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DPChallenge Forums >> Out and About >> Business of Photography - Group 1
Showing posts 1 - 25 of 150, (reverse)
01/02/2006 07:36:01 PM · #1
If you are not a mentorship participant, please do not post in this thread - you may PM me or a group member with questions or comments. Thanks!
Group 1 participants:
Livitup, Skyarcher, Megatherian, oOWonderBreadOo, rjkstesch, m--e, dahkota, damian, cwyou, lentil, MandyTurner, Nusbaum

Hi crew!

I only have a few general guidelines for how I want this to work so here they are:

* I want this to be very hands-on. I'm going to have you DO things. None of them are for no reason.

* If you find you do not have the time to keep up, PM me and I will see what we can do.

* Please complete all assignments as quickly as you can - especially if you are the last one to post - if you can't, just let me know.

Cool? I don't like to be all rule-like, but I want some structure this time so that everyone gets the most out of this as possible! :)

Here's what we're going to do first - we're going to figure out where we are and where we want to go. Makes sense! I want everyone to post a sentence (two if you must) about the current state of your business. Then post three goals.

We current shoot weddings, portraits and pet photography and have just started getting into stock more seriously.

1) I want to book 35 weddings for 2006.
2) I want to be much better organized for 2006.
3) I want everyone to know our business name.

Post yours below.

Message edited by author 2006-01-03 18:31:15.
01/02/2006 07:53:45 PM · #2

I have shot one wedding to date and am looking at getting more jobs this summer after im done school. By June/July, I want to have a website functioning and a business running.


1) Do ATLEAST 5 weddings this year
2) Do ATLEAST 5 portrait sessions this year
3) Get my name out there through advertising/website/business cards
4) Save up enough money to buy the D200 as a primary camera

Message edited by author 2006-01-02 19:54:40.
01/02/2006 07:57:57 PM · #3
Have done 2 portraits in the last few months and will be shooting racing again this summer.

1)Do at least one portrait a month
2)Get my name known
3)Get my NYIP Diploma
01/02/2006 08:04:43 PM · #4
I don't have a current business but I am VERY serious about getting going this year. I am starting to shoot stock shots.

1. I want to have a full understanding of the various markets I can sell my photos in and how to sell them by February
2. I want to start selling my work by June of 2006
3. I'd like to be able to quit my current day job and work full time in photography by June 2007

Edit: In the past I have shot 1 wedding (not sure if I want to shoot more or not) and have been published in a book (interior design photography)

Message edited by author 2006-01-02 20:41:01.
01/02/2006 08:06:44 PM · #5
I have been doing a mish mash of things, so I want to be more focused.

Goals are
1. Get my name out there via emails, word of mouth, volunteer events
2. Save enough for a 70-200 f2.8
3. Have at least 2-3 events a month.
01/02/2006 08:21:37 PM · #6
Well, I've done a few paid weddings and holiday photos every year. All of them have been for friends and family. I'm most interested in stock photography and portraiture.
hmmmm... goals

I want a professional looking website.
Upload at least 100 quality images to a macro stock agency.
I want more portrait shoots this year than last. (So I'd have to top 5)
I want to frame at least 5 prints to hang in my office as a sort of portfolio.

I think I can do that :0)
01/02/2006 08:34:56 PM · #7
First I'd like to mention that my wife (Lee, Username leeleeo) and I are following this mentorship together, as we both want to start profiting from our photography this year. (Matt, please let me know if that's not cool for any reason.)

We have done nothing commercially at all so far. We want to do portraits, stock, and freelance photojournalism (in that order).


(Not really related to this mentorship, but a prerequisite to most of this) finish and set up our in-home studio space. (It's currently unfinished basement space.)

1) Book 3 portrait sessions by the end of the year.

2) Sell 5 photos on a stock site (don't know yet about micro vs. macro).

3) Have 1 photo published in a paid-circulation news paper.

Hows that?

Message edited by author 2006-01-02 20:36:15.
01/02/2006 08:39:21 PM · #8
I have a website and have a wedding booked for April.

1) Book another wedding
2) Start shooting portraits
3) Get my name out
4) Acquire more gear (I currently have a Rebel XT, 2 lenses and a tripod.)
01/02/2006 08:42:19 PM · #9
I've done 6 weddings and 5-6 portrait sessions in the past year. I'd like to move to part-time photography slowly and full-time in 5 years or so.

1) Develop a professional looking web-site, with supporting business papers (business card, contract, etc.)
2) Place 100 photos on macro-stock sites and 300-500 on micro-stock sites.
3) Have my name known for consistently quality work.
01/03/2006 04:15:26 AM · #10
Need to check my email more often. Sorry.

