The Legalities of Your Photography Business: Things Not to Miss

Changing gears from a hobbyist to a professional photographer involves an array of legalities. Before proclaiming yourself as a professional photographer, you must look into a variety of legal aspects that form the backbone of your photography business.

You must look at what sort of business structure you opt for and whether you have registered yourself with the revenue department of your state. In addition, ensure that you create a separate financial account before you start your business and have an adequate amount of liability insurance. Having acted on the above, you might still be short of putting all your ducks in a row.

Here’s what you probably will overlook:

1. The self-employment tax

This is where most beginners falter.  If you are a self-employed photographer, you are required to pay an additional percentage of tax from your total income (varies from state to state).  In order to prevent an audit filed against you -consult an attorney.

2. Tangible property transfer

In case you’re providing your customers with any “tangible property” (CD / DVD /thumb-drive etc), you are required to collect sales tax from them for your service. Failing to do this can get you a nasty surprise at the end of the year.

3. Copyright photos

One of the laborious task after turning into a pro, includes legally getting copyright over your photographs. You must register your photographs with the copyright department of your state (for eg, US copyright department) to prevent copyright infringement. You are not liable to take any legal action against the infringer, if not registered.

4. Tax deduction via your website

Make sure you maintain proper record of your business activities to file them in and get tax deduction. Don’t forget the subscription fees for your photography website as online photo hosting costs are tax deductible business expenses. Hers’s a good place to create your photography website.

As Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We couldn’t agree more – there is certainly no getting away from either!

Further Reading : Legal Client Timeline

  • EightPeaks

    Your creation of the photo gives you automatic copyright protection. You don’t have to register.

    • Absolutely right. But still there are benefits to formally registering your work with the United States Copyright Office

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