PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE

Started Jun 11, 2013 | Discussions
edispics
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Yes, let's bring back the Guild Wars!!
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 13, 2013

Reading these posts gave me a sense of deja vu, and then I started thinking that some of the folks here are really advocating the return of the guild system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild

So my conclusion is been there, done that, don't really want to go there again.

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Guidenet
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It might be hard to tell a professional
In reply to Michael J Davis, Jun 13, 2013

Michael J Davis wrote:

But why on earth were there TWO independent(?) professional wedding photographers there anyway?

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Mike Davis
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I didn't notice where it was two independent, but maybe I missed. Regardless, the OP may or may not know if they were independent or professional for that matter and I use professional in a very loose way.

My daughter is a successful full time wedding photographer and somewhat fits some of the OP's description in several ways. She also has one to two assistants who often act as floaters during the reception so as to get possible images she might miss. People at the wedding might think they were second photographers.

Very occasionally in the past she's gotten in a bit over her head where she priced a wedding maybe out of state and it grew as time went on. In one case the wedding grew from a small family affair to a huge 500 invitees for sit down dinner. The wealthy mother of the bride had her way. I was asked to help out as was my gal, Jan. We quickly assembled our kit including DC powered location monolights and the whole shebang. She had two assistants, one intern, herself and the two of us. We got it done, but I can imagine what some of the Uncle Bobs might have thought.

Another point is that she and her assistants all shoot the same entry level camera bodies. She now has five Nikon D90s and some consumer glass to boot. I've tried over the years to move her to FX professional level bodies, but she points out that she's small and petite and doesn't like them. Because she's the boss, she insists assistants also shoot her gear. Now, she may upgrade this year to D7100 or D600 because they aren't that much larger and those five D90s are getting old, but even then, those are fairly entry level as well.

My point is that she's an upper tier wedding photographer who charges in that tier but who has extra photographers with her and shoots what looks to be entry level cameras and lenses, if you consider the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS to be entry as well as the Nikon 85 f/1.8. Making an assumption as to her professionalism based on this may not be appropriate. She has a wonderful eye and a Masters in Fine Art from a respected University. She seems to do a wonderful job for her clients.

Until you see the final product, it might be hard to tell what you have. My daughter did something I suggested at the start and created wedding books for herself to keep that was copies of the ones for the clients. She uses some of these as tools to show prospective clients on the first one on one meeting.

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Guidenet
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I can see a license for one purpose only.
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 13, 2013

I would suggest it might be a good idea to license professional photographers who charge money to the public. That license would have nothing to do with gear or their portfolio.

The sole purpose of this license would be to ensure the photographer had a business license, was properly insured to protect the clients, was not wanted for some crime.

Can you imagine how insulting it might be to be judged by some rum cully university professor as to whether your work was acceptable.

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mobi1
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Re: I can see a license for one purpose only.
In reply to Guidenet, Jun 13, 2013

No - there should not be license for photographers Just another barrier to protect interest of only few.

Quite often, amateurs take better photos than pros (I understand this is a subjective opinion).

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Michael J Davis
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to scorrpio, Jun 13, 2013

scorrpio wrote:

Michael J Davis wrote:

Do I sound jaundiced? Probably!

Mike

I dunno. How does one 'sound jaundiced' anyway? 'Looking jaundiced' means your skin and eye whites are distinctly yellow, as a result of hepatitis or some other liver disorder.

No if you meant 'jaded'...

? see definition 2:-

jaun-diced  adj.

1. affected with or colored by or as if by jaundice: jaundiced skin.

2. affected with or exhibiting prejudice or distorted judgment: a jaundiced viewpoint. [1630–40]

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mike

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Guidenet
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Re: I can see a license for one purpose only.
In reply to mobi1, Jun 13, 2013

mobi1 wrote:

No - there should not be license for photographers Just another barrier to protect interest of only few.

Quite often, amateurs take better photos than pros (I understand this is a subjective opinion).

Did you read what I said? I'm not talking about anything based on quality, just being insured and having a business license like any other business in a locality. A free lance ought to pay normal taxes and make sure the client is protected by business insurance at a minimum.

