Search
photography

Best Photography Business Loans for 2021

Purchasing photography equipment, finding optimal space for work, and a way to showcase your photos can require upfront capital you don’t have. Yet, if you take the industry and your passion seriously, your success and need for expansion may prompt you to apply for photography business loans to finance your endeavors.

Financially reviewed by Gordon Scott CMT, on 7.1.2021

At a glance Applying for photography business loans can be a daunting task 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.

A Quick Overview of The Best Photography Business Loans for 2021

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. The table below provides an overview of the best photography business loans of 2021. 

Financing Need

Best Loan Type

Loan Features 

Recommended Lender

Buy advanced equipment, maintain gear, invest in marketing strategies, hire assistants, rent studio, pay taxes

Short-term loans

  • Amount: Up to 500,000
  • Term: Up to 15 months
  • Interest: One-time factor rate 
  • Time to get the loan: Up to 24 hours

Fora Financial

Photography equipment financing

Equipment loan

  • Amount: 80%-100% of the value of equipment (80% is typical)
  • Term: Up to 6 years
  • Interest: Between 4% and 40%
  • Time to get the loan: up to 48 hours 

Fundera

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

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

Best Photography Business Loans Explained

Here are some important details for the loan types outlined in the table above. We’ll look at what the loan entails, its top features, how it applies to the photography industry, and why we recommended the indicated providers.

1. Fora Financial - Best for Short-term Loans

Getting a loan for a photography business can prove to be very tricky and almost impossible. Many banks and lenders just don’t want to loan money to a company that uses the framework that a photography business does.

Unlike those big banks and lenders, Fora Financial will loan photography businesses a flexible amount between $5,000 and $500,000. Repaying the loans is flexible as well, and applying is straightforward. Fora FInancial moves fast and will review and finalize an application within 24 hours. When the application is approved, the lending company will receive its funds in its bank account in just 72 hours.

Fora do not dictate what the lender is allowed to do with the money - that is left up to them. However, the company is happy to provide assistance to their clients if necessary.

2. Fundera - Best for Equipment Financing

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 financing is 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 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. OnDeck - Best for Short Term Loans

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 obtain funding quickly. 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

4. BlueVine - Best for 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.

5. Square Capital - Best for Merchant Cash Advance

With a merchant cash advance, the lender will provide you with a credit and debit card terminal and a 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.

Recommended Reading: The Best E-Commerce Business Loans

Things to Consider When Starting Your Photography Business

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 intimidating. There are many variables and issues to take into consideration when you choose to begin a photography business. You may start by asking yourself these important questions:

  • 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?

Answering these questions will better prepare you to meet your business challenges, and help you articulate your business strengths when applying for loans you might need. 

Recommended Reading: Best Manufacturing Business Loans

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Photography Business?

Breaking into the photography industry isn’t easy, especially if your experience is limited to social media and the like. Photography startups need a solid business plan, but an existing photography business that wants to grow needs that business plan even more. 

Once you have established a reliable way to attract customers, you will soon find you need to strategically spend money. Professional photographers need the right photography equipment, an optimal physical space to work in, and a way to showcase their skills and the quality of their work.

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.  

Recommended Reading: Best Convenience Store Loans

See Our Additional Guides on Industry-Specific Loans

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.