Snap A Pic of These Tax Deductions Photographers Can Take

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One of the most lucrative side hustle businesses to start is a photography business. With the right amount of training and equipment, almost anyone can be a photographer. There are no licensing rules and only a few relevant certifications. Success in this field comes down to having the ability to work hard, take great photos, and book photography gigs.

That being said, starting a photography business can be expensive given all the equipment you’ll need and all the travel you may end up doing. Fortunately, there are a lot of relevant tax deductions to help defray some of the high costs.

Continue reading to learn about the most common deductions you can take as a photographer. 


If you purchase equipment for your business, it is tax-deductible. If it’s designed to last more than one year, such as computers and cameras, then it’s considered “capital property”.” With capital property, you have two deduction options.

Photography equipment in a studio.

If the equipment qualifies, you can deduct the entire cost of the equipment in the purchase year using the Section 179 deduction. It’s considered qualified property if it is tangible, depreciable, personal property that was used for your business and put into service that year. However, the amount you can deduct is limited to the amount of income you have from business activity.

You can also deduct a percentage of the cost of the equipment spread out over several years as depreciation expense. 

Whichever method you choose will depend on your tax situation and how much income you earned in that year, but for most businesses, it’s better to claim it as a Section 179 tax deduction so you can deduct the entire cost of the equipment. 

The amount of Section 179 tax deduction you can take is limited to $1,220,000 for 2024 and can be used for qualified business equipment like computers, printers, and office furniture. 

Travel Expenses

You can also deduct your business travel from your business income. This includes travel to locations, venues, and meetings where you will be conducting business. This can include traveling by car, plane, train, or any other mode of transportation.

Excited woman at an airport.

If you use your own vehicle, you can deduct the mileage at the IRS standard mileage rate for business travel. For 2024, the standard mileage rate is 67 cents per mile. If you travel on a common carrier, like through an airline, you can deduct the cost of tickets.

For those times you drive, make sure to keep records like a mileage log. The log should include a detailed record of all of your business trips that you are deducting mileage for, as well as your starting and ending mileage for the year.

Office Expenses

Do you run your business out of your home, or do you have a separate office?

If you run your business out of your home and you have a dedicated area for business purposes, you can claim a home office deduction. There are two ways to claim this deduction: You can either claim a percentage of your home expenses like mortgage, utilities, electricity, insurance, etc, based on the percentage of space used for your home office, or you can take the simplified home office deduction up to $1,500 ($5 per square foot up to 300 square feet).

If you rent office space, you can also deduct the cost of the space but you cannot deduct both a home office and a separate office.

Training & Education

Cost for  training or special education, whether it’s in a classroom setting, online, or a workshop,are  deductible. If the training required you to travel and pay for lodging, those expenses are deductible too.

If you had to pay for licensing or classes in support of a license or certification, those are also tax-deductible.

Other Common Business Expenses

If you have a business cell phone or pay for internet service, those are expenses you can claim on your taxes. If you have any membership dues or subscriptions to industry magazines, you can claim those as well.

Photographer working at a desk.

Things That Are Not Deductible

There are two costs that seem like they should be fully deductible but are not.

The first are gifts. You may wish to give a gift to your client, but you can only deduct up to $25 per gift. If you provide any one client an amount over this $25 limit, the excess amount would not be tax deductible.

Meals are not fully tax-deductible either. When you invite a  client to a meal, or even when you eat a meal by yourself while on business travel, you can only deduct 50% of the total cost of that meal. 

Entertainment expenses for your clients are no longer tax-deductible under tax reform.

While starting a photography business has some high upfront costs, the tax benefits available for self-employed individuals can help lower the taxes you owe at tax time.

No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed.

4 responses to “Snap A Pic of These Tax Deductions Photographers Can Take”

  1. What about meals on productions (food served for crew on the job). I used to write these off at 100% and now I hear that’s not possible anymore.

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