Whether or not an amateurs pcture's are better is not relevant.

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busch
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In a word: BALONEY.
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 13, 2013

No disrespect meant but I think the idea has little, if any, merit other than to protect the supposed "Pro's" clique and to give another agency something to do and make money with.

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sdribetahi
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 13, 2013

You could be a 'licensed' photographer and still be a terrible photographer. Being a pro doesn't actually mean you are any good.

It's kind of like asking for licenses to be a professional water color artist, or mime. It's an art form. That's it. Sorry if that's a tough pill to swallow.

There's no public safety involved. Don't kid yourself. You aren't a doctor, an architect, a lawyer. Anyone can take pictures, and I'd dare to say some rookie with a Rebel is probably better than some pro with a mark 3 somewhere.

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sdribetahi
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Re: I can see a license for one purpose only.
In reply to Guidenet, Jun 13, 2013

Guidenet wrote:

mobi1 wrote:

No - there should not be license for photographers Just another barrier to protect interest of only few.

Quite often, amateurs take better photos than pros (I understand this is a subjective opinion).

Did you read what I said? I'm not talking about anything based on quality, just being insured and having a business license like any other business in a locality. A free lance ought to pay normal taxes and make sure the client is protected by business insurance at a minimum.

Whether or not an amateurs pcture's are better is not relevant.

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So I take it you're a big government type. Are you seriously trying to tax more things?

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Guidenet
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Re: I can see a license for one purpose only.
In reply to sdribetahi, Jun 13, 2013

sdribetahi wrote:

Guidenet wrote:

mobi1 wrote:

No - there should not be license for photographers Just another barrier to protect interest of only few.

Quite often, amateurs take better photos than pros (I understand this is a subjective opinion).

Did you read what I said? I'm not talking about anything based on quality, just being insured and having a business license like any other business in a locality. A free lance ought to pay normal taxes and make sure the client is protected by business insurance at a minimum.

Whether or not an amateurs pcture's are better is not relevant.

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So I take it you're a big government type. Are you seriously trying to tax more things?

Of course not, that's a ludicrous assertion, and I'm not making any kind of political statement here. If you're in business like any other business, you should be paying income tax on your earnings and charging sales tax on your product. Anything else is against the law and the US is a nation of laws. The reason we have laws like this is for many reasons, including making sure we have a fair playing field. If I am a professional wedding photographer and paying my income tax, collecting state sales tax, buying business insurance and buying my business license as required by law, I should not have to compete with someone who does not obey the law. If you do not like the law, your recourse would be to use our representative government to change the law. Obeying the law does not in any way assert one believes in big government and to even suggest so looks like you're just looking for an argument. Not here, thank you.

If I carry business insurance, I do so to protect me as well as my clients and my client's guests. If a wedding guest trips over a cable my assistant laid down and sues me, I'm properly covered and that guests medical expenses should be covered. This is fair if that cable was in the wrong location and not properly laid out. I should carry business insurance to cover this. A supposed professional who ignores this might be leaving himself, his employees, his clients and his client's guests unprotected and that's not fair. We're talking professional here. We're talking a business, not an amateur shooting a wedding for their buddy to save money. I don't care about them, nor do I wish to regulate them in any way.

As far as taxing more things, what in the world are you talking about? Did you think over what you wrote prior to committing it to the forum? Don't we already tax the sales of a product? Don't people already pay income tax? Professional business people are not exempt from this just because their business is based on photography. If you have a fine art gallery and sell a print of one of your photographs, you better collect state sales tax and give it to the state. How do you expect to pay for schools and the state highway systems as a couple of examples? This isn't new nor is it conservative or progressive in nature. It's just common sense, though when I read some replies, I wonder how common actual sense really is.

So, my suggestion would be to think before typing and don't assume a whole lot about someone you don't know based on some false interpretation of something they said. Most of all, rethink or think a bit harder about the issue we're discussing without coming up with a knee jerk reaction.

