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01/10/2006 12:36:31 PM · #26
Outstanding.

Thanks
01/10/2006 01:18:54 PM · #27
Kevin - search for things related to real estate agents - i was one and there are companies that specialize in postcards for that market - easy enough to have them print for you as a house on the card.

Proofing: first wedding i did the traditiona 4x6 prints in an album. PITA. Cost was $75 maybe, and 2 ours to assemble the thing - and i didnt fill ou all those index cards that identify each print (winkflash prints the file name on teh back of the print). Never again. I let the bride keep them. Why should i destroy them, seems wasteful. I could reuse the proof album (maybe - depends on codition) i suppose, but too much manual work for me.
The next wedding i was going to give them a CD of the images. However, she picked her photog (i was a guest allowed to shoot for my portfolio) because he provided printed proofs. So i did the CD thing and a MyPublisher album - $70 and it held all the images.

SO what i do now is provide that album as an album with all the images in it- if i have 3 of the same pose, i pick the one i like and that's what they get in there. If they want to upgrade to a fancier album, that's fine (larger or a different style).

I went this way for a couple of reasons - simplifies workflow and saves me time. Part of what i am being hired for is my 'artistic ability' (no laughing now ;) and that includes the album design. Bride 1's sister had not chosen the images for her album after 9 months...

There are proof magazines out there that wold be the way to go for high end types i think, where they pick and you assemble the album from their choices. But if you are doing collage style layouts, how on earth are the b&g supposed to pick photos? layouts?

So my 'workflow' is consult, shoot, process and create the album, upload to the printer and wait 4 days. I deliver it. Actually, I get 2 copies - one for me to show that doubles as a 'back up' for their copy, so i can offer a free replacement guarantee on their album (one time) for X years. (some of these are not my original ideas, some are - feel free to borrow or modify to suit yourself).

I have not done the photos to teh pictage/collages.net etc. I probably will try that - the sites say the photog makes ab additional $400 in sales (on average) from this. worth a try. even if no one buys, they (the guests) will visit the site and see my work so it can be called advertising, right?
01/10/2006 01:22:25 PM · #28
New 'topic' -
The local paper does a bridal show. i cannot get in this year, but can advertise in the special wedding section (goes to everyone in attendance and is inserted in the sunday paper).
This is my trial run at an ad - 2 columns wide, 3" tall ($208 - not too bad IMO)
FEEDBACK PLEASE! especially on what words you recomend as best.
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I got to look at last year's and have a copy of 2003's edition. The oval photo is something differnt than ALL the square ones and the reverse print draws attention and matches my biz card/website.
I have to have this to them monday morning the 16th.
01/10/2006 01:38:12 PM · #29
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

This is my trial run at an ad - 2 columns wide, 3" tall ($208 - not too bad IMO)
FEEDBACK PLEASE! especially on what words you recomend as best.
[/url]


Honesty - I hate the oval. It looks like an 80s photo album with that. I don't use the cathedral arch mats in my albums either. If you don't want a square, make it a ragged edge like extensis photoframe or something uses. The oval is very dated. Square is boring sometimes - either blend it into the bkgd or use a rough edge.

I'll go back and look at the words in a bit, but that oval is killin me.
01/10/2006 03:32:25 PM · #30
rethink....
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01/10/2006 03:33:40 PM · #31
Much better. I'd say "includes" instead of including.
01/10/2006 03:39:33 PM · #32
Originally posted by mavrik:

Much better. I'd say "includes" instead of including.


i can do that. This shows more fun - i like fun, fun is, well, fun! I don't think anyone else uses a fun pic for their ads - except some photog on the west coast(?) - he had gotten famous by using fun pics - couples jumping off cliffs and into pools and such like that.

thanks for the feedback.
01/10/2006 05:59:12 PM · #33
love the card!!
01/11/2006 08:53:03 PM · #34
.

