Thank you for checking out today’s ASK MY ANYTHING…a weekly blog post where I answer all of your photography, business, travel, and life related questions. Come by every Monday for my answers to your most intriguing questions! Don’t forget to stop by my Instagram every Thursday to submit your questions in the comments!
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW THEN THAT YOU KNOW NOW ABOUT STARTING A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS?
- I love this question for so many reasons and thought about how I would answer it for several days. When I first started my business I think I was under the naive assumption that I would just be taking pretty pictures and that would be the majority of my day. The truth is, taking pictures is ironically the smallest part of what I do.
When I began this journey, no one told me how many different hats I would have to wear to run a business that, not only survived, but also thrived. I had to teach myself everything from bookkeeping to taxes, marketing and advertising techniques, social media management, SEO strategy, and everyday business operations. All of this while staying inspired and continuing to learn and excel at my craft.
As you can imagine, this can quickly become overwhelming. I decided early on in my business to outsource the tasks that I was not good at. For example, while I feel confident in my abilities to manage my social media strategies and marketing techniques, I happily outsource my bookkeeping and tax preparation to a professional. Don’t feel like you need to take on the entire weight of everything it takes to run your business. It’s all about finding a balance between taking on tasks you’re great at ( and enjoy doing) while not being afraid to seek help with those parts of your business where you struggle.
While I’m still experimenting with programs that help streamline my business, many small business owners have found great ways to organize their daily business tasks with the use of tools like 17 Hats, Tave, and Honeybook. These are all “one stop shop” sources that help you keep all of your daily tasks in one system while helping you to automate parts of your business’ work flow.
Owning my photography business is a lot different than what I initially thought it would be, but part of what I love so much about it is my ability to constantly be growing and working on ways to better my business. If you are thinking about starting a business too, know that it is a TON of work and will more than likely take up a majority of your time and energy, HOWEVER, it is one of the most personally rewarding things I have ever done. You can read more on this previous ASK ME ANYTHING post about my journey of starting my own business.
“I WANT TO START MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS. SO, I’M CURIOUS AT WHAT POINT YOU GOT A BUSINESS LICENSE AND IF YOU ASK YOUR CLIENTS TO SIGN A RELEASE IF YOU WANT TO USE THEIR PICS ON YOUR INSTAGRAM? “
-First of all, that’s AWESOME! As I mentioned above, starting your own business is simultaneously the most challenging AND rewarding thing you’ll ever do! I always joke that my business is my baby because I have put so much of my heart and soul into raising it. People often forget about the little behind the scenes requirements when it comes to running a business and getting a business license is just one of those very unexciting, but very important, parts of running a business.
Obtaining a business license was one of the first things I did when I started my business. Like any business, you’ll have to pay taxes on your earnings and part of legitimizing your business is having a license and obtaining an EIN number to file your taxes AND open a bank account for your business. I’d recommend talking to a tax professional to confirm what makes the most sense for your business as far as declaring yourself a Sole Prop, LLC, S Corp, etc. For more detailed information on this, check out this helpful step-by-step checklist to starting your own business included on the IRS.com website.
Lastly, yes, I do have all of my wedding clients sign a contract that includes a clause about agreeing to a model release. It is clearly stated in my contract that I have the copyrights to all of my images and the right to share them for the promotion of my business. In the occasional instance that I have a client that does not wish to have their images shared, I will either come to an agreement as far as which images they are comfortable with being shared OR they will sign an NDA (“nondisclosure agreement”). An NDA agreement typically includes a higher cost because I am ultimately unable to promote my business unless I am able to use images.
“YOUR EDITING STYLE IS SO BEAUTIFUL! DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ACHIEVING THE BRIGHT AND AIRY EDIT? I FIND GREENS SO HARD TO EDIT AT TIMES, AND YOURS ALWAYS LOOK SO GOOD! LOVE YOUR WORK!”
-Thank you! Editing style is definitely something that takes awhile to find…usually after hours and hours staring at a computer screen. I’m so thankful I found Mastin Labs because it has really allowed me the ability to find consistency with my edits while maintaining the timeless and classic look I strive for in my images. Mastin Labs is a preset for Lightroom and Capture One that allows you to emulate the look of film with a few clicks. It is amazing and using these presets has made my approach to editing so much easier!
The biggest tips I could give for making your editing easier would be to stop shooting on “auto white balance.” This holds especially true for locations that include a lot of green bounce like golf courses, green fields, forests, etc. I always shoot Kelvin and adjust my temperature for the situation. Getting the warmth right “in camera” will make life so much easier for you when trying to match the warmth of your greens in post.
Another help tip for mastering your “green edits” would be to play around with the saturation and luminance in the HSL module in Lightroom. I typically find it most helpful to drag the blues and greens up and/or down depending on the look you want. Just make sure it doesn’t affect the skin tone of your subject too much in the process.
There are a few examples of the way I edit my greens in this Pasadena Maternity Session and this San Diego Engagement Session. On a sunny day outdoors, I will typically shoot around 6000 kelvin to achieve the amount of warmth I want straight out of camera. This way, I avoid my images looking too blue and having to “eyeball” the way I want it to look later.