LLC for photography business [No Fluff]

Last updated : Aug 22, 2022
Written by : Nickolas Dehrer
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LLC for photography business

What business structure is best for photographers?

Limited Liability Company (LLC) An LLC can consist of a single individual, a partnership, multiple individuals, or a corporation. The limited liability and flexible tax options mean it is an attractive choice for wedding photographers and other small business owners.

Do photographers need a business license in Florida?

No, a photographer in Florida doesn't need a license. However, if you intend to make a business out of it, then you will most definitely need legal papers like any small business. Also, note that Florida doesn't require or issue a state-wide business operating license.

How do I start a photography business in North Carolina?

  1. Step 1) Choose a Business Structure.
  2. Step 2) File your DBA.
  3. Step 3) Obtain Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  4. Step 4) Get Your State Sales Tax ID.
  5. Step 5) Apply for Your State Privilege License.
  6. Step 6) Check Zoning Restrictions and Permit Requirements.

Do you need a photography license in California?

Photography/Motion Picture Permit – Businesses planning to shoot or film on state property will need a State Film Permit. A minimum of four business days advanced notice before the planned day of the shoot is required for processing applications that do not include traffic control or complex activities.

Should photographers file as LLC or sole proprietor?

#1 Protect your personal assets Perhaps the most common reason photographers choose an LLC is for personal asset protection. Yes. This is so important, especially in today's litigious society. You never know when liability will strike.

Should a photographer be an LLC or DBA?

Photography industry experts and business attorneys recommend setting up a simple LLC, Limited Liability Company, for both protection and tax advantages early in your company formation.

How do I make my photography business official?

  1. Decide on a name and check trademarks.
  2. Create an LLC or stay as a sole proprietorship.
  3. Get an EIN.
  4. Set up your business finances.
  5. Determine your tax strategy,
  6. Make a decision about insurance.

Is photography taxed in Florida?

Florida does tax a few types of services, for example commercial cleaning services, but photography is not one of those specifically taxed services.

How do I get a business license for photography in Florida?

To do this call 850-250-6058 or go online at The cost is $50 and it's good for 5 years. If you are registered with the state as a corporation, you may skip this process.

Is photography taxable in NC?

➢ Purchases by commercial or portrait photographers of items they use in their business are subject to the 4.75% general State and applicable l l d i f l d l b l local and transit rates of sales and use tax unless exempt by law.

How do photographers pay taxes?

Once you begin charging for your services and intend to make a profit, it's best to identify your photography as a business for tax purposes. As an employee at a company, taxes are automatically withheld from your paycheck and submitted to the proper agencies. That includes federal, state, and otherwise.

How do I pay myself as a photographer?

If you're set up in one of these ways, the Sole Proprietor, DBA, Single Member LLC, Multi Member LLC, or Partnership, you can transfer money from your business account to your personal account to pay yourself. This is known as an Owner Draw. You are drawing funds from your business to pay for your personal expenses.

Do photographers need a sellers permit in California?

yes. According to the California State Board of Equalization, the government entity that collectsCalifornia state sales and use tax, you must obtain an seller'spermit if you sell or lease merchandise, vehicles, or other tangible personal property in California.

Do photographers charge sales tax in California?

Portrait, Wedding, and other Noncommercial Photography Generally, tax applies to the sale of photographs sold in tangible form for noncommercial use. The sale of related items and services rendered to create or produce the photographs will also be taxable.

How do I become an LLC in California?

To form an LLC in California, go to, log in, select Register a Business under the Business Entities Tile, Articles of Organization - CA LLC and follow the prompts to complete and submit.

What type of business is a photography business?

Most photography businesses are “sole proprietorships.” This is where one person (you, on your own) operates for profit. You can have a real business name, a business bank account, and employ people. It's a great place to start — if you're unsure which business type is for you, then this is the business type for you.

What is a sole proprietorship vs LLC?

An LLC exists separately from its owners—known as members. However, members are not personally responsible for business debts and liabilities. Instead, the LLC is responsible. A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned and run by one person.

What is a freelance photographer?

A freelance photographer is a self-employed artist who conducts professional photoshoots. They manage their own photography businesses, where they build a clientele and promote their work to attract new clients. Some freelance photographers may specialize in specific areas of photography, such as: Weddings. Graduations.

Can I start a photography business?

Starting your own photography business is a great way to add a second income or a main income, if you work hard. While the photography market is competitive, many photography business owners have been able to find their niche and build a sustainable career.

How do I write a photography business plan?

  1. Write an executive summary.
  2. Describe your photography business.
  3. Outline your products and services.
  4. Analyze your finances.
  5. Understand your competition.
  6. Devise a sales and marketing strategy.
  7. Set operations logistics and management structure.

