Case Study - Business Basics
Hey, welcome back to another case study. This is the case study for the photography business. Basic section, a really big epic section that you just got through. So I hope you enjoyed that. A lot of like practical step by stuff, stuff that we know that as you go through the course, a lot of people are just going to watch through all the lessons and aren't going to take action until maybe the end of the course or whatever. But if you do take the time to actually stop and do each step, that that's what we want and we're gonna be going over examples, but hopefully, especially after at the end of the section, you take a pause and you start doing these things. So we're kinda gonna go through this. You've already done it with your business, but we're just gonna use will see photo as an example. So just going back through the steps, the first one was choosing a business name. Um and you talked about having your different businesses in the past I guess. And you talked about not using Will Carn...
ahan because the long name, but I guess why we'll see compared to coming up with another one or what was that? There's, there's a couple reasons for me and this is very specific to me. I created already for a lot of my cinematography and my stuff before doing business as name, as sort of a sole proprietor called Carnahan Creative. So I'm William Carnahan as doing business as Carnahan Creative. We'll see is just sort of the brand. So I'm still William Carnahan and that still is just an abbreviation. We'll see. But it also goes into, it also goes in tandem with my and you guys may know Sam shimizu, he and I have a video production company called Will call Cinematic. So there's a lot of, lot of alliteration going on here, that is a brand across my entire income platform. In addition to that, I got on instagram and I kid you not like I went through every alliteration of William Carnahan or you know Carnahan Creative and there's a lot of similar things and I found an opening for Will underscore c underscore photo and that's my instagram handle and it is so short and I love it and I can say it real quick well underscore underscore phone and I know that people are going to be tagging me a lot people know it's gonna be me by my name. So they're calling me, you know, when they start to type in, they'll start to type in Will and hopefully other than we'll call in my normal instagram, William Carnahan, we'll see photo will come up. So yeah, that was a big driver for me and I think it looks nice and short. Yeah, I like that. I mean for my, for my business, which is video school online. It I was looking for something that again, this isn't a photography business, but I was looking for something that more defined what the business was. It actually started as me teaching video production. That's why did video school online. I thought it was kind of catchy or at least it explained what it was. The domain name was available. But then it kind of works because it's expanding to just teaching people video, video. Yeah. I still want just video school dot com. I have asked the owner so many times because he doesn't have anything on it, but he's just sitting on it for years. Yeah, he uh he asked for 80,000 for it. $1000. He's gonna wait till you have a campus but video school dot com, that would be awesome. Right? But the idea behind just getting the web domain or the instagram name or the social media name that you want. You know, you're gonna live with it for a while, all your paperwork is going to be done everything. So it's good to have something you like. And that's why at the end of the day I think for most photographers it's probably best just to pick your name because you'll probably stick with it. I guess the only thing is if your name is taken the websites taken because as we talked about it's good to have like the same name or user name for all social media platforms, but you can also get creative if it's you can still call your business, will see photo if we'll see photo dot com was taken and you could just have your website be your name, Will Carnahan or whatever, or you could I could do Philemon or photography or Philemon or photo or fill in er photographer. You could kind of get created by Phil epner dot com. You can get real creative if you really wanted to keep that name. Yeah. But in terms of choosing a name, that's going to be the actual name on the business itself. Which going through the next steps. That's when you have to be a little bit more specific on what you want to stick with for the long run. So the next, I guess step was all these more kind of official things. We talked, you talked about business structure, so talk about your experience with, I guess business structure and what you've done in the past or what we'll see photos now. So, going back to my old company and I just want to use this as an example to, it's called me new to photography and we'll look at a price sheet later that I found for us to take a look at. But that was a partnership and that was me and another photographer and we formed a partnership. So we both had liability, We did not get an EI N number or anything like that. It was just the two of us. And so everything was done under our social security numbers, which is a little, You know, sketchy when you're charging $3-$5,000 a wedding. It's a lot of money going through you guys that's going to end up being taxed. Um It was easy to dissolve because it was just the two of us and we just stopped. Um and then we just closed our bank accounts and stuff like that. We'll see photo. I wanted. Part of it also is the name was that I wanted to maintain the sole proprietorship. This so basically I am William Carnahan sole proprietor. And then I filed a D. B. A. As a sole proprietor under Carnahan Creative so that Carnahan Creative could achieve and get an Ei N. Number. And this is so specific to California and Los Angeles and where we are. And Carnahan Creative for me personally is sort of an umbrella for all the freelance work that I do as a