Started Jun 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Rexgig0 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,700

Josh152 wrote:

What you suggest sounds simple but is actually not practical in the least. Here are just few of the questions a licensing system for pro photographers would raise.

What would happen to current pros? Do they have like say 6 months to get certified? What if they don't pass or can't afford what I am sure would be sky high fees for the certification? Does that mean they are out of businesses just like that even if they are providing a service and products their costumers are completely satisfied with? How would it be even remotely fair for that to be the case as it almost certainly would have to be.

What checks would be in place to ensure a fair and equitable licensing system?

How could one possibly objectively judge the quality of an art form like photography with ever changing trends and technical standards as cameras improve?

What metrics are used to deiced you are good enough?

How would it even be enforced? The only way I could see is to turn the customers into snitches and have them report pros they don't think are licensed. How would compromising the trust between them be good for either the customers or the photographers?

What about the guy who isn't a pro and doesn't own a business but occasionally shoots pics on the side for friends, co-workers and family for a few bucks? Is he now a criminal or subject to fines?

Well, if in a jurisdiction where digital images are taxable, yes, this guy could be a criminal. Texas is one such jurisdiction where digital image files are indeed taxable, and there is no minimum threshold based on the number of transactions, as I understand it; one must collect tax on one's first shoot, there being no gray area area between hobbyist and business.

Violating the tax code could lead to loss of the state license I need to perform my main career job, so no matter how tempting the offer, I would have to obtain a "sales and use tax" permit before shooting a few images "on the side."

I recently watched an internet debate, on another forum, among several Texas pro photographers, who were in disagreement over whether an initial consulation is taxable, if the deal does not happen, so that no images are delivered.

In addition to the sales taxes, there is another tax on the things one uses to conduct business. Failure to pay this tax has bitten some people who sell regularly on places such as Ebay, who found their home computers being taxed as business equipment.

Municipalities tend to want their piece of the pie, too.

Of course, this "sales and use tax" permit is not a photography license, but a license allowing one to conduct retail business, and collect the state's tax on the transaction.

A licensing system would crate more problems than it would solve while trampling all over the free market and the rights of many pro and hobby photographers.

I am not, personally, in favor of any more licenses than already exist! I do not want my state to enact a system of licensing photography, on any level. I do believe that those who agree to shoot images for monetary compensation should follow the existing laws, in place in my state.

Interestingly, one quite prominent two-person pro photography team, with a blog, hinted that they shot quite a few weddings before getting a sales tax permit. They work in a state other than Texas.

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I wear a badge and pistol, and, primarily with 7D cameras, shoot evidentiary images at night, which incorporates elements of portrait, macro, still life, landscape, architecture, PJ, and occasional action.

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