Learn the situations where you can write off photography on your tax return
Professional headshots are an important part of your career, whether you’re searching for a job, starting out or promoting yourself as an established freelancer, or putting together marketing materials for your business. But when are headshots a business expense? Being able to deduct expenses on your taxes is a great perk for some situations, and an absolute must for others.
Is my headshot for LinkedIn tax deductible if I am searching for a new
Not anymore. In December of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs
Act was signed into law. This new tax law completely eliminated the
Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses deduction for 2018 through 2025. This
deduction was included as part of the Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions section
of the 1040, and job search related costs were recorded on this schedule.
However, there are a handful of states that still include this break, including
Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New York.
If my employer asks for a headshot but does not pay for it, can I
deduct my headshot on my income tax return?
Just like the above scenario, no. If a taxpayer is an employee the Unreimbursed
Employee Business Expense section of the 1040 has been eliminated and is only
included on certain states income tax returns.
Is a headshot or any marketing photos I have taken of me tax deductible
if I am a self-employed freelancer and do not have an LLC or Corporation?
Yes! If a tax payer is self-employed and not an LLC, LLP, Partnership or Corporation, the individual would complete a Schedule C Form-Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship). On this form, the taxpayer would be able to include headshots (photographers fees and duplication costs) and marketing photos on the “Other Expenses” section of the Schedule C of the 1040 form.
Is a makeup artist or a haircut tax deductible for my headshot session?
Yes, if the taxpayer is self-employed and not an employee of a company. Expenses directly related to the headshot session, such as makeup and a haircut are deductible as a business expense. If clothing is purchased or rented for a special shoot, a tax payer can also deduct those “props” as a business expense.
I own a business– can my business deduct the cost of a photographer’s services?
Yes, if a tax payer is a partner of a partnership or a shareholder/owner of a corporation and the photographer’s services are used by the business for marketing purposes, headshots (photographer’s fees and duplication costs) can be deducted as a business expense.
Can we talk about how hard it was to choose only a handful of photos for our annual “favorite shots” collection of 2019? Because it literally took hours to widdle it down from hundreds to just about 30. HUNDREDS.
We met SO many awesome people and got so many awesome portrait and event shots of them looking awesome and doing awesome things. Check out some of our favorite photos from last year as we polish our lenses and hit the ground running in 2020!
You may have heard the phrase, “personal branding photography” whispered between marketers, publicists, or influencers lately. Or maybe you’ve seen photos on Instagram or company websites and thought, “how do they get so many great, magazine-worthy shots for their social media pages? That was so NOT taken with an iPhone.” Welcome to the newest photography trend: Personal Branding Photography.
What is Personal Branding Photography?
Simply put: Personal Branding shots are lifestyle images, creative portraiture, and in-action shots of you looking awesome. A Personal Branding Photography shoot is for professionals utilizing photography to create and build their brand. We all know that having images to support your online presence is a key factor in your business’s growth: don’t just tell potential clients who you are and what you do, show them. Personal Branding Photos depict you in your element. If you’re a personal stylist, you need photos of you wearing the latest fashion and looking fabulous, action shots of you shopping for your clients, or images of you consulting with a client on their own style. A great Personal Branding Photo tells the story of your strengths and sells a potential client on why they need you, better than a thousand words ever could.
Why is Personal Branding Photography so hot right now?
With so much content online and in print today, we are all looking for images that perfectly reflect and summarize our message and grab attention quickly, and it’s now easier, more fun, and gaining in popularity to use custom professional photos to do so. And everyone is getting much less humble in how they depict themselves in images. With so many people competing for space and attention, you have to be less humble: you have to flaunt who you are and your pride in what you do in order for others to share that same excitement. If you see two listings in Google for personal trainers, and one is a standard headshot, while the other is a photo of Buff McBuffCakes flexing his muscles while spotting Strong McFlexHot while she deadlifts 250lbs, which listing are you likely to click on?
How can a marketer apply Personal Branding Photography to their company?
Personal Branding Photography, for good reason, has been starting its reign of popularity among entrepreneurs and small business owners, because they are usually the face of their business and need to sell themselves as the product. Realtors, consultants, financial advisers, lifestyle bloggers, artists, event planners, writers, interior designers, life coaches, and so forth.
But a larger business often must showcase its people to show the world who they are too. After all, your staff and your leadership are the backbone of your organization and the real value you bring to clients. How often does the CFO perform speaking engagements representing your company and she’s scrambling for a photo to send to the organizers the day before the event? How often do you need action shots of the CEO for internal newsletters, marketing materials, or something more interesting to hand a journalist when they ask for some photos to accompany a story about your company?
