Basic Business Studies for Photographers: Intro

Bank Statement - Business Studies
Thanks bank.

I’m still in the process of editing down and posting all the content from my old site, so here comes the latest batch – business studies.

None of this is terribly exciting I’m afraid. You can look forward to topics such as “break even” (ooooh), “Invoicing” (aaaaaah), “Insurance” (erm, eeeeeek?) and so on. However, I’m not exaggerating here when I say that without a basic business knowledge you’ll last about 10 minutes as a self-employed freelance photographer.

Some of it comes under the heading of “common bleedin’ sense”, and some is stuff that you will only really find out after you’ve been in business for a while.


I’m going to touch on areas of tax, and other intricate accounting matters, and I am not an accountant. I will make as few specific references as possible for the following reasons:

  1. Tax laws vary enormously from country to country.
  2. They also change over time.
  3. They often carry stiff penalties for breaking them, and I don’t want anyone saying “photosmudger told me so!” when they’re dragged off in chains.

What I’m aiming to do is talk about broad principles that can be applied irrespective of the precise laws that are in force. The 2 things you should do if you’re in business for yourself as a photographer is firstly, and above all else, get an accountant, and secondly read one of the 2 following books:

  1. Financial management for the small business.
  2. And if you’re in the US, you need “Best Business Practices for Photographers“.

If you’re somewhere in the rest of the world, then to be honest with you, I haven’t a clue. Sorry about that. At least I’m honest.

I won’t touch upon the more esoteric/psychological aspects of being self-employed, as whilst I feel they’re absolutely essential, I’m saving them for later. Like a nice pudding.

Other Posts in “Basic Business Studies for Photographers”: Intro, Break Even and Your Money, Tax, Accountants and registering as Self Employed, Good Business Habits, Equipment and Insurance, Credit Control and Invoicing.


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