photography business questions

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by havabeer, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. havabeer

    havabeer Member

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    Hi everyone.

    I'll start this off by saying i'm not the most avid photographer, in fact i far prefer shooting video then taking stills. but my wife and I attended a quick (5 min) photography shoot with an easter bunny today for a family photo.

    we started talking that maybe we could look at doing something like this, just basic seasonal shoots, maybe an easter bunny, santa, leafy tree. these aren't overly professional shoots just semi quirky ones like santa by the beach etc.

    the one we attended was literally a 5 min in and out, 2 photo's for $70. the lady that runs it was only setup for an hour and was basically booked out (all 5 min bookings) according to her page. so she's obviously not ROLLING in cash its not a bad little supplementary income.

    i'm just trying to go over ROUGHLY what you would need to run something like this and wasn't sure how many OCAUer's do photography as a business or side project as i'm not sure how much somethings cost, but the idea of a tax write off for camera equipment sounds good.

    main things i can think of are:
    ABN
    Camera gear
    props
    someone to play santa or easter bunny
    advertising (social media etc)
    website hosting


    this would 100% just be a side business, i work shift work so often have mid week and weekends free and while i don't really need the extra money the wife has recently left work for our first born and looking to do something on the side i think. we have quite a variety of weekend and night markets which we could attend offering a nice photo with the easter bunny etc as another alternative to just bookings.

    Camera wise i have a sony a6300, with a few lenses, tripod, a couple of hand lights etc. the quality is ok, but i don't think the clientele are particularly after a photo they can zoom in and pick out how many nose hairs they have, more just a nice enough photo for print quality and social media. but i would possibly have to look at upgrading the camera (what a shame :lol:)

    so has anyone on here taken the leap and started a photography business, is there anything you would do different or found worked for you?
     
  2. Rubberband

    Rubberband Member

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    Don't forget insurance: you'll need public liability, insurance for your gear (or at least shift it off your personal account), you might need to look at professional liability at some point as you might have someone's wedding photos which get lost and they sue.

    Website, don't go wix or square for the love of god.

    Get basic hosting from Ventraip, install WordPress, buy Enfold theme (or another premium theme) and install their portfolio demo, site's half done (here's one my mate did for himself https://thinkgraphics.com.au/).

    Marketing: Go to somewhere like Freeeup which has some decent freelancers, not the muppets you find on Fiver, who can do a decent job at a much lower price. Bear in mind it's very competitive. Minimum you want is local SEO (get your business on the map locally and in all the biz directories) then look at who your competitors are and where you want to be in comparison with them.

    Fees: Do a forecast on what your yearly expenses are before you set your pricing or you'll be working for peanuts. Factor all the costs and work backwards, no point getting lots of work for $40 an hour if costs you didn't plan for, reduce your profit to zero.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  3. Hater

    Hater Member

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    if you prefer video over stills, why wouldn't you take video professionally over stills?

    it'll be so much easier doing something you want to do rather than boring
     
  4. OP
    OP
    havabeer

    havabeer Member

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    thanks for the advice, photo wise i don't think i would ever step up to weddings. i shot a wedding video for a friend and it was hard work and also editing etc. i don't mind doing a bit of it in my spare time but i don't think i could see my self ever doing it much more then that unless i can get youtube rich

    didn't think about insurances and is a good point.

    this is the mob that did us today, its more of a light hearted photo shoot then doing a wedding or business shots etc https://photoswithsandyclaus.com.au/prices/ and would be more the business model we'd be looking to emulate


    i don't think i could commit to doing it full time and i can't see the money in doing it part time. plus i just don't think i have the skills yet to do it to a quality i would be happy with (we're our own harshest critics i'll probably never get to a level i'd be happy with).

    again this isn't totally about the money, i can work an overtime shift and bring home $1000 in the hand. i guess we just want to experiment and see how it goes.
     
  5. lonewolf1983

    lonewolf1983 Member

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    As above insurance for gear and liability is a must
    get a decent contract written up for clients, ensures everyone gets what they agreed to.