Message edited by author 2006-01-12 09:05:00.
01/12/2006 03:42:07 AM · #35
I signed the contract yesterday to show at our local bridal fair. Got my space and its right beside David's Bridal (where I'm the licensed photographer) so hopefully I'll pickup extra traffic from them since they'll be directing people right to us. Between the cost of the fair & the cost of 3 16x20's, the framing & matting and all our marketing supplies this is a huge investment for us. Hopefully the wedding portion of our business will be made based on this 5 hour show. We don't have to book all the weddings that we plan on shooting immediately but I hope that we book 25% of our annual goal within two weeks of this wedding and I hope that based on our followup direct marketing from the leads generated here & David's we can book the rest before the end of March. My goal for this year is 15 weddings with a stretch goal of 30 this year and 5 bookings set for the off season/first of next year (Nov '06 - Feb '07). I want these booked before the end of August '06. I have a 2nd team of shooters so we can double-book weekends without giving up any quality in our service so I believe the 30 is doable if we have priced ourselves well and if we are saturating our target market with information about ourselves.

Based on the last 3 years of this bridal fair they expect around 600-750 registered brides to attend. I've just mailed about 600 direct mailers to brides in the local area based on the leads I've gotten so they should get my 5.5" x 8.5" full color flyer next week right before getting to the show. I'm hoping this gives me some good coverage and puts me in a good place for a followup mailing to anyone in my target market who hasn't already booked.

Anyone else attend these events? Any gotchas to watch out for? Any cool ideas for our booth? We'll have 3 books, 3 16x20 prints (one is a canvas print) and approximately 1000 4x8 "bookmark" photocards to hand out. The photocards show our connection with David's Bridal. I've included the text below:
Originally posted by photocard_text:

Congratulations!
We at Kevin Riggs Photography wish you a beautiful wedding and a life filled with love. If you are looking for photography services please consider us.

//www.kevinriggs.com
(423) 316-9487

Licensed by
David's Bridal Chattanooga


We have 3 photos currently but I'm planning on including a 4th style from one of the outdoor weddings we shot last year.
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EDIT: Added the 4th
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And here are 2 of the 16x20's I'm planning to show.
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The leftover photocards go back out to David's to become bag stuffers so its not like we'll lose anything there.

Feedback?

Kev

Message edited by author 2006-01-12 05:57:20.
01/12/2006 03:54:08 AM · #36
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Bride 1's sister had not chosen the images for her album after 9 months...


Bride from Feb '05 finally picked her album pics. Shot 12 last year, delivered 2 albums so far.

Albums included in initial sale but no photos picked: 3
Brides who have called or e-mailed multiple times to say they want to select photos for albums: 2

C'est la vie, n'est pas?

I'm beginning to see the value in setting aside time per wedding to help the brides & grooms make their selections. I think one thing that will help is that I've sped up my process of cutting down from our initial set of shots per wedding (around 1,000 - 1,200) down to our proofs (200-300) so I think I can pretty easily add a step where I tag what I think will make a nice album and meet with the bride & groom so that if they are still stunned at so many photos of themselves (which seems to be the case more often than not) I can have a neat little pre-selected album that I can walk them through.

BTW, I like the idea of a fun shot on the business card. I love shooting that same shot but just don't have a copy of it in mine that I like because of how it fits the card. Most of my shots like that seem too far back in the card for me.

Kev
01/12/2006 04:12:15 AM · #37
Originally posted by wavelength:

I want to keep the galleries flash to dissuade random people or clients from downloading pictures. If anyone has a good way to set up password protected galleries, I would love that info.


Wavelength - There are loads of easy to use Javascripts on the web - just do a Google...

I found one that I am currently using on my Website www.pix-al.co.uk (The content is not completed yet but look bottom right corner for the login boxes.) shamelss plug...

This actuall uses an offline HTML file to create and code the passwords for each seperate link to however many gallery pages you need. It then creates the HTML code for your online page.
If you right click the lower right frame of my page and view the source, you will not actually see any decipherable password.
If you had enought ime, you could probably crack the code, but it probably wouldn't be worth it to gain access to a couple of low res photos!

I'll see if I can find it am PM you the link if I do...
01/12/2006 04:24:59 AM · #38
If any of you guys are interested in the above - here is the link!

CLICKY
Full link text... //javascript.internet.com/passwords/login-coder.html#source

The only downside is password have to be a set length but this is configurable in the code.
Also, your actual pages or folders where your protected stuff is stored should really be given random names so people can't guess the end of your URL address - EG don't call the page www.yourwebaddress.com/private1/ !!!

Hope some of you find it usefull!

AL.

1
01/12/2006 08:41:27 AM · #39
For the person looking for postcards -
I got an insert in this month's Rangefinder and Blossom Publishing had an insert in there //www.blossom-publihing.com - flyers, brochures and postcards, lots of postcards. The least expensive isa 4-up full color/black for 400 for $99, 1,000 for $239 incl shipping. That is the lowest quality i assume, but they have UV coated color/bw for $325/500. YOu can get color both sides too. They do the little size and teh jumbo (5.5x8) full bleed.

