Photography is becoming an increasingly popular hobby, which is fantastic! It is fun to see artists producing beautiful imagery for everyone to enjoy. The best part about hobbies is that they can eventually become money makers (and we all love makin' cash)! Starting your own photography business and growing your hobby can be super simple with my handy dandy checklist!
If you feel a little apprehensive about starting a business, I promise it isn't a scary process! By the time you are done reading this article, you should feel confident to kickstart your photography business!
A Business Plan is Crucial
I love plans. Planning is crucial because it helps you compile all of your ideas and reasons behind why you need/want to do something. I even love planning with old-fashioned pencil and paper. There is something so soothing to me about making paper checklists and plans. For your plan, you can type it, write it out, or download the checklist we created for you. But, make sure you get all of your ideas out there to brainstorm this process. Here is a great outline to follow:
• Why do you want to start a photography business?
• What type of photography niche will you plan to focus us on?
• What are your short-term goals?
• What are your long-term goals?
• What are other photographers doing around you, and how much are they charging?
• What will you want to charge?
We created a simple pdf checklist to help you stay organized and check everything off your your photography business list, download it today:
Business Name and Logo
Since you are a photographer, you are creative. And this is where we thrive! The best part about owning your own business is coming up with your own aesthetic. You will need a catchy business name and logo to be memorable with current and future clients. Check Google and social media to see if your business name is already taken to ensure you aren't competing with another photographer with the same name. You can also ask your family and friends their thoughts on your business name and logo to see if they think it is catchy! My only advice is to keep it to a minimum of five people. Sometimes having too many opinions can cloud your brain. And, of course, make sure the name and logo will appeal to your audience!
Photography Business Specialty
I'm going to expand more on this. I touched base on it when I talked about the business plan. You will need to have a niche before you start. You need to figure out what your specialty will be. Some photography examples are:
Another idea is to benchmark what other photographers are doing. Is your area saturated with newborn photographers? It might not be a good idea to start a Newborn photography business. Or, if you do, you will need to figure out what you can do to set yourself apart from others.
Photography Business License and Registration
If you are starting a business, you might as well dot your i's and cross your t's by doing everything by the book and getting a business license. Don't let this be a hindrance. Do your research to make sure you follow your city and state requirements. You will need to obtain an EIN for tax purposes.
Photography Business Legal
Find a great accountant to talk business with. Do a little research and find out if you want to become an LLC or a sole proprietorship. This step may leave you feeling like a deer in the headlights, but it is essential. I recently opened a business and made sure a friend was me to help process everything the accountant said. You want to understand everything that is going on. Having someone you trust can help you on this journey.
Business Checking Account and Insurance
Make sure you don't mix up your personal money with your business. Open up a separate business checking account to handle all purchases and deposits.
Once you've done this, get business insurance. Insurance will cover your equipment, you, and someone else. Imagine a client hurting themself as you are photographing them, or a piece of product gets stolen during a product photography shoot. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Quickbooks for Photography Business
Using software like Quickbooks or Wave Financial will help you keep your financials in order. Keeping a record of your transactions will make tax time stress-free. Speaking of tax time, you should always have a little money on the side, just in case. Uncle Sam may tell you that you owe him money.
Always save your receipts for business-related expenses. You will be able to write off new equipment, software, travel, and more. This is another reason why having a trustworthy accountant is helpful.
Website and Social Media Accounts
Your next fun step to let your creativity shine is creating your website and social media accounts. There are so many sites available that have made creating your own website so simple! Some of the options you have are WordPress, Wix, and GoDaddy. My personal favorite is Squarespace. Squarespace has a clean interface and templates to build a photography portfolio, book appointments, and e-commerce. A crucial part of Google search results is understanding how SEO works. SEO is what will help you rank high on Google.
Social Media is literally free marketing and is something I think every business owner needs. Make sure you post to your social media accounts frequently to show up in your follower's feeds. You can include photo shoots, upcoming promotions, behind-the-scenes shots, etc.
Photography Contract for Your Clients
And, back to business stuff. Before you book your first client, you will want to have a contract in place. There are many free resources online that provide free templates for you to use. While looking into contracts, you will also want to find model release, copyright, print release, and retainer policy information. All of this stuff is there to save you.
Storing Your Images
To ensure you never lose your photographs, you will need to store them in more than one place. The dread you will feel when you lose your pictures is heartbreaking, and knowing you have a backup will be a relief. Always have an external hard drive and cloud storage. Cloud storage is also a great way to share photos.
Photography Business Marketing
Create a marketing strategy to ensure you are reaching all possible clients. Don't let this new endeavor be scary - make it exciting! Bring out your creativity for everyone to enjoy while making some money. Remember to download the checklist below, and you will be fully prepared:
Related article: How to Get Into Photography
Related article: How to Start a YouTube Channel in 2022
Related article: How to Record a Podcast in 2022