Business Photographer: Do You Need a License?

When developing your business as a photographer, you might have a lot of questions regarding what you need to do to legally practice in your jurisdiction. The guide below will take some of the guess work out of that process. Here is a simple to do list of all the things you must consider when starting to operate a photography business.

Step 1 - File a Business License

If you are going into business for yourself, even as a freelance photographer, it is always very good practice to file for a business license. If you are not sure how to do this yourself, then ask an attorney. The process is relatively simple. You need to go to your local township or municipal building and ask for the business department. Once you have arrived at the business department you need to ask them if they have an application for a business license. They will give you an application. Fill out the application and return it with the required or requested documentation.

Step 2 - Filing for a Photographer License

Most jurisdictions do not require that a photographer file for a specific license as would any real estate agent or doctor. Generally photography is not considered one of the professions that needs to be licensed by the jurisdiction. By the same token, you should give a call over to your  local state licensing board and ask whether there is an applicable license that you must obtain as a photographer. If there is not, then you do not need to do anything else. If there is a license, then you will need to follow that state's directions.

Step 3 - Getting a Press Pass

The last form of 'licensure' you may need as a photographer is something called a press pass. If you are going to spend your time working in event photography, you may need to obtain press passes for those events. You will have to speak to the coordinator of the event to find out specifically what you will need to do to obtain these passes. Once you have obtained the press pass you will be able to attend the events and take the photographs as an event photographer

When in doubt, you should always ask and err on the side of caution. Do not take anything for granted because there are sometimes many different nuances in the different cities, towns and jurisdictions. It pays to ask and it pays to apply for the types of permits and licenses you will need as a growing photographer, no matter what domain you may pursue.

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