How to start a photography company in Dubai, UAE


Connect with our team to start your business !

Dubai is home to numerous thriving industries, each of which gives life to an array of sectors and sub-sectors.

Take the events industry for example. An industry so vast that events held at the Dubai World Trade Centre alone contribute USD 3.28bn to the emirate’s economy. Within this vast industry are many opportunities for entrepreneurs. Photography and videography is one such example. It’s rare that an event passes without professional photography – which presents a huge opportunity to those with the skill and business know-how to see success.

And that’s not the only industry that drives the demand for professional photography and videography services. There’s also the wedding industry, which is said to be worth USD 4.5bn in the Middle East.

If you’re looking to get involved in this potentially lucrative industry, getting started is easy with the right support and guidance. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to start a photography business in Dubai

Whether you wish to start a photography or videography business in Dubai, the process is much the same.

While the license you require will likely be the same whether you are carrying out photography or videography services, it’s vital that you specify the activities you wish to undertake such as photography, photography services, videography, video production etc. Failure to do so can lead to regulatory difficulties and even fines.

A company formation expert with a knowledge of UAE licence types and activities can work with you at this stage to advise on the best ones to suit your needs.

The next step is to choose a company name. This is not an easy task wherever in the world you choose to do business. However, here in the Emirates, there are a few extra considerations to keep in mind.  The UAE has a set of strict, yet easy to follow, naming conventions. Once again, a company setup expert can help you make sure you adhere to them.

If you are looking to get your company license in the UAE, free zone, or mainland, or even in Qatar and Saudi Arabia –  then our team can help. We also offer monthly installment plans for UAE company registration.

 Applying for a photography or videography license

Although you are required to specify your business activities, you are not required to apply for a specific video production license, film production license, post production license — or even a videography license or photography license, though it may be referred to as such.

The actual license required is a professional services license, under which you can carry out a range of photography- and videography-related activities.

There are two ways to apply for a license. Either direct to the DED or to one of the UAE’s free zones. In both cases you will need to provide a number of documents including:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two coloured photos
  • LOE
  • KYC
  • Application form
  • Proof of address
  • Business activity questionnaire

Setting up in a free zone is often the most cost-effective way to do business. Plus, as well as quick and easy company formation, you’ll also benefit from zero percent personal and corporate income tax and 100% exemption from customs tax. And, unlike in many other countries, UAE free zone businesses also benefit from the freedom of being able to repatriate all invested capital and profits. There are also no foreign exchange controls or currency restrictions.

Then there are the benefits offered by specific free zones. Fujairah Creative City, for example, is home to a modern, fully equipped business centre that provides a round the clock service. These services include meeting room access, fast speed internet access through Wi-Fi and LAN, printing and copying services, café access, receptionist cover, telephone and fax services, and a maintenance and cleaning service. 

What’s more, you can expect to receive your company documentation and be ready to trade within days.

At this stage, you can also apply for your visa and those of your employees should you need them. It’s also possible to sponsor the visa applications of your dependant family or any domestic staff that you may have.

Finally, you’ll need a corporate bank account in order to start trading. Again, a company formation expert can help you with this step, putting you in touch with the most suitable financial institution for your business needs.


Videography and photography license cost

The exact costs of starting your business will depend on its size, setup and location. However, to give you a guide, you can obtain a license to carry out photography activities at Fujairah Creative City, with eligibility for one visa and use of coworking facilities for just AED 19,538.

You will also need to consider the cost of equipment and any visas that you may require for employees.

Are you ready to start your photography or videography business in the UAE?

If you’ve got the drive and the skills, then what’s stopping you? With the right support, it’s incredibly easy and affordable.

While applying for your photography or videography license is not overly complex, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your trade license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Set Hub when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are the team of Set Hub, your best business setup advisor across the Gulf Region. If you are looking to open your company in Dubai, across the UAE, in KSA or Qatar, get a free zone license, or start a business in the mainland, then we can help. From visa applications to all the necessary admin tasks, we handle it all – leaving you free to get on with your business.