Many people are hobbyist photographers and would love the chance to turn their passion into their day job. The UAE is an exciting place to start any new business up, as it has a vital economy, and new businesses are springing up all the time. Photography is an essential part of marketing for any business, and you can find many opportunities in the UAE for commercial, real estate, fashion, tourism, portraiture or news photography.
First of all, you should decide the type of photography you both have a flair and passion for; usually, the best photographs you take will mirror your interests. Many people like architecture, so architectural photography could be your calling card. It is important to develop your own identity as a photographer to develop a speciality and connect with potential clients.
Craft your identity
The power of the image is everything when it comes to photography, and the modern world is full of places and spaces in which to promote your photos. You first need to generate a portfolio of interesting and noteworthy images. Once you have done this, you can begin by setting up your online presence. This should take the form of multiple channels, including through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, you should also look to start up the website that has a section of information about you and details on how clients can connect with you.
Mark out a niche for yourself by understanding what the market needs, how it has already been serviced and what may be missing. Once you have done this, promoting yourself and your work becomes a much easier task, as you understand what people want and need from a photographer.
Know the laws
Before you start marketing yourself as a freelance photographer, however, you must ensure you have the legal right to do so. That comes with arranging the right visa. Several options exist to register yourself as a trader in the UAE. These include:
- Getting a permit for freelance activity in one of the free zones of the UAE. You must look into which free zone might be right for you, as not all will permit this type of activity. Once you have found a free zone that will register you as an individual operator, you can register in your name without the need for incorporating as a company. This will allow you a freelance visa for two years, the possibility of annual renewal after that, and no requirement to have a specific office space. You must be able to demonstrate your qualification in this space, as such visas are generally reserved for creative or admin professionals.
You can also look at
- Getting a photography service license in a UAE free zone that would allow three visas but with no rented office space required;
- Getting a photography service license in a UAE free zone that would allow three visas with office space rented;
- Registering a photography company on UAE mainland that would allow freedom of office and business location.
What is right for you will turn on what photography you are seeking to perform. Are you looking to set up a studio for family or personal portraits and passport photography services? If so, you will require a physical office space and staff members. If you incorporate in a free zone, that will limit you to operating inside the free zone, and that may not be desirable if you are seeking customers across the UAE.
Similarly, if you wish to be able to shoot photographs outside a specific office, such as on-location in other people’s office spaces or homes, you will need to incorporate as a mainland structure (if you decide against a freelance permit). Depending on the type of permit you get and space you rent, you will have variability in the number of extra visas you are granted, but that all depends on where and how you incorporate.
Getting the right business structure and freedom to operate, at the right price, is crucial to establishing the type of photography business that fits your ideals. Consult with us today to find out more about the type of solution that will get you started as you embark on your dream of owning your own photography business.