A few questions for the business owners..


TPF Noob!
Jul 31, 2011
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Mesa, Arizona
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Would you recommend taking either business management classes or photography classes?
or just going with it and doing it all on your own?

Do photographers have to carry any kind of permits or insurance for the clients? (it's probably not the same but like freelance massage therapist's have to have special insurance)

If you charge for photography, how much did you start at for your first sessions? and how long did you charge that price before raising it?

I wanted to start with my friends and family however, they would probably tell their friends that I did their stuff for free, how do I get around that? Should I just post what I have and market that and start charging right away or what? I want to be taken seriously and I don't want to haggle lol so I think if some knew that I did it for free they might see that as a weak spot.

Thanks a ton for looking & answering:) If you have anything else to add, please do.
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT!!! You can be a mediocre photographer and succeed wildly if you have excellent business skill. If you are an amazing photographer with no business skills you are destined to either get some business education or fail.

Yes, we carry insurance on our equipment, liability on studios and indemnity insurance. Sales Tax ID, business licensing is all standard as it would be for any business.
The business and starting out thing is something I have a ton to say on... I have a bunch of stuff here and there I'll try to get together for you.
In the mean time I HIGHLY recommend Todd Reichmann's blog …a Man to Fish…
Wow! Thank you very much! I'll check it out.
Sadly, it's not necessary to know what you are doing, if you know how to give the perception of knowing. Business is about knowing how to make money. And that means finding customers who are prepared to pay the business person for what they perceive is something of value. Since much of the buying public (in any field) is not knowledgeable, it is not hard to convince them that the services provided are reasonable, or even good. If you were dealing with an educated, discerning public, then I'd stress skill and knowledge over business acumen. But in most fields, that just not the case.

Assuming you are planning to give people value for their money, you still need to know what they want to buy. Since often customers can't put into words what they are really looking for, a good business person has to be able to work that out, and then deliver to them what they want. If you can deliver that to them, and get them to feel good about the whole experience, then you are a good business person. Now, what they want to buy may be selective-colored cliches... and you will give that to them, even if privately, you may want to puke. On the other hand, you may decide to educate them in terms of what they "should" be wanting... But then, you'd better be giving courses on art appreciation, photographic evaluation, and the like.

There is a sticky in the business section (see: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/general-shop-talk/266193-noobs-guide-starting-business.html) that touches upon some of the things you need to think about when starting a business. As a business owner, I can tell you that knowing which niche you should be in is probably the most important business decision you can make, since that niche should have your strengths, little competition, and enough customers willing to pay your prices to make it worthwhile. Another thing you learn about business, is that there are usually lots of people that have the skills(and even talent) but not the business knowledge, who you can hire to do the production work. Sadly, most craftsmen can't market and can't sell, and therefore they always stuggle to have enough work to keep going. But if you know how to create a perception of value (and even better, a desire in your customers), then you will have people seeking you out, and then it becomes an matter of organizing to do the production work at a sufficiently low cost to allow the revenue to cover all the direct costs, the overhead costs, and the desired profit.

Risks are present in any business. Being "legal" reduces your exposure tremendously. Same goes for having the necessary paperwork (contracts, releases, purchase agreements, etc.). Most small businesses go under because they are undercapitalized to start with, and don't know how to manage their cash flow. So having a good system to keep track of money on a daily basis one of the differences between playing at business, and succeeding in business.
Thank you! I totally did not see that stickie, some very good information there, I appreciate that!
I keep seeing these words thrown about: "Business Skills"

What are they exactly?

I mean, I have a business, and never took a single class in business or management.
Just curious what I am missing out on with these "skills", and why business schooling is soooo important.
Bitter - if I recall right didn't you spend some years working under other people in business/jewelling? I would assume dedicated business courses are designed to impart the business skills and advice one would otherwise gain through something like an apprenticing setup.
Business skills include the ability to put together a realistic budget, then implement it so that it is relatively easy to track and make sure you're seeing the real costs. Business skills includes planning: figuring out the scope of work, putting together a plan that delivers on the scope of work, and does it in a way that respects both financial and time constraints. Business skills include the ability to put together a business plan, a marketing plan, and a production plan. Finding and attracting the right customer is an important part of any business plan. Knowing enough about customer psychology to be able to persuade them that your product or service is worth buying over the competition. Business skills include knowing how to identify the work to be done, recruiting the people to do the work, putting in place the necessary monitoring systems to keep on top of production costs, quality, and productivity. Business skills include the ability to manage, motivate, educate and if necessary, terminate the workforce. Business skills include the ability to recognize opportunity where no-one else does, and then to be able to turn that insight into an enterprise.

You're right David - you don't need formal schooling to know many of those things. But self-education is a lot more expensive than formal schooling - think of all the errors one can make. If you are lucky (or well-organized enough) to have worked in another business and learned from it what works and what doesn't, then you've effectively been through an apprenticeship program. The successful, self-taught businessperson is probably the exception that proves the rule - it ain't easy, and it takes a particular person to succeed. Ultimately, any business is a machine designed to generate money. Understanding what components are necessary for this machine, how to keep it running effectively, and how to do so in a constantly-changing environment, is what I would call business skills.
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Hmmm...I think you would find the way I run my business amusing.
In a nutshell I operate simply by the concept of money in, money out. At the end of the month, if there is money left, we're golden. If that number keeps growing, we're styling'! LOL

Overread, I was a benchman everywhere I worked. I never dealt with numbers, including pricing.
Hmmm...I think you would find the way I run my business amusing.
In a nutshell I operate simply by the concept of money in, money out. At the end of the month, if there is money left, we're golden. If that number keeps growing, we're styling'! LOL

Overread, I was a benchman everywhere I worked. I never dealt with numbers, including pricing.

I've seen your work (via the Facebook postings you do), and you are, in the full meaning of the word, an artist. Your work is pretty unique, and the nice thing about unique works of art is that you have little competition and your clients know it. So the price pressures that many businesses face, are somewhat lessened in your situation. However, if you had to move to a new place and start over, with no carryover reputation to support you, how would you do it? That's where the business skills come in: to identify a likely niche, to research and define it, and then to put that insight into action. Now, what would happen if you had an accident or injury that prevented you from doing the work yourself? You have enough knowledge and talent to guide others to do the work under your supervision - but have you considered that scenario and what you would do if you had to do it? Not trying to put you in a spot - just pointing out that the term "business skills" is a rather large blanket that covers a lot of ground.
Thank you so much! I will love over these, you are a great help!

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