photography

Best Photography Business Loans

Starting or running a photography studio that succeeds, both artistically and financially, can be costly. Marketing and equipment can use up much of your cash flow, making it challenging to make ends meet. Yet, if you take the industry and your passion seriously, you can apply for photography business loans to finance your endeavors.

At a glance Breaking into the photography industry isn’t easy, especially if your experience is limited to social media and the like. You will need the right photography equipment and the correct physical space, to showcase your skills and photographs. Applying for photography business loans can be a daunting task, particularly if you don’t understand what to look for. Our guide provides detailed information on the factors you need to consider when applying for a loan for your photography business, and the best lenders for photography entrepreneurs.

Introduction

If you are a budding photographer looking to enter the photography business industry you may feel a mixture of excitement and caution. If you don’t have much business knowledge, you may find the prospect very daunting. There are many variables and issues to take into consideration when you choose to begin a photography business. You may start by asking yourself for example:

  • What type of photography do I want to produce?
  • What type of qualification do I need?
  • How will I source the finances I need to buy my equipment?
  • How can I go about finding customers?
  • How should I create a portfolio?

While this article won’t answer all of these questions, it will help you work out how best to finance your developing or established photography business. 

Best Photography Business Loans

While you can obtain one loan for all your business needs, you may want to look at the photography business loans available for specific photography business expenses, outlined in the table below. 

Financing Need

Best Loan Type

Loan Features 

Recommended Lender

Initial capital outlay

Short-term loan

  • Amount: Up to $250,000
  • Term: Up to 18 months
  • Interest: From 14%
  • Time to get the loan: 24 hours

OnDeck

Equipment

Equipment loan

  • Amount: 100% value of equipment
  • Term: Up to 6 years
  • Interest: Between 4% and 40%
  • Time to get the loan: up to 48 hours 

Fundera

Emergency funds

Business line of credit

  • Amount: Up to $500,000
  • Term: Up to 18 months
  • Interest: Between 7% and 25%
  • Time to get the loan: up to 24 hours

BlueVine

Cash advance

Merchant cash advance

  • Amount: Up to $500,000
  • Term: Repaid weekly or monthly
  • Interest: Up to 1.5% of sales
  • Time to get the loan: 24 hours

Square Capital



Photography Business Loans Explained

We’ll now delve into what each of the loan types outlined in the table above. We’ll look at the loan entails, its top features, how it applies to the photography industry, and why we recommend the indicated providers.

1. Short-Term Loan

There’s no reason you should start with a long-term loan if you only need small startup funds. Short-term loans give you the cash injection you need for the first capital outlay and paying for the initial rental for a few months. If you have a solid business plan, you can recover your costs and pay this loan off sooner.

Short-term loans are often ideal for photography businesses as they can help you get funding from the word go. You can, for example, use the money to acquire real estate for your photography showroom. The interest may be higher than you first anticipated, but you may be able to get a return on investment sooner than you expect.

OnDeck offers short-term loans for small businesses when they see a viable future based on the budget plan of your photography business. OnDeck also tailors their loans to meet your specific photography business loans needs.

Ondeck

2. Equipment Loan

If you are less concerned about your startup costs and more worried about having the equipment you need for the job, you will want to take a look at equipment financing. In most cases, the lender evaluates the overall cost of the items that you need and will then offer a term and repayment plan based on the final cost amount. However, the equipment loan provider may ask you to cover a small percentage of the purchase costs as a sign of good faith.

Equipment loans are ideal for photography studios. Relatively speaking you will have a longer amount of time to pay off those cameras and lenses, giving you more breathing room. If you are looking to buy a physical premises instead of renting, you could cover the cost of the studio with this small business funding solution.

Fundera may be better known for offering grants via SBA loans, but they are also an expert in equipment financing. There are also other financial solutions you can tap into, depending on your photography requirements. 

3. Business Line of Credit

One thing that new businesses tend to struggle with is keeping afloat after the first few months. Once the initial capital runs out, the business owner is left stressing about what will keep them going. A business line of credit can provide you with the funds you need when you need it. What’s great is that you will only pay interest on what you draw. 

When it comes to photography business loans, this revolving credit is probably the most significant feature. You can’t always be sure when you will sell more photographs or when more clients will appear, so you may need emergency funds if equipment breaks or if your operating budget runs out. 

BlueVine provides up to $250,000 in credit, which can increase if you keep up your payments for a year or more. It also offers invoice factoring if you prefer that line of credit, but this may be harder to finance in the photography industry.

4. Merchant Cash Advance

With a merchant cash advance the lender will provide you with a credit and debit card terminal and the lump sum. When you make sales, the financial institution will take a small percentage to cover your repayment costs.

This loan type is ideal for covering repayments from your photography business sales. The lender will require you to have a minimum income per month for the loan term, so you’ll need to keep your revenue flowing. The lender may ask you to put a specific amount of money towards the loan if you don’t meet your monthly financial goals.

Square Capital deals with several loan types, one of which is the merchant cash advance loan system. Square Capital has strict criteria you will need to meet to become a listed merchant with them. You must be a listed merchant with Square capital to receive any form of funding for credit and debit sales.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Photography Business?

The amount of funding you will need to establish your photography business will vary according to your goals over the first few months and the initial year. You will need to consider the type of photography you would like to produce and the medium you will use to display your work. You may also wish to think about whether or not you are going to hire an assistant.

Another cost to take into consideration is the cost of your studio or photography shop. You will need to decide if you want to rent space for a few years or buy a photography display area outright. You will also have to assess how much money you are going to put into your marketing campaigns.

In general, here are some costs you could expect to encounter when opening a photography business:

  • Cameras: up to $8,000 per item
  • Lens: up to $3,000 per item
  • Lighting and backdrops: Up to $800
  • Computer technology: Up to $3,000
  • Business registration: Up to $1,500

You will also need to bear in mind that you may have general operating costs, for example there will likely be repair expenses when you need to replace or repair parts of your equipment. It’s always best to create a detailed business plan before you apply for a loan.

How to Choose the Best Photography Business Loans

Your choice of the best photography business loans rests on your business plan. Very few lenders will even consider talking to you if you don’t have a business plan in place. Lenders will want to see how you plan on spending the funds you receive and how you’re going to repay these funds.

Of course, you also need to have your own set of criteria ready before you apply for small business funding. Even if a lender is happy with your proposal, you shouldn’t blindly accept any terms they offer you.

Here are a few questions for you to ask:

  • What are the financial requirements?
  • What loan periods are available, and which one can I afford to repay?
  • Will I receive any penalties for being late?
  • Do I only need equipment funds, or are there other costs involved?
  • How soon can I repay the total loan with interest?
  • Does the lender accept startups, or do I need to be in business for a few years?
  • Do I have a bad credit score, and does it matter to the lender?
  • Should I factor in invoice financing to be included in my loan?

Finally, you need to account for any experience you may have in the photography industry. It will  be challenging to find a financial institution that will provide you with financing without seeing any evidence that you are an excellent photographer.  

Bottom Line

Anyone can be a photographer, but running a successful photography business or photography studio is another matter altogether. You will need to start with a proper business plan to prove that you can run your company over an extended period of time before approaching any lenders. We hope that this guide has given you a better idea of how best to tackle the world of photography business loans.