Message edited by author 2006-01-12 08:42:14.
01/12/2006 11:01:56 PM · #40
Some of what i know of the business/tax side of things...
IRS Publication 535 is a good place to start. It explains things in more detail (and more accurately) than i can.
Generally, anthing the business buys is either an expense, a captial expenditure or for resale. Electricity, pencils, lunch - these are expenses. Computers, cameras, lenses, car - these re capital expenditures. Prints, albums these are for resale.
Expenses these are directly deducted against your income. If you have a website for the business, the cost of this is directly deductible. So would be business cards, mailings, office supplies, etc. Car expenses too - more on that later. Business lunches - for your clients NOT you. Pop for the office may be, or coffee - a gray area to me if you have a home office. See an accountant for details on this one!
Capital Expenditures These are items that last more than a year. A camera, a lens, computer, etc. The IRS sets up how long they are good for - lets say your camera is 'good' for 3 years and your paid $1500 for it. 1500/3 = 500. You can deduct $500 this year against your income. That is depreciation, and the IRS makes the rules. See an accountant on this one too.
Goods for saleThese are things you buy to resell. In photography it is not much (as compared to some businesses) - you get prints made and you resell them to the client for example. Frames, mats that type of thing would fall under this category. Since you are not the end user, no sales tax is paid on these IF you have a tax ID number (there are federal and state versions of this). In theory, your social security number works for this (so says the IRS in some publication) but good luck on making that work.

Home Office if you have rented a real space for a business, then all the associated expenses are deductible. But if you run your business from home, as most of us start out, then you can deduct a portion of your household expenses (property taxes, mortgage/rent, utilities, repairs). The way it works is this - the home office (or studio) must be used ONLY for the business. A corner of the den does not work - it has to be the whole den. If your garage is your studio, fine. If you park your car in there then not good. In my case I have a den that is the office, it is 12x15 feet or 180 square feet. The total SF of the house is 1800, so 10% of the house is used for the business. So i can deduct as an expense 10% of the heat, light, prop taxes, etc from the business income. I can deduct 10% of the repairs of the house too.
The Car If the car is used solely for the business, you can depreciate it and all expenses (tires, oil changes, gas, etc) are expenses. IF your car is also used for family things, then the best option is to log each and every trip for business (date, start mileage, where to/why end mileage). At the end of the year you add up the business miles and mutliply by this years mileage rate (42.5 cents i think) and get a total amount you can deduct from your income. Trips to the camera store, kinkos, staples, home depot for PVC to build a backdrop - all count.
Cheating If the IRS decides a deduction is not allowed, you then owe the taxes not paid, and likely a penalty. For example - you took your kids to McDs and write the mileage and lunch off for business - a no-no. You write off (aka deduct as an expense) your internet as you need it for this line of work, but the IRS sees you're playing on DPC - so it says the $500 you spent on the internet is not a biz deduction. ooops. this is why getting audited scares the bejesus out of folks.
The Advantages Chances are you won't get audited. So you use some business postage, or you print your homework on the business printer using business paper... You use your camera for family snapshots... Somethings are certainly gray areas so you should be aware of them.

The math
So you have $4,000 in income (any money brought in is income). You ahve $2500 in expenses (phone, advertising, internet, etc) and you can depreciate $700 of your camera gear and $500 of your computer and software, for $1200. You spend $300 on prints and frames. The total deductions are $4,000. You broke even. If you expenses remained the same and your sales were $4500 you'd have $500 in income that would be added to your total income (like if you had a real job or are married and file jointly). This shows up on Schedule C, in IRS speak. If you had income of $3500 then your business lost $500, and that gets deducted from your income so you'd pay less tax overall.

The IRS says, or infers strongly, that your business should make a profit 2 out 5 years or else it may be a hobby or a tax scam and you will /may get in trouble.

