Monday, May 2, 2011

HOBBY OR PROFESSION ? what the heck am I doing wrong?

I have been photographing people, events, and more for many many years.   I consider Photography my "passion"  not my career.   I do work for income, but the income is very limited as I am not employed full time by any one company or person but rather do "freelance" work and get paid by the "job" and do make "residuals" by the photo (when actual prints are ordered).   (BIO HERE)

Some individuals often want to use my photos (profile pictures on facebook and such) which I don't mind , but I have had to start adding "proof" to them so that they are not downloading the pics and using them to make prints on their own.   I very frequently get requests for me to "email them the photos" or ask "how they can get them" but when I reply "thru the website they most often do not purchase.  There have been a FEW exceptions to this rule but in general , people want photographs you take for FREE.

It is sometimes difficult to discern if this is a "Hobby" or a "Profession" because I do volunteer my time for certain events and offer my photos to special websites or projects that request them FREE OF CHARGE.

I have photographs featured (at the moment) on a friend's website
Hank Cosby (Real Estate Agent)
I have given photographic liberties to individuals to make a book for the Coaches of the Football team of PHS
and
Some of my images will be used in the year book to hilight the Color Guard and their school performance.





I have a website with photos for sale BUT I don't really make too much money on it. 

I am disqualified from entering many contests due to the fact I have "photos for sale" ie a professional
but my husband and others refer to what I do as a "hobby?" and contests and the IRS call what I do a "profession"   

I think somehow the terminology is screwed up or I am doing something wrong..........

I do charge per event  to my agents and even they take advantage of my kindness and pass along the prints to others without compensating me in any way for them.    I guess because they "can?"   

I guess I am one of the lucky ones that can work doing something I love and do it frequently enough to pay the phone bill.. go to events for free and also have done some most awesome bartering as well......... but I think I can do this better.........with a better resolve so that my husband sees some profits and quits referring to me as a "picture taker" and talk about my "hobby costing him money."

If I am NOT a professional , can I please just ignore the IRS and Enter the contests everyone else gets to enter ?  please?

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