- 4 Keys for Effective Communication With Photography Clients
- 3 Things You Can Do to Make Your Photography Business Better
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Photographers are creatives. We love working with our hands, outside of an office, and talking to people. So, if you tell a photographer they have to sit in an office working with numbers all day, they might understandably freak out. I know it's not my favorite thing!
And yet, numbers are a huge part of our job as a photographer. Invoicing clients, while boring, is literally the only way you can continue to operate your business.
I think it’s one of the reasons why any article I write about photography invoicing receives far more views than any other subject. Photographers are in desperate need of photography invoice tips.
So, this whole article is about invoicing clients. If you follow all of the invoice tips on this list, your photography business is going to run so much more smoothly when clients start coming back in earnest.
Cover All Your Bases
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The best way to have your invoice ignored is to leave out information that your client needed on it.
When you are invoicing clients, your rule of thumb should be to include every single piece of information you think your client could ever possibly need.
This includes your own information, like your email address and phone number, as well as information about the shoot. Include the number of hours you were shooting for, the number of hours you were editing for, and any deliverables your client received.
It’s especially important to include information about any revisions you needed to make and the agreed upon price point for those revisions, since whoever is paying your invoice may not be privy to any of these changes.
Standardize Your Invoice
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If invoicing clients is not one of your strong suits, then why are you making it harder on yourself than you need to?
By using a standardized invoice template, you can streamline the process of invoicing clients, which will save you time and money.
There are a ton of standardized invoice templates available online (like this one and this one), or you can create one yourself. Another option is to use a service, like PayPal, that makes invoicing clients incredibly simple for a small fee.
Use an Online Invoicing Service
If PayPal doesn’t quite provide all of the services you need when invoicing clients, then you can also think about using a complete invoicing service like Podium.
Podium is a really unique tool for invoicing clients because it combines invoicing with communication. It pulls all of your communication with your clients from all of your social media accounts, email, and texts and puts them on one platform so that no messages ever get missed.
And, as you know, you never want to miss a message from a client about their invoice, so Podium allows you to send your invoices directly from their platform to your clients. Nice, right?!
Think about Podium like a way to streamline all of the communication in your photography business. If you think you may need a better invoicing platform, then Podium will allow you to use theirs during a free trial to see whether it will work for your business.
Make it Look Professional (and Be Timely)
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While some of your clients may feel more like friends by the time your photoshoot is over, that doesn’t mean you can be anything other than professional when it comes to your business transactions.
In other words, when you are invoicing clients, you probably shouldn’t send a quick Venmo request like you would with your best friend. Your invoices need to look professional. Your invoices also need to be timely.
A late invoice not only looks really bad to your client, but it means you are going to delay your own payment. You don't need to send the invoice five minutes after the photoshoot, but strive to get it to your client in a timely manner, that way you get paid in a timely manner.
Get It in Writing
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If you’re accustomed to reading photography business tips, then you know that “get it in writing” is at the top of pretty much any list.
This is why it is absolutely required for you to include information about payment into your contracts. If you expect your payment within a month of sending your invoice, then you need to include this in your contract.
But, you can’t stop there. You also need to include information about what happens if a client is late paying your invoice. Are you going to charge a late payment fee? How much is that fee going to be? What about a fee for following up on your payment?
Every day a client does pay you is a day you become more and more worried they may be thinking about not paying you at all. It’s exhausting, and it’s exhausting trying to follow up with them. Have everything about invoicing clients in your contract in case you need to take them to court later.
Keep Track of All Your Expenses
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This is another numbers game a lot of photographers don’t like to play, but you need to start tracking your expenses if you aren’t already.
Every expense your business has is a tax break, so by tracking them you’re saving yourself money in the long run.
There are a ton of different apps for tracking expenses. I personally use Everlance, which is around $70/year, but there are free versions for people who are newer to the business.
Get Schooled in Taxes
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I can’t talk about tips for invoicing clients without also spending a little bit of time on taxes. If you don’t want to spend money on a tax accountant every year, you can meet with an accountant once to figure out exactly how much money you should be setting aside for taxes every quarter.
Since this number changes depending upon the state you work in, I highly recommend you go to a professional in your state.
You should also start doing an internal tax audit on your business every year. This will allow you to understand where you may have problems so that, on the off chance you actually get audited by the IRS, you won’t have anything to worry about.