How to Become a Pro Photographer: Part 2 – Getting Started

Getting started
Once you have the intention and the funds in place, it’s time to consider the legality, rules and regulations and all the red tape of what you need to do. Something else to give great care and consideration is to getting yourself properly insured. 

Paying tax
As inevitable in life, as death – there is no way to avoid paying tax if you want to work. The rules, rates and deadlines will vary massively from country to country so ensure you fully explore what it is you need to do in your own part of the world, and if unsure always employ the services of an accountant who can check you aren’t paying too little – or too much. Regardless of where you work it is advisable that you keep a solid record of your accounts, expenses, income, invoices and receipts. 

It is recommended that you back up any digital records stored on your computer and also keep a secure paper copy. There are hundreds of software packages out there that can help with the accounts side of your business or – again – employ an accountant to help. This won’t also be useful for ensuring your tax return is correct, but may also help you secure a bank loan or help you to sell or franchise your business down the line.

When you work as a freelance photographer there will be times when you are asked to sign a contract so be prepared to read the small print carefully before signing. There are plenty of little details to watch out for, such as ownership and copyright laws. Don’t try to ignore these issues as you could end up losing you money, or worse your rights to the images. If there is something you don’t understand, always ask for clarification or take it to someone outside of the company for an objective opinion before signing.

Equally you may need to consider creating a contract for your clients or models to sign. Be sure to cover anything you deem necessary such as; payment demands, copyright issues, details explaining that you may wish to use the images to promote your business etc. Again, having an objective pair of eyes – or even a legal representative check over the document will be incredibly helpful. There are hundreds of templates online that are available to use and mould to suit your own business, just find something that suits what you are attempting to achieve.

Knowing how, what and when to invoice can be confusing at first – but there are many templates online that you can use and change to suit your business, but essentially invoices can be as simple as stating your contact details, addressee details, a quick description of the work done, fee and details of when payment is due. Be prompt and organised when it comes to getting paid – otherwise you won’t eat. Keep a detailed spreadsheet in digital form as well as backed up with a paper copy and chart when you dispatch invoices and receive payment.

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