video guy, as a cinematographer, as a photographer, as a teacher. All my business kind of goes through that. Well it would be so confusing to have like separate businesses and so it's better just to have it all under that one umbrella. But that's my DB a umbrella. Got it. And so we'll see for you is more of the brand name which makes sense. And that's totally doable. But if you're just starting out, I think it makes sense to do the D. B. A. As your just your name. Yeah but you know if you want more protection like my video production company and your original video production company. We filed an L. L. C. And paid in California $800 a year to have coverage. Again that's not we've done wedding videos behind that but it was worth it. It's a little bit more money. Um And it was structured like an LLC. Which is just more protection for you. And that makes you know that always made me nervous about protecting. But again going back to doing the D. B. A. Or getting that separate E. I. N. It really helped with creating a new business checking account. And so you know we'll talk more about getting your bank accounts and all that accounting fixed up. Like that is a really big reason to also do that. So um speaking of doing A D. B. A. I'm realizing as I'm doing a search we're just coming from California and this is what you should do. If you don't know how to do this is just go to google and say file A D. B. A. In your state. I did that for new york just for kicks and giggles and D. B. A. Does come up but they also use the term certificate of assumed name which I've never heard of. So that's a different state by state. Yeah so I guess this is a state by state thing that you have to, it might be called something else in your country but it could be called fictitious business name or just business name. Register a business name. That's what I was doing. Business. Yeah, a bunch of different terms. So I mean pretty self explanatory. The federal and state I. D. That's just something you apply again we mentioned will include links to in the US the IRS website where you can do that in terms of a business license. I know for me I have to do it in my local city every year it comes up and I have to pay the fee. There was a little form but pretty simple. Mine was pretty easy. Yeah. I think in my city of Redondo beach I just went down to city hall and I think they made me go to like the fire department get a signature which was like next door because they wanted to make sure I wasn't like having employees and they're like, oh you're just photographer. Yeah. And they're like, yeah whatever. Like I think they just want to make sure you're not making chemicals and doing crazy stuff and then I renew it every year and it's like 110 bucks. Although I wonder if you're doing like a dark room. Well I think they asked questions about, there are using chemicals. Are you hiring people, how many employees? Well in a lot of places they won't want you increasing traffic if you're working out of your home or have clients. And so um yeah that's all something that you'll have to figure out. But if you're just working by yourself it should be pretty easy in terms of bank accounts, I think you've covered it pretty much. But yeah I mean it's the same thing I once I got my E. I. N. I was able to start a separate business account under that name. So it was under my normal name. It's all hooked up into the same banking system on my personal and stuff. But that was important to me because you know we'll get into this more but like when you start having expensive and income and tracking all that you want to separate your personal stuff from you know your photography stuff and that just makes things so much easier in the in the long run. Yeah. I mean the other thing that is important with the business account aside from just keeping everything separate which is so important. We talk about it later in the course with taxes and accounting with saving a certain percentage for all that stuff. But there are some other perks that you might get with a business account. I think I have like a premium personal checking account and a safe deposit box now. Nice. What's in it? You don't keep your gold my DB a certificate. Yeah and you'll probably start getting a lot of advertisements for business loans. Um. Cool. Well one thing that the next thing which so that's all kind of like the business kind of stuff but a couple other things were getting your online accounts set up. So this is more just like setting it up. You talked about registering your domain name and I just wanted to clarify there that some of the most popular places you can do that are Go Daddy dot com name cheap dot com. There are also a lot of other platforms. Again, we'll cover them later on for building out your website like Zen folio squarespace. You can purchase a domain name from those websites. Typically. Um it'll it'll be an option but in general you can also just purchase it through Go Daddy and then have that domain name point to the website that's hosted on squarespace or Zen folio or whatever. So if you're if you just want to get started and you don't want to pay for a bunch of hosting options just doing a 10 20 bucks a year kind of deal with Go Daddy is good. One thing I will add to that is whenever you register a domain name, they always ask you if you want to pay for privacy protection, which I would say is definitely good because whenever you register a domain name, you have to have your name address and that will become public information. And if anyone does look up search for the website, they can see who owns it. So if you got to pay an extra 10 15 bucks a year to have that actually be private. Which I think it's good because not only is it good for just for privacy protection but I think you get more like advertising ticket, it's public information. Um Social media accounts instagram, facebook, those are a couple of the main ones are you doing anything with, you know this changes all across time, what's popular but I mean twitter Pinterest. I've only