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So many issues.  So many jurisdictions.

Here, you are supposed to register as a business, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, your choice, if you are conducting business.  And you are supposed to report income to the tax department.  If you charge more than $30K in a year, you have to get a tax number, then charge and remit 13% HST.

There are some kinds of businesses that require a license, photography is not one of them.  Plumbing requires a license, however.  I suppose that’s reasonable since a burst pipe usually makes a much bigger mess than a poorly composed and exposed photo.

I’m not sure formal training is the answer.  Over the years I have met lots of people who were not very good at whatever they were trained to do.  Others have been pretty successful without formal training.  Most of the photographers of the past that we look up to probably had little or no formal training.  They made it up as they went along because until they came up with a process, it did not exist, so there was no textbook to learn from.

I don’t have a problem with anyone collecting money for sessions, advertising,  calling themselves “X photography”, passing out business cards, as long as whatever advertizing they are presenting is their own work.  We might groan or laugh at shoddy work, but if that was the quality of work that got them the job and the customer is happy paying for that level of work, more power to them.  We should be working to educate the customer, so they recognize substandard photos when they see them.  But, it’s art, so what I like someone else may hate and they may love work that I hate.

Finally, photography is writing with light, so if you pick up a camera and release the shutter, as long as there is an image produced, you are a photographer.  How good or bad is entirely another matter.  😉