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

2. Licenses: Get your Cal­i­for­nia Sales and Tax Resale Per­mit: http://www.boe.ca.gov/formspubs/index.htm The direct form Link here

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.

In con­clu­sion:

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.