started a new instagram because again this goes back to how much time or no time I have and so as of now we'll see photo is just strictly on instagram and the zen folio site. Yeah, so it's it's where I get most of my clients through and it's my free advertisement because I don't want to spend too much time and money on pushing out other places. I'm just literally focus on instagram but that's like a personal, like I spend way too much time on instagram but I think that's also a good tip is that sometimes it's easy just to pick one platform and focus on it and grow it there. Well it's good to have accounts on all these other places. It can get to be a lot of work but there also are ways to automate a lot of it where you can automatically share instagram post to twitter or facebook or wherever. Um and depending on the different accounts there there is a different audience maybe there's a little bit of an older, more mature audience on facebook compared to instagram or things like that that you might want to consider. I guess the tip here is since this is just about getting your account set up is we want you to go out there, sign up for the account on probably all these platforms just so that your name is taken in case you do want to use it at a later date. So yeah, I would definitely say instagram facebook and while you're at it, why not twitter and Pinterest, Even Pinterest is kind of becoming a more popular one too. And I used to use that with wedding photography, I would build out boards and help and work with the bride and groom to the bride and bridegroom or groom and to build out like Yeah, for sure for wedding, for newborn food photography, that's a lot of, I mean people are in Pinterest looking up that stuff. Alright, let's talk a little bit about branding, which you covered but we didn't dive too deep into it. So in terms of branding, I think of things like your graphics, this could be your logos or just general graphics. You're creating for social media. You talked about colors, font choices with a graphic or a logo? Have you created something like that? I have in the past? Not for will see photo, our first photography company menu to photography, we we had a color scheme, it was yellow, white and I think light blue and so and you'll see, we'll bring up those price sheets. I think I email them to you, we'll bring those up and show you the color scheme went across our price sheets, went across our, our business cards and went across, we did a couple of trade shows for wedding, business business things and that really informed the entire look and it had that entire feeling. Um, and so I haven't really gotten into that. We will see photo yet. I think because I'm dealing with a lot of professional clients versus the wedding stuff, I'm dealing with more random public clients. So it's a little bit more forward facing advertising. I think we'll see it eventually get there, but I need to kind of start building up the momentum. Yeah. And I mean sometimes if it's just yourself, I think a lot of people get excited about creating like a logo. But yeah, just using like your image across all your profile is good. I think the main tip I would give is just keep it, it's good to think about your branding. So that's consistent across all your platforms because you don't kill yourself. But it's good like when someone is looking at your facebook and then going to your website and it looks the same, has the same style style of photos, like graphics and everything. It starts to feel a little bit more professional. Yeah. You know, from a, from a business business aspect, video school online has a great logo and you have a consistent color and you've got hats and got signed and we'll call has stickers and you know, you start to develop that as you go but I don't think it's that important as a type of photo businesses we're talking about to start with. Yeah, for sure. Alright. So that's that was a little bit about graphics. The next thing you talked a lot about was pricing, which is so important. A lot of people are confused about that, don't know how to do that. So let's actually look at a couple examples um that I'm bringing up here. Yeah. And what you're going to be, what we're gonna be taking a look at our two price sheets that I've created for actually two different wedding cos I'm not creating them for, we'll see right now because it's all very word of mouth and I again I'm dealing with professionals and I can just talk to them um with wedding stuff. I've had two different wedding companies. The older one minute to photography is sort of dead now but it's good. Yeah, it's good because this is what maybe is a little bit more beginner. Yeah not beginner but like its I mean obviously it's a clear kind of so on on my price sheet that I would present to people is you know, our logo, our website or sort of like style, A few of our favorite photos at the time and guided, we only shot like four weddings before, I think we made this price sheet. But what we did was we broke it down by three different packages where the lowest package was 30 200 because we had Two photographers always and an assistant. So always we have three people on set or at your wedding. So that's for 30 203 people is like pretty good and then it comes with six hours, you got all digital images and the online gallery. Now from there are center two packages we made pretty close to pricing with each other. It just changes as far as like what they get and so those are sort of similar in the hours. And then our biggest package was 4800 which was basically as much as we could possibly think of this change dot this is one of our first ones. Um and then we added the engagement session and an ala carte to add on to that sort of stuff. So this is like a really based thing for two photographers. An assistant, I think you could probably cut each one in half if you took a photographer away and just had an assistant. What's the one thing we didn't talk about but was the importance of having tiered pricing and having multiple options. I