the legit department

So, you think you want to start a photography business…we recommend you first spend 4 weeks with TPE’s own CPA.

…or maybe you already did start your business but you just blindly jumped in and started taking money from people, but now what? Do words like accounting, taxes, business license, or revenue and expense give you hives? Make you want to hide under your desk? Ignore everything until April 14th and then pull an all-nighter trying to sort through a crumpled pile of receipts?

This four-week course is designed to give you all the important information you need to have a legitimate business up and running, so you don’t lose sleep wondering if the IRS — or State Department of Revenue — is going to show up at your door!

I get that numbers might not be your favorite. I get that keeping track of revenue and what is or isn’t deductible is overwhelming and often so confusing. But the good news is that I went to school for years, then worked with small businesses and did taxes for even more years, to learn exactly what YOU need to know. And since this course is geared specifically to you as a photographer, I can share it with you in easy-to-understand terms that are guaranteed to give you the peace of mind and the knowledge you need to run a photography business.

This class is a bit different than some others offered here at The Photographer’s Element.

To make it as simple as possible this course is broken down into 25 days’ worth of material that will carefully guide you step by step by step. Each day from Monday to Friday you will receive one email from me, with information about just one goal for you to reach that day. If you have questions, you’ll be able to hop onto our class Facebook page and have them answered within 24 hours.

Once we’re through, you will no longer wonder if you did everything you needed to set up your business legally, or wonder if your accounting is at all how it should be. You will KNOW. From the decision to start a business, all the way to having a smoothly operating legitimate and legal business, we’ve got you covered!

This course will include bonus materials such as:

  • A PDF checklist to keep track of all your necessary steps to getting your business off the ground
  • Access to a group Facebook page, where each day I will check in and answer any and all questions you may have (without having to pay another CPA $175 per hour!)
  • A simple spreadsheet to track and categorize yearly expenses to make it simple to know exactly how your business is doing
  • Bonus tracking sheets specifically designed to help you make tax time a snap
  • A video tutorial showing how I keep track of receipts and other important paperwork

Whether you are still trying to decide if you want to take the leap as a “professional photographer,” or if you have been in business for a while and just never took these steps, this class is absolutely vital to the success of your self-employed career. Plus, I promise we’ll have fun learning, too!

Please note: Due to the highly complex and varied nature of business laws, this course is aimed ONLY for our students in the U.S.

VIP Members gain instant access to The Legit Department

+ all of our other courses!


the details

Recommended Time: 5 weeks
Skill level: Intermediate
Required Equipment: A ‘get-it-done’ attitude!
Topics: Hobbyvist vs. a Business, Business Entities, Accounting for Photographers, Income Tax done right!


Deb, TPE’s CPA regularly checks in with her ‘The Legit Department’ students. 

You won’t be left hanging high and dry!  She will take great care of you throughout the process!

This course is 100% online, like all of our courses at TPE.

There are no required “online times” ever!


While it’s not essential that you’ve completed these courses in advance, we do believe you’ll find your experience in The Legit Department to be a much more productive one if you’ve got these skills in your photography toolkit.



the legit department course outline

All our courses are taught 100% through pre-recorded video (and sometimes audio), and PDF downloads or email Download your materials to study at your own pace, at the times that work best for you! Then come back to the course pages to watch your videos.

Please note that if as a Full-Time student, you may have assignments that will be due by a specific time each week. But again, you can complete them at your own pace. There are no required “online” times!



Deb NashDeborah Nash lives near gorgeous Boulder, Colorado, where the mountains are constantly beckoning her to come have an adventure.

Her best adventures always happen with her handsome husband, her kindergartener who is too smart for his own good (or hers!), and her brave toddler who seems to have no fear whatsoever. She loves photography and how it allows her to capture all her adventures, big and small, and to keep them forever. In order to fund her love of all things photography, she works part-time from home as a CPA.

Wondering if this course is right for you? Drop Deborah a line here, and she’ll be happy to help you decide!


VIP Members gain instant access to The Legit Department

+ all of our other courses!