December 14, 2022

How to Set Up Payroll for Photoshoots with Wrapbook

Loring Weisenberger
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Let’s be honest. You didn’t become a professional photographer or photo producer because you wanted to do payroll. But as your photography business grows, admin work becomes a huge part of the job. 

When you’re employing assistants, models, technicians, and other crew members, the hassle of paying them all quickly and compliantly can become a huge chore. 

That’s why many photography professionals opt to work with a payroll company rather than paying their crew through a DIY or Venmo-type service.

In this post, we’ll give you a crash course in how to set up payroll for photoshoots using Wrapbook. But first, we’ll highlight a few key reasons why working with a professional payroll service could be a smart option for your company.

Let’s get started. 

First, download the ebook

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of payroll for photoshoots, let’s talk about how a payroll service can level-up your photo business, using Wrapbook’s handbook.

This eBook is an in-depth guide for making the most of Wrapbook’s digital payroll solutions. It details how Wrapbook makes photography payroll faster and easier, and explains how Wrapbook can make your photo business more efficient in maximizing revenue. 

Why photographers need a photo payroll company 

From paying photo assistants and make-up artists, to collecting tax forms, to ensuring compliance with state and local labor laws, production admin can get complicated. 

That’s why many photographers choose to work with a payroll company. 

Photography payroll services offer a number of potential advantages over handling crew payroll yourself. First and foremost, they reduce the substantial burden of managing payroll compliance.

Laws are always changing for photographers

In California, even with the addition of AB-2257, AB-5 challenges photographers to reconsider how they classify workers or risk hefty fines. In New York, the Fashion Workers Act has payroll implications for producers, owners of production companies, and photographers alike. 

Keeping up with the intricacies of tax and labor regulations is a full-time job. If you take a DIY approach to paying your workers, you’re taking responsibility for that job entirely on your own. If, for example, your lighting technician makes an error on their paperwork, you have to catch that error before it leads to  consequences. 

Not to mention, you also have to make sure you’re collecting the correct startwork documents for your state. 

Luckily, managing your payroll through a professional service can save you time and stress, while helping you avoid expensive payroll mistakes.

Using Wrapbook will help you and your company remain compliant with the relevant tax laws and labor regulations.

Whether you’re hiring contractors or employees, Wrapbook’s built-in labor compliance makes payment and tax paperwork headache-free. And because Wrapbook is a full-service employer of record, come tax season, all of your tax forms are handled for you. 

With Wrapbook’s fully digital onboarding process, you can stop wasting time assembling and distributing packets of paperwork. Automated, digital startwork makes it easy to get the right forms to the right workers. And with profiles that follow crew members from job to job and employer to employer, finding a necessary document later becomes a cinch. 

But working with a photography payroll company like Wrapbook isn’t just a matter of protection. Photoshoot payroll services can streamline your business operations too. 

Digital, all-in-one payroll can keep you more organized, so you can wrangle more work.

Each time you take on a new employee or contractor, there’s tons of paperwork that needs to be filled out and organized before you start paying them. From release forms to I-9s, keeping track of all that paperwork slows things down. And that’s time you could be spending invoicing clients, chasing down leads, or setting up for your next shoot.With a photo payroll company like Wrapbook, though, onboarding forms get filled out faster, paychecks get disbursed quicker, and taxes get handled for you, freeing you up to focus on growing your business. 

With built-in compliance, in-app expense tracking, digital document storage, and a project dashboard that lets you keep track of every project at once, Wrapbook makes staying on top of your photography business easy so you can move onto new jobs faster. 

Digital payroll software lets you store your contacts & rehire instantly

You have your go-to crew whether they’re “employees” or not. Rehiring them should be simple. 

Wrapbook’s digital crew database keeps track of your team’s important documents, you can invite old crew to new jobs in seconds. 

Wrapbook’s individual profiles allow your crew to track their own expenses and onboard their tax information once. For each subsequent job, their tax forms are already stored, saving everyone from duplicate work.

The Wrapbook App allows workers to submit invoices and timecards directly from their phones. Payment can be remitted via direct deposit, and workers can track what stage their payment is in right in the app, eliminating the “where’s my check” conversation.

Working with a professional photoshoot payroll service optimizes your admin workflow and free you up to focus on what matters most to both you and your business. 

How to set up payroll with Wrapbook 

Let’s dive into how easy it can be to set up your next photoshoot’s payroll with Wrapbook. Remember, if you have any questions for one of our payroll experts, you can always reach out here.

1. Create an account

Whether you’re handling payroll on your own or working through a payroll company, you have to start somewhere. The DIY approach requires that you establish all the procedures and organization necessary to pay crew by yourself. You’ll need to prepare paperwork, invoicing methods, record-keeping systems, and much more.

To get started with Wrapbook, all you have to do is sign up for an account. You’ll receive a welcome email that will walk you through the steps for setting up your company. 

You’ll need to enter basic information like your company’s name, official contact details, and address. You’ll also need to provide tax information to aid with filings and compliance.

How to Set Up Payroll for Photoshoots - Wrapbook - Get Started
You can get started with Wrapbook in a matter of minutes.

