the blog

10 Steps To Getting Your Photography Business Legit

Business, For Photographers

One of the biggest burning questions in the photography industry, (that nobody wants to ask, for fear of people realizing that they’re *not* in fact legit yet… 🤣) is — you guessed it; “how to get your photography business legit?”

Because maybe you’re getting bookings *YAS GIRL* — but deep down you realize that if this thing is growing… that means it’s getting more legit in the eyes of your customers (which is amaze btw)… but maybe it’s still not legit yet on paper.  

Meaning, you haven’t registered it with the state as a business, nor have you gotten a business bank account, or figured out anything regarding sales tax, your taxes, etc. 

Why? Because you have no idea where to even start, and every time you think about it, a knot forms in your stomach and you tell yourself “I’ll get that figured out next week,” while binging yet another episode of New Girl. (Knowing you aren’t gonna do it next week.) 😂 

Because after you launched your biz and were on that *I’m chasin’ my dream* high… after all the well wishes, toast emoji’s 🥂 and happy dances… now you’re faced with a glaring reality:


You’re a small business owner. 🙃



Steps to Getting Legit



It’s both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. You’re making money doing what you love, which is amazing, but when it comes time for taxes and all the things… you have no idea what you’re doing. 

This can definitely be the most stressful part of your job, but I don’t want it to be that way for you. 


So, I sat down with my mama, (who’s also my accountant,) and figured out the 10 steps you NEED to take to get your photography business legit.


(And don’t worry, I’ve got the quick save checklist for ya to save to Pinterest to come back to!)  

Let’s dive in! 🤓



The 10 Steps to Getting Your Photography Business Legit:

  • Decide on the business formation that is right for you!
    There are multiple different types of business formations, but the ones that will apply to you guys most are going to be a sole proprietorship, or an LLC (limited liability corporation.)


  • If doing an LLC, decide whether you want to be a single member or multi-member LLC. (Most photographers do single.)
    Chances are you’ll be a single-member LLC, (I am!) But just in case you’re planning to go into a partnership with another photographer in business, you’d want to decide that here.


  • Decide on your business name and address
    In order to file the necessary paperwork to register your business, you’ll need to have a business name and a business address. You can have your primary residence as your business address if you want!


  • If you’re registering your business as an LLC, do so with the state by filing your certificate formation, (a.k.a your articles of incorporation).
    This is how you’ll file your LLC. Your articles of incorporation tells the state what kind of an LLC you are.


  • Apply for your tax ID number, (otherwise known as your federal identification number, or EIN.)
    Your tax ID number is important to be able to incorporate your business, and it’s a separate number other than your social security number. This allows you to get a business bank account, (which you’ll need,) and even hire employees one day.


  • Call the city and ask if there are any business licenses you need.
    Sometimes, depending on the city you live in, there are special licenses you need to be able to run your business in your city. Call just to make sure there isn’t, and if there is, they’ll help you get them!


  • Once your Articles of Incorporation come in and your CP- 575, take them to a bank and open up a business bank account.
    Yes, you want a business bank account. There are so many reasons for this. But most importantly, it’s cleaner and keeps your personal and business transactions separate, (which the IRS loves!)


  • Register your business for sales tax (since you’re a photographer you will need this!)
    In order to file the necessary paperwork to register your business, you’ll need to have a business name and a business address. You can have your primary residence as your business address if you want!


    You did it! But if you’re like me, you got to this step (by reading ahead,) and thought… So is there someone that can do this for me? Yes. I’ll get there in a minute. 😉


  • Set up your books on accounting software, (once transactions are coming into your business bank account.) You can either DIY this, or you can hire an accountant to make sure it’s done right.
    Every business has to have a set of “books,” which is the recorded transactions and their categories, etc., that’s happening in your business. This is what keeps you on track to know what you’ll owe, (or won’t owe,) when it comes time for taxes! So yes, it’s vital.


And there you go, the 10 steps to getting your photography business legit. I hope this step by step process gives you the confidence to go out and make it happen! 


Want my accountant’s info, and a free download?

If you’re still confused and struggling in this whole “getting legit” area of your photography business, and, that’s okay, I don’t blame ya a bit! I’ve talked my mom into serving photographers since she’s been helping me for the last six years! You can shoot her a quick email, (it can be an informal brain-dump, no worries,) and she’ll get you all set up! As long as you are in the continental United States, she can help you out!  😉 Click here to send her an email! 

Cheers to getting legit! 🥂

P.S. You can get the FREE Printable “Getting Legit Check-list” sent straight to your email- just click the image below!


Steps to Getting Legit



If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂



instagram with me

Come along for more daily adventures (and photos of my dogs) on the 'gram:

How to Get Up and Work Out 

The Best Hostess Hacks for Parties

We Ate 19 Macarons So You Don't Have To

Where to Go on Your Next Girl's Trip