Professional Photographers - how to start my business?

I am an undergraduate photography student looking to seriously start my own business. I have been offered a few paid jobs coming up during the summer which will give me some pretty good portfolio work, and I have personal work that I have done as well which I will implement into that. My main questions are related to the business practices themselves: 1. How did you end up starting your business, and what are some of the obstacles that you faced along the way? 2. Is there a way to set up a "store" on your site, where clients may order and pay for prints via your photography site, or do you offer only digital copies of images (Basically, what is your method for giving clients their photos)? 3. When taking a job, are there any contracts or paperwork that you have to draft between yourself and the client? 4. What kinds of fees do you implement for your services? Do you charge a sitting fee, by the hour, or by the type of shoot you're doing? Any other tips and advice are appreciated as well! Thank you! Also, when it comes to building a website, what was your method? Did you use a site template on a hosting site and pay for a domain name, hire a professional, or make it yourself? Thanks again!

Asked By: L-C - 5/11/2012
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
I started (aged 15) by being a 'gopher' for a portrait photographer back in 1961, it was a lot easier then as not many people had decent gear and film was 'alchemy' to most. My grandfather was a photographer so I knew how to take good images... More
Answered By: screwdriver - 5/11/2012
Additional Answers (2)
I am not a portrait photographer but I can still answer most of your questions... More
Answered By: rick - 5/11/2012
What exactly are you taught on your photography course... More
Answered By: photog - 5/11/2012
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