Do I need an accountant? YES! In theory TurboTax or something will work, but in my opinon the $200 you spend on an accountant is money well spent. It is also deductible on next year's return BTW. Too many rules change, and if you do get audited you have someone else to try and blame LOL. You can ask questions and get answers, expert answers. Turbotax won't do that. I tried once to do my taxes - i figured i owed $800. My accountant did my taxes and says i get $600 back. I like his math much better! That saved me $1400 right there, and i have not looked back or tried to do it myself. His records tell me how much is left on the depreciation of my computer, etc.
Before going to an accountant, YOU should add up all those receipts from the year and categorize the expenses (utilities, office supplies, advertising, etc). Some of those categories are obvious, some are not. For hte most part YOU decide what is what - like the internet - is it education, advertsing, a utility or ??

Paying your taxes You should pay your income tax quarterly, as well as any collected sales tax. You do not (have to) pay sales tax on items you plan to resell (you neet a tax ID to avoid it). You do collect it and then pay it to the state/city quarterly. On the fed side of things, you pay your income tax based on your net income BUT since your employer does not pay their share of FICA you pay both part or about 15% of your income (profit). this is one reason you don't want to show much taxable income and why expenses are cool, and why so many people try to get the business to pay for things (like coke and coffee for the office...). This is why it is difficult to buy a small business - which books do you see? If a studio is for sale for $200,000 and shoes a gross income of $300,000 a year, how much money does the owner make? Depends on the expenses the business has to pay...you need to see the books, the REAL books not the ones that get shown to the IRS...this is why many folks will give a discount if you pay cash - it is not recorded as income on the books, but all the expenses are!

Any questions? Any other advice/experience to add?

Message edited by author 2006-01-12 23:08:06.
01/12/2006 11:05:17 PM · #41
Thanks for that Chris. ;O)
01/13/2006 12:11:09 AM · #42
Originally posted by prof_fate:

You do not (have to) pay sales tax on items you plan to resell (you neet a tax ID to avoid it). You do collect it and then pay it to the state/city quarterly.


I AM NOT AN ACCOUNTANT, TAX ADVISOR OR BUSINESS ADVISOR. CHECK THIS INFORMATION FOR YOUR OWN STATE WITH A DULY-LICENSED ADVISOR

Just to add to Chris' post and expand on some things I've run into.

I don't know about other cities/states but TN has a "cutoff" level for sales tax. This level changes every year but I believe for calendar year 2005 it was $4800 in gross sales. If you made money for photography services and/or products but you didn't make over $4800 from the combination of services & products then you did not have to collect or pay sales tax. Sadly, if you were at $4500 of income and sold $301 on Dec 31st you would owe sales tax on all $4801 for the whole year even if you hadn't collected the sales tax throughout the year.

Sales and Use Tax
If you apply to the federal government using IRS form SS-4 you can be granted a Employer Identification Number (EIN or FEIN). This number is how you designate your business and it can stand in stead of your personal social security number in a sole proprietorship or partnership and I believe it is required for any incorporated entity such as a corporation Chapter C or SubChapter S (unsure of its necessity for LLC's or LLP's). You can then use the EIN assigned to you to apply for Sales & Use with your state Dept of Revenue (in TN we can do this online & I figure most states are the same). You could use your Social Security # but if you ever think you might want to grow into a full-time kind of business then you might want to seriously consider investing the $100-500 that most states require to file articles of incorporation which can protect your personal assets such as your house, retirement account(s), cars, etc in the event of major financial catastrophe such as being sued.

Anyway, once you've applied for your Sales & Use documentation with your state you should then receive at least 2 pages. The first of these is a "Blanket Certificate of Resale". You should immediately copy this form for reuse. Anytime you want to buy prints to resell you should inform the company that supplies you that you will be reselling these prints and that you should not be charged tax for these items. The government does not want to double-dip on taxes for small business any more than it has to so they try to help us out. If I buy prints from CPQ or WHCC I mail them a copy of this blanket certificate of resale and forevermore when I place an order with them they will only charge me their price for these prints and I must then collect the "end of the line" sales tax that will in turn be sent to the govt once per quarter. The second document that you receive when you file with your state Dept of Revenue should be a "Certificate of Registration" and it should be written on that document that it must be publicly displayed. Since the only place I have to publicly display it where I meet with clients is in my office, that's where I put it up.

Business License
Most municipalities that I know of require anyone transacting business to own a business license. These are generally (in my experience) a flat fee for the first year and then are based on a percentage of business thereafter. I live inside a county but my home-based business (which meets zoning restrictions) isn't inside an incorporated city so I only need a county business license. Each year I get a notice to declare my sales. This is a matter of public record and anyone who gives a rat's rearend could go down to the county court clerk's office and request to see what I claim in sales for last year and they could see it. The small paper I receive from the clerk's office each year also has to be posted publicly and it display's my total gross sales for last year. I've always found this odd and seldom find any business that has this prominently display but in our area its the law.

