SPEC302: How to Start a Photography Business Class

  • Specialty Programs
  • Level 2
  • Hardware/Software/Books Required?

Course Description

 You have a camera and dream, and now you want to start your own Photography Business, but how do you get started? Many students have this notion that all they need is a camera and then they can
start their own business and collect payments. Unfortunately, running your own business is not that easy. As an instructor and business owner for over 20 years, I’ve heard many “horror” stories from
novices that failed to use something as simple as a contract in their business resulting in them handing over artwork and not getting paid for it. We’re going to learn how to avoid that issue and many
others that occur when becoming a business owner. In this course, students will learn how to set up their own photography business from the ground up.
Fail to plan, plan to fail. We’re going to start making the decisions about our photography business as to how we want it to function, what type of photography we want to do, who will will offer our services to, how we will deal with clients, the importance of contracts, and even taxes. At the start of each class, a summary of what we covered the day prior will be discussed and any questions will
be answered before moving onto new material. It is imperative that the student doesn’t miss a class because there will be info given that won’t be on the Canva presentation. Students will be taking lots
of notes that they’ll have for the future and will be assigned homework to complete in order for the instructor to ensure that they understand what they’re learning.

Pens for taking lots of notes
Notebook for taking lots of notes they will refer back to in the future

Day 1 – Intro
We’ll review the Zoom rules, learn more about me and my skills, what we’re going to cover in this
class, the Elements of Photography and vocab.
Day 2 – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Now is the time to make a decision before you even start building your photography business. In this
day’s lesson we’re going to brainstorm and discuss:

1. What do you want to photograph in your business?
2. Will you shoot film or digital photography?
3. How will you develop your images?
4. Who is your ideal client?
5. How will you provide your photos to your client?
6. And more!
Class discussion is required.
Homework: Continue working on your business outline in further detail. Bring to our next class.
Day 3 – Business Dicussion and Critique
In class today we’re going to take turns talking about our future photography business plans and
ideas, and see if our classmates have any suggestions.
Day 4 – Pricing and Methods of Payment
In this day’s lesson we’re going to learn and figure out if we should be charging by an hourly rate and
how to determine it. Or, would it be better to charge by package pricing. We’re going to learn how we
should price our services and finished photos. We also need to figure out what methods of payment
we should be accepting.
Class discussion is required.
Homework: You should finish working on how to price for your services and work, and have it ready
for the next class.
Day 5 – Contracts
In this day’s lesson, it’s important to use a well-written contract in your business to protect yourself.

Too many young and inexperienced business owners fail to use a contract and when the client refus-
es to pay for their services or goods, the business owner is left with nothing and unable to take legal

action. It’s vital to have a paper trail for any business – it protects you and your business. We’re going
to learn what a contract is, what to put in it, and how to use it. We’ll look at some sample contracts
you can use.
Homework: Start working on your contract.
Day 6 – Invoices / Payments / Sales Tax / Taxes
As a business owner, you get to decide what payments you will accept and when payment is due.

We’re going to discuss the types of payments you should accept and avoid, plus how to create an in-
voice to give to your customers upon receipt of payment. Yes, you have to charge sales tax and we’ll

learn on what. Last, the importance and reality of paying taxes. Yes, you have to pay taxes if you own
your own business, but there are things you can claim on your taxes as business expenses.
Homework: Start working on your invoice and creating your expense list.
Day 7 – Business Expenses
One of the benefits of owning your own business is tax write-offs. These are products or service you
may purchase for your business and can write off at the end-of-the-year. We’ll talk about what we can
and can’t write-off on your taxes.

Day 8 – Collecting Payment Issues
Many clients will happily pay you for your services and their photos, but every once in a while, you will
encounter a client that will refuse to pay you. In today’s lesson, we’re going to learn what options we
have to collect payment without having to rely on our parents for help. ***Be prepared to take plenty
of notes!
Day 9 – Dealing with Customers
When owning your own business, customer service is a HUGE part of it because without them, you’ll
have no reason to be in business. We’re going to discuss the different types of customers you may
encounter in your business and the best way to handle them. Class discussion is required.
Homework: Write down some phrases you might use in your business to handle difficult customers.
Day 10 – Advertise your Photography Business & Photography Competitions
Now that your business is set up and ready to go, you need customers. We’ll talk about the different
ways you can advertise your business to find clients. We’ll discuss whether we should use old school
methods like print advertising or focus only on all social media. It’s also important to have a website
so people can see your work online besides Facebook and Instagram. We’re also going to discuss
how a photography competition may help you in your business. Class participation is required.