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LLC for photography business

Comment by Bethany Cazarez

how should you set up your photography business do you need to have an llc should you have an s corp what do you do for insurance contracts if you're actually starting a photography business or any kind of creative business for that matter how do you actually set that up that's something that kind of nobody talks about or if they do they don't really cover all the bases so inside of this video i'm gonna give you a crash course in setting up a photography business or a creative business from scratch based on the little bit i've learned along the way starting a couple businesses in a couple different countries are you ready let's hit that intro and get into it hey guys my name is ryan here at signature edits i help photographers build their businesses take better photos and hopefully just become better people along the way i've got some experience building businesses of my own i've been doing photography full-time for about eight or nine years now and basically just sharing the lessons i've learned along the way and one of the big big lessons that i've learned is basically to do with actually setting your business up and growing a photography business in fact that's kind of what signature edits was started with was the fact that when i was starting my business i was so frustrated by just trying to find information and it wasn't there that i said okay all these things that i had to learn the hardware i'm gonna try and share with people and so i created a membership teaching people how to grow their business get more clients and basically create a passionate income okay so with that said we're going to get into the actual nitty-gritty of should you set your photography business up as an llc or an s-corp when you're starting out like what are the basic steps you need to take so the first thing first point first point i want to make is that action beats complexity every single time now what do i mean by this action beats complexity well what happens and i speak as someone who's gone through this what happens when you start off is that when you're starting out you tend to want to know everything and everything is unknown and so you sort of venture out on this merry quest and you just have this beautiful little sailboat that you sail into the abyss it's supposed to be a lightning bolt so you can tell i'm definitely an artist and um you're kind of just sailing into the unknown and you're very confused and so it's like it's very easy to get paralyzed by not knowing what to do and so you say should i do an s-corp should i do a c-corp should i get incorporated should i have an llc and then you make this big list of things because what happens is you start researching and you're like okay i need one of these need one of these need one of these need one of these need one of these need one of these and then the next thing that happens is you're just sitting there and you're kind of like overwhelmed at the fact that there's just like way too much to even take on and so probably what happens is that your like one week project which was like get my business set up and then start getting clients turns into like a one year thing where it's like okay now i have to have my website custom developed now i have to have my contracts reviewed by a lawyer now i have to have an llc so i have to save up and spend 1500 doing that now i've got to and you kind of get where i'm going with this right is it just goes on and on and on so complexity is going to burden you and so that's kind of the main thing i want you to take at the very beginning of this is like point number one action is going to beat complexity every single time so what do i mean by that well if you just set up your business based on the minimum for results versus the maximum of possibilities you're always going to win with this method because what happens is if you actually start out and you're like okay i want to set up a photography business and you say okay get the llc get the website get the custom contracts get the proposals get the blah blah blah you could have just gone out and started knocking on doors at different businesses and said hey i take great photos 50 bucks do you want to hire me right and then if you went door-to-door to door and you just did that and you got 10 gigs okay now you've got 10 gigs worth of portfolio you didn't need a contract you didn't need an llc you didn't need anything you could have just knocked on some doors traded 50 bucks cash for some photos and been done and that compared to sitting there and spending 1500 on your llc and another 2 000 on your website and another five hundred dollars on your contracts and you're three thousand dollars in and you still haven't gotten a single sale so i think the the question is not do i need to register my photography business as an llc the question is do you have a photography business to begin with because this person here who is just like drowning in complexity and thinks they need to do all these things before they can start doesn't realize that until you have a business those things don't really matter so you want to find like the minimum number of things that actually matter and do those so when you're starting off as a photographer what are those minimum things well obviously it's going to be actually just going out and shooting photos getting really amazingly good at the things that you need to be good at which is shooting photos creating work whatever it is that you do right now the second thing that you need to do as a photographer starting out in your business journey is you need to shoot photos and two you need to make money okay so we've got two things we need to do we need to go out we need to shoot photos build our portfolio build our skill become world class of what we do and then we need to go out and we need to make some money that's what a business is a business makes money a business doesn't make contracts a business doesn't make llc's a business doesn't make proposals templates websites that's not what a business does a business serves value to people so you solve problems in exchange for dollars and unless you have this you don't have a business an llc is not a business an escort is not a business a big fancy contract is not a business are you going out and taking photos are you talking to customers are you exchanging photos for money or whatever your creative thing is are you doing that for money and if you have cash flow you have a business if you don't have cash flow you don't have a business now let's actually make this like tactile and actually kind of answer the question of okay when do i need an llc or an s corp and what is all of that okay watch this lc is basically a pretend person who is your business so the reason you would want to do that is twofold one is for tax and two is for liability now liability is just a fancy way of saying if sh hits the fan you have somebody else that that person can go after in a court rather than you so it's blaming the business we're gonna make this super grassroots right like there's more to it than that but essentially that's all it is you have an llc because

Thanks for your comment Bethany Cazarez, have a nice day.
- Nickolas Dehrer, Staff Member

