Resources & Recommendations For Creative Business Owners


Q: What do I need to run a successful & organized Photography business?

A: …a lot.

It’s overwhelming, you guys. Starting a Photography business from scratch & growing it all by yourself is unbelievably time-consuming, exhausting, & confusing. What’s even more frustrating is the painstaking process of research, trial & error, & learning by doing that we all have to go through in order to get a good handle on how it all works & to find a formula that will achieve us a comfortable income & a decent work/life balance. How much should I charge? What’s the best portrait lens? What presets should I buy? It’s so easy to get caught up in the details & forget that first & foremost, you are a creator & it actually doesn’t matter what presets you use because no one really cares (shocking, I know) & secondly, if you don’t have a solid business structure, you’ll struggle & struggle to find clients that will pay you what you’re worth, you’ll have no long-term direction, & will eventually fail. It’s the hard but honest truth.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of educators & self-employment gurus out there in the wild wild web that profess to have the best workshop or the easiest way to find clients, run your business, make money, & gain 20K followers on Instagram. If you’re anything like me, after a while you just want someone to be straight with you - to sit you down & say “Hey, no smoke & mirrors - this is what you should work on. Here’s a list of what helped me when I first started & what helps me keep all my balls in the air now. Here you go - knock yourself out.”

How To Start A Photography Business Resources Los Angeles Photographer Miranda Kelton Photography flatlay-2.JPG

The fact of the matter is…

Running a business, especially a creative one, takes a huge amount of time, dedication, & hard work.

There’s no easy way to instantly make money & make a name for yourself without putting in the hours & letting yourself fail now & then. That said, here’s my straight-up, no nonsense gift to you - this isn’t an advice post, a "what gear should you use” post, or a promise to give you a magical key that will unlock the secrets of social media algorithms…after all, I definitely don’t have it all figured out & none of us ever really will.

It’s a simple list. Just a list of all the educators i’ve actually learned from & the programs I use on a daily basis to help my photography business stay afloat, to make money, keep learning, & to keep me from going completely insane in the process. I’ll be coming back to this list & adding to it now & then with anything new & helpful I come across. I hope it helps you - best of luck!

DISCLAIMER/FTC: Please keep in mind that neither I nor my work are officially affiliated, sponsored, paid, or endorsed in any way by the products, companies, organizations, or people listed below. These are simply recommendations from me to you - an honest list of the programs I use & the educational resources that have truly helped me.

last updated April 7th, 2019

Education & tutorials

Phlearn: Aaron Nace - Photoshop & Lightroom Tutorials
Sue Bryce - Photography & Business Growth Tutorials
Felix Kunze - Lighting & Photography Tutorials
Irene Rudynuck - Photography & Creative Development Tutorials
John Greengo: Creative Live - Learn Your Camera Model
Ken Rockwell - Gear Review
The Art of Photography: Ted Forbes - Photography History & Gear Reviews
Amy Landino - Business Management, Productivity Hacks, etc.

marketing tools

Buffer - Social Media Scheduling
Mailchimp - Email List Management
Unfold - Instagram Story Templates

programs & management

Squarespace - Website Host
Shootproof - Photo Gallery Host & Client Management
Zoom - Video Conferencing
Flipsnack - Online Magazine Host
Google Voice - Business Phone Number, Business Texting, etc.

Organization & planning

Google Drive - Free Word Processor
Google Calendar - Scheduling & Appointments
Dropbox - Sync Images Between Multiple Devices
Pinterest - Segmented Mood Boards For Shoots & Clients, Inspo Database - Create Color Palettes

Legal & financial

Shootproof - Invoicing
The Lawtog - Contracts, Legal Info For Photographers
Quickbooks Self-Employed - Accounting & Taxes
Cost Of Doing Business Calculator (NPPA) - Determine Your Pricing
State Farm - Business & Liability Insurance
Private MailBox (PMB) - Get a Business Address

editing & creative

Adobe Photoshop - Post Processing & Editing
Adobe Lightroom - Post Processing & Editing
JPEG Mini - Web Photo Re-Sizing
Font Squirrel - Free Database: Commercial Use Fonts
VSCO - Mobile Editing App
Afterlight - Mobile Editing App


Moo - Business Cards
GotPrint - 5”x7” Promo Cards
Artifact Uprising - Everyday Print Boxes
Miller’s Lab - Prints & Print Boxes
Magcloud - Printed Magazine
Greetabl - Client Gifts


Computer Glasses (Anti - Blue Light) - These glasses have been a life saver & have saved me from so many screen-time migraines! The lenses have a yellow tint that help reduce glare and blue light from your computer screen, which really helps minimize the strain on your eyes. I wear them while I respond to emails, write new blogs, etc. - just not while i’m doing any color editing on my images due to the yellow color tint!
Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - They don’t have to be AirPods…there are so many options out there. Bluetooth headphones are a must - I wear them while i’m doing some hardcore multitasking! I can have a podcast or seminar playing on my phone/computer through my headphones while i wash dishes, do laundry, organize equipment, etc. - i’m forever looking for ways to maximize my time.


A few more thoughts…

  1. Take advantage of Facebook Groups - both local groups relevant to your field & community groups connected to the programs you use! Not only is it helpful for networking purposes, but I have found so many answers & gotten quick & easy help by being part of Facebook groups. For example: Say I’ve got a question about how to set up something in my Shootproof account - a quick search in the official Shootproof Facebook group & I instantly find a multitude of solutions by other users for whatever issue i’m experiencing. It’s also fun to chat with other users & help each other out with any problems you’re trying to solve!

  2. Local Business Networks - These can be a great way to socialize professionally & market your services, meet other business owners, & to learn how to present yourself & be confident with public speaking & selling yourself & your product or service.

And last but not least… Automate! Delegate! Schedule! Network! Any way to save yourself a spare moment &/or find a way to be more productive & effective - take it. You’ll thank yourself sooner rather than later for doing this.

What resources have helped you to successfully run your business,
stay organized, & make new connections?

Let me know in the comments below - i’d love to hear from you!


Portland Portrait Personal Branding Photographer Miranda Kelton Photography

about miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Lifestyle, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Portland, Oregon.

Whether you need Headshots & Personal Branding, creative Portraits, Fashion & Product images, or all of the above, I can help you take your business to the next level with photographs that make it easy to promote yourself & market your work!