Currently, Wrapbook also requires that users provide a certificate of insurance (COI) denoting a general liability policy with Wrapbook listed as the additionally insured. 

If you don’t have such a policy, don’t worry. Wrapbook’s in-house insurance team can support your insurance needs with as much speed and at as little cost as possible. 

2. Connect your bank account

Once your company’s Wrapbook profile is up and running, you’ll need to connect it to your bank account. Connecting your account to Wrapbook will allow you to make payments and run payroll more efficiently. 

Wrapbook uses Plaid to instantly and safely connect your bank account using state-of-the-art encryption.A window will prompt you to select your bank and sign in with your banking information. Once you’re signed in, that’s it!

Paying your employees using Wrapbook isn’t just easier, it’s safer too. If you were paying crew directly out of your company’s bank account, you’d be responsible for each transaction’s accuracy. If you accidentally added a zero to a hand model’s paycheck, the extra money would still come directly from your account. You’d then be caught between having to personally foot the bill or negotiate the return of funds yourself. Not fun. 

On top of all that, you’d also be in charge of extra labor and the additional risks that come with it. If you needed to set up a direct deposit for a digital photo technician, for example, you’d have to handle it manually with your bank. If an error occurred at any time during the payment process, you’d bear the responsibility for dealing with it. 

With Wrapbook, once your bank account is connected, you’re ready to process payments immediately. You’ll be equipped to send funds securely and quickly to everyone on your payroll.

How to Set Up Payroll for Photoshoots - Wrapbook - Plaid Integration
Plaid makes connecting your bank with Wrapbook fast, easy, and secure.

To avoid delays when making payments for the first time, be sure to notify your bank that you’ll be running payroll through Wrapbook. If there are any issues, a Wrapbook representative will be available to provide support.

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3. Set roles & permissions

If you’re working with a production team, Wrapbook gives you the latitude to set different permissions for different team members. This makes it easier to manage critical tasks as a team without compromising security.

With DIY payroll, those kinds of guardrails don’t exist. If you want a coordinator or an independent photo producer to perform a task, they will likely need direct access to whatever system you’re using, which means they might need to access bank accounts, routing numbers, passwords, social security numbers, or even an old-fashioned checkbook. In any case, safeguarding sensitive information becomes exponentially more difficult, as does troubleshooting when errors occur.  

How to Set Up Payroll for Photoshoots - Wrapbook - User Permissions
Manage roles & permissions quickly with Wrapbook’s easy-to-use interface.

Wrapbook recommends setting some permissions up front to streamline the start-up process. However, you’ll also have the ability to update your settings anytime thereafter. 

Currently, Wrapbook offers three distinct permission levels.

Company admins: all access

Users at the “Company Admin” level can do every task from start to finish within a project. They can run payroll, batch payroll, hire personnel, enter timecards and expenses, and change company settings. 

Company managers: almost everything

Users at the “Company Manager” level can see all projects in a company. They have most of the same permissions as company admins, except that they cannot run payroll or change company settings. 

Project coordinators: project by project

Users at the “Project Coordinator” level can only see the projects to which they have been directly assigned by company admins or company managers. They have necessary permissions to run the fundamental photoshoot payroll tasks that keep individual productions running smoothly.

4. Create your first project

Once you’ve finished setting up your production company, it’s time to create your first project in Wrapbook. 

To create a project in Wrapbook, however, all you need to do is provide a little information: 

  • Project Name
  • Project Number
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Project Contact Email Address
  • Work Locations
  • Estimated Project Payroll

Providing these details about your project will help Wrapbook determine your Workers’ Compensation Application. As an employer of record, Wrapbook provides Workers’ Compensation Insurance for both employees and loan-outs. Wrapbook will also disburse Workers’ Comp payments if and when they are needed. 

5. Upgrade your payroll & project management

Once your company embarks on its first project, you’ll find that Wrapbook is more than just an easier way to run payroll. It offers powerful features for boosting your business that are simply not feasible with do-it-yourself payroll.

Wrapbook is a one-stop solution for entertainment payroll and production insurance. With innovative tools like the Wrapbook App and on-demand cost reports, Wrapbook gives users the power to upgrade not just their payroll but their entire project management workflow. 

How to Set Up Payroll for Photoshoots - Wrapbook - Cost Tracking
With features like on-demand cost reports, Wrapbook puts more power back in your hands.

Find out exactly what Wrapbook can do for your photo company. Check out the demo here.

Wrapping up

With a little know-how and the help of solutions like Wrapbook, photoshoot payroll can become as easy and commonplace as finding the perfect photo studio

If you want to see Wrapbook in action, get in touch with a payroll expert today, or watch a quick video here.

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Last Updated 
December 14, 2022


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Loring Weisenberger

Loring is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and creative producer. His work has been commissioned by a diverse range of clients- from Havas Worldwide to Wisecrack, inc.- and has been screened around the world. Through a background that blends project development with physical production across multiple formats, Loring has developed a uniquely eclectic skillset as a visual storyteller.

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