Here are some goals for your first year in business – or even some tips to help you if you’ve already started your photography journey. Because, let’s face it, there are always things we can do to improve our business and become more competent business owners.

When you set realistic, achievable goals for your first year in business (or second, or third), you are giving yourself permission to succeed. And that is an AMAZING thing!

So here’s to kicking ass in 2018 – may it be your best year yet!

Goals for Your First Year in Business

  1. Learn how to shoot proficiently in Manual Mode (and actually do it!).
  2. Learn how to read the histogram on your images (check out this link).
  3. Learn to see (and use) directional light, shade, and backlight. Master lighting to the point where your photography has a very consistent look.
  4. Learn to nail your focus every single time. Try using back-button focus to get sharp images (check out this link)
  5. Create a mission statement, and a strong WHY for the business.
  6. Get a business license with a tax ID (it’s as easy as a trip down to the Commissioner of the Revenue office).
  7. Get business name registered with the state (make sure there isn’t another company with that name already!).
  8. Get set up to pay sales tax (and actually pay it).
  9. Get business insurance – yes, you need it! (Hill & Usher is who we use)
  10. Get bookkeeping system setup, keep a list of expenses that can be written off for tax purposes.
  11. If you don’t want to keep track of all that, utilize a professional accountant (what a headache relief!)
  12. Register a website domain for your business.
  13. Create a professional-looking, simple and clean website. Don’t know where to start? Check out our fabulous website designers here!
  14. Set-up website hosting and get an email address with domain name in it, rather than “”
  15. Create a business page on Facebook.
  16. Start an Instagram account for business use, or convert a personal account.
  17. Post 5-10 favorite photos from each session to an album on business Facebook page and tag clients.
  18. Create a contract and have it reviewed by a lawyer – The Law Tog has some great templates!
  19. Get a Model Release – make sure all clients sign it! (we include a model release in our contract)
  20. Start a business checking and savings account.
  21. Trade with a photographer friend to have professional headshots taken (please have a picture of yourself on your website!).
  22. Create a simple pricing structure and lay it out in a clean one-page .pdf
  23. Take a hard look at personal expenses. Find ways to tighten the budget by eliminating non-essentials. Use these savings to improve your business.
  24. Put money you earn from the business, back into the business. Create a list of what needs to be purchased and put it in order of importance (with a website/marketing at the top). business goals for photographers
  25. Create a client workflow checklist that contains steps for everything you do for each session/wedding/event. We’ve got an awesome one you can snag when you sign up for our email list!
  26. Utilize Templates – you’ll start writing the same thing to clients (photo session confirmation emails are a big one for me!) so start saving emails as templates for future use.
  27. Find a solution for online client viewing, professional print labs, and digital delivery of finished images.
  28. Purchase a monitor calibrator and begin calibrating monitor to print lab’s settings monthly
  29. Figure out a solution for archiving photos both in the cloud & on physical hard drives.
  30. Make a goal of shooting “X” number of sessions per month. On months you’re not able to book that number, set up a practice shoot with friends for free to keep the creative juices flowing.
  31. Join up with other photographers in the area either by attending an existing group, or starting your own
  32. Find one or two other photographers similar in style & price-point and start a referral group.
  33. Attend a workshop for your specialty – Imaging USA, Shutterfest, WPPI Convention, etc.
  34. Decide who your target client is – where they shop, what restaurants they like, where they spend their time, etc. Then decide how you can put yourself in front of your target market.
  35. Join a local network association for your specialty (weddings/families/product, etc).
  36. Network – Make one quality connection at each networking meeting. Focus on quality of relationship, then follow up with that one contact and invite them to coffee. Ask them how you can help their business (then actually help them).
  37. Get to know the local market. Find out who’s who and actively build relationships with vendors whose work you love.
  38. Rent new gear to test them out (Nick over at Digital Lens Rental can help with that!).
  39. Choose two local photogs who you admire. Write emails to let them know how they have impacted you – follow their blogs/social media and regularly comment.
  40. Second shoot for 2-3 photographers who’s work you admire.
  41. Learn Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop and use it to edit photos (we can help you learn the program with a one on one lesson!)
  42. Start a blog to showcase all that client gorgeousness!
  43. Strive to blog “X” times per week (once a week is a good starting point!)
  44. Whenever doing a portrait session, have a goal in mind for what to focus on (fun, joy, love, etc).
    As you edit the photos, evaluate how you did. Based on that, choose a goal for the next session to improve your photography.
  45. Have your work critiqued by another photographer. You never grow if you are constantly doing the same thing.Read Business Books about Business
  46. Read E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
  47. Read You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
  48. Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  49. Read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  50. Read Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Take Your Business to the Next Level!

Now that you’ve got a list of goals for your first year in business, I would love to help you out in your photographic journey and help you make it happen! Fresh Look Photography offers private mentoring to help with any aspect of running your business, and we’d love to chat with you! Feel free to drop a comment below or click the { Contact Me } button and we will get rocking and rolling!