How to choose accounting software for photographers

Snap! You’ve captured that magic moment with your camera and you’re in business as a professional photographer!

Now, how do you invoice your clients and track billing?

Invoicing and accounting software for photographers is a specialized tool, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use.

Even if you run a small, home-based photography business, you need accurate and reliable invoicing and accounting software to make sure you get paid on time, as well as manage your receipts and calculate taxes.

Accounting for Photographers Made Easy

Hey, you’re an artist, man!

You don’t have time for all these numbers, bro!

Well, you’d better find the time, because being a professional photographer means presenting a professional business manner. From invoicing to record keeping, you need to run a tight ship on the business end while you go forth and set the world ablaze with your creative artwork.

Accounting for Photographers Made Easy

The Fine Art Of Business

Yeah, you’re a great photographer. You know lighting, composition, and subject matter. You’ve got a high-end digital camera and a top-notch printer topped off with quality ink and toner. You even know a few special tips and tricks to wow your clients.

But can you draft a great photography proposal? Can you handle difficult clients? Are you a good manager?

You have to be in order to run your own business.

Accounting and invoicing software provide reports that will help you become a better business manager.

Charting your income and expenses will help you decide where to best dedicate your resources.

In addition to factors that impact the creative process, like lighting and editing software, professional photographers need to consider other factors such as marketing and bookkeeping.

First, you need a groovy logo (can be quickly done on Canva or alternative). Next, you’ll need business cards and a functional, attractive website. As a creative, visual person, you should already have some idea about how you want your business to “look.”

Now you need an accounting and invoicing software that’s as slick and professional as your visual creations.

Be a good business manager and make informed decisions in addition to capturing the world through your lens!

Accounting for Photographers Made Easy

Why Professional Photographers Need Good Accounting Software

Good business accounting provides an accurate picture of your business’s financial health.

Sure, you’ve got a handle on your equipment expenses, but what about those variable expenses like the cost of gas and tolls getting to gigs, business-related meal expenses or your printing costs?

Accounting software will keep track of all those unexpected and hidden expenses that chip away at your profitability. For example, with the help of accounting software, you may discover that you are overspending on your printing. With a few quick changes like switching to a more affordable vendor (for example this one) and selling your surplus ink and toner before they expire, you can reduce your printing costs up to 50%!

Fortunately, if you’re a small photography business with under ten employees there are plenty of free software options available including Less Accounting.

Accounting software tracks both your income (invoicing) and your expenses (billing). Keep your credit on track by setting up automatic payments, and keep the money rolling in with invoices that feature a simple “Pay now” button.

Yes, simple and automated. We are in the Digital Age – the future is already here.

Also, accounting and invoicing software can help your photography studio follow up on unpaid invoices and unaccepted proposals.

Perhaps most importantly, quality accounting and invoice software form a solid foundation for your business, increasing client trust, and freeing up your time for more creative pursuits.

Accounting for Photographers Made Easy

The Ultimate Photography Invoice

A good photographer delivers a good invoice, with a detailed list of services rendered, travel expenses, and additional costs. Make sure you have the amount owed and a due date clearly displayed on your photography invoice.

You should also include the terms of service, payment information, and penalties for late or non-payment. Plus, don’t forget to draft up a payment request letter. Sooner or later you’re going to have to demand to get paid!

Invoices should be easy to read…add your company logo and contact information up top!

Make sure you check your local tax laws to see if you need to charge sales tax for your photographs.

You may want to also consider adding a non-disparagement clause to your photography invoices and/or contracts. Protect yourself against a crazy client posting negative reviews online!

Double-check your invoices before they go out, whether you’re using invoicing software or a simple PDF invoice attached to an email.

Make sure there is no misinformation, typographical errors, or bad grammar. Not only are mistakes embarrassing, in the case of business invoices, but they can also be costly as well.

A good photography invoice should be detailed without being cluttered, easy-to-read yet loaded with information. Invoicing software will allow you to send digital invoices, meaning you’ll get paid faster!

Accounting for Photographers Made Easy

Tax Tips For Photographers

While the complete scope of tax law for professional photographers can’t be covered here, consider these tax return tips:

  • Most photography equipment can be depreciated at a rate of 20% per year.
  • Keep a detailed travel log. The CRA and IRS have a standard mileage rate for calculating mileage costs.
  • Keep accurate records. Photographers need to keep every receipt spent on business in order to prove they’re not just a hobbyist.
  • If you have a home office, you can deduct roughly 10% of your utilities, internet, property taxes, mortgage interest, or rent.
  • You can also deduct studio costs, training, and licensing fees.
  • You can even deduct your accounting software service!

Good accounting software can make or break a business.

How can you improve and grow your business without an accurate look at your income versus expenses?

Accounting and invoicing software will tell you what you need to know in order to make smart choices for your professional photography business. 

Accounting for Photographers Made Easy

Point & Shoot

Don’t be afraid to get your photography business started. You’ve got to believe in yourself and your talents before anyone else will.

But work smarter, not harder by arming yourself with a basic business owner toolkit that addresses the accounting and legal needs of your professional photography business.

You’ve got the skills to pay the bills…as long as your accounting software and business sense is sound. Once you get some capital flowing you’ll likely see another uptick in your photography business startup. Be part of the 5% of businesses that succeed, no matter your size!

Meet Chad, a photographer.

Chad says… To say I’m not a numbers person is an understatement. Numbers are my Kryptonite. 

And yet, LessAccounting makes it so simple, not only do I keep up with my billing, expenses and mileage, I actually enjoy doing it. If numbers are my Kryptonite, LessAccounting is the sun that gives me my super powers. 

Without it, I’d be lost and my business would sink under the weight of bad accounting.


How To Save Time With Bookkeeping

Set up your books by adding your bank account(s) to import your expenses and deposits nightly. Also set up your business credit cards as bank accounts as well.

bookkeeping time: 5-20 minutes


Book a photo session with a client.

Send an invoice for a deposit to the client. Mark the invoice with project tags and income types. (optional: accept payment via Paypal)

bookkeeping time: 2 minutes


Shoot a session with a client

  • Send an invoice for a final payment.
    bookkeeping time: 1 minute
  • Weekly task: mark your deposits to invoices, marking them as paid. Those invoices that are unpaid, resend, or follow up with a phone call to those clients.
    bookkeeping time: 2-10 minutes
  • Paying yourself, and pay 1099 contractors and/or employees.. We recommend SurePayroll.com to handle payroll. Wages and contract expenses in LessAccounting are just expenses categorized to either “contractor labor” or “wages”.
    bookkeeping time: 2-10 minutes
  • Monthly task: mark your expenses to expense categories. Check to make sure all your invoices are paid, notify late clients.
    bookkeeping time: 5-15 minutes
  • Invite your CPA or Accountant to LessAccounting as a trusted member. Now they can download all the data they need to prepare your taxes. Don’t have a CPA or Accountant? Just ask us, we know a bunch of awesome ones!
    bookkeeping time: 2 minutes

See how easy small business accounting can be… Get Started.