just starting out

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by shelly86, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. shelly86

    shelly86 TPF Noob!

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    Hoping to get help here! My hobby seems to be turning into a part time business and I have no idea what to do ! I have taken some photos of friends and family but now have people calling me wanting me to photograph their kids, seniors, etc. I never intended for this to turn into a business but don't want to pass up the opportunity so what is the next step? How much do I charge, printing options? I have looked into web sites where you pay a fee and customers can order prints while you make a profit, but there are so many of them, have no idea which one to choose. How did some of you start out? What did you do? shelly:confused:
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum Shelly.

    I think the first thing you should do, is to really decide if you really want to make a go of this. Most 1st time home businesses fail because of poor planing and lack of business knowledge, so if you are determined to start a business, it would be a good idea to start there.
    Write up a business plan, or at the very least, think it out. Register your business with whomever you need to register with (usually your city government). Pay your taxes!

    You will probably want to set up a website, get business cards and/or other promotional materials, but you could conceivably do with without it for a awhile if you get good word of mouth advertising.

    Figuring out what to charge is ofter a hard decision. Most people start out too low, and that is a big reason why many of them fail. If you don't charge enough to make it worth your time, it's bound to fail. The usual advice is to check what other photographers in your area are charging. You probably don't want to be known as 'The Cheap Photographer', you want people to hire you because you're good, not because you're cheap.

    There have been many similar questions asked on the forum, so look around and see if you can find some previously posted information that could be helpful.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You might want to do some reading:
    www.copyright.gov ..... Model Release Primer

    Professional Business Practices in Photography a compilation of the American Society of Media Photographers. www.asmp.org

    Best Business Practices for Photographers John Harrington www.johnharrington.com

    The Photographers Guide to Negotiating Richard Weisgrau

    Business and Legal Forms for Photographers Tad Crawford

    Photographers Market The Editors of Writers Digest Books (Yearly)

    A Digital Photographers Guide to Model Releases Dan Heller www.danheller.com

    How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules For Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients
    Jeffery J. Fox
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  4. shelly86

    shelly86 TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the advice and resources, they look great, and you are so right, knowing about the business end of photography is so important and , personally, it is something I need to research and investigate more before going forward. Another photographer gave me the same exact advice too .
    I have another question, it may be silly but what did you mean (Mike) by Pay your taxes? Sales tax or income tax? Sorry for sounding lame but needed to clarify and how much income is considered taxable by the irs? Another question I had was about proofs. Do you show your clients proofs online or order proof books and how do you charge for those if you order books? This may be a question for another part of the forum, if so let me know where to post it. thanks again
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Income Tax...tax on the money that you bring in. You don't want the IRS on your back.

    When doing your research, make sure to find out what needs to be done for small business in your area. There may be rules/laws specific to where you live.

    There are usually plenty of resources for people wanting to start their own business, so see what kind of help you can get. And of course, talking to an accountant would be a great idea. They should be able to set you on the right path.

    I have an on-line store that I can use to show clients the photos and also to actually handle the sale of prints etc.

    What works for some people, may not work for others. You need to find what works for you, and what works with your clients.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You have to be careful with proofing online.
    • It's easy to copy the images, either just right click or do a screen shot. Online images should be no more than 600 pixels on the long side and have a watermark/logo/copyright statement. They will still be copied, count on it.
    • If you just leave the images up, people can look at them whenever they want, so they don't need to order. Put a time limit on them, like 14 days.
     
  7. shelly86

    shelly86 TPF Noob!

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    I have been researching the business end of photography like everyone has advised me and have learned so much. I am working on a business plan and sense this would be a part time business right now I want to weigh all my options . I am wondering if it wouldn't be easier to charge more of a flat fee for photo shoots and then charge clients another fee and put their photos on a cd for them to print off where ever they would like to. Pros and cons to this idea? I have checked out many sites where I could upload pics and have clients purchase from that site. It just seems easier to go the CD route, does anyone do their business this way? What would do just starting out?
    shelly:confused:
     

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