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Lesson 32 Setting Up Your Business´s archives ↓

Lesson 32: Page 01

Lesson 32: Page 02

Since a professional photography business is your goal and you hope to be making money soon, then it is time to begin looking at your business setup. Many photographers, maybe most, prefer to take a lackadaisical approach to running their business. For some it has been so much fun reaching the point where they are ready to make photography their career and see some serious money reward them.  They are a very good photographer, everyone says so and now the world owes them their business. They might have had lots of great photo vacations or enjoyed a garage portrait business, better yet: they completed this course, but now it is time to figure the structure of their business. You on the other hand have extensive training to compete in the business starting tomorrow.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 32: Page 03

Legal Department: If someone is not paying you on time you have to call or write the letter. If someone used your photo without permission, you have to talk the legal talk to coerce them to pay you.  This can be a substantial amount of time should it happen….and it will. The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 32: Page 04

Record Keeping

One of the nice things about being a professional photographer is the variety of fun activities you can do in the name of your business. I am referring to write offs and deductions. I have taken countless rafting trips, road trips, horse pack trips, and other adventures that were 100% deductible off my taxes. How? I simply photographed these adventures and since I make 150% of my living as a photographer, I can do that. Now don’t take any of this as “How to beat the IRS” because everything I do is within the legal framework of the tax codes. Every image I shoot goes to my stock agencies and I make money off these adventures. You can do this also, but should consult your accountant before going to far and make sure you are in compliance. Bottom line: get advice from your accountant.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 32: Page 05

What else do you need in a n office? If you are shooting videos you need software. You will need an online delivery service for sending files, like Dropbox or Yousendit. What about a land line? I just use a cell phone anymore, but if yuo have a studio manager maintaining the studio, you will probably need a land line.  If I need to make copies consistently, you can get a $100 all-in-one printer vs a $1000 copy machine. You will also need stationery, envelopes, letterhead, and business cards.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 32: Page 06

I have worked in very small spaces when I had to, but feel that 1000 square feet is the minimum for size if you plan to have a client area, desks, and store props, seamless, and other studio props.  Ideally, more works better and the 2500 square foot studio I once had was much easier to work in. My studio mate and I could both be shooting jobs at the same time with little interference.

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Lesson 32: Page 07

Of course this all costs money. That is why sharing is a good way to go if you feel you have enough business to justify the monthly expenses. Clients use photographers who have no studio all the time, but if they have studio shoots they need done, they often go right to a photographer who has a studio. If you get a nice assignment from an ad agency, I would not take them to your garage studio to do the shoot, rather spend the money on a rental space and do it right even if you eat the costs of doing that. You only get one chance to make a first impression!
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Lesson 32: Page 08

Now if you have determined that your average sitting has been $300, you need to do 21 sitting per month to reach your goal of $6300 in billings. That is a little over one sitting per day and that doesn’t sound difficult. Other options would be to offer more products to each customer to get them to spend more. Uh oh, forgot taxes on top of that so now add another 25% to the expenses and required sittings to meet your tax liability.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 32: Page 09

Be the business or build the business?

Should you be the business or build the business? If you are the business, such as Jane Doe Photography, you are the business and wish to keep things simple, just you and the clients. If you go on vacation of get sick, no income is produced. When you quit the business or retire, the business retires with you. When you build the business, such as Acme Photo Studio, you are building the business. As the business is built and additional staff comes on board, you can go on vacation, get sick, or whatever and the business continues. When you want out or wish to retire, you can sell the business. The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 32: Page 10

I won’t mince words: I learned a lot from these guys and the experience was invaluable. I only quit assisting when I got too busy with my own clients.  You will have to decide for yourself whether this type of experience has any value or not for you. But if you want give it a try first determine who in your local area you would like to work for.  You can do this by searching the Internet for St. Louis commercial photographers for example.  You can also become a member of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and this will give you an opportunity to determine who you might want to work for and then introduce yourself to them when the local chapter meets.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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