Photography Student Needs Business Advice!

violetblue

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Hey guys!
I am taking a class geared towards creating our own photography business, and right now we are working on creating our own business plans. Our instructor encouraged us to reach out to other photographers for this assignment so here I am! My question is: what are your recommendations as far as finding professional support to start your business? In other words, how did you find a lawyer, banker, and accountant to help you start your business? And is there anyone I am leaving out?

Thanks!!!
 

DGMPhotography

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I would ask friends and family who have had good experiences with such professionals. A lot of these professions thrive on referrals.
 

tirediron

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Once you have a list of potential lawyers/accountants/whichever, then interview them just the way you would if you were hiring someone for a job. Determine if they have experience appropriate to a photography business, if they're someone you can get along with, if they have time for you (if you feel rushed, walk away).
 

orljustin

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I would ask friends and family who have had good experiences with such professionals. A lot of these professions thrive on referrals.

Yep. Although for banking, I would just go with the bank you already deal with, if possible. There's not much I've needed from a bank besides basic banking work.

Don't forget insurance agent. Both equipment and liability should be covered by someone specializing in business insurance.
 

Big Mike

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Word of mouth mostly. A friend of a friend, somebody's brother or cousin etc.

A good idea would be to join a photographer's association. You could ask around to find out who other photographers are using...and then you'll know that they at least know something about catering to a photo business.

Also, some professional associations have group plans with insurance companies and possibly lawyers etc.
 

12sndsgood

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also you could look into the small business asssociations and the sbc who help small business. sure they have people they can possibly refer as well.
 

Tee

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Is this an online course?
 

Garvey

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Also, if you are in the USA, you could try SCORE. It's a national organization of retired business people that provide mentors to small businesses. Just google "SCORE" and I'm sure you will find them.
 

nycphotography

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Before answering, I would ask about what kind of photography business?

Describe for us how you expect your business to operate.

What kind of photography do you expect to be doing and for what (kinds of) clients?
Who will be finding clients and how? Who will be handling the administrative stuff?
Do you expect to have employees or will this be a one man operation?
Do you expect to maintain studio space, or is this strictly on location work?

Also, what assets do you have that you need to protect? IE, savings, investments, personal valuables, and equity in your house? What equipment do you have or expect to need?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may or may not need a lawyer, an accountant, or special insurance. At least right away... not until you've booked the income to pay for them.

Mostly I say this because because the above questions are far more relevant to your success in business. _MOST_ businesses fail for financial reasons, not because they had a shaky contract or didn't know what taxes to pay or have insurance for some edge case event that happened. Financial reasons almost always stem from SALES / INCOME not exceeding OVERHEAD / EXPENSES. So my advice is almost always the same (unless you have some pretty unique answers to the questios above)... spend as little as possible at first.... until you make the money to pay for it. THEN you upgrade equipment, get a studio, get the lawyer, the accountant, and the insurance.
 
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violetblue

violetblue

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Before answering, I would ask about what kind of photography business?

Describe for us how you expect your business to operate.

What kind of photography do you expect to be doing and for what (kinds of) clients?
Who will be finding clients and how? Who will be handling the administrative stuff?
Do you expect to have employees or will this be a one man operation?
Do you expect to maintain studio space, or is this strictly on location work?

Also, what assets do you have that you need to protect? IE, savings, investments, personal valuables, and equity in your house? What equipment do you have or expect to need?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may or may not need a lawyer, an accountant, or special insurance. At least right away... not until you've booked the income to pay for them.

Mostly I say this because because the above questions are far more relevant to your success in business. _MOST_ businesses fail for financial reasons, not because they had a shaky contract or didn't know what taxes to pay or have insurance for some edge case event that happened. Financial reasons almost always stem from SALES / INCOME not exceeding OVERHEAD / EXPENSES. So my advice is almost always the same (unless you have some pretty unique answers to the questios above)... spend as little as possible at first.... until you make the money to pay for it. THEN you upgrade equipment, get a studio, get the lawyer, the accountant, and the insurance.

It will be mostly senior portraits and weddings.
Right now I have been getting a lot of people asking me for pictures through my connections with the military, and a lot of advertising on Facebook. I do have another photographer who wants to join in, so him and I will probably both share the administrative stuff. It will be both on location and in home studio work. I have a good deal of the equipment that I need already since I was required to buy it for school as far as light kits, a light meter, cameras, lenses, a tripod, software,...ect.
 

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