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  1. #11
    Junior Member

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    [QUOTE=hark;716872]Pretty soon I will be entering the world of paid photography (part-time) and want to review everything required for a business. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding any of the following - or any other topics I may have missed - I'd appreciate your input. /QUOTE]

    Hark! I'm new here and this is reply among my first posts. I've been retired from a 40-yr photo business since 2008. I spent a lot of time and learned much from going to the School of Hard Knocks! First thing, as others have recommended, get professional legal and accounting advice. Believe me, in the long run, it will be among the least expensive things you will get for your business.

    Most things were covered but don't forget to sign up with your local and state Sales Tax Departments. We had a visit from from the state sales tax department and it wasn't a pleasant experience. And if required to collect, you must send in all taxes in a timely manner or face penalties and interest. Our audit only penalized us for a few bucks!

    Be well! Ed


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  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    [QUOTE=elee950021;736346]
    Quote Originally Posted by hark View Post
    Pretty soon I will be entering the world of paid photography (part-time) and want to review everything required for a business. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding any of the following - or any other topics I may have missed - I'd appreciate your input. /QUOTE]

    Hark! I'm new here and this is reply among my first posts. I've been retired from a 40-yr photo business since 2008. I spent a lot of time and learned much from going to the School of Hard Knocks! First thing, as others have recommended, get professional legal and accounting advice. Believe me, in the long run, it will be among the least expensive things you will get for your business.

    Most things were covered but don't forget to sign up with your local and state Sales Tax Departments. We had a visit from from the state sales tax department and it wasn't a pleasant experience. And if required to collect, you must send in all taxes in a timely manner or face penalties and interest. Our audit only penalized us for a few bucks!

    Be well! Ed
    Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    Good advice, hopefully not too late.
    Brent: Poway, CA
    D7200, D200, F100
    Tokina 12-24mm
    Nikon 18-200mm
    Tokina 28-70mm f2.6-2.8
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
    Sigma 150-600mm
    Nikon 50 AF f1.8
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
    Nikon SB800

  3. #13
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by elee950021 View Post
    Hark! I'm new here and this is reply among my first posts. I've been retired from a 40-yr photo business since 2008. I spent a lot of time and learned much from going to the School of Hard Knocks! First thing, as others have recommended, get professional legal and accounting advice. Believe me, in the long run, it will be among the least expensive things you will get for your business.

    Most things were covered but don't forget to sign up with your local and state Sales Tax Departments. We had a visit from from the state sales tax department and it wasn't a pleasant experience. And if required to collect, you must send in all taxes in a timely manner or face penalties and interest. Our audit only penalized us for a few bucks!

    Be well! Ed
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerbrent View Post
    Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    Good advice, hopefully not too late.
    Ed, thanks for the info! It's greatly appreciated. Brent, his info isn't too late. Due to Covid19, I didn't get started like I anticipated.
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Browncoat's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Since you replied that you've been in a holding pattern due to COVID-19, I have a few things to add:

    RE: Website - Take a look at Squarespace. A great option for people who don't want to be a part time web designer while trying to run a business. Prices are reasonable, tons of modern templates to choose from. Very easy to use.

    RE: Business name - Using your own name is always the best option, so definitely toss that hat into the ring. However, a lot of people don't have a cool sounding name. Joe Edwards Photo is a lot more marketable than Archibald Horowitz Photo...know what I mean? If you go another route, just try to keep it short. Under 14 letters for the website name is ideal, but it's getting harder to do that these days. Also keep in mind that .photo is an available domain extension (instead of .com). A great option for photographers.

    RE: Insurance - State Farm sucks LOL. Definitely shop your insurance around with an independent agent who has a stable of companies to choose from for better rates. Talk with an agent about your situation, especially since this is a part time gig for now. You definitely want to make sure you're protected, but you probably don't really need a commercial policy at this point. A separate inland marine policy to cover your equipment should be all you need, and is WAY cheaper. All that said, Nationwide used to have a "mini policy" for photographers, but I'm not sure if they still do. If you do jump in with both feet, definitely make sure you get personal liability coverage. People will sue for anything these days.

    RE: Business cards - 100% VistaPrint. They're cheap and great quality. They have templates you can download (PS, AI, etc) and sky's the limit for your designs. I've used VistaPrint for lots of stuff and have never been disappointed. Design today, order tomorrow, and you usually have your order within a few days. Highly recommended.