Take care and have a good day

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edispics
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Despite good intentions .....
In reply to Guidenet, Jun 13, 2013

I suspect that if there ever was an imposition of a license to practice photography for money, the end result would be exactly the same as dealing with other trades like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, cable installers, mechanics, etc. etc. etc., all of whom offer their services "under the table" to bypass having to pay taxes. In each of these trades there are as many non-licensed as licensed practitioners and just as many eager consumers who will deal with the former to save a buck, whatever the consequences. I suppose this practice might vary with where you live, but it is rampant where I am. So despite good intentions, the reality is very very different. I have no doubt that imposing a license would just drive a lot of photographers and their customers to practice their trade "illegally".

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blogan
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 14, 2013

Years ago Nike made everyone a professional athlete by providing professional looking clothing and shoes to the masses. Every one was wearing professional style workout clothing.

Years ago if you bought a Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar, you were someone who knew and could feel the difference between a well made guitar and an entry level.

It's amazingly funny how many people are out there with professional grade cameras, or prosumer cameras with the flash going off for a distant landscape shot.

Everyone wants to either BE, or if they cannot BE, at least LOOK like a professional. I'm a musician and I think it would be very strange to start licensing musicians.

"I'm a licensed, certified, guitar player."

I think we all need to deal with the fact that there are a lot of people in the world, and the days when if you had a "PROFESSIONAL INSTRUMENT" or piece of gear, you really knew how to use it, ARE GONE!!

I HAVE THE SAME SET OF CLUBS TIGER USES.

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Schnitty
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 14, 2013

I have always wanted to get into photography and hoping that one day on the side i could do some paid photography work. Even tho i have only had a dslr for 6-8mths it took me half a year for me to decide on the camera that I wanted to buy (fuji XE-1).

I have started looking at what other photographers do. I have noticed at some weddings that some don’t seem to have much of a clue. And that’s coming from me, I am nowhere near a pro. I am an amateur at best. and when you see a real pro you start to see more of the flaw of others. It seems to be to easy to say "I am a Pro" with no fact checking. I think I could hire a real pro for my wedding "if I get married" because i know what to look for but the average person can only go on what the photographer says.

I am always looking for ways to improve my skills either watching you tube clips, reading articles or talking to other people.

One major thing has become clear after starting my journey. There are 2 types of people. Those who want to learn and gain respect from peers. They understand that a great photo comes from much more than the camera and always try to learn. And it seems that they are more reluctant to call themselves pros because they care about their image.

And then there are those who want some likes on face book. they tend to think that photography is easy, all you need is the gear. They think that all they need to learn in the functions on the camera and they like to show off their gear.

I feel a licence is a good idea but would fail in real life. I think a better way is to have an organisation say "Dpreview Photographers (as an example)” that is then publicised a bit so that you can say. I am recognised by "Dpreview Photographers" as a talented photographer (does not have to say professional). Thinking is that the bride/groom should search for a couple of different photographers and if they don’t know what it means they can look it up and have a bit of an understanding on what you can do.

Sorry for the long comment but i had allot to say

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Guidenet
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Re: Despite good intentions .....
In reply to edispics, Jun 14, 2013

edispics wrote:

I suspect that if there ever was an imposition of a license to practice photography for money, the end result would be exactly the same as dealing with other trades like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, cable installers, mechanics, etc. etc. etc., all of whom offer their services "under the table" to bypass having to pay taxes. In each of these trades there are as many non-licensed as licensed practitioners and just as many eager consumers who will deal with the former to save a buck, whatever the consequences. I suppose this practice might vary with where you live, but it is rampant where I am. So despite good intentions, the reality is very very different. I have no doubt that imposing a license would just drive a lot of photographers and their customers to practice their trade "illegally".

I understand what you mean and agree to an extent. I would only add that these same photographers are already operating illegally in many cases. We already require the things I mention. Professional photographers with a business are already required to get a business license in most cases. Anyone making an income is supposed to pay income tax. In most states and other countries there is some form of sales tax or value added tax that is supposed to be collected on the sale of product, if not always services. This structure already exists and it's already illegal to fail to do these things. The only additional thing was business insurance which I believe to be a must on several levels.

I'm not suggesting a new licensing procedure more than maybe enforcing the current business license procedures and add maybe insurance to the requirements. The tax people can look it over and enforce as needed. As a professional, I'd hate to have to pay tax fines to both state and federal departments at the same time and at a later date. It could be catastrophic to say the least. Advertising might require  the notation of the photographers business licence number.

