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Belgian taxes for stock photographers

I thought it might be useful to share how taxation works in Belgium.

Remark: This is not an official tax advise and I am not responsible for any misunderstanding. I simply share what I learned from my accountant and what works for me.

Stock photography falls under simplified light taxation that applies to art/copyright works.

That means you don’t need to register a business (even self-employed is not necessary), you can declare the income as your personal.

The tax applied is 15%

You are allowed to declare 50% of your overall stock income as your cost, so 15% is taken from half of your income (up to the ceiling of 13,840 Eur for income 2009 – and you can declare 25% of income as cost for the second 13,840 Eur).

On a practical side – if you are filling paper tax declaration you need to request tax office to provide you the second part (that is usually used by business); if you are filling your tax online in tax-on-web you can enter data directly.

You declare your total income per year in Euro in field 1190; and half of the a mount as cost in field 1191 (if your annual income is <13,840 Eur). How to count the amount: Typically you don’t receive any supporting documents from stock agencies (unless it’s a German one). So just write down yourself every dollar amount that you transferred during reporting year from stock sites to your paypal account (or to your bank account or whatever method you used); and convert every transaction to Euro using historical exchange rate on that date (find in internet). Of course you keep Euro amount if you are receiving money from European agency. Then sum all Euro amounts and use it your for declaration. Attach your calculation to your declaration.

Photography studio found

I had an issue with a place for taking studio photos. I’ve done it at home for some time but it wasn’t a good option. I have too little space, and reflections from walls create a color cast on the pictures. I photographed in some places abroad, but I didn’t have a good place in Belgium that I could use regularly.

Finally I found a studio near Mechelen and tried it last Sunday. The location is good – not too far from Leuven (less than 40 minutes by car), close to a railway station (though small one), and close to Mechelen too. Also good that it’s large enough and have high ceiling. Very good price; and rather good selection of backgrounds. The only imperfection is that the lighting kit could have been better, and selection of softboxes/light modifiers isn’t large. But that isn’t a big issue taking into account the items I could bring myself in addition to those already in studio. It is also very convenient that the studio is accessible 24/7 via pre-paid badge system and online reservation.

One picture from that shoot:

Thomas and Emily
Copyright Mikhail Lavrenov


Finding photo models

There are several ways to find models. Relatives and friends might be easy to access, but they are not necessarily good models. Another possibility is to use special web sites where models and photographers find each other. Make-up artists can be found the same way.

Quite often the same model can be found on different sites at the same time. Sites provide different options and different communication channels to the users.

Probably the most popular in Belgium is http://modellennet.be. Currently it lists more than 2000 models (mostly from Belgium and some from the Netherlands). In Dutch.

Another popular site is http://www.eye-on.net (former photograaf.be). Current list is above 800 models. The site is in Dutch. It is supposed to grow beyond a basic meeting place for photographers and models, but these services are yet to be developed.

Less popular is http://models.handelsgids.be/?zoekenHome/

Speaking about Dutch model the most popular site is http://DutchHeaven.nl

Very popular international site: http://www.modelmayhem.com. It is not so popular in Belgium (only 300 models) as it is in some other countries, but is it a good resource for photographers. The site is in English.

Site popular in Germany: http://www.model-kartei.de. It lists more than 20,000 models, and on top many make-up artists, studios for hire, etc. Although the site is in German it is quite easy to search for models if you learn a few basic words.

Twilight photos

Yesterday I went to the fields near Diest to make some twilight landscape pictures. I found the highway lamp rather interesting (and I am not so happy with my landscape pictures by the way).
speedway lamp

Kasteel van Perk – one more photo

One more picture of Kasteel van Perk.
Kasteel van Perk

This is pseudo-HDR made from single RAW file.

Kasteel van Perk @ sunset

Kasteel van Perk located in Steenokkeerzel. Our friends had a party there last Saturday.
Kasteel van Perk - Perk Castle
The castle is also known as Castle de Ribaucourt and is apparently considered as one of the most beautiful of the Brussels area (I didn’t know that).

I didn’t have much time for walking around and photographing it, but I will indeed add it to my list of future visits.

Photo exhibitions in Belgium (continued)

follow-up to my previous post

This weekend I visited a small photo club exhibition in Leuven and annual international photo festival in Knokke-Heist.

Exhibition in Leuven is very small – just one room. It seems to be typical for photography club shows that the level of pictures is very un-even. There are some nice photos and some so-so.

