Establishing your own legal entity is an essential part of starting your own photography business. This includes registering yourself for tax purposes. This is more than what this article can cover, as every country has its own business rules. Each state has its own legal rules. First, register your business according the local rules. If you have any questions or aren’t sure what to do, seek legal advice.
Separate your personal and business finances. You should still have a separate business credit card, even if you use a credit card to pay your bills.
After you have established your business, you need to make sure that it is protected. One way to do this is to insure your business against potential risks. While you should be able cover an entire business policy for your company, you must also ensure that you are protected against all legal and fiscal liabilities. Insurance is a necessity in today’s litigious society. Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, it can provide you with peace of mind. Insurance should cover your mistakes, omissions, and liabilities as well as your equipment against damage or loss. Insurance is also required to protect against claims arising from an accident that occurs while you are photographing.
Between taking the photos and giving the final image to the customer, there are many simple mistakes and omissions. You can lose film, or the processor can do it. Images can be lost during shipping or in the postal service. Private carriers may also lose images. If you pay a premium for these services, how do you know if your coverage is sufficient? While it is possible to lose images in Cyberspace, you should be prepared to protect yourself by having backup systems. The images may be released to an incorrect party. You may also experience a delay in processing the images and end up at the wrong place.
You can also be held responsible for other mistakes made by your customers. For example, they may inflict a personal injury while staying at your studio or home. Liability insurance is recommended to help protect yourself. You can be held responsible if someone falls or trips over an item of equipment. You can be held responsible if a customer trips on or falls over a piece of equipment outside your home. However, if the customer is visiting your home for business purposes, they will often be considered liable.
You may need insurance for your models depending on the type of work that you do. Let’s say you send a model out to photograph at an outdoor location. What if she or he gets struck by lightning or a stray horse? It is important to make sure that your equipment is covered while you are away from your usual work area. It is important that you have international coverage in place if you are working internationally.
Make sure you insure your equipment. This includes your camera, lenses, and any other obvious parts. It also includes your computer, fax machine and all of your software. You can also insure your darkroom equipment. Your office equipment, even if it is in your home, will not be covered by a standard domestic policy.
You should also have some type of insurance that covers you in case you get sick or are unable to complete an assignment. What happens if your car breaks down and you have to miss a wedding? Many events can and do happen.
Individuals should also be able to protect themselves against income loss. This insurance policy is necessary for you to cover your medical expenses as well as for basic bills like mortgage payments or loan repayments.
Insurance becomes more complex if you have employees. You need to protect your customers’ interests as well. If they are involved in a sexual harassment claim, you will be held responsible. Every little thing you do to protect yourself will only cost you a few dollars more each year. However, it could save you a lot of heartache in the long-term.
It is possible to ask for an extension of your private insurance to include a company package. There are also many companies that provide professional photographers with comprehensive insurance. You may need to add equipment transportation insurance to your vehicle policy. It may also make sense to include equipment loss from an unattended car on your business package. It is dangerous to assume you are covered for all liabilities under existing insurance policies.