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advise needed on starting photography business

Discussion in 'Photography Forum' started by photoworks, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. photoworks

    photoworks New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to the forum and wondered if anyone has any advice about starting a business as independant photographer? I have been doing photography as an amateur for more than 15 years. I have as well built up a solid experience in photoshop retouching. I am seriously thinking to turn professional, if only part-time at the beginnning. I am aware that many people like my work, but somehow i am unable to sell myself successfully. If anybody has found any methods of advertising successful then please let me know.

    I would like to know what is the best way to obtain start up grants.

    My website is Serge Chabert , any comments on the website are welcome and would be very helpful please!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. photoworks

    photoworks New Member

    anyone, please ?
  3. c69

    c69 New Member

    second one is crap,
    #3 and #1 are ok,
    #4 is very good :)
  4. IainGlasgow

    IainGlasgow New Member

    The second one would be better if the model was in the centre or not cropped on the right but I think the lighting is effective though and adds to the impression she is daydreaming.
  5. adamcoupe

    adamcoupe New Member


    I'd research the market for your particular area of photography. Many creative people get carried away with the dream of how brilliant it will be to earn a living from photography without fully understanding what's going on in that niche nationally or locally. Research can be online (list all photographers in your target niche, review their websites and make notes of the way in which they talk abou their business and how they interact with their market. You're trying to glean how they acquire new customers and if possible their pricing structure and 'packages' that they offer.

    Take a look at this London Freelance site and get a feel for the 'typical' pricing listed Freelance Fees Guide: Welcome

    Decide upon a trading style - what you intend to call your business - needs to be credible and above all memorable.

    Start to develop a view on how other established photographers in your target niche appear to market their businesses - website, Google Adwords http://bit.ly/QJcrQ, local / national / niche press advertising, direct mail etc and construct an experimentation marketing plan where you try out a number of marketing activities and see which works best for your business. A lot of online promotion and marketing can be done at little or no expense - just effort on your part. You can find loads of web tools here Commercial Photography - Resources - Adam Coupe Photography

    Good luck

    Commercial Photography - Portfolio - Adam Coupe Photography
  6. heronfisher

    heronfisher New Member

    Regardless of what you claim to be, the IRS and other legal entities use different metrics to determine whether you're a bona fide business, or just an enthusiastic hobbyist, or possibly even a criminal trying to evade taxes by masquerading as a professional for the purpose of deducting expensive vacations to offset income that would otherwise be taxed. So, the first decision you need to make is, which one of these are you?

    The main risk with having a photography business is having the IRS determine that it is really just a hobby. That is, many people spend a lot of money on photography, call it a business, and offset expenses against their otherwise taxable income. So, if you're losing money in your photo business, you have a lot more to worry about than just the fact that you have less. The IRS might want to come and take more in the form of penalties, back taxes and interest on the taxes you should have been paying against your other income. Yes, you may be stunned to learn that there are actually people out there, living it up on vacations and fancy dinners, not really taking pictures, but writing off all those costs as "business expenses" (wink, wink!).
    This all serves as another reminder that forming a business requires a concerted and intentional effort to take it seriously, and while that may be vague and/or ambiguous at times, especially in the beginning, the business is perceived to be more legitimate when you follow established guidelines sanctioned by the IRS. I will cover many of them here, but you are encouraged to do additional research, since there are state-by-state laws that you may need to know. A great resource for more information (which include necessary forms for filing a corporate papers and tax election status), see Books on Incorporating, published by Nolo Press

    All that said, you are certainly allowed to treat your photo hobby like a business and still not actually form a business entity. For example, if you're selling prints on eBay, then you can do this in your spare time and just file a Schedule C with your normal tax returns. (This is the form that declares "other" income.) If you sell something that requires "sales tax," you may need to do a few things with your state's local franchise tax board. But these don't necessarily require you to "start a business."

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