Angie Arthur Photography

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It’s Official…{gulp!}

I officially set up Angie Arthur Photography in late 2009…what an exciting time it has been!

If you are a photographer who is thinking about taking this step as well, here are a few things that I have learned along the way…

• Plan for the process to take much longer than you ever expected it to.  🙂

• Put a lot of time, thought (and maybe even money) into the “brand” you want to create for yourself.  It should be something that when people see it, they will think of you.  I can’t thank Amy Locurto enough for designing my brand as my birthday gift.  She is so talented!

• I’m still working on making a contract that I can use with potential customers.

• I decided to go through Blogger to set up my website.  I did this for several reasons:
-I’m still not certain that this is exactly how I wanted my website to look, but I needed to get something put together where I could send potential customers.  Blogger is free so I’m not out any additional funds while I think this over.

-I was easily able to purchase my domain name through Blogger (for around $10) so my website name is http://www.angiearthurphotography.com instead of http://www.angiearthurphotography.blogspot.com.

-I was able to use my sister’s amazing tutorial to set up my “blog” to look like a website instead.  (As a sidenote:  if you decide to follow her tutorial, please just read through the information on her site and follow it step-by-step.  Andrea is in the midst of teaching full-time, going to grad school and trying to be a good mom and wife.  She really doesn’t have any extra time to answer questions about her tutorial or website design.)

• One of the best pieces of advice I was given was by my good friend, Susan Keller.  When I asked her about pricing she said that you should set your prices to value yourself and your time and at the price that you really want to make from your photography.  It’s super-easy to offer limited-time discounts and specials whenever you need some extra business but it’s very difficult to increase your prices over time.  I completely agree with her and think that many photographers undervalue their abilities and time.

• I usually would highly caution setting up a business and charging prices for your photography before you have put enough time into practicing your photography skills and editing abilities.  I look back at my photography from a few years ago (which everyone highly praised me for at the time) and I just want to dig a hole and crawl into it from embarrassment.  My editing skills have improved immensely since then and I’m just thankful that I never charged anyone for those photos at that time.  Make sure that what you are offering isn’t something that you’ll feel sheepish over when you look at it a couple of months to a year down the road.  Your name is going to be associated with those photos forever!  

I spent over a year and a half doing photo shoots for free which allowed me to build up a great portfolio and provided wonderful opportunities to practice my editing skills.  I highly recommend this to anyone who has the desire to start their own photography business…as long as the free shoots are only for family and close friends.  If anyone else asks you to shoot a session for them, you should charge something to cover your time and efforts.  If not, you might get completely burnt out and overwhelmed by the free sessions you have done.

• I have registered my name as a business, have a tax ID number and have completed all the necessary “legalease.”  This has come in very handy since I was just contacted for some commercial work for a large company (which means pretty big $$.)  Without a tax ID number, I wouldn’t even be considered for this job.  Besides, if you are making money for your photography registering as a business is just the ethical thing to do.