    RE: Other stuff - The deciding factor in a lot of this will be how far you take it. You need to set up a DBA in order to get a business bank account and a lot of other stuff. It's kind of that official first step to being a "real" business. An LLC is probably your best bet - keeps business finances separate from personal. Talk to a lawyer about setting one of those up, it's fairly cheap and straightforward.
    Last edited by Browncoat; 07-07-2020 at 03:45 AM.
    Thanks/Like hark Thanks/liked this post
     

  5. #15
    Senior Member
    STM's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Are you already a member of PPA? If not, then I strongly suggest you join. Having their logo on your website is a good idea and boosts your credibility. Also, look into the PPA CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) program. It too will add to your credibility. it was actually a lot of fun when I went through it.
    Thanks/Like hark Thanks/liked this post
     
    FTn, F2A, FT2, F3HP, F4E, F5, FE2, D850, D500, D750

    8mm f/3.5 AIS, 15mm f/3.5 AIS, 16mm f/2.8 AIS, 18mm f/3.5 AIS, 24mm f/2.8 AIS, 24mm f/2 AIS, 25-50mm f/4 AIS, 28mm f/2 AIS, 35mm f/1.4 AIS, 35-70mm /3.5 AIS, 50mm f/1.8 AIS, 50mm f/1.4 AIS, 50-135mm f/3.5 AIS, 55mm f/2.8 AIS Micro, 85mm f/1.4 AIS ,135mm f/2 AIS, 80-200 f/4 AIS, 105mm f/1.8 AIS, 105mm 2.8 AIS Micro, 180mm f/2.8 AIS, 200mm f/2 AIS, 200mm f/4 Micro AIS, 300mm f/2.8 AIS, 400mm f/2.8 ED IF AIS, 500mm f/8 Reflex, 600mm f/4 ED-IF AIS

  6. #16
    Senior Member
    Hannah Shia's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    I suggest starting with a business plan. It will greatly help you with sorting out all the necessary steps, evaluating your competitors, etc. Really, it's not so hard to create one when you have a plan (this one is good for photography) to lay out your goals and timelines!

  7. #17
    Senior Member
    spb_stan's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    I would not suggest a web site yet, more important things to do when you can have a free page on Facebook that will build followers a lot faster than a web site.&nbsp; But getting the domain is essential for your email account before even setting up your business license. I have 27 active domains with Godaddy.com.&nbsp;<br>

