success and save you from burn out.

Check out Sandra Coan Certification to learn more about my mentoring program and our exclusive community!


Starting a maternity, newborn, and family photography business requires a blend of creativity, business know-how, and dedication. It takes work!  But trust me, the work is worth it!

Remember, every successful photographer started somewhere, and with passion and persistence, you can turn your dream into a thriving business.

And if you would like some help figuring out how to book clients, check out my new training,
How to Book More Photography Clients WITHOUT Spending All Of Your Time Marketing!