Incorporating
If you choose to incorporate you only need 2 things for any state I've ever read about:
1. Articles of Incorporation and
2. money
Every state requires that you file your articles of incorporation (Tennessee & Georgia further require that you also file a copy of your embossed corporate seal which will be used by you to certify that documents traded by the business really are from the business - eg. stocks). The articles of incorporation are just the details about what the business is because once your business is incorporated all levels of government see it as a "person." The business becomes (from a legal standpoint) an idiot savant who can transact business in its own name but it requires some way of making its decisions other than "Kevin just said so". The way the the government can make its judgement call as to whether I'm operating the corporation based on it being its own entity or whether I just want the legal/financial protection that incorporating gives me is that they can test my decisions as the President/CEO of the corporation against the articles and determine whether I treat the corporation as a separate entity in my day-to-day decisions for it. These articles should spell out the reason the business exists (sure it exists to make money but what is its goal - is it a dog-grooming business or does it sit with the elderly for a fee - in short what does it do) and how does the business go about doing whatever it is that it does (how do you as the business' brain make decisions whether to buy that $65,000 BMW as opposed to just paying a licensing fee to Fed-Ex to cover transporting your packages to a client). Your Articles should spell out how the business can be self-correcting and which individuals are responsible for the business being self-correcting. In a very very tightly organized corporation you can argue that you will be the entity that makes all the decisions that set the rules for the business (generally a board of directors) and also that you will then be the day-to-day persona that lives out these rules by deciding how to transact business according to these rules. In most instances you will want to select a small group of individuals who will serve as a board of directors and they will vote on (ratify) the set of rules that govern how the corporate entity (the business) will operate. This board of directors will also then elect or appoint (based on how you say they choose as spelled out in the articles of incorporation) an individual who will be responsible for the daily business. In reality the board of directors need only meet once a year and it needn't be a long meeting. Often the person selected by them to run the business will present a state of the business address followed by any rules that need to be amended or any suggestions for new rules, the board will vote and the meeting can be done. If this process doesn't happen then a disgruntled customer of the business (read an angry mother or unhappy bride in terms of photography) could sue and show that the business is no more than a legal name that you hide behind and that is called "peircing the corporate veil" and if the suit is successful in court you then become much more vulnerable in terms of your personal assets.

The second thing you need to incorporate is money. In Tennessee different types of corporate entities cost different amounts. All across the nation there are two main types of corporations: Chapter "C" and SubChapter "S". The main differences in these two types for the purpose of this post is that a "C" corporation can distribute different types of stock (if you have investors) but the drawback is that money is taxed twice. This means that in a "C" corporation you can have stock that is referred to as "preferred" stock; this type of stock gets preferrential treatment in terms of voting rights or dividends when compared with "limited" or "common" stock. Let's say you want to retain voting rights to determine who gets on the board or you want to get the lion's share of the dividends at the years end so you "invest" $100 in your corporation while your cousin Gertie also hands you a $100 but you sell her "common" stock. Depending on what pluses you assign to the "preferred" stock you may get to vote on the board of directors while Gertie only gets money or perhaps if the business shows a $10 profit at the end of the year you may get $7 whle Gertie only gets $3. Regardless, this is a much more complicated (in my experience) type of corporation. The tax liability also makes this a PITA in that the corporation is taxed for the money it makes so out of that hypothetical $10 profit at the end of the year the corporation would really owe something like $2 to the government leaving $8 for you and Gertie to split but guess what; yep, that's right, you and Gertie would both be taxed again for however much of the $8 that you get. For this reason most small businesses don't go with a "C" corporation. A SubChapter "S" or just "S" corporation gives you most of the protection of a corporation and instead of the business being taxed on its income and then you being taxed on the captial you get from the business, the taxes fall straight to your bottom line based on your percentage of ownership. That means that if you own 100% of the business and it makes a $10 profit at the end of the year you get to take that $10 straight to the "Adjusted Gross Income" line of your tax form. Not too bad. It gets even better the first couple of years where if you notice that you have a $10 profit come Dec 31st you can run out to B&H and order that new Canon 1Ds MkII for $8,000 and take a $7,990 loss straight to your Adjusted Gross Income on your 1040 form. All that plus the "corporate shield"? Wow how cool is that?
In Tennessee you can file articles of incorporation for an "S" corporation for $100 and "C" coporations start at $500 I think but this info should be available via your state's website (//www.state.tn.us/ and just fill in your state abbreviation in lieu of "tn")

Limited Liability Parnerships (LLP's) or Limited Liability Companies (LLC's) are similar in nature but don't afford all the same legal and financial protections that corporations do.

