Legal Help: Lessons from #PhotoWeekLike

September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

English: Regulatory Compliance Pyramid

English: Regulatory Compliance Pyramid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A major component to running any business is the issue of legal compliance. The last thing you want to do as a photographer is finding yourself out of legal compliance. Craig outlined the 7 mistakes we makes as photographers such as not collecting sales tax, being disorganized, and misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

Ok guys, we may be broke, especially when first starting out but we must understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Employees are limited in what they are able to do, are working only for us, they can’t lose money, and they use our equipment. Independent contractors on the other hand work for a lot of people, they use their own equipment, they own the rights to the work they do, and they can lose money. True works for hire need to be in writing.

Don’t be disorganized when it comes to securing your standard practices. Craig suggests if what you are doing is worth more money than you would be comfortable burning then you need a contract. Make sure all of your contracts and releases clearly outline what will happen in any possible situation such as cancellation policies, liability policies, and anything else you may have promised. If your contracts are not clearly outlined you could end up spending much more than what you earned in court and legal fees. Also, you want to get your contracts signed as soon as possible. “If you do not have your contract signed, your potential clients are still shopping around” Craig advises.

To make sure you are always in legal compliance, the first thing you should do when you begin your company or now if you have not already done so is getting legal help. Find an accountant to help you with the submission deadlines, taxes, and an attorney to help you with your contracts, releases, and business structure. After all, it does not matter what we studied outside of photography the industries change and trying to take all of that on ourselves is way too much.

In the course Craig went on to talk about copyright laws and situations where you will not only need model releases but also property releases to shoot on private property. For more information on your legal compliance guidelines be sure to check out




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