If anyone tells you it’s easy to start a photography business, or any business for that matter – run the other direction. It’s not easy. It’s not glamorous. It’s hard work, and it’s a lot of work.
Don’t worry though – we’ve got you covered. Here are 4 steps to start your photography business the right way.
- Write a Business Plan. Or at least write down some sort of plan. It doesn’t have to be formal; after all, it’s likely going to be you running the show. But it’s important to set some structure around your business. Two of the key components are the market analysis (you want to be sure there’s a need for your services); and secondly, your financial model – how will you make money? Make sure you’ve thought these through before you go spending thousands of dollars on photography gear and essentials.
- Determine Your Business Structure. There are a few different options here: Sole Proprietor, LLC, Corporation, or a Partnership. There are advantages, and disadvantages, to each. We aren’t lawyers, so we won’t advise you one way or the other – except to consult with your own legal advisor. Which you should have in your address book!
- Make it Legal – Register Your Business. Each state does things a little differently. So it’s a good idea to consult with the U.S. Small Business Administration to get the details for your state. You’ll need a business license, and you’ll need to register your business for paying of any sales tax your state may require you to collect.
- Get Some Basic Contracts & Business Insurance. We can’t stress this enough. In business, you need to have a few layers of protection. First and foremost, get some basic contracts or agreements drafted from a lawyer who understands the photography business. At minimum, you’ll want a basic services agreements for any type of photography you provide to a client. And secondly, purchase business insurance. This can get fairly expensive, so make sure you find someone who has other photographers as clients. They’ll easily be able to help you understand what type of insurance you need.