Many people find photography to be a fun and fulfilling hobby, so it only makes sense that some try to make a career out of it. In 2008, about 152,000 photographers were employed in the United States in fields as varied as photojournalism, portrait photography and aerial photography [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. While some of these workers have full-time jobs with private corporations, government agencies and other entities, more than half -- or about 94,000 -- are self-employed freelance or studio photographers [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. This number may seem high, but it represents only a small percentage of photographers that have tried to make a living with their craft. Given the competitive nature of this field, it's important that you thoroughly educate yourself about how best to start your own photography business.

Self-employed photographers can make money in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most traditional approach is to open a photography studio, an enterprise created soon after Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce captured the first image from his workroom window in 1826. For many years studio photographers made portraits in-house, but a growth in the popularity of outdoor portraits has drawn many of them into the field. People also hire studio photographers to shoot functions like school dances, sporting events and ever-lucrative weddings.

Another way photographers can earn an income is by freelancing. This involves taking pictures of anything and everything -- from everyday objects to breaking news events -- and selling them to stock photo companies, magazines and even national postcard firms. Like studio photographers, freelancers can also earn money at weddings and other events, though they must work harder to gain this clientele as they're typically lesser known in the community.

Owning your own photography business can be a fun and rewarding career, and with the right plan you can make that dream a reality. The following sections offer some general advice for starting a photography business, from equipment suggestions to tips for getting the operation rolling. If you're ready to turn your favorite hobby into your beloved profession, click over to the next page.