I reiterate that I'm not a legal or financial consultant but I have incorporated a few businesses in Tennessee and done business in Georgia. Consult an accountant (its seriously worth the money) and/or a tax specialist in your area to find out what you need to pay and what you don't.

Kev
01/13/2006 11:26:39 AM · #43
To continue with some of Kevins good info...and this probably varies from state to state...

Business types - Sole Proprietorship - you are the business owner,and all your assets and liabilities are mingled with the business, liability wise. So your income from the business is part of your personal income. If the business gets sued you could lose your house (not likely, but possible). The advantage? Easy to set up - do nothing and this is what you are.

Partnership - 2 or more people in business. A written partnership agreement is STRONGLY suggested that spells out duties, how bills and assetts and income are divided up. It need not be written to be legal though. However the income is split, it goes on your personal income tax. Again, you are liable for all the business's liabilites, etc. this costs nothing to set up BUT - see Naming below.

Corporation - kevin did a good job on this one. Benefits are it protects your personal assets. Drawback it go try to get a loan - a startup corp has no assets, no credit history so it can be difficult. As a Sole Proprietor or Partnership you are using your own credit history and assets as collateral.

Naming: In PA if you have a business named after yourself (christopher perry photography) then you are in business. If you name it (Studio C Photography for example) then you have to file papers with the state and advertise the in the 'paper of record' (usually the local paper that runs all those classified sized legal ads). You may also have to pay to see if that name is already registered, and if it is, you cannot use it. There are minor glitches - Perry Photography is fine. Perry & Sons Photography is NOT, and needs the whole paperwork thing (and the associated costs). In may case someone writes me a check, i can cash it. If i was 'Studio C' then i'd need a business bank account to cash a check, again, adding more costs to the mix.

SO far i am keeping it simple. No seperate checking account, nothing registered with the state, etc. I will be meeting with my accountant in february and will be clarifying things with him on sales tax, etc.

My township has a business license law of some kind. As i have no clients coming to my home i beleive i am exempt (have to check this to be sure though). I know that since i live in a residential area i cannot have a sign for my business, and certain businesses are not allowed - it depends on how much traffic i generate.

I spoke with a real estate agent about perhaps buying a storefront (rent the upstairs apartments to cover the mortgage) and where one can locate a photography biz, even in a business type district, can vary. If it is classified as retail then you have more restrictions than if you are a 'professional office' (aka doctor, laywer, etc) Do to costs this idea will have to wait a year or two.

Sales Tax - check with your state on the details. I live in beaver county, we have the standard state sales tax of 6%. If i do business in allegheny county which has a county sales tax of 1% i don't think i have to collect that, but i am not positive. And what is and is not taxable can be complex - prints are , services are not...so for a wedding where the flat fee is $1200 including prints or album - how much sales tax do you collect?? When i got my new furnace (labor and the parts) I was not charges sales tax, but i am if i get my car fixed. Could relate to where the service is performed...again, check with your state on this one. Pa sales tax exempt lists such things all clothing is tax exempt EXCEPT formal, sporting goods clothing and real or imitation fur. US flags and PA flags are tex exempt, but an ohio flag is not.

Isn't business fun? LOL
01/13/2006 11:54:19 AM · #44
By contrast, everything in NY is taxable just about. lol services, prints, etc. so we charge our 8% on everything.

----------
Let's get away from taxes for a minute.

How are you guys handling building the business - what is your marketing plan for the next 12 to 18 months? How much business did you do this year, how much are you doing this year and how much will you do in 2007?

M
01/13/2006 12:29:21 PM · #45
I just filed my W9 to get paid for my prints from smugmug. I will get my business license next week.

To answer your questions concerning marketing this is my plan for this year since I am more official this year and last was portfolio building.

