Wedding assistant contract?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by kcp, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. kcp

    kcp TPF Noob!

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    Hello—I’m new here and have a question that I haven’t been able to find the answer to on here yet, or by Googling. I have a sole proprietorship photography business, mainly doing studio work. I’ve recently begun to take an interest in weddings and have done two so far this summer.

    My question is: If I hire an assistant to help me photograph a wedding, is there a particular type of contract that should be filled out between me and the assistant? I am subcontracting services to this person, so I would assume so. I can’t find anything on this, and the last thing I need is the IRS coming after me because I didn’t follow the proper procedures.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    There are most likely some general rules that would apply to subcontractor. You could probably hire them as an employee, but that would probably be even more involved. The rules may be different from city to city or state to state etc. I suggest you call an accountant or a tax attorney in your area.
     
  3. kcp

    kcp TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the welcome!

    That's what I was worried about. If I hire them as an employee, I'm no longer sole proprietorship, am I? I was hoping there was some easy way to just sub them out for services as if I was just "buying" something.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I think you can do it either way, as an employee or as a sub. If doing it as a subcontractor, you could probably bill the cost as a direct expense for your company. Of course, to make everything legal, the person you are subcontracting, would probably need to be a proper business as well...and pay income tax on the money you are paying them...etc.

    I'm am neither an accountant or a lawyer, so it would be best to ask them, to be sure.
     
  5. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First... when hiring employees, you maintain your sole proprietor status. That changes only when you become incorporated or take on a partner. It's the same if you use him/her as a subcontractor.

    You can pay someone as a subcontractor if they do not have regularly scheduled hours at your location. If you pay the sub more than $600 in a fiscal year, you are required to issue a 1099. Think of this as a W2 without withholdings. That person would then have to report this income when filing, paying income and ss taxes.

    If you hire an employee, you are required to withhold money for federal and state income taxes, and social security. You pay about half of the social security in addition to wages. You will also pay any state unemployment taxes for that person.

    I've never used a contract for this. Most of the people who've helped me are eager for the experience and often say they would do it free. I do pay them however. And, make sure you discuss with them the use of any images they make while working for you. I, of course, have all rights to the images since they were made under my direction. I let them know they are welcome to use any image they make for self-promotion, but only I can sell prints or use of the images.

    I hope this helps.

    -Pete
     
  7. kcp

    kcp TPF Noob!

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    Pete--this definitely helps!! I had thought I might need the 1099, but again, I was unsure of my sole prop status.

    As for the contract, I have a lot of eager people who are willing to help me, too, but I just worry that someone will suddenly decide that they don't want me to have the photos they took because they want them. Without a written contract, I'd be out of luck.

    I must say, I've been reading a lot on this site and wish I'd found it months ago....there is a whole host of useful information here.
     
  8. sarah_griffin

    sarah_griffin TPF Noob!

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    i have always been given contracts.

    how many photos I am expected to take,, etc etc,,

    if there is anything I wasnt happy with I always ask it to be changed and they seem generally ok to change it to suit me,, (within acceptable reason, of course!!)
     
  9. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    Wildmaven and Big Mike, and my buddy Pete are right. You will need to include them on your taxes. In some states you will also need to include them for workman's comp. (mine is one of those states).


    I have a few different kinds of contracts based on the prospective shooter/assistant, and what I expect. Listed below are the levels people may fall under:

    1. They assist for learning experience only
    2. Shoot in exchange for photos, only with my ok
    3.. Shoot in exhange for money
    4. Shoot in exhange for money and photo ops with my ok.

    It really depends on the shooter. I work with people who are just starting out as well as full time pros, so it depends.
    You would have to be more specific as to what you are looking for, but more importantly WHO you are looking at.
     

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