I just don't think it's such a large hurdle to jump if you're a legitimate business owner. Many learn the hard way when they fail to do much of the things I'm suggesting, so it's a protection for the professional as well. The first time Bridezilla sues you, you'll wish you had business insurance. When your attorney asks you to get out your business license before court date, what then? You will lose that case. When your gear gets stolen on the job, same thing. When you get a tax audit in a few years, you'll wished you'd paid as you went. When the state starts looking for it's sales tax, again, you'll wished you had better records and collected it as you went. These are all things that can destroy a small business as well as the lives working hard to build it. Having the required business license and following what that means really is for your protection as well as your client's. I don't care who's cheating around you.

There's also some pride when you give a prospective business client your business license. They know that at least you're a professional from that standpoint regardless on whether or not you're any good at your craft.

Take care.

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Boxbrownie
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 14, 2013

I am afraid you will not get sensible replies to a serious comment upon professional photography in an amateur forum.

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intruder61
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LOL....
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 14, 2013

Fotogroup wrote:

After many years in this Business, I've come to the conclusion, if Professional's are to survive, we need to push for a license. Everyone with a DSLR now feels empowered.

I was a guest at an outdoor wedding this weekend being shot by two purported Professional's. Each carried an entry level DSLR with a kit zoom, and the smallest accessory flash available, aimed strait at the subject's.

As soon as the Bride reached the altar, the lead photographer walked up the isle and stood at the front, just behind the parents, because the little kit lens didn't have the reach to get any shots. Pity all of the guests whose view was now blocked. The "Second Shooter" placed themselves back of the Ceremony, so they could get frontal's of the Bride and Groom. They flitted about shooting, and I watched many of the Guests watching the photographer, not the Ceremony. I'm sure this shooter was in the shots of the primary photographer much of the time.

After 40 years in the Business as a Photographer, Lab Owner, and University Instructor, I have come to the conclusion that we as Professional's need to become Licensed. We need to be tested, proving we understand how to deliver the quality product our clients expect. (Yah, there would be an initial "Grandfather Clause" exempting those with 5 years of experience and who had a registered Photography Business with their State. The Test and License would be designed by the PPA or WPPI. Travel, Street, Stock, and Photo Journalist's would be exempt, as long as they were pursuing those end's of the Business.

The door to entry would still be open, but would entail formal study, not trial and error. This could be through an apprenticeship, or Instruction in a two or four year Institution or Trade School. The various State's would endorse the idea once it was pointed out how much Tax Revenue they are currently not being paid by these self named Professional's.

I did not shoot, and never do, when someone is trying to make a living. I went up to the lead shooter and asked if they would mind a couple of hints. I told them to join their local PPA, attend the WWPI Convention in Vegas, and take a few seminars. I asked if they intended to become a Professional and they said, "I already am. This is now my main Business." I then showed them how to correctly hold their camera, and left.

your drivel gave me a good laugh.

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crow24
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to Boxbrownie, Jun 16, 2013

Boxbrownie wrote:

I am afraid you will not get sensible replies to a serious comment upon professional photography in an amateur forum.

Yes, please seek wisdom in a properly licensed professional forum.

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Doug J
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Re: PROFESSIONAL'S NEED A LICENSE
In reply to Fotogroup, Jun 16, 2013

I had a dialog with a pro a while ago that complained about low-cost photogs stealing his wedding business. He wanted the government to step and regulate pro photography - qualifications, licenses, rates, etc.

He didn't understand that the customer determines value - if he doesn't have a compelling value proposition for the market segment he's working in, he either needs to change what he offers & pricing, or move to a different market segment.

We hire pro photogs for a variety of our needs - products, PR, events, etc. We look at what they've done, have we used them before, will it meet our needs, and lastly cost. Some of this is studio work for products, through a solo shooter for a local event. We haven't been disappointed yet as far as I know. No license required, just results

Surgeons & airline pilots should require licensing & regulation, not photographers.

Dreamweavers should also be unregulated, but that's another discussion outside of DPR....

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