Before you make any money from photography, you must first open a photography business bank account. Keeping your business transactions separate from your personal finances not only keeps you organized, it’s also the law. Also, having a business bank account makes it much easier accept multiple forms of payment when your client is ready to pay your invoice.

Setting up an extra bank account isn’t terribly complicated, but it does first require you to have a business license. Here are some tips on how to select a bank for your business account, as well as a list of the documents you will need.

How to Open a Photography Business Bank Account

  1. Establish a designated business email address.
  2. Gather business license and other documents.
  3. Create business checking and savings accounts.
  4. Get a business credit card.
  5. Sign up for a business accounting software program.

Before you do anything…

Signing up for business accounts gives you tons of extra login info, passwords and unique numbers to remember. To help keep track of them all, create a secure “Login Document” that you can securely access. Better yet, sign up for a service such as Last Pass to automatically remember your login info.

1. Establish a designated business email address

If you haven’t already, set up a designated business email address. This not only keeps your business correspondences more organized but also makes you appear like a professional business in the eyes of financial institutions and your clients.

I have one email account with Gmail that is designated purely for business inquiries, and another for personal correspondences. I use a neat tool called Wise Stamp to add an enhanced, more professional looking email signature to each message I send on Gmail.

Photographer business email address

2. Gather Business License and Other Documents

In order to open a business bank account, you should have already applied for a business license and received your corresponding Business Tax Identification Number, or EIN. This number is the equivalent of a social security number for your business. You will need the EIN as well as the business license and any other associated documentation to demonstrate to the bank that you are a legal business. Learn more about applying for a business license and EIN.

Documents Needed to Open a Photography Business Bank Account

The documents needed vary according to the structure of your business, which you determine when you apply for a business license. Generally speaking, photography businesses are best structured as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).

Sole Proprietorship

  • Social Security Number or Business Tax Identification Number
  • Business License showing both business and owner’s name, or
  • Business name filing document (ie. Certificate of Trade Name, showing business and owner’s name)

General Partnership

  • Partnership Agreement showing business name and name of partners, and
  • Business name filing document (ie. Certificate of Trade Name, showing business and owner’s name)

Limited Partnership

  • Limited Partnership Agreement showing business name and partners names, and
  • Business organizing document filed with and certified by state official, such as Certificate of Limited Partnership, showing business name and name of partners

Limited Liability Partnership

  • Limited Liability Partnership Agreement showing business name and name of partners, and
  • Business organizing document filed with and certified by state official such as Certificate of Limited Liability Partnership, showing business name and name of partners

Corporation

  • Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation
  • Corporate Resolution identifying authorized signers if officer names are not listed on Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation

Corporation (Publicly Traded)

  • Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation
  • Corporate Resolution identifying authorized signers if officer names are not listed on Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation

Professional Corporation

  • Business Tax Identification Number
  • Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation
  • Corporate Resolution identifying authorized signers if officer names are not listed on Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation

Limited Liability Company

  • Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation
  • Corporate Resolution identifying authorized signers if officer names are not listed on Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation

2. Create business checking and savings accounts.

As a business, you are able to deduct business expenses from your federal tax returns. Thus, it is very important to of keep your business expense records separate from your personal finances. By IRS standards, you must have a business bank account designated for business transactions.

In most cases, you can approach the bank you’re already using for your personal accounts and ask if they offer business accounts. Credit unions are also great options as they generally have lower fees. At the very least, make sure you have a business checking account for depositing and writing checks, along with a debit card for charging expenses.

5 Features of a Great Business Bank

Online Banking Services

Check to see if the bank allows for business banking online or has an app to log in and check your balances. Most banks offer online access today, but it’s always best to double check.

Mobile Check Deposit

While running your photography business, you’ll quickly discover that accepting check payments is often the best way to avoid extra processing fees. As a result, you ideally want a bank that allows you to deposit checks remotely through a mobile app.

Little to No Extra Fees

What’s the minimum amount of money you must have in your business checking account? Will you be charged to transfer funds to another bank? Be sure to find out the answers to these questions before committing to a business bank account.

Responsive Customer Service Support

Sometimes, you’ll need to interact with a human to answer questions about your business bank account. Make sure that the bank you sign up with has a physical branch nearby, or a solid customer support network that you can easily get in touch with.

Ability to Accept Credit Card Payments

It’s a good business practice to be prepared to offer your client multiple ways to pay their invoice. Online payment websites such as Venmo and PayPal are certainly popular, as is the standard form of payment through a physical check. However, many businesses today also prefer the option to pay by credit card. Check with your bank to see if they will support this service. If not, or the credit card processing fees seem too high, definitely sign up for accounting software that will accept credit card payments.

2. Get a business credit card.

Another way to separate your finances and categorize your business expenses is to use a business credit card. If you make payments on time, credit cards offer great bonuses at little to no extra cost. At the very least, credit cards often issue cash back on purchases. It’s like getting an automatic discount when you buy anything using the credit card. Be sure to check if the credit card charges an annual fee.

Based on experience, I think Chase offers the best credit card for small businesses since they offer automatic credit card payment options and great rewards. I recently used points earned using my Chase Sapphire credit card to get a free roundtrip airline ticket to Hong Kong. If you end up getting a credit card for your business, make sure to use it only for business-related transactions.

photography business credit card

3. Sign up for a business accounting software program.

As a photography business owner, you are responsible for opening a photography business bank account and also managing your corresponding finances. Thanks to accounting software and built-in automation, this is much easier to do on your own. Sign up for an accounting software program, and then link your new photography business bank accounts.

A few features to look out for in accounting software:

  • Ability to sync online bank accounts
  • Customizable online invoicing
  • Sending recurring invoices and auto payments
  • Late payment reminders
  • Fast bank deposits of payments
  • Automatic expense recording

Based on these features, the best photography business accounting software is FreshBooks.

best photographer accounting software FreshBooks

In Conclusion

Opening a photography business bank account is essential to stay organized and keeping your business within the law. Make sure you obtain a business license before visiting a bank and choose a good bank or credit union to meet all of your financial needs.

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