So, you’re ready to take the leap and start your own photography business? Great! You’ve undoubtedly got the gear you’ll need to take high-quality photos. You’ve probably secured a space where you can work. Your website is up. Your business cards are printed. You might even have networked with other local businesses to spread the word that you’re ready to work.
Those are obviously essential steps toward becoming a self-employed photographer, but there are many, many more steps involved in the process – some obvious and some not so obvious. Let’s have a look at a few steps you’ll need to take before you start your own photography business that might not have crossed your mind.
To say that you need to have photographer’s insurance is a huge understatement. Just like you wouldn’t own a home or drive a car without insurance, you shouldn’t operate a business without the proper insurance policies either. For photographers, this means having several types of coverage:
Business personal property coverage protects against damaged or stolen equipment. Policies like this, which have limits that you select, replace or repair your gear quickly so your business doesn’t suffer.
Photographic equipment off-premises coverages ensures that if there’s a mishap while you’re out shooting that your gear will be covered. You’re covered up to $5,000 per item and $25,000 per occurrence. That’s great peace of mind!
Miscellaneous professional liability coverage gives you the protection you need should legal obligations arise due to errors, omissions, or negligence on your part.
General liability coverage protects you in case a client sues as a result of an injury they’ve sustained while at your office or studio, up to $2 million per occurrence.
Business income and extra expense coverage provides you with up to 12 months of coverage due to loss of income and fixed expenses should your business be closed due to a covered loss, like a fire at your office.
The issue, of course, is finding a well-respected insurance company that provides customized insurance just for photographers. Though there are many options available, for us, National Photographer’s Insurance is your best option. Not only do they offer each of the kinds of coverage listed above, but they have a deep understanding of the unique needs of photographers. Even better, National Photographer’s Insurance is licensed in all 50 states, so no matter where you live, you have access to top-shelf coverage that will protect your investments should something go awry. Check out National Photographer’s Insurance to see what they can do for you!
Find Good Help
In addition to finding the right insurance coverage for you and your business, you also need to look into finding good help. Though the temptation might be to go it alone – and from a financial standpoint, you might have to at first – the value of having good help cannot be understated.
Consider this – as a self-employed photographer you aren’t just in charge of taking the photos. You’re also in charge of post-processing, scheduling appointments, tracking down payments, paying your own bills, advertising on social media, keeping your website updated…the list goes on and on.
There are so many responsibilities for a small business owner that it’s nearly impossible to handle all of them – at least in a way that doesn’t cause you lots of stress! As a result, think about hiring people that can help you with some of these tasks. An accountant is probably the first person you should hire so you’re sure your books are in order. An assistant is a good choice as well, someone that can handle phone calls and emails, scheduling appointments, billing, and so forth. Basically, anything you aren’t very good at needs to be hired out. Though it means your expenses are greater, in the end, your business will be much more successful.
Get Involved in a Professional Association
Making inroads with professional photography associations might not seem like much of an important step to take at first, but it most certainly can be beneficial. Aside from the marketing benefits – promoting your professional affiliation in your advertising might help you draw in more business – being a member of a professional organization offers you plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. You can network with other members of the association, attend workshops, and take advantage of other member-only benefits like discounts on gear. Many professional photography organizations also provide their members with business-related resources like contracts, pricing structures, and so on. If anything else, professional membership means you have an organization’s worth of answers when questions or problems arise. That’s worth the price of membership alone!
If you want to give yourself the best chance of success (who doesn’t?!) add these three tasks to your business to-do list. Cover yourself against mishaps with insurance; find reliable and trustworthy helpers to take care of some of the daily tasks of running your own business; join a professional photography organization and take advantage of their resources to help you build your business. Do each of these things, and your business will have the strong footing it needs to succeed for years to come.