    RE the tax write-off, only applicable if you're earning more than $20k a year from your photography
     
  6. Xang

    Xang Member

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    Insurance, as mentioned above.

    Gear is probably fine for the type of stuff you're describing. You'd want a backup body in case you have a shoot scheduled and your existing body has an issue. A couple of lights + modifiers for staged/indoor stuff. Likely more cards + batteries than you'd already own as a hobbyist. Get a backup system, cloud is the cheapest option if your internet can handle it (Backblaze)

    Some sort of contract/invoicing system (Tave, ShootQ, StudioNinja etc)

    ABN is free, business name has some tiny cost like $100/year I think (I use my own name which is free)

    Wages for your bunny/Santa could be a huge chunk of your costs unless you can get your wife or someone you know to do it for free

    I'm not sure if I'd bother with FB/online marketing. The type of client you're targeting would probably pick up a leaflet from a Woolies corkboard or see you in person at the shops or on the beach. Community noticeboards, social clubs, sports clubs etc might be more bang for buck. If you do go with FB, how long is your piece of string? You can spend as little or as much as you like. Can target parents with young kids in your area.

    Web hosting + domain is only like $2-400/year

    Would definitely not waste cash on SEO for such a small scale business

    Figure out the cheapest delivery method - online gallery like Zenfolio, Pixieset, Shootproof etc

    Sounds entirely likely you can earn a little on the side, albeit not for super satisfying work.
     
  7. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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    i would pay money to not deal w screaming kids and aggravated parents

    fuck.

    that.
     
    13atman likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    havabeer

    havabeer Member

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    Delivery method if the person we used was she literally just directly emails you the two photos. She just selects the best ones and sends those two to your nominated account.

    I think your last line might hit the nail on the head
     
  9. 13atman

    13atman Member

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    I considered something like this before as a side gig that I could fit in but the prospective clients I was getting had jobs that worked out to circa $15/hr after costs. Rather have my weekend tbh and there's always someone else ready to do the job at a cheaper rate.
     
  10. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    Ben pointed out most of the great points already.

    Id just draft up the costs of business, then factor in other things like location fees (if you had to pay the location to do the work there) and then the fees for the santa/person as well as an assistant.

    Then break it down from there as to a final number. I feel like having a side hustle like this that relies on input by others is probably where it becomes more painful. Where as having say the wife being really good at doing mini sessions for families where its just reliant on the family and her would end up being more profitable (for the time, cost and energy involved).

    Always do the numbers, a lot of the time once you break it down the actual $ per hour isnt great. Whether its worth it your family and the financial situation can be decided from there :)
     
  11. darkanjel

    darkanjel Member

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    Is it a hobby or business? It needs to be a registered business for a tax write-off. Your liability is the same (unlimited) whether as an individual with a hobby or as a sole trader.
     
  12. lonewolf1983

    lonewolf1983 Member

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    even as a registered business you need to clear $20k income to start claiming anything back on tax.
    You can build up the losses to work for you after you start clearing the $20k mark in future (if you ever do)
     
  13. Rubberband

    Rubberband Member

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    Local SEO is peanuts, about $100 using Brightlocal once-off, just a bit time-consuming and getting it right can really boost visibility.

    You can also use AdWords Express for a couple of bucks a day to be top of Google Maps.

    Digital marketing for small local businesses can be very cheap and a good ROI as hardly anyone does it right.

    My only issue with this is, if you want to scale up you're doing it all again (hence my issue with Square, etc.). If you have no intention of making real $, Adobe has a portfolio product too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  14. The_Stig

    The_Stig Member

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  15. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    The only advice I would give anyone looking to go in to the business of photography is :

    Don't.

    It'll be at least 10 times the work you think it is, the money will be shit until you're famous and you'll wind up hating photography.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    havabeer

    havabeer Member

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    Yeah I couldn't dream of turning a hobby into my some income, especially if it requires co hand creativity or chasing clients. But a twice or 3 times a year thing like Santa photos still lets you keep it as a hobby
     

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