immerse workshops start a photo business
Hello my sparkly photo-loving friends! Welcome to Part 2 of the Immerse Workshops series on the basics of starting a photography business. If you missed Part 1, check it out here and then come back {we’ll wait}. I get asked the same three questions all the time; and, today, I want to lay down the law on these three very important things you need to know BEFORE you start a photography business. Are you ready? Listen up, Sparkles, because starting a photography business involves WAY more than just owning a “nice” camera.


1.  Get legal when you decide to start your photography business!

Ok, fess up. You started out with your big girl camera + a mess of good pics and some smooth editing tricks and decided to start a new business. Riiiiiiight? Right? So many photogs do (even the big names in your area, ssssh), but that doesn’t make it right or safe. You absolutely need to be legal. Check your state’s requirements, but you will need to obtain an LLC and/or business license (based on your state). If you’re turning a pretty penny, (and by pretty, I only mean like $500 smackers a year), you ARE operating like a business and will be recognized by the government as such. They will find you. It won’t be fun.  Promise me you’ll do this as soon as possible!

Getting an LLC when you start a photography business is actually easy-peasy; grab the paperwork and get yours going today!  You can do it yourself, or use a site like Legal Zoom to make it happen {that’s who we used to start Immerse Photography}!  Another fabulous resources is your state’s government website.  Here in Ohio, we have the Ohio Business Gateway which lays it all out for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Just keep in mind, regulations vary from state to state and country to country.  So please do your due diligence and make sure you’ve got all the paperwork you need!  What works for your friend across the country might not work for you!


2.  Price your photography for profit!

Oooohhh. No one can tell you *exactly* what you need to charge. However. How-freaking-ever, here in the midwest, it costs $12,000 just to get started with your business (including equipment, gas, website, licenses, marketing materials, etc).  If you live closer to one of the coasts, you can go ahead and multiply that number by 1.5 to 3 times!

immerse workshops free download start your photography businessLet’s take a moment to soak that in.  Twelve grand.  

You could buy yourself a pretty decent used car for that price.  But let me ask you this: would you take on an additional car payment without ensuring you had some way to pay for it?  Probably not.  So why would you start a photography business without ensuring you have a way to cover all those expenses?!  Because while many feel “invisible” or “just part of the business” – the reality is that someone’s gotta pay for that camera, that website, memory cards, and the like.  Those things are PART of your business expenses and should be taken as seriously as a car payment.

Wanna break it down a little more?  At that rate, if you have 48 clients you first year {and that’s a darn good first year} you need to charge *at least* $250 per session just to cover your costs (ain’t nobody putting dinner on the table with that income). I know. That sounds like a lot, right?  But here’s the crazy part – that’s just to break even.  You’re not even making as much profit as the teenager flipping burgers at your favorite fast-food joint if you charge $250.  Want to make minimum wage?  Calculate how many hours it takes {include email time, travel, shooting, editing, delivery, etc} and multiply that by minimum wage + $250.  There.  Now you’re making minimum wage.  Want to bring home enough to be a blessing and not a burden on your family?  Really consider how much you NEED to be making an hour.  Then do the math.

Charge what your ART is worth!  You’re not Wal-Mart and you’re not making photos for just anyone.  You’re making art for someone.  Price your work as such.  YOU ARE WORTH IT.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this series on self-confidence.


3.  Create a social media strategy to start your photography business!

Absolutely it does! I’ve built an entire six-figure company with a social media audience!  No lie.  Strategically using social media enabled me to grow my company, leave my full-time job, and pay to let my boys play football, basketball, and take piano and hip-hop classes {in addition to a Master’s in art education, i’ve got a dance degree, so the hip-hop is my personal fave activity they do}!

Social media optimization works when you’re starting your photography business!

We like to call this SMO…. it’s kinda like SEO, but way more fun.  So, if you’re not leveraging Facebook, Instagram, and live video – you are missing the boat!  Big time.

By using best practices in social media, I am still seeing amazing reach on my Facebook ads and posts. If you’re ignoring your Facebook page, stop it right now and try to start posting 3-5 times a week.  Make a commitment to leverage social media for your business; engage; be consistent; and get the ball rolling. Tell those algorithms whose boss (you are, Sparkle!).

It takes a little bit of work, but I promise you – it’s worth it!


Don’t let starting a photography business overwhelm you!  You’re not alone!

I am SO excited about helping you out now that you’ve decided to start a photography business (and be legal and lucrative!!) that I have a little sparkly present to get you started!  And, like all presents, it’s completely FREE!  Yup, free-99!  Do I have your attention now?!  I thought so!

You need to know that you’re way more than a girl with a nice camera.  You’re an artist.  You have value, and your dreams?  They matter.

So let’s start turning that dream into a reality and start designing a business that’s a blessing, not a burden, on your family.  I’ve got a FREE guide that answers the top questions you need to ask before getting started {in addition to pricing, legal and social – we’ll talk about portfolios and websites you should be using}.  Can I come alongside you and bring your dreams to life?  Click here and claim your free download – I’ll send it to you in a few minutes!!!  I can’t wait to help you shine online!

immerse workshops cyrissa


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