Help with starting up a small business...?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ashli, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. ashli

    ashli TPF Noob!

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    I have decided to make a side business of doing photography for people. I have made some makeshift online portfolios for some interested customers at the moment, and have a portfolio for people I talk to face to face. I am getting ready to start designing a website, and print out business cards, however, I don't know any of the legalities of this. Any advice would be extremely helpful!

    Thanks,
    Ashli
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Try a search or your local or state government web sites. They probably have some good info.

    As far as legalities, the big one is taxes. If you take in any money, you are supposed to pay tax on it. To do that, you will probably need a business licence of some kind. You may need to register your business name etc. The good news is that you may be able to write off business expenses.

    A lot of people who are starting out, probably just do this 'under the table' because of the complexity of starting a business and the cost of paying taxes. However, that is probably illegal. There might be some sort of limit, where if you only do so much business, you don't have to set up a business...but you probably still have to declare the income on your tax forms.

    I'm not an accountant or a lawyer so get advice from someone who knows. Maybe a call to your city hall would be a good start.

    Good luck with your new venture.
     
  3. ashli

    ashli TPF Noob!

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    Too bad I've already taken (and forgotten) accounting! :lol:
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Simply; as long as they are your images you have the right to create whatever. Worry about producing the best product. Not it's legalities.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I hate to jump in again, but from everything I've learned, while you can do what you want creatively, using someone's image to promote your business without a release is another story and likey to get you sued.
     
  6. ashli

    ashli TPF Noob!

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    I plan on typing up some contracts. What worries me is a business licence and taxes.

    On the note of contracts, what do you guys feel is too much in terms of restrictions. I want ownership of the negatives. From what I was taught in my photojournalism class, as long as I own the negative, I own the copywright and can do what I wish with the photo.

    I will (and have) not use my paid work to promote myself, and I would include something in the contract about me being able to use the photos in my portfolio, both online and "in real life." I wouldn't go selling commissioned work to anyone other than who commissioned it.

    If any of that makes sense...? :blushing:
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That sounds about right to me.

    As the photographer (artist) you do own the rights to the image right from when you click the shutter...but it doesn't hurt to put that into your contract. Most people also include something to the effect that you can also use the images for promotion of your business without compensation to your subject/client. However, if you do 'publish' the photos in an ad or something...it would be a good idea to also get a model release from them.
     
  8. ashli

    ashli TPF Noob!

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    Are there any good sample contracts and/or model releases on the net that you guys know of?
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Google "wedding contract"...maybe add sample into that.

    Go to the 'Business District' section here...and ask for samples there. On my other computer (at work) I have several sample contracts (some from the generous people here).

    I don't have my contract put together yet, or I would show you mine.
     
  10. wyldkard

    wyldkard TPF Noob!

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    I know a lot of photographers here in Texas that don't charge tax for their services. I was in a computer business once where we did freelance computer builds and repairs, networking, etc. Each of us got our own tax ID number from the state so that we could charge tax on what we were selling. The way it's setup is you choose when you pay the tax owed to the government.(monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly, end of year, etc.) Then you pay the government the tax that you had charged during that time.

    ^----That's all I know about if you were going to add tax to your work. Like I said though, none of the photographers I know charge tax since they sell it as a service(like a landscaper does).

    Income tax is a different story. You're "required" to pay in on Income Tax, Social Security, etc. on money you make. Just like at any other job, when you get a paycheck, the taxes are taken out of it...so if you started your own business, you still are "required" to pay taxes on what you make. I have no clue on what's involved in setting that up.
     
  11. niccig

    niccig TPF Noob!

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    The US Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov) has a lot of useful info on tax structures, what you're required to pay, etc, etc. They also have advice on bookkeeping and things like that. In another forum that I post on, someone recommended the book "ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography" for stock forms, though I haven't read it. The 2006 Photographer's Market also has a couple of stock forms.
     
  12. ashli

    ashli TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone! On my next day off work, I'll look into it all. <3
     

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