Keith often gets asked about becoming a professional photographer.
As he usually says, it’s more about business acumen than photographic skills… and has written a number of articles specifically covering different aspects of setting up and running a photography business.
This page indexes all our business related articles and links to a few external sites that Keith has found helpful in this area.
Keith is always happy to answer questions about anything on the site – it’s often where he gets inspiration for all our articles.
Articles reflecting business aspects of photography
- More popular myths of pro photography More common photography business myths, why many popular business tips for photographers are probably quite wrong for your photographic business (pt.3)
- Photography business tips that miss the point More common photography business tips are discussed, along with reasons that they may not be particularly good ones for a successful business (pt.2)
- Photography business tips that are wrong Some common photography business tips are discussed, suggesting that many popular ideas are simply wrong for your photographic business (pt.1)
- Photographic skill without marketing is just a hobby Why photographic skill without business marketing is just a hobby. How to be better than most pro photographers at running a photo business, by thinking about it seriously.
- How much could using this image cost you? Finding out your images have been stolen and used on the web is never nice. Some of the techniques Keith uses to find our photos and how Pixsy just helped us get several hundred pounds for one image used without permission on one blog post.
- An old friend returns? After the Jessops photo business folded in 2013, Leicester was left with no specialist photography stores. Jessops, founded here in 1935, are opening a new store.
- Photographs of Leicester – now in their own gallery After many requests for using Keith's photos of Leicester for stock photography and as large prints, we've created a new gallery site, just for photographs of Leicester. Hundreds of photos to browse
- Brand new architectural photography site A whole new site for our architecture photos. After ten years of showcasing our architectural photography services on this site, we decided that it really was time for something newer and more visually appealing.
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There are around a thousand free articles and reviews on the site - thanks to everyone who helps support it. We appreciate any purchases you make through our partners such as B&H which help us sustain the site.
Some of Keith’s personal views about photography
- What are you doing with your photos How do you decide what to do with all the photos you take, why did you take them and who gets to see them. A process any photographer should think about. Yes, this means you...
- Is photography a business for you Is photography a business for you - an interview with Keith Cooper looks at some of the things you might want to think about if it's to be a real business. Includes link to audio podcast of the interview
- Keith Cooper photography interview Video: Keith Cooper was recently interviewed by BenQ about his photography, equipment (including monitors) and approach to running a photography business (21 mins)
- Moving back to film photography Returning to film? Rediscovering old film equipment offers a simpler more direct world of photography. Is it time for Keith to buy some camera batteries and rolls of film?
- Where is your photography going next year? New equipment may be fun, but it's making less and less of a difference to the quality of many people's photography. Some thoughts on how to go about improving what you do and just as importantly why you do it. Photography resolutions for next year
- Photos for architect’s web sites As an architectural photographer, Keith discusses what photos are for on architect's web sites. Based on a recent interview with a design agency, looking at why many small-medium practices fail to make the best impressions with their work.
- Making a living from professional photography Keith Cooper has now run Northlight Images for over ten years as a professional photographer. What makes the business work? and how do you need to approach it in order for it to be far more than a paid hobby.
- Taxis and your photo business How business models change, and your need to adapt. Why a ride sharing taxi application could signify big changes in photography or maybe it won't. Think about it now, or risk an unwanted surprise later.
Lighting, colour and web use of images
- Looking for a bigger photo printer Important questions to ask yourself when looking for a bigger photo printer wider than 13 inch width or A3+. Things that it's useful to know if you want a 17" (A2) or larger printer, it's about more than just bigger prints.
- On site product product photography setup Basic colour management and photography options for photographing large numbers of products out of the studio. Efficient setup reduces the processing needed
- What paper should I use? With a massive range of different papers available, how should you go about seeing which papers work best for your photos. Some of the choices you can consider when looking at paper types and brands for printing your photographs
- X-rite updates i1Profiler License Perhaps not something I'd normally report, but given all the kerfuffle over the i1Profiler EULA (license) when it came out, it's worth noting that they have retrospectively altered the license.
- CMYK – beyond the inkjet print As a photographer with work in books and magazines, it helps to know the basics of large CMYK printing and how it affects the reproduction of your images. A guide for photographers
- CMYK for photographers There is usually no good reason for photographers to work with CMYK images. Article looks at some of the things you need to consider if you need to use CMYK.
Books and reviews for photographers with a business
- Book Review: The photography exercise book Book Review: The photography exercise book by Bert Krages. Training your eye to shoot like a pro. Subjects to study and photograph that will help train your photographic vision and produce the photos you want (and know why)
- Book Review: Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer Book review: Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer (Tad Crawford, Chuck DeLaney) Just how do you run a photography business. What things do you need to address? How will you market and sell your services, and make your business last.
- Book review – Marketing and promotion Book Review: The Photographer's Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion (Maria Piscopo) Reviewed by Keith Cooper, professional commercial photographer and author of many of our business related articles
- Book Review On Being a Photographer Keith Cooper reviews the book 'On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide' by Bill Jay and David Hurn ISBN-13: 978-1888803068
- Book Review Make money with your digital photography Erin Manning Keith Cooper reviews Make money with your digital photography by Erin Manning, a comprehensive guide and introduction to the business of photography
Training – for companies
Training other people to take better photos means I have to reflect on my own work and practices – never a bad thing to do every so often.
These are aspects of training that I provide (on location, not at our offices) as part of Northlight’s business.
We also have a training directory that is freely available for any professional photographer who offers training.
It’s arranged by location, so as long as you are a pro photographer, a free link is available
Useful external resources for photography businesses
- Model releases and commercial use – Great article by Dan Heller about why most of what you hear on the internet about the need for releases is rubbish
Some very pertinent information that Keith regularly points out to the many people who ask him about becoming a professional photographer.
- Business Link UK government advice and support for setting up your own business
- Business in Canada – useful advice, not just for Canada
- US Small Business Administration
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