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Ahh the wonderful world of having a photography business.  Don’t believe the hype, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

It’s a good sign that you want to hone your photography skills and are open to learning new things, but to be really good, you should expand your knowledge on both front and backsides of the business to really do it right and benefit from being a legitimate business.

The main thing that “fauxs” miss out on in being a legitimate business is the tax incentives of being a real business, not matter how good [or bad] your photography skills are.  A good example is if you, say buy a $1000 camera, to a faux, this would be a $1000 out-of-pocket expense.  Being a “business” you may be able to claim this as a business expense as and amortize this cost over 5 years.  In layman’s terms, that means from that $1000 cost, each year for up to 5 years you can deduct $200 as a business expense [$200 x 5 years = $1000].

Now this doesn’t mean you can just go out and buy tons of new gear and just write it all off as “business expenses”, you have to have just means to show income for your business or else you may get audited or worse have the deduction disqualified and have to re-assess your past taxes that these deductions were claimed on.

You have to talk to a CPA and make a plan that will make the most of your [potential] income versus your expenditures.

Here in California, you have several choices, a sole proprietor, a sole proprietorship DBA [Doing Business As or Fictitious Business Name], a company or LLC Limited Liability Corporation.  For most, the last 2 are usually very costly and have a double tax penalty as you would be an employee of the corporation and the corporation has a tax liability of it’s own, hence the double tax penalty.  You could incorporate in another State, but that gets complicated come tax filing time.

Remember, no matter how you become a business, you want your business to provide income from your services and products, tax friendly both in write-off’s and liabilities and also to protect your assets from outside threats, meaning lawsuits and such.

The problem with “faux’s” doing business as professionals is that the public usually can’t discern whether or not they are legitimate or not so if the faux gets in trouble with a client, the “fauxs” total assets are at risk, meaning camera gear, $$, cars and home.  There are pro’s and con’s to each type of business, but you’ll have to evaluate your tolerance of risk.

Don’t get scared, most of us don’t get sued, but the possibility is there.  The last thing you want is that adding undo stress to the stressful business environment.

Breathe, Shoot and repeat!

Do what you’re doing, hone your skills and take some basic business courses if you can.  Learn how to keep your books in order, buy new gear when needed and keep shooting.

What ever you do, DON’T take false criticism from friends and family, always rely on non-biased critiques, they may sting or hurt from time to time, but at least they will be honest.

Another thing, ditch the Facebook for posting all your photos.  You can have a FB page, one personal, one business.  Keep the 2 separate, remember the business page is for business and promotional use.  Down the road, get yourself a real webpage and maybe a hosting service that specializes in photography for business.  I use Zenfolio, you don’t have to use that one, there are others.

Theres is a lot more, but it’s getting late.

Have fun, you’ll make mistakes, but learn from them, don’t repeat them hoping the output will change, it won’t.

And again, KEEP SHOOTING!!!