Launch Your B.C. Based Photography Business

photography business

Originally Published: May 20, 2019

If you’ve got an eye for photography and a passion for the craft, you’ve got the two most important ingredients for creating a successful business. Combining a skill you have with something you love is fundamental for any entrepreneur. And, whether you’re looking to snap photos of B.C.’s picturesque natural scenery or focus on capturing the beautiful moments in people’s lives, you can create a thriving business doing something you love.

Registering Your B.C. Photography Business

In the Province of British Columbia, there are four different types of small business registrations you can complete.

Sole Proprietorship
This is a small business owned by one person. If you’re looking at just operating on your own, a sole proprietorship may be the type of registration you’ll want to complete.

If you’re working with others, a partnership allows you to register the business with multiple owners.

Tradename / Doing-Business-As
For those who have an existing corporation, a Tradename can be registered under that corporation. The corporation would be listed as the owner of the Tradename, and this allows you to operate your business under a different name than the corporation.

This article is directed to those who wish to register a business or register a business under an existing corporation.  If you wish to view the details to incorporate a new British Columbia Incorporation, please see this blog article relating to the incorporation process:

start a corporation

Name Reservation

A name reservation is mandatory for all businesses registering in the Province of British Columbia, even for small businesses where there is no name protection.

When submitting your name reservation request, you are able to provide up to three business names in order of preference. Keep in mind that any of the names you’re providing may be accepted or rejected.

Before your name can be approved, the B.C. Corporate Registry will be searched for any names that may be seen as conflicting. Small business registrations in B.C., as well as any registered businesses, incorporations or trademarks outside of the province are not reviewed. An approved name request is valid for up to 56 days, and the business needs to be registered prior to this deadline otherwise a new name reservation would need to be completed, with new fees applicable.

The standard turnaround time for the B.C. Ministry to complete the name reservation request is 3 weeks. If you want to receive your answer back more quickly, there is a 24 hour turnaround option, for additional fees.

You can see the different turnaround options and fees involved here:

Complete a Name Reservation Request & Register Your B.C. Small Business

Pre-Search Your Name Prior to Submitting a Name Request

If you want to take a look at the businesses that are currently registered before submitting your name request, you can choose an optional Pre-Search. This allows you to see ahead of time if there are any potential conflicts with existing businesses who have name protection. Pre-Searching the NUANS databank before submitting your name reservation request gives you the opportunity to change the business name you’re submitting, in order to avoid possible rejection. We can help you pre-search your name ahead of time, or you can include this option with your registration.

Pre-Search NUANS before Submitting a B.C. Name Reservation Request

Include a NUANS Pre-Search with your B.C. Registration

Benefits of Registering A Small Business in B.C.

Registering your small business in B.C. allows you to begin operating quickly, easily and with fairly little expense involved. A small business in B.C. will exist continually, without the need for renewal. Additionally, these registrations are available to non-residents of Canada.

But, if you’ll also want to keep in mind that, even though a name search is required, there is no name protection for these types of registrations. This means that other businesses may register and operate under the same or similar name to your business.

There are additional protections and advantages that are not provided with registering as a small business, including liability protection and possible tax benefits. If you want or need any of these protections, you may want to look at incorporating as an option.

Ontario Business Central can assist with registering your B.C. based small business. Use the link below to begin your registration process:

Register Your B.C. Business

You can read more information about the process of Incorporating here:

Register Your B.C. Corporation

Checklist for Starting Your B.C. Photography Business

Before opening the doors of your new photography business, you’ll want to make sure you’ve created a solid foundation for success. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:

  • Business Plan: You’ll want to create an outline that includes the details of your business, specifically your projections, marketing strategy, the services you offer and pricing structure.
  • Business Structure: Determine whether you want to register as a small business or whether you want to register an incorporation.
    Choose Your Business Name: Depending on the services you’re providing and your business and marketing plan, you’ll want to create a business name that properly reflects your brand.
  • Request a Name Reservation: Submitting a name reservation request is mandatory prior to registering your B.C. business. You may also choose an optional NUANS Pre-Search with your registration or complete a Pre-Search ahead of time.
  • Register Your Business: Once your name reservation is approved, the small business registration can be completed.
  • Get any needed equipment and supplies: You may already have some of the equipment you’ll need, but depending on the services you are providing you’ll need to assess any additional supplies necessary.
  • Market Your Business: Get the word out using all potential outlets, including brochures, websites and social media.

When you’re ready to register your B.C. small business, Ontario Business Central can help you in obtaining your B.C. Business Registration or B.C Articles of Incorporation.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
Toll-Free: 1-800-280-1913
Local: 1-416-599-9009
Fax: 1-866-294-4363
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.

Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.