mean I know a little bit about that and like basically finally people towards mostly getting that mid tier, there's gonna be some people going crazy with that high tier option but the difference in price and what you get with the low tier versus the mid tier, it just makes them want to get that mid tier. Yet we actually, it's super funny because back in the day we structured this off of at the time imax in the way that the four levels of imax work, they have a low tier and they had a really high tier and then the two center tears were so close in price and so it kind of gave them the option for adding or not adding stuff on, but you wanna expand enough that you can get the price range of people in the audience that are potentially ordering you. But you also want to like like steer them towards a really reasonable price that you really want to be working towards, which will allow you to buy more progress Yeah, sort of stuff. So that's where that's sort of the sort of system came from and I think it's good to have like all this information out there. I remember from my first video wedding video business, I had a price list but it was a lot more confusing I would say because I had a lot more options, a lot of Allah cart things and I think at the end of the day it's a good idea just to be simple with it. Keeping it simple is very helpful to people who are looking at a lot of these all the time and they just want to know your price. No, you offer move on to the next because they don't know like, I mean like in this you don't say like three shooters per package, but you will tell them that and they, if it says two shooters, one shooter, three shooter in the different packages as a layperson, they might be like, well do we need two shooters or do we need three shooters? What's the difference? And you know, you have to explain that to them. And for our business, we decided we're not going to shoot a wedding without two shooters and an assistant and that was just the way it was going to be cool. And if you look at this one, so I haven't talked about this company yet. Elizabeth Cruise weddings is a partnership I have with a fine art photographer and she does a lot of modeling stuff. Like she is very popular and it's paid a lot of money. And so we've gotten inquiries about really high end weddings because she's a little famous on instagram and so we kind of teamed up. We used our middle names. So her middle name is Elizabeth. My middle name is Elizabeth Cruise weddings. We got on squarespace. We bought a domain and we just put a price list together and put it up. There are tears here are 10,000 and 8000 and you know, if I just shot one of those in a year, that'd be fine. But again, this is two shooters where she'll be editing and I will be running the business aspect of it because we both have such different styles and we'll take a look at the Elizabeth cruise wedding website later because it's way more high end looking and way more simple and way more fine art looking. So that's sort of the tears there. Again, we're trying to drive you to the center cost here. But obviously like these are for very high end weddings so it's a little different. But again, we're trying to be simple. This is what you get is what you get you get. And this is, I mean it's simple because what they get is pretty much the same except for the total hours that you're covering them and that's again, we're going back to what our, what our hourly worth is. So that's where the hours come in, they don't see that it's per hour how much we figured it out. But they see a general asked one thing that I think as we're looking through these prices and talking about them is I think a lot of people starting out are going to be like charging $4,000 for our wedding. That is crazy where I live. That's so much as a new photographer that so much and I think We don't want you to get out there and feel like, oh well you have to church, $4,000 prices are very high. Yeah and that's based on experience, location all that I think for people just starting out it's probably much more likely that they're going to be charging you know four or $500 for a wedding if that to get started maybe doing a couple for free if it's friends and family just to build up your portfolio. But these prices they increase over time. I think when I first started years ago ISH Our tears were more like 600, you know 1100 and 1500. And that was with one photographer And so and that was like plenty at the time but we'll talk more about scaling up and that was 12 years ago I've been treating for a long time and so has the other two photographers. And those are both partnership dual photographers. A lot of you guys are just a single photographer and you can cut all that at least in half. Probably more for your starting out prices. Yeah, but I will say you can bump your prices pretty quickly Again, I did wedding video but basically the same idea. I remember my first one, it was a friend of a friend. 1st 1. Never done it before. I charged $250 and that was way too low but it was my first wedding got on my portfolio less pressure for sure. But I mean by my 4th 5th wedding I was charging $3000 just because as you build up your portfolio, if you if you have a portfolio and if it's good obviously then you can charge You know the standard price or whatever. They don't know that you shot one versus 20 or 100. So as long as you look up the market and what other photographers are doing and emulate. But of course we don't condone faking it till you make it and using someone else. Some people I've seen use other like stock photos or other people's photos in their portfolio and website and that's something that I would definitely stay away from totally. Alright so the next topic was actually your photo gear. We're gonna stop this case study. We're gonna do a completely separate video on that because I know we're going to dive a little bit deep into that. Um And I think people are gonna be really interested. So we'll see you in that next video where we talk about equipment