How To Start a Photography Business

Everyone starts at the beginning

Starting your photography business is such an exciting venture. You want to make sure you are set up properly so things won’t come back to haunt you down the road. The biggest question I’ve been in my mentoring sessions is, “Where do I even begin?” Start with all of the business management first so you don’t have to worry about it later. Here are 5 tips to get you started with your business!

1) Register For A Vendor’s License

In the state of Ohio, you need to have a Vendor’s License to sell merchandise. You can find information for photography services and rules here. This is a $25 one time fee that is so important to have before starting your business.

2) Taxes and TIN

Taxes are something that seems daunting at first but is not that bad once you figure it out. There’s two types of taxes that you need to be prepared for, State Taxes and Federal Taxes. State taxes vary where you live, for me it’s 7.5%. You’ll need to go to Ohio Business Gateway to find your county’s tax rate and payment schedule. You can either use your social security number or register for a TIN number. I use a TIN number to separate my personal from my business. Federal Taxes are due once a year. I set aside 30% of every payment (i.e. photoshoot) in a business savings account so I am ready for Federal Taxes at the end of the year. It’s so important to plan ahead for taxes. I also use an accountant to make sure my end of year numbers are correct.

3) Contracts & Book Keeping

A good contract is a must for making sure both you and your client know what is expected for your services. It is SO important to review your contract and clauses with a lawyer to make sure you a legally covered. You can view 10 things I include in my contracts here. Booking keeping is another important thing to consider. You’ll need to find a CRM platform that is best for you. I use and LOVE Dubsado. It integrates with Quickbooks and is awesome for having my contracts, bookkeeping, and so much more all in one place. For tracking my mileage I use Mile IQ. It is easy to input your driving manually or there is an App you can download from the App Store.

4) Insurance & Liability 

I rather be safe than sorry when it comes to liability insurance. There are many different options for business insurance. You want to find a policy that will cover all equipment when you are at the house, on location and out of state. It should cover you if your computer breaks down, externals is damaged and loss of pictures, etc. I use Allstate for all of my insurance needs.  My insurance does cover if someone trips over my bag, equipment, etc… on site or if they are at my house/meeting place and need medical attention – my insurance would cover all of their medical needs. LLC, S Corp, LTD and all that good fun stuff; You will want to look into these and see which is best for you.

5) Set Your Prices

Calculate your cost of service. In other words, how much does it cost you to run your business (i.e. electricity, gas, materials, camera gear, insurance, marketing etc..) per job? Then add on how much you want to make after taxes. Include all of this when you are setting your prices.

I am always happy to help if you have any questions when starting your business. It’s so exciting and worth the trouble to set it up right! In my mentoring sessions, we further explore and discuss all business management topics and questions!

 

January 13, 2018

How To Start a Photography Business

Everyone starts at the beginning

Starting your photography business is such an exciting venture. You want to make sure you are set up properly so things won’t come back to haunt you down the road. The biggest question I’ve been in my mentoring sessions is, “Where do I even begin?” Start with all of the business management first so you don’t have to worry about it later. Here are 5 tips to get you started with your business!

1) Register For A Vendor’s License

In the state of Ohio, you need to have a Vendor’s License to sell merchandise. You can find information for photography services and rules here. This is a $25 one time fee that is so important to have before starting your business.

2) Taxes and TIN

Taxes are something that seems daunting at first but is not that bad once you figure it out. There’s two types of taxes that you need to be prepared for, State Taxes and Federal Taxes. State taxes vary where you live, for me it’s 7.5%. You’ll need to go to Ohio Business Gateway to find your county’s tax rate and payment schedule. You can either use your social security number or register for a TIN number. I use a TIN number to separate my personal from my business. Federal Taxes are due once a year. I set aside 30% of every payment (i.e. photoshoot) in a business savings account so I am ready for Federal Taxes at the end of the year. It’s so important to plan ahead for taxes. I also use an accountant to make sure my end of year numbers are correct.

3) Contracts & Book Keeping

A good contract is a must for making sure both you and your client know what is expected for your services. It is SO important to review your contract and clauses with a lawyer to make sure you a legally covered. You can view 10 things I include in my contracts here. Booking keeping is another important thing to consider. You’ll need to find a CRM platform that is best for you. I use and LOVE Dubsado. It integrates with Quickbooks and is awesome for having my contracts, bookkeeping, and so much more all in one place. For tracking my mileage I use Mile IQ. It is easy to input your driving manually or there is an App you can download from the App Store.

4) Insurance & Liability 

I rather be safe than sorry when it comes to liability insurance. There are many different options for business insurance. You want to find a policy that will cover all equipment when you are at the house, on location and out of state. It should cover you if your computer breaks down, externals is damaged and loss of pictures, etc. I use Allstate for all of my insurance needs.  My insurance does cover if someone trips over my bag, equipment, etc… on site or if they are at my house/meeting place and need medical attention – my insurance would cover all of their medical needs. LLC, S Corp, LTD and all that good fun stuff; You will want to look into these and see which is best for you.

5) Set Your Prices

Calculate your cost of service. In other words, how much does it cost you to run your business (i.e. electricity, gas, materials, camera gear, insurance, marketing etc..) per job? Then add on how much you want to make after taxes. Include all of this when you are setting your prices.

I am always happy to help if you have any questions when starting your business. It’s so exciting and worth the trouble to set it up right! In my mentoring sessions, we further explore and discuss all business management topics and questions!

 

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@SweetWilliamsPhotography

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