The Business Of

BEFORE YOU CLICK: Important Considerations For Your Photography Business

The following is a guest post from Kara Jensen Zitnick of LaunchHER. This first article is part one of four and will set up the foundation of legal issues any photography business owner needs to address. In part two, Kara will discuss contracts; in part three, copyrights; and in part four, trademarks. Kara is a great resource, has affordable rates and is passionate about helping small business owners. Pleave your comments and questions below and check out her website: LaunchHER.com.

BEFORE YOU CLICK :: Important Considerations For Your Photography Business
Part One :: 3 Steps to a Solid Foundation

contract for a photographer

Your business means the world to you. Your heart and soul is in every shot, click and pose. Put your business on solid ground in three simple steps:

1. Make It Legal :: Choose a business entity for your venture. Whether you operate as a Sole Proprietor, Partnership or LLC (Limited Liability Company), creating a legal entity under which to operate your photography business can personally protect you from liability, as well as provide potential tax consequences, depending upon your entity choice.

A Sole Proprietorship is the easiest of the entity choices to form. Generally, you operate as a Sole Proprietor if you have not formed any other entity. Doing Business As (DBA) is a common form of Sole Proprietorship. When operating as a Sole Proprietor, your personal assets can be used to satisfy business debts and liabilities. If a law suit is filed against your photography business, the suit is, essentially, filed against you personally. Profits and losses are reported on the owner’s individual tax return.

Partnerships are formed between two or more people. While partnerships may be formed on a simple handshake and oral agreement, it is smarter to operate under the terms of a written agreement. Partnership Agreements govern how the entity will operate, how profits and losses will be shared, among other things. An attorney can draft a partnership agreement that reflects the role of each partner, as well as how the partners desire the joint venture be operated.

In general, LLCs give its owners (members) limited personal responsibility for business debts and liabilities of the company against creditors. This means your personal assets cannot be used to satisfy business debts. Profits and losses are reported on the owners’ personal tax returns, so no taxes are paid at the business level. LLCs are formed at the state level by filing the state-required documents and paying applicable filing fees.

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Responsive Websites for Photographers

We look at dozens of photography websites each week and take note of some of the best practices and trends. Responsive design is a growing trend that makes sense to us  and one you’ll be hearing more about.

(Need help with your website? Drop us a line below.)

You’re on the go and so are your clients
The web viewing habits of consumers have been changing for years with mobile devices accounting for a growing percentage of web traffic to photography business websites, blogs and Facebook pages. In fact, there will soon come a time when more people access the web via mobile than by PC.

A photographer’s website  needs to be planned to work for mobile, tablets, and desktops.  Almost a quarter of all of our web traffic (24.% of total visits) comes from mobile devices. Of that, almost 90% is iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch).  As we plan an overhaul of our site, one of our top priorities is accommodating the different size screens — responsive design. As we build out the Inspire Me Baby store, for example, we’re already using a responsive theme. If you re-size the browser you can see how the page is re-organized.

Different Views for Different Screens
The beauty of a responsive design is that it  recognizes the size of the screen on which it is being viewed and reorients and resizes for an optimal layout. This is called by some, the Goldilocks approach: a large design for desktop and laptop screens, a medium layout for tablets, and a small layout for mobile phones. Live Example. If you’ve ever tried viewing a non-responsive photography portfolio on an iPhone or Android browser, you know how annoying it is trying to pinch and zoom in and out of the site to alternate between reading the text and viewing the image.  There are plugins that will recreate a WordPress site with a mobile version of the theme, but this can make your site look inconsistent and challenging to navigate. If you’ve ever tried using Amazon.com on a mobile phone, you’ve experienced this first hand.

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Books that Inspire, Motivate and Educate Photographers

Regardless of whether you are just starting out or you’ve been in the photography business for years, it is important to stimulate your mind, replenish your motivation reservoir and improve your skills. One of the best ways to do that, is reading (or listening to audiobooks). The following list includes a few of the books we’ve read this year and a few that were suggested by our readers. Most are not even photography books but are more creative, inspirational or business oriented. We would love to grow this list so please submit your favorite books that inspire, motivate and educate using the  form at the bottom of the page.

Photography


Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer

Going ProGoing Pro is the essential guide to leaping successfully into any genre of professional photography. Industry powerhouses Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen share invaluable advice on defining your niche, putting together a portfolio, pricing and showing your work, marketing, positioning your brand, and, most important, building an online social media platform from the ground up.

 


For the Love: An inspirational Guide and Adventure into Photographing Your Family

For the LoveA personal and inspirational guide and adventure into photographing your family and inviting time to breathe, time to love, and time to embrace what you have. An invitation to explore your creativity, whilst also recording the moments that your heart tells you that you must.

‘For The Love’ is for anyone who loves photography, as it is a gentle reminder that we need to slow down, record, and remember these precious days.


Fine Art Wedding Photography

Fine Art Wedding PhotographyA guide to the next big thing in wedding imagery that shows wedding photographers of various levels how to evolve past photojournalism to the higher-end, more stylised look brides want, with specific design, composition, posing and lighting techniques that makes any bride’s wedding photos look like the pages of a glossy lifestyle magazine. Thanks to Abundant Life Images for the suggestion.

 


Motivation/Inspiration


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve JobsBased on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.


 
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything


The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.


The Gifts of Imperfection

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”


Have a Little Faith: A True Story

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.The book follows the spiritual journeys of three men—a suburban rabbi, an inner-city pastor and the author himself.

 

 


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Guest Blogger: Developing a Great Sales Strategy by Sarah Petty

Please welcome Sarah Petty of The Joy of Marketing who shares a key step in developing a great sales strategy and an invitation to an online marketing education event you won’t want to miss.

Owning a small photography business is tough enough without the strains of today’s unpredictable economy. I know, because I’ve been there. I started up my own portrait photography business in 2001, about two weeks before 9/11. So as you can imagine, I’ve had to learn how to build my business to become strong and profitable even in the toughest times. Using the sales strategy I’m about to share with you, I was able to make my studio one of the most profitable in the country in just five years, as named by Professional Photographers of America.

Though I made some mistakes with past clients in how I handled the selling process, I vowed to never let them happen again and built this strong sales strategy to ensure that I will never leave any money on the table with any client.

The first step in this “chain link fence” sales strategy I’ve created is the very first phone call with the potential client. The first phone call is one of the most important parts of the sales process. With just one call, you can pre-qualify your client, make sure they are right for you, and get them excited about what you do…

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Photographing Kids Birthday Parties by Chubby Cheek Photography

Shalonda from Chubby Cheek Photography is back with another insightful contribution. Her previous article on Photographing Your Own Children is one of the most popular with our readers, and I’m sure you’ll find this one on photographing kids birthday parties equally helpful and inspirational.

Shooting Some Sugar – Photographing Kids Birthday Parties
birthday party
kids playing at party

christmas birthday party

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