Comment by Gonzalo

in this video we're talking about business expenses for photographers i'll teach you how i save thousands of dollars each year by structuring my business correctly and utilizing tax write-offs let's get into it hey there if you're new here my name is chris i'm teaching you photography and how to start a creative business i want to say a special hide all my new subscribers welcome to the channel as you can probably tell i'm not in my studio right now i'm traveling and what better time to talk about business expenses than during a trip now the step i have in this hotel room is not ideal i've got no key light so i'm using this big window right here with the curtains drawn and then i'm using this microphone to record audio and i've got the camera set up on my suitcase so bear with me here so first things first i'm now a lawyer this is not legal advice this is just what i do i learn the stuff from books from youtube videos doing my research online you should do your own research too talk to a professional talk to a lawyer before implementing any of these tactics so when you start out in photography and you're going into the business side of things you're probably going to fall into one of three boats so boat one is you're using your personal credit card personal debit card to buy all of your photography needs and to cover all your expenses you don't have any formal structure for your business and you don't have a business bank account in this situation all your expenses come out of your personal accounts and all of your profits go back into your personal accounts this is kind of hard to track all your expenses and i'm assuming you're not doing that then vote number two you're operating as a sole proprietor you don't have a formal llc you're using your personal credit card and personal bank account to take in all your profits and all your expenses in this situation you're tracking stuff but it's a little complicated because it's all coming out of one or two accounts and if you're in boat number three you watched my video on how to form an llc if you haven't it's right here you're operating as a single member llc and you're using business bank accounts to take any profits in and for all your business expenses part number three is definitely where you want to be at pretty easy to form a single member llc it's pretty easy to get those bank accounts those business cards and they have so many advantages if you don't know anything about that just watch my video on it and it'll explain everything so what exactly are business expenses the irs defines them as expenses that are ordinary and necessary for your line of work in this video i'm only going to be talking about expenses i'm not going to be talking about depreciating assets or anything like that that's beyond the scope of this video this is purely about expenses so as a photographer what kind of expenses do you incur your camera your lenses tripods any accessories you need those are definitely things that you can expense these are ordinary and necessary for your business there's a lot of other small things that you might not think of that really add up like all the softwares you use from lightroom photoshop accounting software you might use any software that you use for client management all these add up and they are business expenses for you in addition to that if you do any advertising for your business that counts as an expense really anything you do for your business that makes it grow you can write off if you're renting a studio space that's another great expense you can write off if you don't have a studio space and you're shooting from home you might be eligible for the home office deduction so the home office deduction is something you can write off if you're using a room in your house purely for your business so if you have an extra bedroom that was normally empty and now you have your photo studio in there and your computer and your desk and you're using it only for your business you can actually write that off now the irs is really strict when they say only for your business here if you've got bed in there and you're sleeping that does not count if you're doing any other activities in there that just doesn't count it has to be purely used for your business so so if you have a studio space in your house you got backdrops there or desk only stuff for your business that's great and that can count as a home office deduction now some of this stuff can get pretty complicated so again talk to professionals don't just trust one video watch on youtube this is what i do but i did a lot of research before actually implementing these things into my business so there's some great books you can read i'll link them down below again talk to people do your research one final expense i want to talk about is travel of course so if you have clients that you need to travel for whether that's going to a wedding a few hours away you have to stay a hotel room that counts as a business expense if you have to fly somewhere that entire flight can be covered as a business expense just make sure your trip is business and not purely for pleasure i'm from chicago so if there was a company in new york that wanted me to go out to new york and take photos of their product in the city i would book a flight with my business card i would get a hotel room with my business card and that would count as an expense so there are a lot of different expenses in your business and all these are a little tricky to keep track of so if you're using a business card and business bank account that already solves one problem of keeping track of everything it's all under one account so you know everything in those accounts is for business only next what i would do is get some sort of accounting software i use quickbooks for all my expense tracking it's really simple to use and come tax time i could just run some reports and it'll tell me exactly how my business is doing and what i have to pay taxes on so using quickbooks will make your life so much easier than trying to track all this stuff in like a spreadsheet or something like that i think it's awesome you're trying to get better at the create business side of things i know this stuff might be boring to some of you it's just numbers accounting nothing super glamorous it's not the photography it's not the videography side of things but understanding this stuff will take you that much farther in your business by utilizing business banking cash business credit cards all these tax write-offs you'll save a lot of money and it'll help grow your business so if you've made this far action steps if you don't have an llc first thing to do form the llc after you've got those formation documents go to the bank open up a business bank account get a business credit card and then get quickbooks or some sort of accounting software link that all together and then track all your expenses i would recommend tracking on a weekly basis just to make sure that you know where your money's going how much money is coming in and being on track with your financials is a very important part of the business mak

Thanks Gonzalo your participation is very much appreciated
- Nickolas Dehrer

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