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Which Photography Equipment Is Tax-Deductible?

Photography is a key part of any business or blog.

I do most of my own photography and use my mobile. You may need, or prefer, to have a much higher photography standard, as after all I don’t have a food or lifestyle blog.

If you’re a freelance photographer or doing your own website or brand photography, this tax-deductible shopping applies to you too. Good isn’t it?

(Tax-deductible means HMRC allow you to take the cost of these items from your business income so you pay less tax. Only the business part though, if you also use it for personal).

Now, let’s enjoy looking at some fabulous shopping.


Captivating Cameras

DSLR camera, John Lewis, from £279

You can bring your camera into your business if you’re just starting or you can invest in a new one (brand new or second hand).

It can be a great choice to reduce your tax bill if you time it right (ask me how if you’re interested).

It’s a capital item (more on what that means later) and you can tax-deduct all of the cost if it’s for business only, or the business % if you use it for personal too (the business/personal split applies to everything on this page).

The same applies to lenses.

Now, props and backgrounds.


Photography Props

Pine board. B&Q, 50p

Most blog photography needs props to get that professional look.

Most will be capital items but if it’s food or something very inexpensive (like our 50p piece of wood) it’s ok to put it in expenses.

Common photography props:

  • Material
  • Furnishings
  • Flowers
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Boyfriends (not tax-deductible)
  • Cats and children (also not tax-deductible)

Portable compact green screen, Amazon, £48

A green screen is an excellent piece of kit is you want to experiment.

You photograph your subject against the screen and then add any background to the photo using software.

This is an example of what you can do. I was filmed against a green screen and the background added in later. This one is a video test but it’ll give you the idea (please don’t notice I’m in pajamas):

And of course, it’s a capital item.


The Basics

  • Batteries (expenses)
  • SD cards (capital items)
  • Backup (expense if cloud, capital item if external hard drive)
  • Extra insurance (expenses)
  • Camera case (capital item)
  • Photography phone apps (technically capital item but cost so little, usual practice is expenses)
  • Chocolate (expenses only tax-deductible unless used as a prop and you keep evidence why you needed it. What you do with the chocolate afterwards is not of interest to HMRC).


The best part about all these photography eye candy?

The business part is tax-deductible.

If you use it 100% for your business, then it’s all tax-deductible and it’s what’s called a capital item or an expense. If you don’t use it all for your business, you can claim the percentage you do use in your business.


How To Claim Capital Items

A capital item is a cost which is something that will last several years at least.

Most capital items a freelancer like you will buy will be tax-deductible, but don’t assume they all will be. Keep a separate record of them from your expenses and put them in the relevant box on your tax return (more details in the Tax Return Toolkit).

The best part is that investing in a new DSLR or higher end lens can be a great way of legally and ethically reducing your tax bill, if you time it right (and don’t be silly and spend more than you would have done otherwise). Come talk to me if you fancy doing that for yourself.

This is the best reason I have ever heard for making quality spending decisions so you can time investing in yourself and your business to reduce your tax bill.

What are the most fun props you use for your website or blog photography?


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