How to Start a Photography Business In California
There is a lot involved in starting a photography business. Make sure you plan properly before getting started. After registering your business, you will need to market your business to increase your customer base. These steps will help you start just about any type of photography business including a portrait or wedding photography business, a stock photography business, a freelance photography business, and more.
Here are some links to more information on how to register and start your photography business in the state of California.
Getting started– California’s official website about how to start a business in California is found here: http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness.aspx
1. Select a business structure.
Sole-proprietor, LLC, Partnership, Corporation, etc. Find out more here: http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/DefiningaBusiness.aspx
2. Register your photography business name.
Find out more about registering a fictitious name here: http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/ChooseaFictitiousBusinessName.aspx . Your fictitious name must be registered with your county clerk. Find your county’s form here: http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/CountyClerkandFBNForms.aspx
If you need help choosing a business name: How To Choose A Photography Business Name
3. Register your photography business with the state of California.
You can register your business with the state of California here: http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/RegisteringaBusiness.aspx
4. Open a Business Checking Account.
You will need to open a separate bank account for your photography business with your new business name.
5. Find out about taxes and hire an accountant.
When you are a small company you may want to file your own taxes. As you grow, it will be easier to have an accountant do the work. More info about taxes here: http://www.taxes.ca.gov/doingbus.shtml and http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Starting-a-Business
6. Get Liability Insurance.
Insurance is important. You don’t want to get sued because someone got injured tripping over your camera equipment.
7. Get Health Insurance.
Since you will be self-employed, you will need your own health insurance. If you have employees, you will need a plan that will include their health needs also.
8. City License.
You may be required to obtain a license to do business in a particular locale, whether you are a resident, or not. http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/RegisteringaBusiness/Locallicensesandpermits.aspx
Depending on the locale, you may need to apply for permits before doing a public photo shoot. http://www.business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/RegisteringaBusiness/Locallicensesandpermits.aspx