I am meeting w/a high school band director today. In exchange for the print he wants I am going to either do a raffle for senior pictures or ask if I can do a flyer and business cards. I am working w/a store that sells lingerie and I have added lingerie into my print packages for Valentine pics. I have a Mommyís group that I am taking pictures of one of the Moms kids again and giving her an 8x10 if she hands out my cards. I have a little display at a daycare of about 250 kids w/my business cards and I just wrote a letter to all the local preschools that were pretty small asking to meet. You just have to find ways to market, I may see if a local paper needs some freelance work in exchange for advertising. There are tons of ways; I am on the local website for my town too. Word of mouth is the best way. After I do my three weddings this year I will look at advertising for weddings too. I have two weddings booked, both were word of mouth.

I don't have a financial goal for this year. Of course I want to bring in more then I spend. Since this isn't my main job my goal is to eventually work for myself.
01/15/2006 01:11:46 AM · #46
I placed an 'ad' on a website - freecycle.org - 'free wedding photography' - i take the pics, they get a CD. I get to try and sell them an album of course, and i get to use the pics for self promotion. Got a taker - Feb 25! This will be my first all alone wedding...i get to choose poses, etc.

At work tonite - (i work at a chain restaurant) this year as part of their Valnetine's Day Promo they are taking photos in a decorated arbor type thing on the 13, 14th. Since i am known at work as a photographer, i get the opportunity to do the pics - in return, i get to have table tents of my design on all the tables from now (or as soon as i can make them) until then - they pay for printing. I can also put up a small display of my work and flyers, biz cards, that type of thing. I can also try and up sell them from the free 4x6. The restaurant seats 400, and serves about 5,000 meals a week!

Got talking to a friend - he suggests we take our best pics and print 8x10s, have them matted,and try and sell them at artsy flea markets type of things and split the proceeds 50/50 regardless of whose pic sells (his are better and more numerable for this type of thing)

i have another friend that runs an art gallery/studio type place and will do a fine art show for me - all i need to do is figure out what that entails on my part. LOL - Any ideas??????? PLEASE!?!?

My home studio is under construction as of this past thursday. it will be so for 2 months at least. Then i can perhaps add that capability to my marketing.

My ad for wedding photograhpy is off to the paper on monday.

I signed up for a class...Triangle Institute's Spring 2006 session. Not cheap at $675, but it is a chance to network and the class is all day, hands on for 5 days, plus mini course and a vendor show.

That was this past week....
01/15/2006 02:36:17 AM · #47
I have a consultation tomorrow. We spent all today working on the office. 8:00 - 6:30 moving bookcases & desks and prints, oh my. Between spending all my "off time" and $$$ in the last 2 weeks on this it is feeling a lot more like a business than it did even when I was shooting 3 weddings a month last summer.

Tomorrow's potential client is the first who balked at my 100% payment by the date of the wedding. We reserve the date with a non-refundable $500 deposit & that wasn't a problem but she said the person paying is balking at paying without getting the prints to which I replied that I give her the proofs & the 8x10 prints for her book and what she's paying for is the service & guarantee of professional workmanship. I invited her to the upcoming bridal fair to see the kind of investment we make in our wedding business. I hope this isn't one of those that I read about where people say "You just don't want to buy that business for yourself". If she shows up for the consult & is satisfied with the terms then I suppose it'll be okay.
01/15/2006 02:49:19 AM · #48
I feel like I don't know enough about some of you all and what you do or want to do from a business standpoint.

How do most of you shoot? I get the idea that Cindi shoots solo and probably has parents w/kids or women over at her home studio. I don't have a good feel for what you shoot, Chris. I'm pretty sure Matt is out there shooting on his own or with his wife. For my part I usually shoot modeling work alone or with a make-up artist. For weddings I have a 2nd shooter that I pay for his/her time (I have 3 that I rotate through) and then I take all the images and edit them. I've considered hiring an assistant to help me corral the wedding party and keep the shot list; as it is I keep the shot list in my head (a printed copy lays beside me on a pew). I've photographed some family & friends' kids outside or in the studio but usually its just with the parents.

What do you currently do to make money with your camera?

Anyone else have business insurance? I know Cindi is a fellow member of PPA which affords her some malpractice security.

If you earned enough money to pay all your bills and then just enjoy what you wanted what do you see yourself doing? Would it photography and, if so, what type and where would it be (home studio, outdoors, studio, etc)?

Just wondering.

