Selling Photo Prints?


Aug 17, 2020
I have decided that I want to sell photo prints. Not as a full time job, more on a part time, free lance basis. I am not sure I will make a major profit, and if I do, not any time soon as I slowly build-up a business (and I know the compeition is fierce as with any form of art).

I have been doing research and I am still a little confused on whether I would be a "hobby" or "business" on tax forms. I also wanted to know what else I need to do on the legal end of things. If I am printing photos at home (apartment) and selling them, even for a small profit, I assume I still need a permit? Or if I operate on light sales (under that $400 mark) at first, I can simply consider it a hobby? Do I need a permit for hobby sales?

All of these questions are for people based in the U.S.

Thank you for any help! I'm just trying to navigate all of the websites I have looked at, and with so much information, it has become a little confusing. I just want to make sure I start off right. I'm not rushing into anything, but some advice would be great. Thanks in advance!


Jul 20, 2010
Springfield, IL
You might want to start here.

From what I can tell, the main difference between hobby income and business income is that if you show a loss as a business it can reduce your overall tax bill, while with hobby income, a loss is not going to reduce your taxes. Be aware though that if you consistently show a loss in your business, it can trigger an audit and the IRS may determine that it is actually a hobby. You might have to pay back taxes if you deducted the expenses as a business and the IRS finds it's actually a hobby.

Most jurisdictions allow people to operate a business out of their home within certain limitations. It can depend on your local zoning. Check with a local planning and zoning office. You will probably need to register your business name and advertise your intent to operate a business under that name. Many communities have small business development centers that offer workshops on starting a business. Because the rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, I'd recommend starting with the local Small Business Development Center.

Business or hobby, you will need to collect sales tax on any prints you sell. Again, talk to the Small Business Development Center.
Oct 10, 2019
Selling photography prints can be both an exciting and rewarding experience. It is also one of the many ways that you can diversify your income when setting up your own photography business. You will definitely need an online business buying agreement first of all, after you will need all the documents that will help you close the deal. These guys from exitadviser will help you with every question that you have, and will try to solve every issued that you meet.
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CR Pro
Jul 16, 2020
The biggest thing for 'operating out of residence' is customer traffic and store-front. If you don't have customers in your home and you don't advertise at your house. It's not going to be a big deal... anything else you will need to check zoning laws as @unfocused mentioned.