Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-24-2014, 12:08 PM   #31
Pentaxian
CarlJF's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Quebec City
Posts: 591
All this discussion about what is a pro photographer and gear reminds me an interesting story. For my wedding, many years ago, the photographer was a pro that I knew well from the local photo club. Since both me and my wife were just out of school, and somewhat short on cash, he agreed to do the work for free, as long as I bought the films and paid for the development. Obviously, we accepted the offer. I bought a pack of Portra, as he instructed me, in addition to a Portra B&W for myself. Yes, I know, planning to take shots at your own wedding is a bad idea but I was naive and didn’t knew that at the time…


He came for the wedding with all the high-end Nikon gear he think he needed for the day. Then, at some moment during the photo session he noticed my then already obsolete MZ-50 laying somewhere and asked me the obvious question: “Why have you brought your camera to your own wedding ?!”. When I answered him that I had loaded it with a B&W film and was hoping to take some shots, he asked me if I wanted him to take some pictures with my camera. I just spent a few seconds showing him how to adjust the aperture, and, in the end, he just used the entire roll. Which was a good thing since, having no more film, I could then forget about taking shots and think of my own wedding instead!


After a few weeks, with all the films developed and looking at the proofs we were both somewhat surprised to see that the best picture of the day wasn’t one that he had shot with its own gear but one taken with my MZ-50 and its consumer-grade zoom. It’s still the picture we have in our house and hanging in the houses of our respective families.


So, what’s the morale of all this? It’s just another proof that it’s the hands holding the camera that make the “pro”, not the gear itself, and certainly not the brand sticker on the camera.

10-24-2014, 01:25 PM   #32
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,231
QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Of course income is taxable. I was only trying to point that hobbyist income is differentiated from business/professional income, in terms of paperwork requirements, if nothing else.
I pinged one of my "semi-pro" friends yesterday to determine her practice here in Washington and she responded that her income is currently "under the table" since the feds will not allow her to expense her gear due to her "hobbyist" status. I expect at some point that her income may grow to the point where it qualifies as a real business and will be paying both state and federal taxes. So, does the transition from hobby to business (deductability of gear and other expenses) constitute professional status? I believe it may be one fairly sure criterion.

I have another friend who is an auditor for the Washington Dept. of Revenue. She would know just where freelance photographers fit into the state's revenue mix. I will ping her.

IRS: Hobby vs. For-Profit


Steve

---------- Post added 10-24-14 at 01:34 PM ----------

I should add a mildly humorous note.

Here in Clark County, "Pro" means that you pay a fee to exhibit your work at the county fair and that you are then also eligible to compete in the cash-prize contests and are judged to a different standard.


Steve
10-25-2014, 01:22 AM   #33
Pentaxian
philbaum's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Port Townsend, Washington State, USA
Posts: 3,659
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I pinged one of my "semi-pro" friends yesterday to determine her practice here in Washington and she responded that her income is currently "under the table" since the feds will not allow her to expense her gear due to her "hobbyist" status. I expect at some point that her income may grow to the point where it qualifies as a real business and will be paying both state and federal taxes. So, does the transition from hobby to business (deductability of gear and other expenses) constitute professional status? I believe it may be one fairly sure criterion.

I have another friend who is an auditor for the Washington Dept. of Revenue. She would know just where freelance photographers fit into the state's revenue mix. I will ping her.

IRS: Hobby vs. For-Profit


Steve

---------- Post added 10-24-14 at 01:34 PM ----------

I should add a mildly humorous note.

Here in Clark County, "Pro" means that you pay a fee to exhibit your work at the county fair and that you are then also eligible to compete in the cash-prize contests and are judged to a different standard.


Steve
For starters, Washington State has no income tax, just a sales tax. If you want to process charge cards, you need to arrange that through a bank. And banks will not establish a business account for you unless you have a business license from Washington State. So at one time i applied for a business license from Washington State and was issued all the necessary forms to report sales subject to the State sales tax. But about that time i started to sell pictures via a restaurant and in another town, via a wine seller. Those business paid all the sales tax for me and collected it out of the revenue i generated. After 3 years of no sales tax to report, Washington State cancelled my business license. I've since transferred my sales to a Gallery, so again, i have no sales tax to report since the Gallery takes care of that. Washington state doesn't care whether i'm a pro or a hobbyist, just that i report sales subject to the tax law.

