Whether you are looking to supplement your income or make photography your full-time job, it is important to present yourself as a professional. Before you schedule any photo sessions, learn how to start a photography business the right way.

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Incorporating a Photography Business

Many photographers wonder whether they should incorporate their businesses or work as sole proprietors. There's no one-size-fits-all answer for those starting a photography business, but you may benefit from incorporating before you accept your first client. If you incorporate, your business assets will be separate from your personal assets. Should a client sue you for breach of contract or another legal issue, your personal assetssuch as your house and personal bank accountswill not be at stake. Although the requirements for incorporating vary from state to state, it’s something to consider if you want to limit your legal liability.

If you do not have any employees, consider forming a limited liability company (LLC). This will limit your personal liability, but you'll still be able to take advantage of some of the tax deductions offered to sole proprietors. LLC owners are able to take deductions for their home offices. If you do not want to form an LLC when starting a photography business, you also have the option of starting an S-corporation or C-corporation. Both types of corporations offer limited liability for business owners, but they are taxed differently.

Insurance for Photographers

One thing many people overlook when learning how to start a photography business is the need for professional liability insurance. If you are sued and do not have insurance, you will be responsible for paying any judgment against you. Many photographers do not expect to be sued, but it is a possibility for anyone interested in starting a photography business.

If you break something belonging to one of your clients, or a client feels you did not carry out the terms of your contract, you could be sued for hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you have professional liability insurance, your insurance company will pay the claimsaving you a lot of money.

Professional Contracts

If you are just learning how to start a photography business, it's important to use a professional contract with every client. Photographers who do not use contracts are more likely to have problems when it comes to getting paid or fulfilling the terms of an agreement. Using contracts gives you an extra layer of protection and shows people you take your business seriously.

Every Photography Contract should include the date and time of the scheduled photography session, the number of people you will be photographing, the number of photos you will take, the price of the session, and your payment policies. If you require a deposit, this should be in the contract. Your contract should also indicate whether the price includes photo retouching or other photography services. Do not provide any photography services without a signed contract on file. It's important to protect yourself against lawsuits and make sure every client knows what to expect when working with you.

Once you get the ball rolling on your new photography business, you’ll be happy you made that decisionmaking people smile for a living and delivering mementos that your clients will cherish forever.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.