Opening a photography business in Ontario, Canada will require a number of permits and licenses to be obtained. For professional photographers, the administrative side of the business may be a little overwhelming, and if not managed correctly, it can take time away from other duties, such as marketing, client meetings and actual photography. Most cities have a small business center, or other resource center where staff can help with navigating the paper trail. They may also have seminars or courses designed to assist new business owners in completing business and marketing plans.

Decide if you are starting a new business, purchasing a franchise or buying an existing business that might be for sale.

Go to the Province of Ontario web site, and complete a business name search to determine if the name you would like to use for your business is available. You will also need to decide whether your business will be registered as a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or co-operative.

Go to the Service Ontario—BizPal page at the Province of Ontario web site. Complete the short questionnaire about your business, and based on your answers, you will receive a customized list of permits and licenses as well as instructions on obtaining them. This service is free of charge.

Complete and submit the appropriate permit and license applications. Once you have received confirmation that your business is registered, you are officially open.

Set up a web site for your business. The Internet is ideally suited for photography businesses that have pages of professional images to display.

Join the local Chamber of Commerce or other business networking groups to promote you and your new business.

Things You Will Need
  • Business plan

  • Marketing plan

  • Personal identification


You may want to seek professional advice before opening your business. You may have to consider legal and tax implications. If hiring a lawyer or accountant is not in the budget, contact the Chamber of Commerce or a small business resource center to see if it has information that can help with your decisions.