Or worse yet, how many times has a story run in a magazine and the CEO absolutely HATES their cover photo the publication-sent journalism student has taken? A Personal Branding Photography shoot is an important investment in the marketing materials you use every day. Having a stockpile of great photos of your important people on hand for publications, social media, your website, internal communications, and reports not only saves a lot of headache when you’re on a deadline, but gives you great creative control over your company’s brand.
Where do I go for Personal Branding Photography?
Personal Branding Photos are a growing trend in the photography industry, so make sure you find a professional photographer with experience in marketing and branding photography, as well as portraiture. Make sure their portfolio reflects skill not only in their subjects looking their best (everyone’s hair looks good, posing is flattering, and smiles are natural), but that they demonstrate an understanding of capturing images that tell a story.
Work with your photographer to organize a shoot that meets your needs. Tell him or her what kind of images you need and share ideas with them on how to get those photos. A good Personal Branding Photographer will be able to take a list of must-have photos and/or a brain dump of the uses you need the photos for and a description of your company and design a shoot that captures what you need.
Happy New Year! 2018 was a great year for Organic Headshots– thank you to all of our amazing clients over the years, who continue to choose us as their photography studio. We’re so honored to photograph everyone who comes through our doors and happy to keep shooting up a photo storm in 2019!
Let’s look back at some of our favorite shots from 2018:
Everyone at Organic Headshots has been at this for years: our photographers have photographed thousands of people, and our makeup artists have had just as many folks in their makeup chairs. And if there’s one thing nearly all our clients have in common, it’s that they’re nervous. Very few people walk into a photo studio excited to have their photo taken, and most of our clients see their visit as a necessary evil to get a photo for the bio page of their website, their LinkedIn profile photo, sales and marketing materials for their business, or, “because my boss made me come here to take a photo for the company website BUT I HATE HAVING MY PHOTO TAKEN SO LET’S MAKE THIS QUICK PLEASE.”
We’ve had countless informal discussions at the studio about how to put our clients at ease during such an anxiety-producing situation as having your photo taken, and we’ve developed systems and solutions for calming people down during photo sessions. We create a quiet, calming environment in the photo studio with snacks, drinks, and even an aromatherapy diffuser to freshen the air. We adjust the temperature if someone is too cool or too warm. We talk at length about what the photos are for and explain what we’re doing and how we’re going to get great photos for each person’s purpose. We show clients their photos as we’re taking them to allow for adjustments and feedback. We tell jokes. We laugh at the absurdity of striving for that perfect pose for that perfect photo like we’re all Kardashians on the red carpet. We listen to our clients’ stories of jobs lost, jobs found, career changes, life changes, new relationships, new babies, new puppies, and how well we can or can’t follow the storylines of Game of Thrones. Oh, and usually there’s an unofficial therapy dog lounging in a sunbeam or rolled over for bellyrubs, which has offered many a welcome distraction from the giant lens on the camera.
But last week we decided to take it a step further and formalize our training. We met with our friend David Klow, founder of Skylight Counseling Center and author of the new book, You Are Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist, in his office to talk about how we can help our clients enjoy the process of having their taken more; or at least stress less about it. David is a licensed therapist, Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, an Adjunct Faculty member at Adler University, and runs professional training and workshops when he’s not managing his growing clinical staff at the counseling center.
David led us through an amazingly insightful discussion as we workshopped what our clients go through when having their photo taken, and we worked together to create new strategies and procedures to build our strengths in relieving photo-induced anxiety. Most importantly, we learned that we are the primary instrument taking someone’s photo, not the camera and the lighting and the posing. Those are merely tools we employ. The real photo is produced through the rapport we create with our subjects, the trust they have in us, and the authority we convey as professionals in our craft.
We are in the job of making people look good. Of capturing their personality in an image they need to further their careers, promote their work, demonstrate their capabilities, and project their individuality. We take that job very seriously.
So we invite you to test our strength. If you HATE having your photo taken and get nervous in front of a camera, PLEASE come to our studio. We love nervous people. Believe it or not, WE hate having our photos taken too– every single one of us working at Organic Headshots is behind the lens because we loathe being in front of it. So we get it. We understand your pain, and we want to help you feel better about getting a headshot. Have us come to your office to photograph your staff, or book an appointment for a session in our studio where you can munch on some snacks, listen to some soothing music, and rub a dog’s belly while we take your photo.