How to Get a Photography License

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A license to make a living as a professional photographer does not necessarily come in the form of an official document. For many long-time photographers, their photography license is metaphorical, obtained by building and maintaining a good reputation for quality work. In nearly all cases, your "license to work" is your exemplary photography.However, it's good for professional photographers who work full-time or operate a photography business on the side to obtain a license for tax purposes. Here's how to get what you need to launch your photography business.

Things You'll Need

  • Your social security number and other basic information about you, such as your address
  • Enroll in a photography school to obtain a degree in the craft or take photography classes to establish and sharpen your photography skills. Going to school for photography can only help you, as it allows you to build a portfolio of photographs and gain valuable experience.

  • Go to your town clerk's office and obtain a license to operate a business. Ask the clerk for the license form and fill out the necessary information to obtain a tax identification number for the purpose of filing taxes for your photography business.

  • Begin to build your photography business by word of mouth. Set up a website where you can post examples of your work and list an email address and phone number where people can contact you.

  • If you specialize in a specific type of photography, register with an association or organization of those photographers. Membership in these groups is often only bestowed to those with exceptional talent, reputation and experience.

Tips & Warnings

  • Getting an academic degree in photography isn't necessary, but it can certainly help jump-start your photography business. This accreditation can also help if you're just starting out and need to prove your photography chops despite a meager portfolio.
  • If you're posting photos to a website, make sure your photographs are copyrighted to prevent others from stealing your work. While your photographs are in essence automatically copyrighted because you produced them, filing for a copyright can only help you in the event someone tries to steal your work and pass it off as their own.
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