Do you want to know the legal requirements you need to start a photography business? If YES, here is a checklist of photography studio licenses, permits & insurance.
Having provided you with a:
- Photography Industry Overview
- Market Research and Feasibility
- Photography Business Plan
- Photography Marketing Plan
- Photography Name ideas
- Photography Licenses and Permits
- Cost of Starting a Photography
- Photography Marketing ideas
We will consider what it takes to get operating license and permit for your photography business including insurance coverage and intellectual property protection.
Starting a Photography Studio – License, Permit & Insurance
- Best legal entity to use for a Photography business
One of the biggest decisions you will face in starting up your business is in deciding what kind of business entity you would like to operate. There are a number of significant differences amongst each type, so before starting out, you would need to carry out a research so as to learn which is best for you; as the form of business structure you choose has direct implications on how much paperwork is required, how much personal liability is tied to the business, and the amount and type of taxes you are likely to pay. If you aren’t sure of the type of legal entity to choose, then consult a good CPA.
There are four major types of legal entities and they are:
Sole proprietorship – which is easy to set up and run but which has the owners personally liable. Partnership – which has two or more persons as business owners and is quite similar to a sole proprietorship, as it is also easy to set up and operate, and like a sole proprietorship, it offers no liability protection.
Corporation is a separate legal entity that is owned by shareholders who enjoy protection from personal liability, even though they reduce taxes, they are costlier to maintain and setup. A limited liability company (LLC) can be set up for tax purposes to act and operate as a partnership or corporation.
So the business structure you will eventually choose will depend on numerous factors, which means you would need to make ample research before making a final decision.
Does a Photography Business Need Professional Certification?
If you decide that you want to work part time or that you want to make photography a hobby instead of a business, then it will be safe to say that you would not require any sort of certification.
However, it is important to note that most professional photographers have one certification or another so as to boost their profile, and inspire trust in their clients. Certifications also ensure that professional photographers learn and know more stuff about photography than the non-professionals.
It is essential to note that while certifications might be regarded as important for some, others believe clients would rather prefer that you are creative to seeing whatever certifications you might have.
How About Getting a College Degree in Photography Business?
Although a business degree is not a must have to attain success in photography business industry, it would be quite wise to think about enrolling in a business school before you commence your planning of a photography business formation.
The knowledge that you will acquire in a business school can go a long way in helping your photography business reach unprecedented heights of success and may prove to be instrumental when you are struggling to make your business survive in the industry. Here’s an analysis of what it cost to get a bachelor’s degree in photography.
Although a hard working and busy professional photographer is not expected to have the time needed to keep aside daily photography obligations and take part in the curriculum of business school, you are recommend to perhaps take a year or two off of your photography career and concentrate solely on understanding the basics of business administration. Your expertise and knowledge in the field of business will give your photography company the competitive edge that it needs to out muscle every other organization in the industry.
When you are running a business, it is not simply about generating enough income to meet ends. You need to have the ambition to constantly evolve and grow bugger with time. A business without ambition is sure to fade away into oblivion. Similar to professional photography, the world of photography businesses is intensely competitive. Therefore, it would be quite foolish to enter this world without having the intention to bring your A game to the field.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Photography Business
Below are some of the basic legal documents that you would require to successfully run your photography business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Privity Documents
- Release Forms (Model release, Print Release)
- Sales Tax Permit
- Portrait Agreement
- Copyright Notice
- Product Delivery Agreements
- Payment Plan Agreements
The Best Insurance Needed for a Photography Business
When looking at insurance options for your photography business, it is best to look at your business structure first. While it can be exciting to start off one’s photography business but safeguarding the business through an insurance policy is a major business decision that must be taken, because not carrying any insurance policy that covers the business, means gambling with your livelihood and clients.
When not sure of the policy that would suit you, you can always consult an insurance agent who would guide you properly on the coverage you need. Listed below is some of the basic insurance that you should consider purchasing if you intend starting off your own photography business;
- Equipment Insurance
- General Liability Insurance
- Commercial Automobile Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Property Insurance (Owner or Renter)
- Life Insurance
- Errors and Omission Liability
- Workers Compensation
- Theft and Damage Coverage
Does a Photography Business Need Intellectual Property Protection?
Yes it does. As a photographer, your photographs are the most important intellectual property to be owned. Whether a picture has been published or not, a photographer as long as it is his or her work, has an original work of authorship. If someone else uses any of your work with your permission, as a photographer, you still own the image unless you write specifically assigning your ownership to such a person.
Even if you assign an individual exclusive use of an image of yours, you still own the copyright, unless otherwise stated in writing. If anyone uses your works without your approval or permission, they would have violated copyright laws.