The news has just come out and it is beautiful! Prior to 2012, in order to work as a photographer in Austria you had to be officially licensed. That meant completing a rigorous exam and other hurdles that cost a great deal of time and money (I say prior to 2012 because from 2012 to now there was a rather complicated compromise that was reached but the market was still largely closed). Those days are now over! Here is the link to the Austrian Press Agency's article (in German). There's also this article from Der Standard, which is more to the point.
Here is a translation from yours truly of the article from Der Standard:
At the request of the Administrative Court, the Constitutional Court has decided that professional photography is no longer a "regulated trade" in the Trade Regulation Act. According to the decision, due to the technical advancement in photography there is no longer the need for intervention that infringes upon the right of doing business.
The decision, which was published on Wednesday, is effective as soon as it is announced in the Federal Law Gazette. This means that No. 20 of Paragraph 94 in the Trade Regulation Act, which affects "Professional Photographers" is no longer valid. Thus far, press photographers and photo designers were not subject to No. 20. In recent years, there has been lively discussion within the branch regarding the regulation of the photography trade.
Guild: Constitutional Court decision opens the floodgates for amateurs
The Photographers' Guild is shocked at the decision of the Constitutional Court that professional photography is no longer a "regulated trade". "The floodgates have been opened for unqualified photographers", is the official reaction.
The President of the Photographers' Guild, Ernst Strauss, argues for consumers: "I am an advocate for the competition among qualified individuals in order to protect consumers." The decision is a slap in the face of apprenticeship. The Guild fears that "the liberalization of the trade means that everyone with a camera is now able to be a photographer. Many hobby photographers are going to flock to the market".
I'm personally overjoyed at this decision. I've always dreamed of working part-time as a photographer like so many in the USA and the rest of the world but up until now that was impossible in Austria without spending a great deal of extra time (and money) in order to get the official qualification. It was a goal I had set for myself to begin with and I still have a lot to learn, but at least now I can fulfill my dream without this tedious process. This is big for Austria because this is a country where having an official title is still required when opening official doors. Austria is still a country very much set in its ways and this is a proper step forward towards making its services economy more modern.