I see this all the time "I just started what should I charge? Or What do you think I should charge based on my work"

Photography can be an incredibly rewarding hobby, allowing you to capture moments, express your creativity, and explore the world through your lens. However, if you're considering turning your passion into a photography business, there's more to it than just taking beautiful pictures. In this blog post, we'll explore the key factors you need to consider before charging for your photography services. From understanding the business side to assessing your readiness, these tips will help you make an informed decision. A lot of people pick up a camera and think they can just start collecting money, it is so much more than that. A photography business Is a lot more than just pushing a button.

The business side of things...

Becoming a professional photographer means you'll have to handle not just the art of capturing images but also the business aspects. This includes dealing with taxes, client communication, and managing your back office. Let's delve into these important considerations:

a. Taxes: As a business owner, you're responsible for understanding and paying taxes on your income. This can be a complex task, and it's crucial to keep accurate records of your earnings and expenses to avoid potential issues with tax authorities. This is not just federal tax either, this is also State Sales Tax if it applies. Collecting cash is not a way to fly under the radar either.

b. Image/Gallery Delivery: How will you deliver your images to clients? A streamlined and professional delivery process is essential for client satisfaction. Dropbox, Google Photos, Shutterfly these are not great choices for delivering images in a professional way. You'll need a professional gallery delivery system such as Pixieset, Cloudspot, Pictime etc.

c. Client Communication & Management: Effective communication with your clients is key to building your reputation and maintaining good relationships. Promptly responding to inquiries and addressing client concerns is vital. You will need a software to do this, there are several programs that can help you manage your clients, your profit/loss and other things you need to run a business.

Assessing Your Readiness....

Before you start charging for your photography services, ask yourself the following questions:

a. Do you have an LLC (Limited Liability Company)? Establishing a legal structure for your business can protect your personal assets and provide a professional image to your clients.

b. Consistency: Can you consistently produce high-quality work? Although everyone has off days, your photography and editing skills should consistently meet the standards you set for yourself and your clients.

c. Back Office Setup: Do you have a system in place for delivering galleries, invoicing clients, and tracking your business expenses and profits? Efficient back office operations are crucial for running a successful business.

d. Calculate Your CODB: The Cost of Doing Business (CODB) is the total cost of running your photography business. To set your prices, you need to understand your CODB, which includes your time spent shooting and editing, monthly expenses (software, gear, cleaning, maintenance), and more.

e. Sales Tax: Depending on where you live, you may be required to collect and remit sales tax. Ensure you understand your local tax regulations and set aside money to cover your tax obligations. Failing to do so can lead to financial difficulties down the road.

Pricing your Services

Determining your pricing is a personal decision, as it's based on your unique circumstances. You should consider your CODB, the time and effort invested in each project, the market demand, and your competitive positioning. Remember, your prices should not only cover your expenses but also allow you to make a profit and grow your business.

While photography is a delightful and creative endeavor, transitioning from a hobbyist to a professional photographer involves a lot more than just taking beautiful pictures. Managing the business side, understanding your costs, and setting appropriate prices are crucial for your success. Take the time to assess your readiness and gather the knowledge and tools you need to run a thriving photography business. If you're well-prepared, the joy of turning your passion into a profitable venture will be well worth the effort.