The festival in Knokke-Heist is spread over several locations. The cultural center of Knokke hosts Frans Lanting ‘Life’ project, and a selection of World Press Photo pictures. Laguna Hall hosts Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition, and International photo competition gallery. (I mention only main expositions, there are few more shows in the city). Again, as the last year, several good photographs from Vietnam catched my eye. Don’t get me wrong, there are good pictures from different countries, but it seems Vietnam is the only one showing several good photographs at once. I don’t know why – Vietnam isn’t so wellknown by it’s photographers. Perhaps fotofestival in Knokke is the only place outside their country they managed to know so far…

Photo exhibitions in Belgium

A few days ago I received an invitation to a photo exhibition in Leuven:

The club Foto Gamma Leuven will have an exhibition at Diestevest 39 te 3000 Leuven (close to the station) on 26-27 April and on 1-4th of May (open 10:00-18:00).

http://www.fotogamma.be/

International annual photo festival in Knokke-Heist is running from March and till the 1st of June. The main guest this year is Dutch photographer Frans Lanting (http://www.lanting.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_Lanting)

Details at http://www.fotofestival.be

Another event possibly interesting for photographers will be 2008 Steam Festival in Maldegem on the 3rd and 4th of May. Maldegem is not far from Gent and from Knokke, so it’s possible to combine a visit to steam festival with the visit to Knokke photo festival. There will be 2 guest steam engines in Maldegem and one local on the show. Besides that there is interesting program including steam train rides, model railways, etc.

More details and pictures at http://www.stoomcentrum.be/EN/indexEN.html

Photos of Leuven

One of the ideas I have about this blog is to show Leuven and surroundings. Something like “a photo a day” – although I don’t think I will be able to post one photo from Leuven really each and every day. Anyway, I will show some, and the picture you see is the first one in this series.

This picture was taken in Grote Begijnhof (Beguinage) of Leuven – nicely preserved historical district.

If you are interested to know a little about Begijnhof, read further:

The Beguinage of Leuven lies on the banks of the River Dyle, in a quarter called “Ten Hove”, south of the city center.

During the 12th century, we see the origin of many new religious movements, most of them trying to return to the old ideals of “living like Christ in his time”. One of these were the “wandering preachers” in Germany. Unlike them, the Albigensians or cathars, in southern France, rejected all ecclesiastic authority and Christian dogmas. Also the Apostolici rejected all ecclesiastic discipline and most dogmas. They also postulated complete renunciation of earthly goods. It is in this context, we see the first appearance of the name “beghina”, mostly in a pejorative meaning, indicating a person who “begs” or stammers (derived from a French word)
After the crusades, under Greek-Byzantine influence, a mystical movement invade the western world. Especially women were attracted by this ideal. They didn’t want to withdraw into the wilderness but retired to hermitages near a cloister, a church or a chapel. These women wanted to devote their lifes to contemplation. This evolution caused the origin of so called “double cloisters”. Cloistered women lived in the immediate neighbourhood of regular monks.

In the beginning, most religious women lived apart. They were certainly stimulated to go and live in groups, convents, because in this way, it was easier to get overview and control over this religious movement. (about 1240) The oldest, still existing document mentions the Beguinage of Leuven in 1232. This beguine convent was founded outside the city walls of those days.

You can read the full article at the website of Leuven University: http://www.cs.kuleuven.be/~maarten/pics/begijnhofleuven/Begleuhis.html

Photo exhibition in Leuven

I am a member of Viewfinders photography club. Our club had got an opportunity to present the members work in the “Wentelsteen” culture-café, just off the “Vismarkt” in the heart of Leuven.

The location is the ground floor of a very old building, once part of the university, where Vesalius and Justus Lipsius gave lessons. The building is restored but it has retained a lot of atmosphere, which seems to ooze from every sagging wooden beam and crack in the plasterwork. Great place for a quiet drink, or a meal, or just to admire the work of the Viewfinders 🙂

Six of my own pictures are exhibited there. All pictures are for sale – framed or unframed.

The exhibition runs from January 5th, 2008 to February 2nd (though we’ll be taking down on that day). It is open every day except Mondays, from 11h or 14h on Sundays and bank holidays.

The address is: Cultuurcafé Wentelsteen,
Busleydengang 6D (Vismarkt) 3000 Leuven.

P.S.: The exhibition was put on a short notice and I didn’t have time to make photos of the place. Will try to make some later and post here in the blog.