If you’ve been fortunate enough to transform your passion for photography into a business, then you know all about the benefits of living the creative dream. As an entrepreneur, you may also be familiar with the downside of running a business. For instance, things like taxes, payroll, and copyrighting all require legal compliance.
Legal details for every aspect of your photography business can be overwhelming and can possibly lead to artistic burnout. That’s why it’s important to seek out legal resources and obtain help from legal experts, so you can focus on what truly matters – taking brilliant photos and selling them to your eager customers. If you can relate, read on for tips on finding the right legal support for your photography business.
General Legal Matters
Every business should have a lawyer or legal expert to help them navigate business-centric issues such as licensing, contracts, business formation, etc. The size of your photography business may help you determine what kind of legal aid you need to stay in compliance with various business laws.
For instance, if you have a small biz, you might not be able to afford the high cost of a law firm, or the expense of keeping an attorney on retainer. That’s when an alternative legal service provider (ALSP) can benefit your photography business.
An ALSP is an alternative to law firms and can provide quality legal guidance – all for a fraction of the price of traditional counsel. An ALSP can assist with most legal aspects of your business, including its structure, such as helping you choose between LLC or sole proprietorship.
Copyright Law Resources
According to the US Copyright Act of 1976, photographers own the copyright to their images the moment they take the shot. However, as a photographer, you’ve got to register your photos to dissuade people from using them without your permission. This is one of the many caveats to copyright compliance.
You can find legal support for copyright adherence by joining supportive organizations such as the Professional Photographers Association. Unions and groups like this can assist you with nailing down details about trademarks and copyrights so you can run your photography business smoothly.
The old saying about the inevitability of death and taxes is a grim view, but the reality is that taxes are necessary for any business. Furthermore, paying taxes is one thing. Staying compliant with business taxes is a whole different scenario. If you’re not a whiz at finances, or simply would rather not do your own business taxes – you should look into getting help.
Retaining a CPA (certified public accountant) is a smart move, because this professional can prepare your business taxes and ensure they are in complete legal compliance when they are filed with the Internal Revenue Service. A CPA can also help ensure your payroll is compliant if you have employees.
If your photography business relies on landing contracts, then it’s important these documents are as ironclad as possible. Contracts protect both you and your client. They also inform all parties involved as to how and when the work should be executed, as well as set clear definitions about expectations.
Additionally, a solid contract should protect you from litigation in case something on your photo shoot goes awry. If you’re not sure if your contracts are fulfilling all your business’s legal needs, you can use online resources such as LegalZoom, which gives you a DIY (do it yourself) template. This takes the guesswork out of crucial legal documents such as contracts. Online legal document providers are also a great alternative if you’re operating your photography business on a tight budget.
Get Support From Your Community
If you work, sleep, eat, and breathe photography – then odds are you might be a member of some type of artistic community. Many of these communities provide vital information to their members via online forums. While this might not always be an ideal source for legal counsel, being a member of a photography group or association can be a first step in finding guidance for legal needs.
Ultimately, an artistic community is populated with like-minded people. It makes good business sense to connect with people who share your interests. Photography forums and communities are a great place to ask questions about how other photography business owners find legal help, get referrals, or just voice legal concerns with people in your industry.
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