Good Business Practise


This is the final blog post in the series and features anything else I think is worth a mention. They are not specifically photography related but good business practise in general.

So you want to start a photography business?

Part VII: Good business practise.

Be organised:

When we first started out we didn’t really have a system for organising our images but soon realised that if we wanted to keep on top of our ever expanding catalogue of client work then we needed to organize ourselves a little better.

As John is the person that processes all our client work it was up to him to devise a system he could work with. It didn’t take him long to put it together and move everything about and with minimum disruption.

Me, on the other hand, I am terrible. I have image files and folders all over the place, well all in the work in progress folder actually, and there they tend to stay. Once I have finished my current project I intend to give the PC and really good clean up. I know, I could have been a little more organised and avoided giving myself a headache but … guess what I’ll be doing on Christmas Day!

The same level of organisation applies to your business files too. The business side of the studio is my domain and this bit is really organised but then that stems from working in administration all my life. Contracts, orders, client details, invoices, model release forms etc. all need to be stored and filed into some form of system that you are happy with. They are critical to the smooth running of your operation so get organised at the very start and save yourself time in the future.

Create Back-ups

I suppose this is a continuation of being organised but in a slightly different way.

A back-up is a copy of you images and/or business files that is stored elsewhere other than on your computer; this can be an external hard-drive, on CD/DVD, a RAID system or to the cloud. I would say that creating a regular back-up is an essential requirement for any computer orientated business these days and will lead to less downtime should you be unfortunate to be burgled or have a serious fire at your premises.

All our images are currently backed-up to external hard-drives and to DVD. We know technology has progressed beyond DVD’s and that this is not completely ideal and have been looking into cloud storage but with some many different option available to us its hard to know what to chose so if you have any advice to give please let us know.

Observe guidelines:

Many photographers like to shoot wildlife, nature or landscapes yet ignore many simple codes of practise for whatever reasons.

My advise is to be aware of your surroundings and the wildlife within it, observe The Nature Photographers Code of Practise, avoid trespassing on someone’s property, and do not damage crops or cause distress to livestock – and don’t forget to shut the gate behind you!

Licenses:

There are a a small areas of photography where you need to attain certain licenses and passes in order to carry out that style of photography, the one increasing in popularity at the moment is Ariel photography. Legislation dictates that this type of photography needs a license from the Civil Aviation Authority. You may also need to have additional insurance and be aware of Privacy laws etc.

Genuine Software:

The most commonly used software in the Photographic industry are Photoshop and Lightroom. In the not too distant past these were very expensive to purchase but this has all changed with Adobe’s move to Creative Cloud an in particular the Photography Plan. At less than £10 a month you’d be daft not to take up this offer!

Copyright & Image Theft:

I mentioned using stolen images and stock images on your website in a previous blog.  Sadly this problem is not just restricted to images on websites but also to digitally created images. There has been a sharp increase in the number of images being downloaded from stock sites, such as Shutterstock and iStock, having the logo removed and then being used as elements or backgrounds for digital images. Whilst you may think that it’s only Shutterstock, or whoever, you avoiding paying its not;  you’re actually preventing a photographer, like yourself, from trying to making a living!!

And finally but most importantly – Take time out:

When first setting up your own business it’s really easy to lose sight of what else is going on around you, especially with family and friends.

Goals are a great way to focus you work and channel your time and effort in the right direction for your business. Just make sure the energy is taking you where you want you and your business to go.

It’s OK to take some time out for yourself – enjoy it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series and look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments 🙂

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