Just started by fledgling photo biz - help please

Redeyejedi

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i just started my new photo business and i have a wedding to shoot of a senior malibu couple. they are having their 9 yo dalmation as the ring bearer.
i have a 18-55 kit lens to shoot with will i need a flash, the camer comes with one? also there is this exposure compilation button, is that for taking multiple pictires for haychdee arre' pictures? i think that's french for something, not sure?











ok, jk.

on to the serious:
based on the checklist from the "noobs guide" http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...ness.html?highlight=staering+a+photo+business
i know what preliminary legal and organizational steps required to enter the game.
questions:
should i file, dba, insurance, etc and continue to acquire equip and make available for sale worthy images while i become proficient to take on professional gigs?
so i can write off equipment, education, and travel expenses?
can expenses incurred prior to filing date be written off post-filing?
location- calif. exp- photo classes(film), b/w film printing, understand exposure and what each of the three control in an image,RoT, DoF.....
need to work on: WB-usually use auto or presets on cam, but would like to become better with dialing temps for certain lighting, lens/uses, shooting people.
thanks in advance.
going out to dinner for my bday, may not reply right away, but will most certainly be back for responses and advice. flame suit will be on.
 

WhiskeyTango

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Iffin' it were me, I wouldn't do anything with a DBA. I'd want to incorporate, most likely as an LLC. DBA gives you no liability protection whatsoever. In other words, your personal assets (including home, car, bank accounts, and potentially future earnings) are all fair game in a lawsuit against the business. Incorporating fixes that, at least if its done right...

Beyond that... is this in the right forum? Seems like this should be someplace in "The Business District" forum...


WhiskeyTango
 

MLeeK

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You gave me a heart attack! My first thought was I KNOW this guy has been around for a while... WTF???

This is my opinion: You can never go wrong with having your business license and sales tax, etc stuff in order. If you don't do any business and you don't need it you just file as 0 income. HOWEVER if you do need it you have it.
It's been so long since I started into business that I honestly can't remember how my accountant did things with my equipment. You need to consult with an accountant for the best steps with equipment that you already own.
You are in luck-California has a great publication for photographers on tax info http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub68.pdf

White balance: Simple fix-get white balance lens caps and always set a custom white balance.
 
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Redeyejedi

Redeyejedi

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You gave me a heart attack! My first thought was I KNOW this guy has been around for a while... WTF???

This is my opinion: You can never go wrong with having your business license and sales tax, etc stuff in order. If you don't do any business and you don't need it you just file as 0 income. HOWEVER if you do need it you have it.
It's been so long since I started into business that I honestly can't remember how my accountant did things with my equipment. You need to consult with an accountant for the best steps with equipment that you already own. i have met with an accountant, however this is one topic that was not discussed. we did cover business structure, licensing fees, insurance and liability implications....
You are in luck-California has a great publication for photographers on tax info http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub68.pdf

White balance: Simple fix-get white balance lens caps and always set a custom white balance.
like the DotLine or Balens ones?

thank you.


should thread be relocated to the business district?
 

MLeeK

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I use the cheapies off ebay. Every once in a while you can get one that isn't so hot, but for less than $5 I can throw it away and order another. Plus I tend to lose lens caps, so they come in REALLY handy!
 

cgipson1

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Hey Aaron... man, those first couple of lines of your post had me worried! :) good to see you posting! :)
 

Rephargotohp

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DBA's (Doing Business As) or as they are known in California: Fictitious Business Names, have nothing to do with your Business structure (Sole Proprietor, Partnership, LLC, Corporation) They are merely to have on file with the State that "Light in the Head Photography" is actually John Doe and he has a business here.

As far as Licensing, Ssales Tax, DBA etc. If you are taking money, then yes you need them. As far as tax wise goes, You may not clearly be a business as far as the IRS is concerned. They may classify you as Hobby Income and NOT allow you the full deductions that a business is entitled to. You can't just say you are a business in the hopes of taking deductions for your equipment if you do not show to the IRS that you are in fact a "For Profit Business" and in fact you need to show to the IRS that you actually do make a profit with in 3-5 years

Even if you buy equipment now and don't file as a business, Keep good records of them, That equipment later on when you are an offical business, may still be deductable as they are brought into the buiness capital assets.