Last edited by philbaum; 10-25-2014 at 01:30 AM.
10-25-2014, 05:05 AM   #34
Veteran Member
robjmitchell's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne Aus
Posts: 1,144
QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
?
Hi Lauren,

You lost me with this observation. In my engineering mind, this tends to relate to capability and functionality. Are you finding that Pentax products have less inherent functionality (in comparison to C/N), so that you equipment piece count increases to make up for lack of functionality, capability or lower levels of integration? Just call me confused......

I'm Assuming she is referring to the increased cost of a FF system preventing her from buying more specialist lenses instead of the basic essentials.
You only need 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 equivalent, flash, and two bodies to do weddings, but ultrawides and fast primes give you extra options. Chuck a 43ltd on a K3 while taking candids during a wedding reception can be much more rewarding(quality and intimidation factors) and much less fatiguing than using a big f2.8 zoom for the same purpose.

10-25-2014, 05:43 AM   #35
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,231
QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
For starters, Washington State has no income tax, just a sales tax.
Ummmm...who said anything about state income tax?

I too live in Washington and seem to remember a little something called the Business and Occupation Tax (percentage of gross receipts) that generally applies to almost all business revenue. It is not the same as the retail sales tax. You are absolutely correct. Washington does not care what you call yourself. It wants to collect its share of commerce.

How about those "pro" cameras, eh?


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-25-2014 at 06:45 AM.
10-25-2014, 06:25 AM   #36
Lens Buying Addict
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kirkwood (St. Louis) MO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 19,496
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Washington does not care what you call yourself. It wants to collect its share of commerce.
The temptation to respond is strong - but the Mods would ping me if I did.
10-25-2014, 06:33 AM   #37
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,231
In researching this, I still believe that many of the tax advice resources hold a few of the keys to defining pro vs. amateur/hobby. Common considerations are:
  • Do you expect to make a profit from your activity?
  • Is fun or enjoyment your primary goal?
  • Do you depend on the income?
  • Do you spend a significant amount of time on the activity?
  • Is the time spent intended to produce revenue?
  • Do you have a business plan intended to build revenue?
  • Do you actually make a profit?
  • Do you have a clear vision as to who your customers are?
  • Do you conduct your activity in a business-like manner?
I added emphasis to that last point because I think it says a lot about professionalism and relationship to tools and also the nature of the relationships we build in photography.
  • Do you actively network with sale of work/service in mind?
  • Do you create to sell?
  • How much of your photography-related time is devoted to moving product or contracting service?
  • Are your cameras, lenses, and lighting a means to an end (money) or are they prized possessions?
  • Is replacement or addition of gear a means to more or easier money or just for the pleasure of ownership?
  • Do you figure wear-and-tear as a normal consequence of business operation or do you wince at every bit of paint loss on your K-3's mag body?
On that last point, I would suggest comparing used "pro" gear actually used professionally to rich person's toys at resale. I have bought a couple of items of pro-level stuff from KEH that would not generally be considered hobbyist gear (large format roll film holders) and despite being "excellent", they looked real rough. After all, they had been actually used with revenue in mind.


Steve

---------- Post added 10-25-14 at 06:43 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
The temptation to respond is strong - but the Mods would ping me if I did.
The hand is out at every point, though I might point out that the percentages on gross receipts is relatively small. In some cases, it is better to pay a small percentage on the gross than a large percentage on the net. There is a reason why Microsoft is in Redmond and it has nothing to do with the plentiful rainfall.


Steve

---------- Post added 10-25-14 at 06:50 AM ----------

I would suggest that "pro" gear is that which is purpose-made to insure its role in generating money in a consistent and reliable manner. If it is not robust and not consistently useful for a profitable purpose, the item's role as a pro tool is doubtful...unless, of course, it works fairly well and is incredibly cheap, and is easy to replace...


