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CaliBoy Feb 12, 2005 5:36 PM

To become a freelance photographer is there any paper work (like state or federal). Example: If I take photographs for a company so they can use them is a database and after it's all done I write a reciept (the one's you can buy from a store) is that OK.

I'm just asking this question because I know someone who has a small buisness and in order for them to sell anything they needed to fill out some papers for the state and government to get there small business license. Do I need something like that to sell my pictures.

eric s Feb 12, 2005 9:17 PM

You have two choices. You can form a business, and then you have lots of paper work, you have to show a profit in 1 of the first 3 years and 2 of the first 5, and you have to keep track of everything (including federal, state, county, and local taxes as necessary.)

Or you can keep it has a hobby. You don't get the benefits of a business (like writing things off, not paying tax on things you sell) but you don't have some of the requirements either. You do have to pay and collect sales tax, though.

I am certainly no expert, so you should find one. I would suggest contacting the local better business bureau or the minnesota chamber of commerce is another possability. If they can't help, they can probably send you to the right people.


PeterP Feb 13, 2005 12:04 AM

Becoming an incorporated business also transfers legal issues to the business entity.

If you do, or damage something in the course of your work that raises problems, it is the business that gets sued. You the employee, are not personallyresponsible financially. BUT I am not a lawyer, you really need to get real legal advice before proceeding.

Apart from causing physical damage, a few things you could most likely get into trouble with are copyright infringements. IE:
  • You take and sell and image of something that has its likeness copyrighted without a property release (City skylines, Most buildings built recently, Landmarks that have had a newand copyright lighting pattern installed (Efile Tower), owned animals) [/*]
  • Or take and sell and image of someone without a proper model release. [/*]
  • Or if you do sports shooting you try to take images of games that a company like Corbis has already signed the rights for.[/*]
Other than that the freelance photography market is very crowded and cut-throat, you really have to work hard to pay the bills.


BillDrew Feb 13, 2005 5:16 PM

If you are going to be dealing with a largish company, they will have their own requirments: insurance in particular. In addition, when they pay you, they will want some kind of solid identification from you that will be on their records for tax auditors to look at. That means your taxes could be looked at if you haven't reported the income.

Talk to the customer (company) about that stuff, and talk to an accountant.

Since you will be running a business, there is all kinds of paperwork. In Minnesota a good place to see of what that could entail:

If you are shooting for Joe's Bait Shop, and are being paid in a lifetime supply of minnows, it is a different question.

BrierS Feb 14, 2005 9:34 AM

:lol: BillDrew's bartering comment (minnows). Over the years I have loved those opportunities to barter rather than $. Every time both parties have been satisfied winners.

PeterP Feb 14, 2005 10:12 AM

Did you know that you are supposed to report barter type transactions to the tax man? :blah:I wonder why the local gov is busy trying to squish the barter/cash under table trade.


Stevekin Feb 14, 2005 11:24 AM

PeterP wrote:

Or take and sell and image of someone without a proper model release.

I don't doubt the implications here, but what about the paparazzi ? I'm sure that Britney Spe**s hasn't signed release forms for snaps showing her looking dog rough. Or any 'celeb' falling out of a club, fighting or conducting extra marital/relationship affairs.

Just wondered

PeterP Feb 14, 2005 12:33 PM

Celebs are a special case, as with any person that has become a public figure. It seems fame and notoriety are traded for the rights to privacy.

But even here the law suits are a thriving business as some paparazzi get to invasive, or someone gets too ticked off andwackes someone with their own camera.
The rags that buy from paparazzi, are the same ones thatpublish reports of Elvis or Alien sightings. Not very reputable.


Stevekin Feb 14, 2005 2:50 PM

Fair comment Peter.


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