HOW TO GET LEGAL & OTHER RESOURCES
What cameras do you use?
I use Canon equipment.
I have a list on Amazon with stuff I own, stuff I want, etc. You can find it here.
My current equipment:
I currently use a Canon R5 and my 5D Mark 2. If you want another good one that is mirrorless and not as expensive as the R5, go for the R6, that will be my next purchase I'm sure.
I also bought the 24-70 made for Mirrorless as the reviews I'd seen on it say that the upgrade is worth the money.
If I were still shooting weddings or doing a lot of location shoots, I'd get the RF 70-200
I'm a zoom lens girl, but many people LOVE the 50, RF 50mm
Flash wise, I used to have Canon flashes, but they are pricey and I'm hard on my equipment (or at least I was when I shot weddings). I prefer Yongnuos. Not only are they like $85 a pop but I find them easier to use. And if I drop them, it doesn't make you want to cry as bad! I use these to trigger my Alien Bees also. (They have versions that work with other cameras like Nikon also!)
Background stand wise, I have 3 different kinds, in order of price... and not going to lie, in order of preference as well, lol!
Electronic. I have not used this brand, but I bought mine like 15 years ago and it was like $2k then, and this one is only $300. If you have a studio, electronic is the way to go. I believe mine is a Manfrotto.
A tip... my FIL mounts mine and he first installs a piece of wood (horizontally where I want the brackets to go) like a 2x4 to the wall, drilled into the studs. THEN he can attach the metal brackets to the wall and not worry about them not being in a stud, as they are now attached to the wood that is attached to the stud.
Manual wall. I have one of these in 4 and one in 3. I think I bought two different brands as I bought at two different times. They do their job, but the pulleys can be a pain. Still better than the standard stands.
Standard style. There are lots of different cheap ones on Amazon. You typically want the ones that say heavy duty so they'll hold a little better. I don't ever use the sand bags that some come with.
In the past I've used:
Canon 5D Mark II (this model is no longer being sold, but here's the newer version)
24-70 (My all around lens, great for in studio)
I'm not a wedding photographer OR I just want to take pics of my kids, what would you recommend?
I use Canon and I love it. There are some Canon camera bodies on the market that are much more affordable than mine, and if you're a mom, just looking for a good quality camera, something like this might be perfect.
The 70-200 I use can be pricey. It is ideal for low light, like at weddings. If you aren't doing weddings, this version is more affordable and might be a better option for you. If you're shooting sports, it's going to be a great lens to get that nice creamy background and sharp images.
When I went to Europe a couple of years ago, I used this 28-135mm lens, because I didn't want to carry much equipment and I wanted to keep the weight down. It worked out GREAT.
But if you want something that can handle low light a little better and is much better lens, this 24-105, would be good.
A great all around lens, is the 50mm. It doesn't zoom, but it's a great price and good for low light. Be warned, most people love this lens, however, I got one that didn't focus well, so I had to return mine. So if you seem to have issues with yours, return it. But for around $100, it's probably the best deal on a great a lens.
How do I get fancy pricing sheets made?
Check out Cracked Egg Design for a great selection of templates for pricing and products. This will make your work look polished. All my contracts are on there as well, from wedding to print release contracts.
Are there any classes you recommend?
For starters, Creative Live has a lot of great classes on different photography, marketing and other topics. Use my link to save $15.
If you want to make a living doing photography, I HIGHLY suggest IPS Mastermind.
I'm a new photographer, how do I become legal (NORTH FLORIDA)?
Here is the city's information for getting legal.
4-After that, I would suggest getting a bank account for your business. If you're registered on Sunbiz, this and your driver's license should be all your bank needs to create the account. I know Vystar has no fees for business accounts and will give you starter checks for free.
5-Consider joining an organization like the Professional Photographer's Association, they'll provide free education, legal assistance and more. If you would put me as a referral, I'd appreciate it! Join here.
*** If the business name is going to be different from the name on your driver's license, you have to register with Sunbiz first, then go downtown to the Forsyth Street office in the first task.
LLC, Sole Prop or S Corp?
I have been all three at one time or another. As a photographer, the only way I could see MAYBE being a Sole Proprietor is if you are shooting nature, objects of not much value, etc. Stuff that won't get you sued.
Being an LLC or S Corp covers your butt and makes it so that if you get sued, you won't lose your house, your car, etc. This is ESPECIALLY important if you're shooting people, like newborns of weddings.
For me, my tax guy said that an LLC was only really good for certain real estate deals and that I wasn't doing those, so an S Corp was most beneficial. You'll have to talk to your own tax person to verify for you. But if push comes to shove, maybe just go S Corp so you'll have more protection.
I found this info if it helps anyone.
I google searched where to register an Scorp and found many companies online that do it and set up everything for you, for relatively cheap. That's the route I took.
Where do I get Insurance?
I have two types of insurance, liability and equipment insurance.
Liability insurance helps cover me if someone falls in my studio or something were to go wrong at a wedding venue, etc. I personally use Auto-Owners Insurance aka Southern Owners Insurance. They write my policy through Donovan & Abercrombie. I pay about $138 a year.
Equipment insurance is for if anything breaks (you drop our lens, etc), is stolen, etc runs about $250+ a year. I have a $100 deductible. I get mine through Mercer Insurance.
I am a member of the Professional Photographer's Association and they have a company that provides "free" equipment insurance for it's members, but it's soooo crappy, that I pay for Mercer's insurance, listed above.
What Social Media Apps Do You Recommend?
I scheduled all my Pinterest posts with this app.
I suck at posting on Instagram, even if an app pushes the post for me to do. So I use this app, the company has people who manually post your stuff for you at the best times. $20 a month, I set it and forget it! You get $5 off by using my referral link.
Business Stuff I recommend.
I hate keeping track of my mileage and this app does it for you (uses your smart phone to automatically track where you go and you tell it whether it's business or personal). Use this link to get 20% off.
To make collages, layout albums, etc, I use BlogStomp.
Where Can I get My Camera Fixed Locally?
I'm hearing great things about FantasTec. Try them.
If you need your camera cleaned, calibrated or need to rent a lens or camera, try LensFly.
As a photographer, we are typically self employed which means no retirement. I signed up for Acorns, and had it linked to my debit card. Now every time I buy something the amount is rounded up to the next $ and the money is invested for me. I don't notice it gone, but I'm saving for my future--NO monthly fees.
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