Kev
01/15/2006 09:07:52 AM · #49
Sorry for the late start guys but my life has been upside down during the holidays, on top of that my husband just had surgery so my business building was put on the back burner for the last month. I did have a very busy beginning of December so I know things will pick right back up.

Iím a stay at home mom of a 1.5 year old and am building my photography business so I can remain in control my schedule and stay a SAHM. I do have room for a studio at home (smallish) but it will work for now.

Let me play catch up.
Focus - portraits (infants/children, seniors, family and maternity), and Iíd like to venture into stock photos. Iím also attempting to build a gastric bypass clientele to document their weight loss as a great bread and butter base. Another avenue Iím exploring is that I live at the beach and we get many European tourists. Iím going to target sunset/dawn beach portraits, something I know they will be interested in but have no idea they could have done (hope that makes sense).
Goals Ė 50 portraits and building a consistent returning clientele of children. Right now I donít have an interest in weddings but maybe next year.
Needs to learn/figure Ė better workflow and time management.

I have my domain and am in the middle of building my site. Iím finding that choosing the pictures to use is difficult LOL. Iím linking though to a proofing site, I currently use PhotoReflect but am not thrilled with the zoom capabilities.

I have my business cards which Iím very happy with I printed two styles;

One targeting adult portraits
Front only ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30777/thumb/261267.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30777/thumb/261267.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

And one targeting children/maternity did front and back on this one.
Front ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30777/thumb/280411.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30777/thumb/280411.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Back ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30777/thumb/280412.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30777/thumb/280412.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I'm just finishing up purchasing all of my basic equipment. I think I'm going to upgrade my lights this week.

I have a request, could everyone list what proof site they use and what the charges are? I know Photoreflect is "free" with a percentage charge on orders purchased through them. I think SmugMug charges $100/year for the professional package and then an additional fee on top of that for orders placed through them. Any input here would be great appreciated since I'm shopping proof sites. I know some people build their own proof sites, what do you use, how much space does it use etc?

Thanks, Mel
01/15/2006 09:23:33 AM · #50
Great questions Kevin! I'll do my best here to answer for me:

Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

How do most of you shoot? I'm pretty sure Matt is out there shooting on his own or with his wife.

Both, kinda. Sarah (n8trchik) is my fiancee and we often shoot together - sometimes I'm the lightstand and sometimes she is. :) We both share the business duties too - she designs albums and I do most of the editing. I do most of the "business planning" and she does the "ideas book." We keep a list of ideas we get - marketing with other vendors, putting work up here or there, etc.

Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

What do you currently do to make money with your camera?

We shoot weddings, family portraits, high school seniors, babies and maternity portraits. We are trying to grow the portrait side of the business because weddings are starting to take care of themselves. We have 20 weddings so far for next year, with the average price $2400 and nothing under $1800 or over $3200. Our portrait packages are $80 to $250 and average $125 plus prints. We are also shooting microstock and may try again to get into Alamy, Photographers Direct, and MyLoupe. We budgeted this year for $65,000 in income with about 90% of that being spent back into the business - either my salary or gear, insurance, etc.

Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

Anyone else have business insurance?

Yes, through //www.hillusher.com for about $550 a year and it covers about anything -it's professional business insurance for photographers.

Originally posted by KevinRiggs:

If you earned enough money to pay all your bills and then just enjoy what you wanted what do you see yourself doing? Would it photography and, if so, what type and where would it be (home studio, outdoors, studio, etc)?

What I enjoy right now is this - I love shooting, editing, meeting new people, seeing my favorite couples. I love weddings and can't see giving them up yet. My "goal" is to become one of the top 20 "big name" photographers along the lines of Parker Pfister, Jeff Woods, Bambi Cantrell, Yervant, Mike Colon, and eventually Julia Bailey. I have a plan to get there, I have the motivation and right now nothing much can slow us down. :) This is what I enjoy - the planning, the shooting, having this business.

I heard once that to be absolutely successful, to be the TOP BEST at what you do, you have to GET obsessed and you have to STAY obsessed. Most of my online friends think I "like to brag" and I do enjoy telling people where I'm going and where I am. But ya know what? It's just enjoyment, excitement - and me! I love this business and I wouldn't leave it. Sarah and I have talked many times about "the lottery" and if we won, we'd take a vacation, then come back and buy a studio, advertise and basically do this forever. We'd just have Kathleen Hawkins come up and show us what we don't know yet - and pay her well! lol

Great question Kevin! :)
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