Most photographers who get serious enough about their hobby, have visions of selling their work and turning “pro”. In this blog, I will be outlining the process and steps I took to turn my hobby into a business, and the lessons I have learned along the way. My company, Saguaro Shadows Photography, LLC , is based in Arizona. In my examples, I’ll be citing the steps I had to go through in Arizona. The steps are similar in most states, but there are differences you’ll need to investigate. The first step you should take is discuss your decision with an accountant, and possibly a lawyer who specializes in small business law. They can help answer most of your questions for your area, and point you in the right direction. After I spoke to my account, I took my first step: Establishing a company name. In Arizona, the Arizona Corporate Commission provides a web based service to check on company name availability. If you wish to name your company after yourself (“John Smith Photography, LLC”), you might or might not have good luck claiming that company name, depending on how common your name is! I choose to keep my company name anonymous, and look for a desert theme for the name. Most of the obvious choices like “Desert Light” were already taken. I finally settled upon Saguaro Shadows. I like this name because I also knew it would lend itself to many possibilities for a graphical design. In Arizona, I was allowed to reserve the name for $45 for 120 days. This gave me time to file the paperwork with state to register as a business in Arizona.
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