On Becoming a Pro
12 Step Program toward becoming a Legal and Credentialed Professional Photographer: by Wayne Miller
1. Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) so you do not have use your Social Security Number. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0„id=98350,00.html
**If you use your own name Joe Click Photography that is fine, but if you call it JC Photography then you need to get a Doing Business As (DBA) a Fictitious Business Name
3. City Licenses: Get you City Business License and see if you need a police dept. permit each city is different so check requirements: resource http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=590
4. Insurance: Yea you need to have it (homeowners will not cover you if you are in business). So check with your insurance broker: Liability, Property Damage and equipment coverage at minimum.
5. Organizations: Join a local professional organization like NCPP for education and networking. “If you work in a vacuum you will suck” –Kevin Kubota
6. Website and blog: Set up a web presents with a website (flash is ok but smart phones cannot see them). If you have music make sure it is Royalty Free or Creative Commons and don’t use music that is a copyright infringement. Resource: http://www.jamendo.com/en/
7. Social Media: Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites to get your name and show your images to the world, Tip: Don’t be a spammer –check each site to see their policies and watermark your images.
8. Join PPA part of the membership is an indemnification insurance plus tons of other benefits.
9. Become certified: CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) through PPA. It will help you raise the bar for your own photography and show the world you are a professional.
10. Join PPC (Professional Photographers of California) this is your state level organization and they also have a ton of benefits from publications, to schools, tradeshows and symposium.
11. Education: As a professional you need to be on top of your game which means you “invest” in your education. Seminars, classes, podcasts, school, workshops, conventions, and online classes.
12. Giving back: Professionals give back to their organizations by getting involved, donating to charities, helping other photographers grow and mentoring.
Items # 1 to # 4 are essential if you sell your work or advertise as a photographer for hire.
Items # 5 to # 7 is the next step in your growth.
Items # 8 to # 10 is a quantum leap in your craft.
Items # 11 and # 12 is essential if you want to be known as a professional.