If you own a photography business, you need to know how to write an invoice. If you’re just getting started, an invoice is a record of the time or services you provide to your customers. It’s also how you get paid for those services.
Creating an invoice for each client may sound like extra work, but getting in the practice of invoicing makes for a sounder business in the long term. Invoices help you keep track of your payments in real time (again, they allow you to get paid) and establish a record of those payments, which really comes in handy at the end of the year when you’re calculating your income.
(And while it’s an extra step to create an invoice, it’s not much work — especially if you use invoicing software that allows you to templatize your invoice.)
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5 things to consider when setting up your photography invoicing
There are some things that are standard to all invoices, no matter the business: contact information, itemization of products and services, and instructions for payment.
But the standard format for an invoice may not completely cover the services you offer as a photographer. Consider the following when creating a photography invoice:
Set your price
Before creating an invoice, you need to figure out your rates. Consider having an event rate, a day rate, an hourly rate, and an overtime rate. Different projects may require you to provide different equipment and different amounts of labor. For example, you may charge a higher rate for shooting film instead of digital, since film can be more expensive. You can also consider your rates for projects that require extended amounts of time for prep and post-production.
Make sure your rates are clearly stated either on your website, a rate card, or an estimate that you share with your customers. When you itemize your services on your invoice, make sure you use the same framework that you’ve previously shared with your customers.
Consider a deposit
If the project will take a considerable amount of time, consider asking for a deposit from your client. Common for wedding and event photography, a deposit will help you pay for the up-front cost of materials and lock in a schedule.
You can invoice your client for the deposit and then invoice them again after the job is completed for the remainder of the costs.
Create a template
Create a template for your invoices or, if you don’t want to create one from scratch, use a free invoicing template that you can customize and download. If you want a program to keep track of all your invoices, consider using photography invoicing software that lets you send invoices and collect payment.
Don’t forget to include the basics
Like with other invoices, you want to include certain information to benefit both you and your client. To start, include:
- Your name or company name
- Your phone number
- Your business address
- Your email address
You should also include the same information for the person you are invoicing.
You want to be transparent with clients, so include a line item for each of the resources you are billing them for. Separate all your products, services, and labor. For example, if in addition to taking photos you print and retouch them for an added fee, create a separate line item.
Include payment instructions
With invoices, you do run the risk of not getting paid immediately or on time. To clear up any questions around the expected timeline for payment, include a clear outline and agreement of how your clients can pay you and when you expect to receive payment.