    Do you have a specialty or target audience? If they are young, instagram is essential, if a wider age group of 20s up, Facebook is effective. If you are on Instagram you will reach a lot more people if you upload a new image/meme daily.&nbsp; The highest paid photographers in the world are not even photographers so consider creating a YouTube Channel about your specialty if you have an engaging personality.
    There are a number of people with limited photographic skills who receive several million dollars a year in ad revenue directly from YT plus a lot directly from manufacturers to push a brand or put down another.&nbsp; Your ad revenue is based on views and how long people stay on the channel and the economic bracket of the viewers so products advertising that is directed to adults in upper middle class or higher brackets can earn a lot more per viewer than say a teen with a Try on Haul site that has 3 million views.<br>Every minute spent developing your on-line presence is more important to your income than every minute of your photography.&nbsp; &nbsp;Keep your costs down by avoiding expensive bodies and lenses, a Z6 is more than enough for any commercial work you are likely to get. A compatible back camera will be insurance.&nbsp; Your post processing skills or arrangememt with a like minded editor who is a master in PS could be a better use of your time if not very skilled in post processing when you start.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>
    Try to keep the domain name as short as possible, which is possible with one of the second tier top level domains, .com is assumed by users, while .biz or .photo. Start searching now, really, in the next 5 minutes. There are&nbsp; over 1500 top level domains and a number of them related specifically to photography, pictures or images so a lot of choices exist if nothing works in ,com for your prefered name.&nbsp; Do not allow a hosting company to control your domain, register it yourself, I use Godaddy.com and it is simple to manage your own domain.&nbsp; If you collect any user info or have any hackable data on your server, get a hosting account that includes free SSL certificate which saves you $50 a year or more. I have one VPS, Virtual Private Server on inmotionhosting.com where I have a number of web sites and have had very good luck with them after a number of serious problems with hosting companies that merged or went out of business and I lost&nbsp; lot of data.
    A VPS is just like having your own server which you can add as many sites and email services or databases as you want. It is shared by 3 other counts, but each completely separated and their own operating system for each.&nbsp; I also have a my own server in a data center which is overkill. Renting rack space for your own server is not very cost effective.&nbsp; &nbsp; Once things get going you can think about a web site. The most popular way to have an updatable no-code site is using Wordpress that is the foundation of about 30% of all web sites. There thousands of templates available to make the site look professional without coding. Wordpress is a one button install on Inmotionhosting.com but other hosts have that function as well.&nbsp; I prefer to code my own because it can be a lot lighter in server load and so faster opening new pages which gives some advantage in Google ranking. Google in not as important as it was 15 years ago. Your sales can be entered there in your shopping cart application that is also free plugin for Wordpress, but your site is not going to generate many organic sales anymore.&nbsp; After seeing your work on instagram or FB, or chatting with you on Whatsapp, they will complete the booking on the web site. Buyer trends have been away from sales decisions on web sites have changed a lot over the last twenty years.<br>
    <br>Before even thinking about your business you really need to think about your customers, who are they, how do they respond, what is their price range sensitivity, why they are not being served now, why you have an advantage that they are interested in....you can be better or have cooler services but that does not matter, only their perception of your advantages matter which is why social media is so effective for interacting with the target audience. Your only value is what your customers value your service for.&nbsp; And unless you have a known audience, where you know real clients and their needs or perceived needs.&nbsp; &nbsp;Who is the competition and what advantages and disadvantages do they have, What is the size of the current demand for the service,&nbsp; and how can you influence the scale of demand?&nbsp; &nbsp;How narrow of a niche can your focus on and still make a living. A generalist is usually very inefficient but a narrow range specialist can build a client base faster with less work.

    Don't have too many options on your web site, specialize and if you have another specialty, create another web site so the site is targeting that specialty. For example if you do weddings, only promote wedding photo services but your business head shot business clients should have a web site devoted to that specialty.&nbsp; Your real estate work should be on its own web site.<br>Set a goal of becoming an expert in the customer preferences of the market you focus on, go talk to them,interview people to see what they really want instead of starting a business of a service hoping that you guessed right on the market.&nbsp; Don't just ask friends, ask strangers, which is effective with social media.&nbsp;

    Do not mix a profile for your self and your business on social media because anything you post or your friends post can trigger someone in the hyper sensitive extreme division society you are in now. If over the last few years you have made just 4 statements of preference or lack of whatever, each one of those statements is likely to turn off 1/4 of the the population. If you posted you hate peanut butter, someone in your inner circle is going to reject you over it but when talking about a potential market in the millions turning off a few hundred thousand by such an innocuous post.&nbsp;<br>Good luck and start with the domain search and your market research now before even designing your business goals.
    Last edited by spb_stan; 12-25-2020 at 07:13 AM.

  8. #18
    Junior Member

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Photography is a great domain for discovering new connections and new people. As you've said, you are fortunate because you already have experience and it will easier for you to start again. I have been a photographer for a couple of years now and I must admit that I've had some amazing experiences. I've decided to try a new domain related to advertising photography and I must admit that it is something else. I am often shooting events or portraits, so this kind of experience was something new that really got me out of the comfort zone!

  9. #19
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Welcome aboard TaylorBlake. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    Also, you might want to go to
    New Member Introductions
    Introduce yourself to the community! Say Hi
    Brent: Poway, CA
    D7200, D200, F100
    Tokina 12-24mm
    Nikon 18-200mm
    Tokina 28-70mm f2.6-2.8
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
    Sigma 150-600mm
    Nikon 50 AF f1.8
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
    Nikon SB800

  10. #20
    Banned

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    The majority of people who start out in photography aren't in it for the money—at least not at first. Photography, like other kinds of art, is an artistic project. For many people, determining how to generate money with photography without much research or experimentation is difficult. There is no such thing as a yet another formula for success. The suggestions below make it simple to begin learning your skill, commercialize some photographs, and retain your full-time work. I would suggest you to rent a studio, first of all and you could get help from these guys osdoro.com.sg.
    Last edited by Cligerson; 07-14-2021 at 11:32 AM. Reason: removed link





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