- Risk of loss or damage of your equipment.
- Risk of liability due to injury or damage due to your photographic endeavor.
- Risk of liability due to not being able to fulfill obligations of a contract or of a 1099-style job, otherwise known as errors and omission.
Photo by Angello Lopez on Unsplash
Many amateur photographers have skills and talent similar to successful working photographers. You may have had people say things to you like you should sell your work or you are as good as a professional photographer. This is good news! You could have a photography business!
In fact, you may have already sold some of your work or hired yourself out as a photographer to friends or workmates for monetary compensation. Again, great news! That means someone values your photography enough to pay you for it.
If this has happened or you are thinking of setting out as a paid professional, you need to know how to make your photography business legal. This applies whether you are seeking full-time, part-time, or gig work employment. Likewise, it applies if you are merely wanting to sell your art without hiring yourself out.
Recommended Photography Business Books:
Important First Step: Get Insured
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Here is one of my most important photography business tips: Without insurance, your first photography job could be your last. You could lose even more than your photography business, you could lose personal property and a whole lot of money. Insurance is risk management designed to protect against loss.
Newsflash...homeowners insurance is not going to protect you against loss resulting from something occuring while in pursuit of financial gain, even if it’s only part-time or gig work. Neither will renter’s insurance if you aren’t a homeowner. You need a specific policy for your photography business, such as the policies offered by Full Frame Insurance.
What risks need to be insured? You should contact an agent or company for your specific circumstances, but I can list three risks just about any photography business has:
You could shatter a lens on a job, a person could trip over your tripod and chip a tooth, or your SD card could fail during a wedding. All of these risks are insurable.
Surprisingly, insurance to cover these risks isn’t all that expensive. You don’t even need to go sit down with an agent, you can purchase insurance for your photography business online. Full Frame Insurance is a good source for coverage. You can get coverage for one event or for an entire year depending on what you need.
Incorporate, LLC, or DBA?
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Registering with the authorities as the proper type of business will give you certain protections and plays an important role in taking care of the finances involved with running a photography business.
The tax obligations of each type of business entity have specific rules and regulations. You should do your due diligence to determine which is appropriate for your circumstances.
Take Care of Sales and Income Tax
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Registering as any type of business entity allows you to properly file and handle tax liabilities, receipts, and payments. For your personal protection and the protection of your photography business, make sure your tax status and payments are legal and up to date.
This can be relatively simple to keep track of by means of computer programs, subscription services, or hiring out competent help. Photography business tip: the same freelance websites you can use to find photography jobs can also be used to find people able to do your accounting bookwork.
Create an Online Presence
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In the year 2020, we have open to us work opportunities from anyone anywhere by means of the internet. One of the most important photography business tips is to have your own online presence, too.
Without an online presence, you will probably find it difficult to find people who want your services or art. Plus, how will people looking for a photographer find you? Since you’re registered as a business, you can set up on social media sites as a business, allowing you to use their business tools, such as targeted advertising.
A website can even keep working for you while you’re asleep or on another job. Let’s face it, in 2020, the world is online, you should be too.
Follow Good Business Practices
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As a photographer, you are an artist, a scientist, and a craftsman. As a photography business, how to make your photography business legal, legit, and successful, you should follow acceptable and expected business practices as any business should.
Reputation is important. As surely as a good reputation can help you, a bad reputation can destroy your new photography business. That reputation doesn’t just come from the quality of your photography. It also involves how you do business and how you treat others.
You’re already a good photographer. The quality of your work speaks for you. Let your good business reputation also speak for you.
Enjoy starting and running your photography business in 2020!