No, a photographer in Florida doesn’t need a license. However, if you intend to make a business out of it, then you will most definitely need legal papers like any small business. Also, note that Florida doesn’t require or issue a state-wide business operating license.

Most often, these licenses are issued at the city or county levels. Owing to that, ensure to check with your local city hall and state licensing board to ensure you are complying with the necessary regulations. To start a photography business in Florida, you need to register your business.

Note that to do so, you will be expected to pick the right business entity for your business and also choose a business name. Most often, photography business owners in the state register as sole proprietorships or limited liability companies (LLC). Don’t forget that each legal structure offers certain benefits and disadvantages.

It is imperative to note that sole proprietorship doesn’t accord you personal protection against personal liability. A good number of photography businesses in Florida prefer to form an LLC  since it offers additional benefits like reduced liability and the opportunity to choose to be taxed as a sole proprietorship or corporation. In addition, having an “LLC” in your business boosts your professional appearance.

Basic Licenses You Will Need to Start and Run a Photography Business in Florida

In the state of Florida, you may be required to obtain certain licenses to start a photography business, whether you are a resident, or not. You may need to apply for permits before taking shoots in certain public places. Nonetheless, here are the basic licenses you will need to start a photography business in Florida;

  1. Sales Tax Certificate

In the state of Florida, you will need a Sales Tax Certificate from the Department of Revenue in Tallahassee to sell a tangible product (such as photographs). Note that their toll-free number in Tallahassee is 800-352-3671, however, the most convenient and cheapest way to obtain this certificate is to visit their website and fill out an application online.

Note that this service is free but you should be ready to answer any questions concerning the application. Most often, the biggest question will be if you intend to operate as an Individual, Partnership, or Corporation. If you intend to operate as an Individual, then you will only need your Social Security Number. Howbeit, if you choose to register as a Partnership or a Corporation, you will have to provide a Federal Employer Identification Number.

  1. City or County License

Just as it was noted above, Florida doesn’t require or issue a state-wide business operating license. Also, note that not all counties or cities in Florida will require an Occupational License or Business License. Howbeit, have it in mind that nearly everywhere in the state of Florida requires one of the two licenses.

There are only a few areas in Florida where neither may be required. You may have to reach out to the county government office and city or municipality offices to know what your business requires. You can also find the number via the Internet by Googling “Occupational License” followed by your particular “city” or “county”.

  1. Federal Employee ID Number

This is a government-issued number that the IRS uses to identify specific businesses. Have it in mind that all businesses in every state are expected to have an EIN. If you run a business in Florida, you can easily obtain your FEIN in several ways.

One of the most convenient ways to get an EIN for your business is to reach out to the Internal Revenue Service and apply by phone. You will have to call 800-829-4933 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also choose to complete Form SS-4 to apply for your EIN. Note that immediately after you fill it out, you will have to fax it to 859-669-5760.

Ensure to provide a return number if you can; otherwise, it may take up to two weeks for the IRS to process your application. You can also choose to complete Form SS-4 and mail it to the Internal Revenue Service, Cincinnati, OH 45999, and ATTN: EIN Operation. You can also apply online on the IRS website. It’s as quick as a phone application.

  1. Fictitious Name Registration Filing

Most often, a small business can decide to operate under a fictitious name or do business as (DBA), which means a company name other than their legal name. For instance, ABC Company may want to run its wedding photography business as Splash Shot.

Note that it will have to apply for and renew its fictitious name with the Florida Department of State. This can be conducted online or downloaded and mailed from a form you can obtain at the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations website. Immediately after your fictitious name has been approved, your company can then use this name to carry out business throughout the state of Florida.

  1. Liability Insurance

You may not think it necessary as a photography business, but you should also look into insurance. Insurance inculcates another level of protection if you ever encounter a disgruntled customer. Also, note that businesses in Florida are expected to have worker’s compensation as long as they have employees.

The insurance agency that provided your liability insurance should also be able to help with this. You may also need your own health insurance especially since you will be self-employed. If you have employees, you will need a plan that will include their health needs also.

Conclusion

Just as was noted above, a photographer in Florida doesn’t need a license. However, if you intend to make a business out of it, then you will most definitely need legal papers like any small business. You will most likely have to obtain a business operating license from your city or county, though requirements for this are known to vary.