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-25-2014 at 06:53 AM.
10-25-2014, 01:23 PM   #38
Veteran Member
magkelly's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,905
"Outside of the box, in 2014, you can't ignore video if you are going to be a "pro" as you make money with your camera. "

"You can. I do."

Ditto. I could care less about doing video.

10-26-2014, 07:34 PM   #39
Site Supporter
LaurenOE's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,463
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
?
Hi Lauren,

You lost me with this observation. In my engineering mind, this tends to relate to capability and functionality. Are you finding that Pentax products have less inherent functionality (in comparison to C/N), so that you equipment piece count increases to make up for lack of functionality, capability or lower levels of integration? Just call me confused......

What I'm saying is that for some out of the box ways to make money with your camera, the K3 is perfect for the job. In some cases, the strengths of the K3 outshine what Canikony has, and for less money.

The money you save, can then be used on higher production techniques or equipment all things being equal beyond the camera.

Again, if you stay within "traditional" roles of being professional you may miss the niches that are Pentax.

---------- Post added 10-26-14 at 09:37 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
"Outside of the box, in 2014, you can't ignore video if you are going to be a "pro" as you make money with your camera. "

"You can. I do."

Ditto. I could care less about doing video.
Fine for you Mag, most of the critical need (and salary justification) comes from being able to switch modalities from photography to video, and with the K3 I can do both.

In addition, the people I hire also are multi-modality as in AE and Premiere.
So, no problem if you couldn't care less about video.

More skills = higher pay.



---------- Post added 10-26-14 at 09:39 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
I'm Assuming she is referring to the increased cost of a FF system preventing her from buying more specialist lenses instead of the basic essentials.
You only need 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 equivalent, flash, and two bodies to do weddings, but ultrawides and fast primes give you extra options. Chuck a 43ltd on a K3 while taking candids during a wedding reception can be much more rewarding(quality and intimidation factors) and much less fatiguing than using a big f2.8 zoom for the same purpose.
Yep. The money you save, buys jibs, sliders, softboxes, stands, cases..etc. etc.
After the camera purchases, everything else is equal.



---------- Post added 10-26-14 at 09:58 PM ----------

So here is the price breakdown for a basic shooter kit - I will be sending these out to all my employees and others.

You can see why I went with Pentax.
I can get excellent lenses and a basic kit for less money considering my output is based in 1080p/60.


Last edited by LaurenOE; 10-26-2014 at 08:47 PM.
10-29-2014, 09:27 PM   #40
Veteran Member
magkelly's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,905
QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
More skills = higher pay.
If I wanted to be making tons more money than I make now I'd still be in retail management managing multiple stores or maybe running a chain of my own stores. Making good money is always nice but making really good money also comes making sacrifices I don't always want to make. Money doesn't drive me when it comes to what I do, shrug. I left the rat race and went into doing photography for these reasons.

1. I love it. Picking up a camera and taking photographs for a living makes me absurdly happy even when the work isn't as lucrative or as frequent as I'd like. I love making my clients feel good about themselves. I like the paycheck at the end of the gig, but the smile on my client's face? That means a lot to me.

2. When I left retail I left 95% of the stress in my life behind me. I still have some. I have a chronic illness thing and I have to take care of my elderly Dad. He's enough to make a saint crazy some days, and I'm no saint, lol, but mostly my days of ulcer inducing work related stress are OVER and that has made a huge difference in terms of life quality. I am a far nicer person to be around doing this and it's easier on my health by far. Fact, most of the jobs around here that would involve video also mean shooting things I don't particularly want to do, like weddings. (Ugh!) Jobs like that do pay well but they either bore me to tears or practically make me want to throw up from stressing out.

I like doing low key portrait sessions. I do have specific niches that I do like to work in, like boudoir, but mostly I just shoot still shots of people, all kinds of people. Sometimes I do product work, or stock, but that's it. So when I say I can skip video? I mean it. It's just totally irrelevant to what I want to do and the lure of making more $$$$ isn't enough to make me go there.

