Cash is king


I was just on a forum reading about the unfortunate events that have happened to a photographer.  Basically, his airlines for a destination wedding went out of business.  He was out the airfare and the other options were for thousands of dollars that he didn’t have.  I completely feel for this guy, who is a real nice person and got stuck with a bill for thousands that he wasn’t expecting.  My issue, which is cold and callous, is that no one running a business should ever have so little cash on hand!

When I am consulting with photographers that are starting their businesses, I always recommend that they keep 6 months of all their expenses in the bank.  Not in stocks, bonds, real estate, or anything else that can make it inaccessible or could take a nose-dive in value.  You can call this your “rainy day” fund, or be more realistic like myself and call it your “Oh, crap I broke my hand and can’t hold a camera fund.”

Often, when I propose this idea,  I get the reaction that it would be hard or impossible to save that kind of money.  Followed by horrified reactions when I explain that a BMW is not a necessity.  Or that eating out is optional.  Or they try not drinking coffee at Starbucks and brewing their own at home.  So…stop buying cameras, lenses, monitors, computers, drive an old Kia, whatever it takes to get your rainy day fund so that you can afford to be in business on a bad day.


I love photography, my family, and owning my own business. I am going to mix them up and see what I get!

Posted in wedding business
12 comments on “Cash is king
  1. Irene says:

    Great article! Thanks for the advice!

  2. cindy says:

    Such great advice! I’ve got the old Kia down at least! Woohoo!

  3. Dave Ramsey is a huge supporter of this idea. It sucks when the camera in hand falls into the water and it takes 3-4 weeks to get an insurance check. This right after your lab bill maxed out your credit card… True story.

    With photography in Michigan seasonal slow down is dramatic. How can you prepare for an emergency when you are trying to prepare for 3-4 months of no work?


  4. Ness says:

    You are *so* right. Sometimes it’s hard to face the fact that as much as you want to update your equipment every time a new version of your camera comes out – it’s not always necessary. For example I have a Canon 30 D.

    It’s a wonderful camera, but some photographers BAULK at the idea that it’s *ONLY* an 8mp camera. Well I can still shoot better than some of them with 21.1mp Canon 1D’s, because it takes more than just money to make a good photographer, and having a good ‘eye’ is worth more than the fanciest camera.

    So sure, I’m saving for a 50D right now, but am putting aside money first for those inevitable rainy days (I shoot a lot of sports – which becomes hard when it rains!), but if I have to wait for the 60D so be it. Being able to feed myself is more important than having more megapixels.

  5. kimwelsford says:

    also a good idea to keep the credit card bills paid up – or rather not swipe the card at all ; )

  6. Cory Parris says:

    Hey Kim,
    Personally, I think you should take free money wherever you can. That means if a credit card company wants to give me 1-5% for using their card, I’ll take it. It has the side benefit of reading all my expenses directly into Quickbooks, so most of my accounting is incredibly easy. I do make a point of paying it off on time every month, though!

  7. Tatjanna says:

    I love this..and I too drive an old kia…well if 7 years is old, the car was actually given to me so hey..that’s money I didn’t spend! Anyway, I am starting out I have been doing weddings this last year and I learned the hard way, don’t do what you can’t cover. Up until the last wedding I did, I offered prints to my brides. I had what I thought was a great contract and soon learned it had a loophole. Anyway, The printhouse sent my orders to me all jumbled and in terrible condition, they look like they had been run through a cheap printer and stepped on! I could not give them to the bride in that shape. I knew the mother she was the one who paid and set up everything. (aquainted)and so I talked with him and he was ok with the extended time frame to complete the images. The printhouse took my order and then closed! I offered a refund at this point for prints, the bride didn’t want the refund, keep in mind I still offered a disk with all images and a video as well. This went on for sometime until I secured a great printhouse, which in the end cost me alarge chunk of my savings. point is….don’t do what you can’t cover end of story..can I take pictures and put them on a disk ? absolutely (always have a failsafe camera in case) can I afford a 2 grand printhouse flub….no way. Thanks for this post.

  8. burn cd says:

    I congratulate, you were visited with an excellent idea

  9. digitalslr says:

    Good Advice.and very helpful. thank you for sharing.

  10. thanks for posting this are absoluty right the cash is king and money is every thing but some time moeny is na i suggest that cash is king but some time.I think you should take free money wherever you can. That means if a credit card company wants to give me 1-5% for using their card, I’ll take it. but it is good advice and you should give mroe this types of articles.

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The Wedding Photography Project is a website dedicated to helping wedding photographers improve, find ways to improve, and share the amazing work that they do. WPP is the brainchild of Cory Parris, a Seattle wedding photographer.
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