Requiring invoice from Second Shooter
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ravello
Registered: May 02, 2011
Total Posts: 23
Country: United States

I have seen lots of discussions here on FM about how to pay seconds. But I haven't seen the invoice one.

Over the past 18 months I have been the 2nd shooter 30+ times. As such, I have been paid every which way - cash / check on the night; check in mail; check with returned cards / drives; check but not to be cashed until date X; check with cash bonus / tip; and even one none payment. Obviously cash or check on the night is ideal.

However, in two of my last three weddings (i.e. two different photogs); at the end of the night, the primary stated that in order to get paid, I would need to submit an invoice!

Thinking the first one was just an anomaly - from an NYC based photog - it happened again at the weekend, this time in my own state (PA). To get my cards back, and to get paid, I would need to submit an invoice! This photog is very experienced - 500+ as a primary. Stated it was new thing for his studio.

Obviously sending an invoice is not a big deal, but it adds an additional step to something that was relatively simple - especially if paid on the night. It is also annoying not to get told of this payment requirement until the end of the night in the car park!

Is this a coincidence, or is it a new trend i.e. are primary's now requesting invoices before they will pay? Have other second shooters experienced this?



SloPhoto
Registered: Feb 18, 2008
Total Posts: 2528
Country: N/A

I can understand a larger studio requesting an invoice for bookkeeping, but he took your cards for the whole duration of that time??

At the least I would expect him to release the cards on an independent schedule.



JR Magat
Registered: May 18, 2010
Total Posts: 2311
Country: United States

I 2nd shot this year for a wedding photographer that asked me to send an invoice - she paid me prior to the request. So, I assumed it was more for bookkeeping... unless i am missing something like if it's related to taxes as a business expense?



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 5529
Country: United States

SloPhoto wrote:
I can understand a larger studio requesting an invoice for bookkeeping


Or even a small studio. Sounds like a reasonable request for bookkeeping purposes.



Robin Usagani
Registered: Oct 26, 2010
Total Posts: 2842
Country: United States

Yeah, that is reasonable. I mean you have to proof it somehow that you really did spend a certain amount for a 2nd shooter if you get audited.



johnrg
Registered: Feb 01, 2011
Total Posts: 754
Country: United States

Just Googled around and found this:

"Ideally, you should have two forms of records for each expense: a document showing you paid the expense, such as a canceled check or credit card slip, and a document itemizing the expense, such as a sales receipt or invoice from the vendor."

http://www.completetax.com/tax-guide/text/c60s05d100.asp



jefferies1
Registered: Jul 03, 2008
Total Posts: 2604
Country: United States

Anytime I am hired by another photographer I am always asked to provide an invoice even if doing a Paypal transfer on the spot.



scottam10
Registered: Oct 01, 2012
Total Posts: 799
Country: Australia

Any business needs invoices for book-keeping purposes.
- they need to be able to properly report their income and expenditure to the tax office.

I'm surprised that any primary shooter can just pay cash on the night.

It's a bit strange that they'd keep your cards, and it would have been nice if they'd told you beforehand.



Lucky_Dog
Registered: Feb 17, 2007
Total Posts: 2162
Country: United States

...to ensure you are accounted for as a vendor, rather than an employee.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9796
Country: United States

Sounds like a really stupid request, you hired them as a subcontractor, they shouldn't need to give you an invoice. What a load of crap.



MattSepeta
Registered: Aug 07, 2010
Total Posts: 1114
Country: United States

Sometimes people ask me for invoices for other kinds of commercial photography, and I use PayPal for these instances. They have a nice "request money" feature that simply emails an invoice after you fill out a few required fields.



ricardovaste
Registered: Jan 25, 2010
Total Posts: 3571
Country: United Kingdom

I'm not entirely sure how it works for you folk in the US... But making an invoice is pretty straight forward and a basic part or book keeping as far as I'm concerned. I don't consider it an extra step, but then I've been doing this from day one.



mccallmedia
Registered: Sep 11, 2011
Total Posts: 382
Country: United States

I send invoices all the time. There's an invoice template in word that I use or as stated already paypal has one if that's used for payment. It's just a simple way to have records for bookkeeping purposes.



ai3x
Registered: May 02, 2005
Total Posts: 2357
Country: United Kingdom

Don't know about the US but we exist on invoices here in the UK. For every payment and expense there needs to be a paper trail.



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 5529
Country: United States

ai3x wrote:
For every payment and expense there needs to be a paper trail.


Absolutely! I don't know about these primaries paying their seconds cash on the night of with no paper trail.



ravello
Registered: May 02, 2011
Total Posts: 23
Country: United States

Thanks for all your replies / input. My interpretation is that I shouldn't be surprised in being asked to provide an invoice for 2nd shooting services, but that very primaries actually do this.

Given that most primaries are not using contracts to hire seconds (my experience 95%), requiring an invoice for payment could open up a new set of conditions e.g. terms of payment. 30 days net is a typical one.

But it would be entirely reasonable to add other clauses - like the use of the images i.e. limitations until full payment is received. Primaries could end up delaying transfer of image rights / copyright by holding up payment.



genoph
Registered: May 09, 2008
Total Posts: 681
Country: Canada

Definitely not unusual. You're a write-off for the photographer, they need to be able to prove that they spent money on you.

While most of my seconds are good friends, when I shoot outside I always try and get a contract. I got royally screwed by a photographer one year and didn't really have a paper trail to cover me, better to have a simple one-pager saying "Yes, I'm working for you on this wedding" than nothing at all.



Mitch W
Registered: Nov 18, 2009
Total Posts: 2854
Country: United States

Never been asked to provide an invoice but wouldn't have a problem with it if I knew about it ahead of time and it didn't delay payment.



Lucky_Dog
Registered: Feb 17, 2007
Total Posts: 2162
Country: United States

if you don't have an invoice and treat it as a business expense/bill, you must issue a 1099 to the subcontractor for amounts over $600. Otherwise, you are on the hook for income tax on the money that you paid the 2nd. How else do you legally account for that money? Take a look...

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-regs/subcontractorsfaq&a.prn.pdf



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 5529
Country: United States

genoph wrote:

You're a write-off for the photographer, they need to be able to prove that they spent money on you.


Bingo! Need that proof for the tax man in case of an audit.

My question is why would any sound businessman NOT require an invoice ... unless they're a tax dodger.



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