I have actually not made as much as I used to managing. Close, but no cigar, but I don't care. My life is so much better and I actually look forward to working, something I never did when I was making a lot more. Yeah, I hope I can get to the point where I am making what I want to, but that "comfortable" figure it's a lot less than you might think. I don't know how old you are, but I'm pretty much middle aged now. I'm on my second career as it were and money it's just not nearly as important to me as it once was. I used to be so driven by it but over the years I've learned that working that hard and putting the size of my paycheck first just makes me very unhappy and often downright ill.

I'd honestly rather make less than multitask myself to death. I have found my niches and they are starting to pay off, in a modest way, but what I'd have to do to make the big money it's just not worth it to me anymore. I don't want to be a brand. I see a lot of photographers going there. They seem to spend more time promoting themselves than they do photographing, some of them. That's just not me. I think if I ever got famous and rich doing what I do it would utterly bemuse me. It would make me laugh but it would probably also make me uncomfortable. The more you make the more expectations people have of you and your so called career, the more control you ultimately give them over your life. Right now I totally control how much I work and the type of work I do.

I don't want to be the photographer "everybody" wants. The photographer who is expected to be able to do "anything" just to stay in business. The photographer who spends more time promoting herself and selling herself than actually working. F- that. I just want to eventually be very good at what I do. I want to make people happy with themselves and how they look in my photos and hopefully pay my bills while I am at it. With my illness it's not likely I am going to make it to be very old like my Dad. I definitely did not get too many of his "good" genes it would seem. I figure I've got maybe 30 years to do this.

I'm not going to spend the last 30 years of my life chasing Mammon. Been there, done that and all it got me was misery. The more money I made the more miserable I was. No lie, and when I had lots of it there for a while I lost the one thing that I ultimately wished I had not, my good health. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self all that I've just said here. I would made such different choices and lived such a different life than the one I have lived till now. It took me half my life to get that, to choose what I loved vs the paycheck. I'm not saying you can't have both, some people actually can, but for me that's just not been the case. Chasing the one cost me the other and it's a mistake I really do regret now.

Just my 2 cents, take it or leave it but this is why things like learning video just aren't my thing really. I did start out that way, btw, thinking I'd do it ALL, but after looking around and getting started I just realized that going that route was not what would work for me at all. Not in terms of life quality anyway, and that's just gotten more important to me than making more money these days. Doing what I do now, the way I do it won't make me rich, but I'm totally zen about doing it. It's like doing my bit of yoga every day. I come out of being in the studio for a few hours and I'm really tired but I'm loose and happy too. No stress. No worries. I just plain like what I do. If I had to add being "Jill of all Trades" to my resume just to make a living I swear I'd likely give it up. I'd go find something else to do because then I'd totally hate it. I'd be right back where I started, running the rat race, and sooner or later likely I'd be dead from trying to do it ALL...

For the record photography isn't the only thing I do to make money. For several years now I have turned my "hobbies" mainly making jewelry, sewing and writing into things I do to make money. I sell my stuff at crafts fairs and online sometimes. Occasionally I submit a story or article, even sell one once in a great long while, cough, but I don't do those things as a f/t job. I do them because I enjoy them and because they're a way to combat stress for me. If I happen to sell something I make, make some extra cash? Cool, but if not I just keep it for myself or I give it as a gift. The act of creation that's what turns me on, not the $$$ I get from it. A little extra $$$ sometimes, that's nice, but I don't want to have to work 70 plus hours a week just to "make it" as they say...

Last edited by magkelly; 10-29-2014 at 09:33 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
activities, business, camera, county, dslr, gear, hobby, income, k3, kit, lenses, money, pentax, people, photographers, photography, pm, post, revenue, standards, status, steve, time, value, video, washington, world
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A Semi-professional Pentax Mirrorless...Please? KevinE Pentax Mirrorless Cameras 65 08-31-2016 11:46 PM
Why isn't the K-3 regarded as a 'professional DSLR'? The Kellyboy Pentax K-3 62 02-10-2014 05:29 PM
LensRentals.com - Plastic Mounts, WR and Professional Grade interested_observer Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 13 01-06-2014 09:44 AM
For Sale - Sold: Ilford Delta 400 Professional Black and White Film - 10 rolls, 36 exp. dgaies Sold Items 2 03-25-2013 08:00 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:00 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top