Megatherian's first answer is close to mine.

Currently I don't have a photography business, but am interested in learning all aspects.

Goals for 2006:
1. Purchase better lens and learn how to use them.
2. Build up my image collection more, get them online.
3. Sell some astrophotography shots, or any of my others.
01/03/2006 07:25:04 AM · #11
Currently I work freelance for a local paper, submit to Alamy, have a barely passable website.

My 3 goals:
1. Build a better website
2. Get my name out into the area for professional shoots (pets, people, events)
3. Take a step up to the next level newspaper (a daily would be good). :)
01/03/2006 08:48:23 PM · #12
I have done 8 portrait sessions this year (since Sept) and two events. I started a website (needs work). I have two portrait jobs lined up for Jan and two in March.

My Three Goals:

1. To get a portfolio of prints together.
2. Great Business Card printed.
3. To be so in demand that I can do photography full time by the time my youngest goes to school (fall of 2007)

01/04/2006 01:18:59 AM · #13
Just waiting on Nusbaum - he joined late so I'll give him til Wednesday afternoon and move on.
01/04/2006 01:22:03 AM · #14
I have attended a workshop for photojouralistic wedding photography and shot a number of portraits (free), but I have no real photography business at this time.

Goals for 2006:
1. Establish myself as a photographer capable of delivering creative high quality portraits.
2. Get into a decent stock agency and sell at least one RM image to prove I can do it.
3. Shot at least one wedding using a photojournalistic approach.

maybe a bit broad, but the stock work will be focused on model released images of people so all of these goals are focused on the people and portraits

Message edited by author 2006-01-04 01:23:21.
01/05/2006 02:33:59 PM · #15
Ok, I'm here!

Thanks for filling the info out!
Everyone seems to want (at some level)
1) new business stuff (cards, marketing, website)
2) more clients of the sort they want
3) to look really really good for their prospects

rjkstesch almost nailed something we often overlook as we get geared up for a business - contract. Paperwork. Keeping track of any of this.

Business of Photography 2 - Organization

This is a short thing I wrote when I was gearing up my own business - to keep track of what I am doing. How are you doing it? How will you keep track of:

1) Appointments, jobs and your calendar.
2) Money in, money out.
3) Contact info. Not just clients, but pastors, churches, album vendors, stress relief friends, the massage place...
4) Status of jobs. What's left to send out? Who gets what when?
5) To-do list.

If you have a notebook for all of that - that's good. But it's not adequate. That's like using $10 worklights from Home Depot to shoot a prom. It may work, but the results are typically disastrous AND embarassing. Don't do that.

I used to use a notebook. That worked for about 5 weddings, 3 portraits and then it was WAY too nuts to keep track that way. Then I used what's in the above post - a combination of Chaos Manager, Quickbooks, Outlook, the whiteboard, and a notebook to-do list.

Now I use Photo One - it's a studio management software that tracks clients, client orders, prospects, the status of jobs, contact info, vendors, marketing, marketing calendar, studio calendar, to-do list, pricing, and just about everything else you would ever need. It's very expensive - so unless you're doing this full time, you can probably think about your own mish mash way of doing it - but know that there are solutions such as Photo One, Successware and Studio Flow that offer different levels of management for different prices. In fact, Successware is about half or less the cost of Photo One and does a heck of a lot - for those of you who end up doing this and REALLY taking it by the horns, that may be something to look at.

So how are you organizing your business - how fast can you find your contract, what's left to fulfill, the client's phone # and email, and what their balance is?

Where do you need help? What's not working? What's perfect?

01/05/2006 09:09:38 PM · #16
I finished my business card and ordered them yesterday. They will be here by Jan 21st. I keep track of appoitments and my contacts in a datebook/planner. I have no to do list. I can keep up with the status of my jobs pretty well because I will only do two per month. With my job, the house and three small children that is all I can handle at the moment.
01/05/2006 10:39:52 PM · #17
My record keeping skills are not great to say the least.. My problem is I keep alot of it in my brain.
I do write lists everyday of what i want to achieve that day, what i need to post, print etc. I need to get a filing cabinet I know that. I have stuff everywhere (although I could tell you where everything is)
As far as money in money out.. I dont get that much yet, but the sales I make on ebay are enough to pay my insertion fees and carry on with the next batch of sales for ebay (re: printing, fees, matting, framing)

I guess I need help in keeping records of incoming money and how I am actually doing money wise. I would like to know how to price and work out how to make enough to cover my next lot of sales as well as bank some.

