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Old 07-07-2012, 05:41 PM #1
reddogphoto
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Photography as a business - share your methods, successes, and pitfalls

I had the idea today of starting a thread where those of us that market our photography for whatever sort of income can share ideas, things that work, best practices, and mistakes we can all learn from. There's plenty of threads in here discussing gear and workflow, and for photo sharing, but nothing yet specific to the day to day things we do that don't involve a camera or Lightroom. Things like accounting, marketing, networking, office layout, etc.

Here's a few things I'm curious about right off the bat:

1. What kind of company does everyone here exist under? How many are sole proprietors, and how many LLCs?

2. For those of you that market actively through Facebook, how do you use page insights to your advantage?

3. I need a good office chair for the hours spent culling and processing. Any suggestions?

4. Does anyone use a customer relationship manager application, or do you manage your client base through an address book or Outlook?
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:43 PM #2
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I don't know 100% if this would fit in, but possibly Photography Education as well? What classes have you taken, where did you go, what degree do you have?
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:15 PM #3
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I'm down with education being a subject as well, though I feel strongly that a business heavy education is more valuable than one biased more toward photography. I think a solid business foundation with four years of part time shooting, experimentation, and portfolio building will make a lot more of a difference to you in the long run.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:00 PM #4
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I can only speak for a couple of these.

FB advertising can work. One of my friends got work from that within a week of him signing up for it and continues to get work from it.

Spend the money on a nice chair, dont half *** it. Your back will thank you.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:12 PM #5
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Don't go into paintball photography.

I say it partially as a joke, as I credit it with getting me to where I am today - but I learned a lot of hard lessons about business from it.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:38 AM #6
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Its a battle. A fun one, but a battle.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:49 AM #7
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Jimmy, seeing as you're one of the few (to my knowledge) photographers here that do it for a living, can you tell us more? Just basic up's and down's of doing it for a living?
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:22 PM #8
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If anyone wants info on how bigger studios work, I can share my limited knowledge. The studio I work at employs 13 full time people including photographers, editors, and production coordinators.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:57 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddogphoto View Post

1. What kind of company does everyone here exist under? How many are sole proprietors, and how many LLCs?

SP at the moment, I considered LLC but the way my province handles it would mean that I wouldn't get many tax incentives as a small business until I start hiring employees, so I'm taking the extra risk for the moment.

2. For those of you that market actively through Facebook, how do you use page insights to your advantage?

I watch it but I don't make it too much of a concern, as of right now about 50% of my page likes are in my city and 70% in my province, so as long as I'm reaching my market I'm happy. I have been watching it a bit closer lately to see what content gets more attention.

3. I need a good office chair for the hours spent culling and processing. Any suggestions?

I honestly have no idea, I was in the market a couple months ago but all the chairs I really liked were $1000+, so I settled with a $200 chair from a local office supply store, which is fine, but nothing great. If someone has some better suggestions I'd love to hear it as well.

4. Does anyone use a customer relationship manager application, or do you manage your client base through an address book or Outlook?

Address book for me, I've never had anything come up where I found that that wasn't enough, most of my customer contact comes through email and occasionally by phone, so between that and iCal I'm able to run things smoothly.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:24 AM #10
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I still need to select an accountant to talk things over with, but I'm very leery about the whole LLC thing as it seems the concept lost a lot of its credibility a few years ago, at least on the local level. When the economy tanked here in 2007, a lot of the small owner-operator companies I dealt with on the commercial truck side folded up and used their LLC status to walk away from their debts, even though many of the contracts they signed had personal guarantee clauses. A lot of creditors lost a lot of money in court battles, and from what I've seen there's a lot less desire to provide financial assistance to an LLC startup.

As for seats, my day job place is a Seats Inc. dealer, and while their primary focus is vehicle seating, they make a version of their premium on-highway seat on on an office chair base. I'm considering that, as the Legacy truck seat is quite comfortable, and designed for hours at a time of use. It's pricey though, and I want to consider some other options before I commit to buying one.

http://www.seatsinc.com/ngp/!slmenu_...2. 109679.cat it's the one on the left, though I'd probably get a solid leather colour instead of the two tone.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:15 PM #11
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Quote:
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Don't go into paintball photography.

I say it partially as a joke, as I credit it with getting me to where I am today - but I learned a lot of hard lessons about business from it.
I think paintball photography can def. help you become a great photographer, but I really don't see the money in it at all.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:34 PM #12
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I was hoping this thread would be a bit more active, lots of great business photogs on here.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:27 PM #13
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Quote:
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Jimmy, seeing as you're one of the few (to my knowledge) photographers here that do it for a living, can you tell us more? Just basic up's and down's of doing it for a living?
Yeah for sure, give me a little bit and I will have a good bit for the questions here
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:27 PM #14
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well wat i do iz i get ppl to talk to me so i can tak picz of dem at the event. i jus recomend ppl talkin to me so dat dey get me some better rep points
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:28 PM #15
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Okay..you've got to be trolling.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:31 PM #16
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shut up man im not a troll
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:45 PM #17
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I'm curious at what point you guys turned it into an actual business. I've only done a few paid gigs and just file it as extra income during tax time.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:51 PM #18
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When I got kicked out of college and needed to find a career, I've always known I would own my own business so for me it was a no brainer, being able to stay at home a couple extra years helps too.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:23 AM #19
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When I got kicked out of college and needed to find a career, I've always known I would own my own business so for me it was a no brainer, being able to stay at home a couple extra years helps too.
How the hell do you get kicked out of college?
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:34 AM #20
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There's a number of ways, but I failed a 100% credit final and was given the option to wait a year to redo the class which I needed to do the rest of the degree, or leave..I left, best decision I've ever made.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:42 PM #21
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There's a number of ways, but I failed a 100% credit final and was given the option to wait a year to redo the class which I needed to do the rest of the degree, or leave..I left, best decision I've ever made.
oh so you didnt really get kicked out. good for you then if you saved money by not going back.
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