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WNY Business Resources Page


Starting a Business

Starting a Photography Business by Dan Heller

Starting a Business in Your County:

Erie County Clerk's Office 

This official “Starting a Business Packet” shows a step-by-step process of starting a business in Erie County. It also includes the necessary forms to start a sole-proprietorship business.

Monroe County Clerk’s Office

Onondaga County Clerk’s Office

The O.P.A.L. Procedure for Starting a Business:

(Online Permit Assistance & Licensing)

This document provides information on starting other classifications of business including a corporation, partnership, etc.

Get relevant information about your business type via O.P.A.L.

Go to M-R and look for Photographer Services. Then, fill out the info, and you will receive a customized page of relevant links for your business type. 

Federal Taxes -

The IRS has a variety of information pages about taxes for small businesses and freelancers.

Starting a Business

Checklist for Starting a Business

Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center 

Filing and Paying Your Business Taxes  

EIN Numbers & How to Apply for One

Small Business Forms and Publications

2011 Tax Calendar

State Sales Tax – NY State Tax Info & Publications

Sales and Use Tax in NYS

Other Resources on Taxes:

Tax Basics for Startups: Setting Up Your Books

Part two of a three-part series to help you build your business on a strong foundation.

Finance Resources

NPPA Cost of Doing Business (CODB) Calculator


Lawley Genesee:

Tom Ditzel at Lawley Genesee is available to answer questions and consult on insurance for photographers.

Types of Insurance Photographers May Need:

  • Business General Liability
    • Covers injury and damage to property.
      • Many locations require a minimum of coverage and will require a Certificate of Insurance. Most require between $500,000 and $2 million coverage.

  • Equipment

  • Errors and Omissions (E&O)
    • Covers issues relating to mistakes on the business side: releases, contracts, etc.

  • Automobile
    • Check to make certain your current Car Insurance covers business use of your car—especially if you transport equipment  and/or your assistant or other I.C. drives.

  • Health Insurance

  • Disability

  • Life Insurance

  • Workers Compensation Insurance:
    • If you are a photographer in New York State, and you hire freelance assistants you are required to have Workers Compensation Insurance. 
    • Who is considered an employee?  Read this. 

Copyright Info

eCO (Electronic Copyright Office)

ASMP Copyright Tutorial 

ASMP has launched a new initiative called Registration ©ounts to create awareness of copyright issues, to encourage all photographers to register their work and to provide the tools and information needed for registration.

ASMP How to register your copyright podcast

In seven minutes, this video shows you every step of the process to register the copyright for your photographs.

Licensing Images

ASMP Licensing Tutorial and Info 


A system for developing a standard and universal language for the licensing of images.


ASMP Release Tutorial 

A discussion and walkthrough on the necessity of getting releases for people, places and things.

Needed Business Forms 

ASMP Business Forms Tutorial 

Further Reading

Freelance Switch - Resources and Tools for Freelancers

A must-read blog for freelancers of all types, this page provides a number of tools and resources for topics like: accounting, project management, billing, blogging, time management, software, document services and business resources. 

101 Ideas to get more Freelance Work 

The Ad Hub

A directory and listing of NYS Ad agencies and marketing resources.


Warning artists and creatives about the risks involved in speculative work and crowd-sourcing projects.