Times are tough. You haven’t received a pay raise in several years. Maybe your spouse has lost a job. Or you are worried about the longevity of your position, and whether it will be there a few short months from now.

So you decide to shoot a few weddings on the side. Weddings are easy; or so everyone says. Even the guy at the camera shop told you it’s a great way to make a little cash.

So you put the word out there on a few free sites – Craigslist, Facebook etc. And you get your first wedding.

You lowball it, and charge $750 for a full day of photography. You promise the bride a CD with her digital files, which means no true cost to you. So the $750 is pretty much all yours. Right?

The day comes, and everything moves along smoothly. Until “IT” happens.

“IT” can be just about anything.

  • Your camera jams, and with only one camera body, you can’t shoot the rest of the wedding.
  • You rely on one Flash card, and it’s corrupt. Which means the entire wedding disappears.
  • You drop your one and only camera, and it quits working.
  • The bride and groom hate your work.
  • You take the family outside for family portraits, and the grandmother trips and falls over your tripod and ends up in the hospital with a broken hip.

So your first time photo shoot to make a little extra cash turns into a million dollar lawsuit based on a 3 second error.

You Are In Business The Very First Time You Charge

The moment you accept payment for a photography session, no matter who your client is, you are in business. And as a business owner, you have responsibilities.

One of the major responsibilities is making sure you have business insurance, and covering yourself in the event of an error. Notice I didn’t say accident or mistake. Just a simple error is enough. Lawsuits happen all the time, and they can have devastating results.

If you were worried about your job or paying the bills before, imagine the stress with a million dollar judgment against you.

If you are reading this and have clients but no insurance, don’t wait another day to change that situation around.

It’s really an easy process.

Call up your current insurance broker. If you have car, house or renters insurance, they probably don’t offer business insurance. But they know somebody who does, and they can put you in touch with someone that can write a policy for you.

Give them a call and set up a meeting. You don’t always have to meet in person; many of the details can be handled over the phone. Before you call, have a few things at your fingertips.

  • Have a list of your photography equipment
  • Have a list of your studio equipment
  • Have a list of your computer equipment

Also be able to talk about your client list, your average photo shoot, locations you visit, what type of photography you do, etc. The more details the better. You want to make sure you are fully covered at all times. This isn’t the time to “hide” some of the things you do.

Does your home insurance policy cover you if you operate a studio out of your home?

In many cases, the answer is no. Some insurance companies will write a business rider on your existing policy to cover the business portion of your home. But don’t leave it to chance; ask your insurance broker before people start visiting your home.

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