“Do you write down everything?” my friend asked me when she saw me logging in miles for the drive to a wedding shoot. Well, yes and no. I thought I would take a little bit of blog space to talk about some behind the scenes work, or the business side of photography. I wish someone would have told me this before I started, so if this helps one person, I accomplished my goal.
“The more organized you are going in, the more enjoyable the actual work of running your business will be” (Sanders, 2008, p. 174). I read this in a book (I’m one of those people that learned to walk from a book too), and now that I am in my second year of wedding photography, I firmly agree that the statement is completely true. Once my email started filling up with requests about shoots and contracts started coming in, the reality of running my own business hit me and I started to get organized to prepare for the future. Here are four tips I recommend for someone wanting to stay on top of their business/papers/. . . life ;):
1. Log your receipts. If you’re like me, you probably convinced yourself that you spend very little when it comes to photographing a wedding. Wrong. Keep your receipts from rentals, equipment purchases, office supplies, packaging, printing, toll fees, parking fees, shipping, and Starbucks on the job. These are the categories I use for sorting my receipts. I’m sure you can come up with something more creative.
2. Log your miles. Imagine trying to calculate miles on the job on April 15th? I use an app to do that for me and then send a report to myself. Extremely convenient.
3. Create folders for clients. Once a bride sends me a contract, I take out a new folder and write the name of the couple and their wedding date on it. I place the contract inside the folder, plus wedding invitation and any other detail relating to the day. I organize them by the date of the wedding, and file past weddings at the end to always have the next wedding up front.
4. Create invoices for your clients. There are a few ways to do those, Freshbooks is a great choice if you have extra money, or if you’re like me, there are many free invoice templates available. Whichever works for you, send your clients an invoice after initial retainer and once the full payment is made. This way you have a record of all your payments.
And I thought I’d end on a piece of advice from my favorite Emma Case to those who are starting out in business:
“Log your receipts. Charge what you’d be happy to earn a year in advance. Take a day off a week. Remember that you love photography, but if it’s a business it’s also your monthly wage just as if you were working for someone else, so don’t undersell yourself. Remember that you might not feel confident all of the time, but everyone else feels exactly the same. Don’t ignore the ‘log the receipts’ advice…. 😉 x”
This is my way of keeping it together and it may or may not work for you ;). There are other little things I keep track of, but if I would write them all you would probably think I’m an organizing freak, or something else horrible like that, so I will spare you. Happy Tuesday!