Business questions

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by Esperanza86, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. Esperanza86

    Esperanza86 TPF Noob!

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    Omg I so needed to see this! I have done about ten paid sessions and love taking photos of people. I have known all the steps I need to take to make it a well thought out plan but currently do not have the funds to do everything at once. Do you have any advice on where to start and how to start? I am afraid to do the tax ID because if I am not making any money I am afraid they will expect me to pay. I am attempting to pay for this years sessions but am thinking it is best to do it as a hobby until I have more things in order. I have a 2 year old son and have to be smart about these things. Here are some of my images I have made. I love the editing and shooting part. I am dealing with my first unhappy person and it is not fun. I so badly want to do this and do it right. I looked into PPA insurance and it is $500 ish a year? When you are learning that is a big chunk of change. :( Also PPA has sample releases and contracts to use- do you recommend getting a lawyer to form contracts etc.? I wish I could do this full time but I don't have the ducks in a row. Also, can you explain to me how to make my images high resolution? From what I understand it is done in photoshop? If I am wrong correct me. I want to know the process. Thanks! image.jpg image.jpg


     
  2. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    Talk to a tax consultant.

    But if you were to ask me, I think you are beyond the "Hobby" stage per the IRS Rules (but, we don't know where you live, so I really can't give any inadviseable internet advice ==> Business or Hobby? Answer Has Implications for Deductions

    High Resolution ?? or detailed / in focus using something other than f/1.8 ?

    You can sharpen it a bit depending if for print/screen. But if you take it Out Of Focus (aka, OOF) then it's OOF.

    Understanding DOF ==> Understanding Depth of Field in Photography

    read it and reread it, and test it out. Then understand the situations to use f/1.8 and the situations to not use f/1.8. You can,but you have to learn how to use it.

    If you have 2 ppl and they are not parallel with each other then you have a DOF/OOF issue on their faces if you are too close. You have to use the Calculator and visualize (and test on inanimate objects) how you use your camera settings. => A Flexible Depth of Field Calculator

    Also learn your camera's Focusing Mode. ie, Single point focus mode (don't use auto focusing mode). You'll have to consult your camera manual (since we don't know what you use) for this. Then focus on the eye as a general rule (don't let the camera decide for you).
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As I indicated in the other thread, IMO, you are a long way from being ready to take money for photography. A HUGE part of running a successful business is having everything set up. If $500 for insurance (that's a LOT less than what I pay) is too much money, you're not ready. Yes, it's expensive, but how much will the lawsuit resulting from a client tripping over your lightstand and breaking a tooth cost?
     
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  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm a bit confused as to whose thread this is, but this is for Esperanza86.

    Build your skills by shooting friends and family "for trade", meaning you give them prints (if they're good photos) for their time in posing for you. Yes, you're going to "wear out" a couple of friends, but hopefully they will have some nice photographs that they can pass out among their friends and family.

    Call your state department of revenue, and ask some questions. They can tell you how to get your federal tax ID. The IRS (and probably your state) wants your money in the form of taxes paid on your income. A tax attorney can get you set up with the legal stuff. Yes, you're going to have to pay the tax attorney, but probably just the one time.

    When you file your tax return, there is a form for reporting business income and expenses. If your expenses are high relative to your income, your tax liability will be low. It is WAY better to report your income and expenses on your tax return than to NOT do it, and WISH you had. With most small businesses just staring up, the taxable income will be negative for a couple of years, so your taxes won't go up right away.

    If you are considering your enterprise to be more of a hobby at this point in time, then don't accept any money. ANY money. Just don't. Later you can set it up as a business.

    ps; the first two shots are showing potential.
     
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  5. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    FYI, for the first couple years use an accountant (not H&R block but a real accountant). Then you'll understand the forms and how to break down your expenses, etc.
    It's really quite easy overall once you see it done.

    Don't be afraid of a TaxID. it's just a number the gov't uses for you to submit any tax stuff if you have any.

    We still don't know where you are from? US, Canada, Argentina, Spain, Phillipines, South Africa, Australia, Antartica ???
     
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  6. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    If your business is a sole proprietorship your social security number is your Federal TaxID number.

    If you're in the US and your state has sales taxes, you need to register your business with the state. The state requires a business to collect and forward the appropriate sales taxes the state is due. Your city likely also requires a business be registered with them too.

    I've seen more illegal, unregistered photography businesses get in serious financial trouble over state sales taxes than for any other reason.
    The illegal unregistered business usually is brought to the attention of local and state authorities by a legal competitor photography business.
    If an illegal business discovered by the state does not have good accounting records, the state will estimate what back sales taxes, fines, and other financial penalties are due. They usually guess on the high side.

    It is almost impossible to start and keep a business going without significant funding from the start.
    On very rare occasions that has been done by people that have very good business knowledge and business management skills.

    I highly recommend this inexpensive book about lighting for photos of people:
    Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
     
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  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You need to get your photos in focus before you think about anything else
     
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  8. Esperanza86

    Esperanza86 TPF Noob!

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    I live in the U.S- I want to stop taking $ and just do this as a hobby until I am experienced enough and feel more confident. I just had some unhappy customers for the first time and I am lost and stressed. I am going to just refund them their $100 and be done with it. Basically they want to print a 16x20- mpix.com wouldn't let them print it that size, my car and computer broke in the same week, and now all I have is my iphone and ps touch and ps express apps. Limited editing tools. I have no idea how to fix this other than give them their money back after almost two weeks of them being upset. Back to the topic, I talked to a Tax accountant and he is going to help me report my stuff for the year.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  9. Esperanza86

    Esperanza86 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the recommendation! I will check it out. So far I have read the Tony Northup DSLR book and love it. It is a lot of information to take in so I will have to keep reading and practicing.
     
  10. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just touching on a few things. First - get legal tax advice!
    If you make the money it needs to be reported (no matter business or hobby)- how you report it and what business format you choose is complicated and you just need help with it, or spend a lot of effort to learn it all......
    I'd say look at the IRS Schedule "C" and get an Umbrella policy on your regular insurance. The Sched. "C" can save you taxes while you're getting started, not cost you taxes.
     
  11. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Even doing it as a hobby and not charging I highly recommend having a written contract and making sure you are covered insurance wise in case someone gets injured during a free shoot.
     
  12. beagle100

    beagle100 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I agree, looking at those images you're a long way from being "professional" but if and when you are ready to charge customers you will need a tax ID, insurance, contracts, etc.
     

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