Are you that person at weddings who watches every moment of beauty and laughter while creating snapshots in your mind? Maybe you love yourself a polaroid and can’t leave the house without a camera of some description in your back seat. Photographers, we’re talkin’ to you! If you want to know how to start a wedding photography business and are ready to make a snappy, picture-perfect and legally legit splash, hold on to your lenses, lads and lassies - it’s time to (Mind)set Yourself Up for Success. Beyond the magical, creative work that you do (which you already have in the bag, we imagine!), there are a number of steps you need to take in order to get started on the right (and legal) foot. Getting legally legit will not only keep you from getting into legal trouble should you use stock photography or want to use some of your client images in your own branding, but it’ll also keep your IP protected, keep you getting paid on time, keep your boundaries and work respected annnd keep your clients happy.
Let’s dive in.
Register your wedding photography business
First things first, if you want to begin working legally under your business name, you need to register said business. You need to decide on what structure you’d like your business to be under, whether you’re a sole trader, a partnership or a company. These 3 structures operate a little bit differently and can impact your taxes and legal liabilities in different ways, so it’s super important to be clear on what is best for you and the future of your biz. For more insight on the structures and the registration process as a whole, check out our Business Startup Checklist.
Get your website sorted
- Let potential clients know that any personal information they share with you through your site is protected (emails, credit card info and the like)
- Protect your images and content from sneaky humans who may want to use them for their own purposes (because you’re just THAT awesome)
- Let people know how they should behave on your site and that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.
For more insight into these major assets, have a read of our blog, Do You Really Need Disclaimers and Website Terms and Conditions (spoiler: the answer is yes).
Protect your intellectual property
Protecting your intellectual property is a must. You’re creating incredible content and putting it out into the world. The last thing you want is for someone else to try and lay claim. Get sorted. Having photography agreements and model release forms that expressly give permissions, set out who owns the IP and what can and cannot be used (and how!) is part of this process. We’d also highly recommend getting a trade mark for your business name (and even your logo) to protect you even further.
Market your business, lock in that money mindset and move into automation
Knowing how to market your biz and keep it all running smoothly is also a massive key to successfully starting a wedding photography business (or any business, for that matter!).
You may have incredible images, all your legals in a row and a hot website, but who’s gonna know if they can’t find you?! And once they do find you, are you in a position to really start putting in the hours (and dollars) to grow and scale?
In order to grow your business, you need to invest in your business. That may mean hiring contractors to help with copy and ads. It may mean getting onto podcasts. It may mean investing in subscriptions like Dubsado to help you automate communications with clients and prospects, and keep a nifty booking calendar so you can stay focused ON your business and spend less time working IN your business.
Whatever happens, make sure you’re prepared to step up and make a splash. You deserve success.
Want a little more info? Check out our Photographers Guide to All Things Legal for Your Photography Business or jump on a consult with one of our very-not-scary lawyers, so we can point you in the right direction. We're here to help!
Happy reading. Happy planning. Happy thriving. x
Riz McDonald is an e-commerce business owner, business coach, podcaster and a lawyer for over 16 years. She’s also a mum and a lover of good wine...she only ever drinks the cheap stuff when she’s stoney broke.
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This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice.
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