Thanks Lisa
01/06/2006 12:09:16 AM · #18
I also don't have much of a system. I do keep track of all expenses/income in MS Money, but EVERYTHING else in our financial life goes there too. Fortunately it is on the computer so I could just sort it and see everything under Photography - but I have never actually done that.

I have made a pricelist and sent out an invoice for the wedding I am doing in April. I think my next steps should be gathering everything together in an easy-to-use format - maybe excel now for basic expenses, maybe just a clients paper file, not sure yet. I have a Treo 650 that I should use to put all appointments, contacts, follow-ups, etc. in.
01/06/2006 12:49:25 AM · #19
My system has been to not have one. LOL. time for a change. I'm already using Outlook and my Palm for much of my life, so I spent some time this afternoon, looking to see if I can organize the piece of my life in one place.

I found ways to color code my calendar events, set tasks by category with detail, keep categorized contact information and documents in the journal. These are minor adaptations to what I'm using in my other life, so I think it will do. It also transfers easily between home computer, Palm and work computer. With balancing the schedules of full time job and photography, I have to have a way of keeping it all straight, yet available to see the whole picture, too.

Quicken is set up for household stuff. I've been planning to set up a business account, too.

I've been planning on opening up a separate bank account for the business. I think it will help with my financial accounting, too.

01/06/2006 01:26:13 AM · #20
This part of my business I have not thought of very thoroughly what-so-ever :)

So here goes what I play to set up very soon.

Folders for reciepts that contain accounts recievable and accounts payable, this will help me track ins and outs of cash.

Contacts, well im going to need to get an address book and telephone book to keep all of this.

The part I need help with is the tracking of to do jobs, jobs in progress, job deadlines, who gets what, etc etc. right now I have a daily planner, which I dont think will fly. So some brainstorming must occur.

On the way (next week or two):

Registering the business
Setting up business bank account
Organizing my office space
01/06/2006 01:31:42 AM · #21
Well currently for a living I build custom database driven web applications, many of which tie directly into things like Excel.

I'm in the process now of developing a tracking system to use that I'll be able to access from any computer with internet access or my pda/phone.

I already have a separate bank account that I use for business stuff (I use it for my web hosting business) so I'll likely use it for my photography as well.

I'd like to do as much of my work from home as possible as I hardly ever leave my house.
01/06/2006 02:52:36 AM · #22
I don't have an organizational system for my photography business yet, but this is because the business doesn't exist. I do have a business degree and experience managing some fairly large and complex projects, so I'm not too worried about finding a good organizational system. At this point I'm more worried about the product/service I have to offer and how to find the right clients.
01/06/2006 06:27:08 AM · #23
Nothing for photography business per se, but parts I will adapt from my other business.

Appointments/Calendar: I have appt. book already, which I would also use for photography, as well as using software. In particular, I'm looking at: Customer Appointment Manager by ABS. It looks to be user friendly, alerts to double booking, can email clients straight from program with reminders, can mail letters straight from software, prints client history, allows files to be imported from Quick Books and a lot more.

Money in, money out: I'll be using Quick Books Professional Services Edition, as well as ledger sheet in each client file.

Contact Info: Client information will be listed in both QuickBooks and Appointment Manager, as well as in client file. As for the vendors, and other miscellaneous contacts, they go in the rolodex.

Status of jobs: On dry erase board that is attached to my giant cork board, as well as in client file.

To-do list: Both on dry erase board and via computer.

I've been putting off finishing my office, no time like the present to get it redone. :)


01/06/2006 06:49:45 AM · #24
Originally posted by Megatherian:

I already have a separate bank account that I use for business stuff (I use it for my web hosting business) so I'll likely use it for my photography as well.

Beware of lumping more than one business into a single bank account. This can be an accounting nightmare if you are ever audited. If your web-hosting business and your photography business are a single entity, this is not a problem really. But there are advantages to keeping them separate, especially if one of them accounts for the bulk of the cash flow and the other the bulk of the out-of-pocket expenses. In general, it's sound business practice to keep them separate.

01/06/2006 07:12:05 AM · #25
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Megatherian:

I already have a separate bank account that I use for business stuff (I use it for my web hosting business) so I'll likely use it for my photography as well.

Beware of lumping more than one business into a single bank account. This can be an accounting nightmare if you are ever audited. If your web-hosting business and your photography business are a single entity, this is not a problem really. But there are advantages to keeping them separate, especially if one of them accounts for the bulk of the cash flow and the other the bulk of the out-of-pocket expenses. In general, it's sound business practice to keep them separate.


Good info, thanks Robert! I was thinking of doing the same as the other member, not anymore. ;)
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