Images are a key part of your brand.
Good photography can make a major difference to how you are liked and trusted – and hired. Those thumbnails on social media are not just pixels.
I did what a lot of people do when they start their business: I used the best professional-looking photograph I already had.
The photo (right) passed the ‘Twitter test’: could I be recognised offline by someone who had only seen my pic. It was definitely time for some up to date business photography though.
You know when the Universe steps in and offers you an opportunity?
When branding consultant Cathy Ballard offered me her studio photoshoot booking at the last minute, I re-scheduled my diary on the spot!
If you need professional imagery for your website, social media or blog, this post will tell you:
Tax-deductible expenses are costs HMRC allow you to deduct from your profits so your tax bill is lower. The higher the number of tax-deductible expenses you have with the records to back it up, the less tax you may pay.
Let me take you on my journey of having a photoshoot for my business.
Samjhana Moon of Business Portraiture took my photographs. She offers studio shoots a few times a year at less cost than the all-day-in-the-outdoors photography she is famous for.
Cathy had already booked the session so I didn’t need to, but the studio shoot is one hour of Samjhana’s time and includes professional make-up and hair.
Cost: £197 + VAT
Records To Keep: Your booking and payment confirmation
Think through what you want from your images, where and why you’ll want to use them, what you need to achieve and what energy you want to create.
It’s a great opportunity to review your brand or create it at the beginning of your business or blog.
I had less than 24 hours notice to consider clothes, shoes, hair, make-up, nails and props. It was invigorating to be forced to quickly review what I wanted my brand to be. If you want clarity, last minute is the way to go!
Tax-deductible: Yes – Props. No – Clothes, shoes, hair, make-up, nails (you personally benefit so it’s not 100% business)
Records To Keep: All receipts, with notes about what they are for
Laden with clothes, shoes and props I travelled to Samjhana’s studio, only to be blown sideways by horizontal rain on arrival.
Fortunately I was having my hair and make-up done by Jo Freeman, who transformed me from looking like a drowned rat into a vision of loveliness. Cup of tea in hand, it was a very civilised way to spend an hour.
Hair and make-up done, clothes changed, I had a chat with Samjhana. It was my first time for having professional business photography and I’d decided going with the flow and trusting Samjhana’s expertise was the right thing to do.
We chatted about my props and why they were important for my target audience and clients. My props were a chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, a bottle of wine in my brand colours and my receipts for this tax year (yes, my actual receipts, that’s authenticity).
My Message: Work With Me To Enjoy Your Tax Tribulations Transformed Into Cake Consumption And Money Mastery
Cost: Travel, childcare
Tax-deductible: Yes – Travel. No – Childcare
Records To Keep: All receipts with notes about what they are for, diary entry
When your photographs are available to view, enjoy the experience.
Ask business friends their opinion, ask your coach, mentor or branding consultant. For me it was about trusting my own convictions about right energy.
I chose images that reflect the experience my clients receive. It’s all about support, approachability and cake making doing your own business money and accounts enjoyable.
Ask your photographer about the images they feel are right for you, whether retouching is included in the price quoted and the number of photographs that are a good selection for what you need for your business or blog.
Samjhana includes 2 levels of retouching in her prices (removing stray hairs, that kind of thing).
Cost: £25-£35 per image
Records To Keep: Order confirmation, payment record, invoice
Capital Item: Yes (purchases expected to last more than a few years. The Tax Return Toolkit has details of how to claim capital items)
With new gorgeous photographs of your fabulous self, you’ll want to update all the profiles!
I’m keeping a list as I go along so it’s easy to keep track next time I want to make changes. You may want to review the paid services while you’re at it to check they’re still relevant (saving money, win!)
Do you want to re-brand or clarify your offering? What about leaflets, flyers, new business cards? It’s a good marketing opportunity so make the most of it. You could even write a blog post 😉
Records To Keep: All receipts with notes about what they are for, invoices
Capital Item: Yes, if it will last several years, e.g. (re)branding with Cathy Ballard or a new website from a designer. The Tax Return Toolkit has details of how to claim capital items
I’m delighted I was offered a last minute opportunity to have business photography that really reflects authentic me and what I offer my clients.
Best of all, getting professional photography for your business, freelancing or blog is mostly tax-deductible!
Contact me if you want to explore what other expenses you can take off your tax bill.
Prices correct at time of writing.