Why Photographers Need Liability Insurance

Article in NY Daily News

In a recent post, I glossed over liability insurance. Well here’s a good example of why a photographer might need it. A photographer taking pictures of a client’s art work allegedly moved an ancient statue to take advantage of the light. It seems the statue was placed on uneven wood floor and toppled over. The piece was valued at $300,000 and the owner is suing. In this case the photographer was working for an art magazine which says they have no liability.

You can read more on the story HERE.

Now imagine you are a wedding photographer and at the reception you accidentally knock over a priceless piece of art or break a piece of furniture. Do you have thousands or tens-of-thousands of dollars to pay for it? I know some reception halls require photographers to carry liability insurance. Not all photographers need it; but if you shoot on location (weddings, events, corporate settings, commercial clients, etc.) then it’s something worth looking into.


Tax Tips for Photographers

IRS 1040 Tax Form Being Filled Out

The photography tax man cometh! Okay, there’s not really a photography tax…the same dude takes all our taxes. But the end is near! Well, you’re almost out of time to pay your taxes, anyway.

In a previous post, I touched on some tax considerations for photographers. Now I want to give you a working illustration and a quick and easy way to give Uncle Same his due.

As always, please remember I am not an accountant. I sought help from a certified public accountant and I suggest you do the same; especially if you’re just starting out.

So here’s my deal: I have enough coin to buy that shiny new 5D MKIII. Sweet, huh? Not so fast. I’ll have to work a little harder and wait a little longer. You see, I owe taxes on everything I’ve made this quarter. I add up all my profits, subtract my expenses and calculate 38.3% of that to come up with my estimated tax payment for the first quarter of 2012. Keep in mind that not all expenses can be taken at 100%. The IRS calculates depreciation for equipment. But that’s why it’s called an estimated payment. I may end up owing the government more money at the end of the year, or I might get money back. Read the previous post to find out why it’s 38.3% for me. Your mileage may vary.

Taxes are due April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15. This year April 15 falls on a Sunday, so we get an extra day. The fastest way to pre-pay your estimated tax is to go to www.eftps.gov.  Click the “enrollment” link and follow the registration instructions. Basically, you enter some personal info (social security, address, etc.)  and link a bank account. You then request a PIN which comes to you in the mail within 7 days. Use that PIN to complete the registration and you’re all set.

Why pre-pay my taxes every quarter? ‘Cause I don’t want to get hit with a big tax bill at the end of the year. I would rather pay it in chunks throughout the year. I know it’s not fun, but I don’t imagine getting audited is fun either! And hey, maybe next quarter I’ll be able to deduct that 5D MKIII!

Photographing a 14-thousand Square Foot Home

500 Muirfield

I’ve shot some big homes before. But this one takes the cake. This 14-thousand square foot, 9-bedroom home is the largest home I’ve shot to date. The pool area alone was bigger than most homes!

500 Muirfield Pool

Yes, there are lights that shoot through the jets of water, like tracer rounds (I still don’t know how they do it). The long exposure above makes it look like the fountains are constantly lit.

This is a vacation home and the best part of the story for me is that the homeowner told me since the pictures went live, he’s had 30 bookings! That’s enough to carry over into 2013! Proof that professional photography adds value.

I’ll leave you with a few more images. Check out the full gallery here.

500 Muirfield Living Room

500 Muirfield Home Theater

500 Muirfield Marilyn Room

135 Free Photography Education Videos

I’ve blogged before about sources where you can find some free photography education. You may also be familiar with B&H; the huge photography, video and electronics retailer based in New York. But you may not know that the folks at B&H produce educational videos in their “event space”.

Check out this link for a list of 135 videos ranging from Lightroom and Photoshop to off-camera flash and studio lighting. Most videos run from an hour-and-a-half to two hours. So it’s a time commitment, but you can always watch in chunks; and hey, you can’t beat the price!