So, anyway, You may find yourself in the middle, yes I am taking money for this so I need certain legal things, but I'm not really operating as a for profit yet to get the IRS status I want
 
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Redeyejedi

Redeyejedi

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Yea i've read a few or so dozen of the horror stories that, admittedly i woudld have also made, so i thought why not try to bring a chuckle to the picnic. and old saying goes, "you don't know what you don't know, till you know you don't know it". and in reading about some of the fledglings embarking on the path to businessdom, and what they led people to know about what they know(or don't) i was really able to put many things into perspective. in many instances, i busted out with a face palm in reading some who wanted to start their biz but had no concept of certain fundamentals. i have some fundamentals understood and practice on mastering them, but in reading the responses to said cluelessness it really made me think about how much i really have to work on.

hey charlie, did i get ya with my exposure compilation button? mine works real well, am able set my depth of field to what ever i want, baseball, soccer, or even football field if need be.
 

cgipson1

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hey charlie, did i get ya with my exposure compilation button? mine works real well, am able set my depth of field to what ever i want, baseball, soccer, or even football field if need be.

yea.. cracked me up! French... lol!
 

bazooka

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I'm about half a step ahead of you... I just filed last weekend and spent this week getting all my ducks in a row. I'm not yet actively seeking income other than to try to offset initial costs which aren't much as I already own most everything I need for the time being. But it is definitely intimidating... but exciting at the same time. I know if a random job comes up (they do for me because of the many times I have volunteered to shoot something for experience and people take note that I am capable), I can take it on legally and I can act as a professional, even though it's a part-time gig.
 
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Redeyejedi

Redeyejedi

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I'm about half a step ahead of you... I just filed last weekend and spent this week getting all my ducks in a row. I'm not yet actively seeking income other than to try to offset initial costs which aren't much as I already own most everything I need for the time being. But it is definitely intimidating... but exciting at the same time. I know if a random job comes up (they do for me because of the many times I have volunteered to shoot something for experience and people take note that I am capable), I can take it on legally and I can act as a professional, even though it's a part-time gig.

righton!! prosperity, success, fun and fulfillment to you!
i will probably blaze trails similar, and get legal and protected. i have had equip ins for a couple years now, but i too am looking to acquire more gear and ideally offset costs through the business.
 

MLeeK

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I'm about half a step ahead of you... I just filed last weekend and spent this week getting all my ducks in a row. I'm not yet actively seeking income other than to try to offset initial costs which aren't much as I already own most everything I need for the time being. But it is definitely intimidating... but exciting at the same time. I know if a random job comes up (they do for me because of the many times I have volunteered to shoot something for experience and people take note that I am capable), I can take it on legally and I can act as a professional, even though it's a part-time gig.

Don't let that line of thought continue. Yes, you have accumulated some equipment so far, but it IS an expense for your start up. You could not do what you do without that equipment. You also need to remember that not only do you need to pay yourself back for that equipment, but you need to be budgeting in for the replacements when that wears out.
That is one of the most common mistakes people make when they're starting out. They think: "oh, I am just using my home computer for now, so it doesn't cost... I already have equipment... I am using my home office so I have no office overhead..."
If you didn't have those things you couldn't do this and they really are a business expense.
 

KmH

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Iffin' it were me, I wouldn't do anything with a DBA. I'd want to incorporate, most likely as an LLC. DBA gives you no liability protection whatsoever. In other words, your personal assets (including home, car, bank accounts, and potentially future earnings) are all fair game in a lawsuit against the business. Incorporating fixes that, at least if its done right...
Unfortunately, that is not quite accurate.

First, DBA and LLC requirements differ by state.

DBA is not really a business type. Sole proprietorships, LLC, LLP, and sub-chapter S corporations are business types.

Start here - Starting a Business - Business Entities - California Secretary of State

Starting a Business | SBA.gov

Sole proprietorship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Limited liability company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Carny

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Are you already making decent income or just getting started? Will this be your full time occupation?

I doubt you need the protection of a corporation or LLC starting off. I wouldn't think there are too many things you could be sued for as a photographer that either of those entities would offer protection from. If you do something illegal or negligent, you can be held personally liable regardless of your business entity.

Here in OK you can become an LLC for $100 I think if you do the paperwork yourself. If you pay a lawyer it was about $800 the last I checked (about 3 yrs ago).

I don't know any insurance prices, but it seems like it would be pretty cheap for photography. I pay $800 per year for a plumbing business, and the potential for serious damage is quite high.
 

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