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Photography and business

Articles about the business side of photography – how to be a pro photographer


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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.

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basic product photography
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Articles reflecting business aspects of photography

  • Expanding your photo businessExpanding your photo businessThere are three basic ways of growing your photography business - lots of variations, but three fundamental approaches. Keith looks at examples of how these principles can apply to a pro photographer and why minor changes can multiply together to make a real difference to profitability.
  • 7 Grand ideas – key questions for a successful photo business7 Grand ideas - key questions for a successful photo businessSeven key questions you need to address about your professional photography business from the standpoint of your clients and potential clients. You may not like it but they are looking at your offerings and asking "What's in it for me?"
  • OK, what’s special about your photography businessOK, what's special about your photography businessTo get your photography business noticed you need to stand out from the crowd. Remember to market the benefits you offer as opposed to features. There are lots of similar businesses out there - you need to find the unique points that differentiate your business from the others.
  • 5 ‘M’s – Marketing for photographers5 'M's - Marketing for photographersWhy are professional photographers so bad at marketing? Some things they should consider to improve the performance of their business. Just make it easier, they all begin with the same letter.
  • Photographers – are you of value to your clients?Photographers - are you of value to your clients?As a professional photographer, do you know the value of your photographic work to your clients? Do you make the mistake of trying to sell your business features rather than the benefits clients will get from using you?
  • CMYK – beyond the inkjet printCMYK - beyond the inkjet printAs 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 photographersCMYK for photographersThere 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.
  • Using a professional photographer – free guideUsing a professional photographer - free guideFree guide to choosing a professional commercial photographer. Questions that you should consider asking your commercial photographer

There are over 1100 free articles and reviews on the site - thanks to everyone who helps support it.
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Some of Keith’s personal views about photography

  • Pro photography – pick your areas of work with carePro photography - pick your areas of work with carePart of running a successful photography business is deciding what areas of work to concentrate on, and building your skills in those areas. Remember though that you need to make a profit and that may mean less concentration on some areas you like. Doing any work that comes along does not count as a long term strategy
  • Pro photography – winning the lottery?Pro photography - winning the lottery?Is there a shortcut, avoiding business planning and hard work, in building a successful photography business? Is it now just a matter of getting your work seen by enough people - or buying enough lottery tickets
  • When passion -does- make a differenceWhen passion -does- make a differenceWhy a passion for your photography will help your business if used the right way. It's never enough on its own, but used wisely it can work wonders.
  • The photographer in the orange hatThe photographer in the orange hatHow do you make your photography business stand out from the crowd. It's always best to consider what ways are actually of benefit to the business and making a profit
  • Is your photo business any good?Is your photo business any good?Are there too many professional photographers for the size of the market today? Why analysing at your own business directions and performance is vital if you are going to carry on working in photography. The tide is coming in and the beach is looking crowded...
  • Book Review On Being a PhotographerBook Review On Being a PhotographerKeith Cooper reviews the book 'On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide' by Bill Jay and David Hurn ISBN-13: 978-1888803068
  • Photography – I could do that…Photography - I could do that...So, you want to be a professional photographer? It takes rather more than a few ideas and people telling you that your photos are really good. There is lots of help and advice out there. Most people never act on their good ideas ...will you?
  • Film – the numbers say goodbyeFilm - the numbers say goodbyeA few years ago (2003) I wrote some guidelines for people looking for a camera. In it I confidently expected that whilst digital was the future, film would be round for 'quite some time' - how was I wrong?

Keith’s photo business videos

  • Video: Skill without marketing isn’t a businessVideo: Skill without marketing isn't a businessProfessional photography as a profitable business - Why your photo skills, without proper marketing, count very little towards your business success (9m 50s)
  • Video: What sorts of photo work not to doVideo: What sorts of photo work not to doProfessional photography as a business - The importance of choosing what what sorts of work not to do and how it helps you plan your future business (12m 40s)
  • Video: Differentiating your photo businessVideo: Differentiating your photo businessStanding out from the crowd - why specialise & differentiate your photography business from the rest. What helps your business profitability and is it a big enough niche. Does Keith need a new hat? (9m 20s)
  • Video: What matters to print buyersVideo: What matters to print buyersKeith looks at why what personally matters to you about your photography is largely irrelevant for most people who might buy your prints. Why it helps to find someone whose opinions you can trust and why different print types might appeal to potential buyers. Sometimes your prints do just need to match the curtains. (9m)
  • Video: Why do your prints sell?Video: Why do your prints sell?Part three of Keith's look at print sales for photographers. In selling prints, do you know why you are doing it and do you know why people might want your prints? The emotions in print viewing and the need for a steady supply of customers (8m)
  • Video: Are your print sales a businessVideo: Are your print sales a businessKeith looks at how selling a few prints is only the start and very different from making a profitable business. Who buys prints and does your work match what they want. Where are your markets (pt.2 of a series of short videos - 11m 40s)
  • Video: So, you want to sell your prints?Video: So, you want to sell your prints?Keith is often asked where to sell photo prints. Is this really the key question you should be asking? Do you know will buy them and what they want? First of a series of videos looking at what to do with your prints (6m 30s)
  • Video: Keith’s kit – Peli 1535 Air CaseVideo: Keith's kit - Peli 1535 Air CaseVideo: Peli 1535 Air Case review and what it's used for. One of Keith's commercial photography equipment choice videos (3 mins)

Lighting, colour and web use of images

  • Room lighting for image editingRoom lighting for image editingPaying some attention to the lighting levels and decoration in the areas where you edit photographs has a beneficial influence on quality and consistency
  • Better pictures for your web siteBetter pictures for your web siteSimple steps for improving the quality of photos used on your web site. Things that can make a real difference.
  • Saving images for web useSaving images for web useSome of the things to consider when saving images for web use - how care with resizing and basic sharpening can give them a bit more punch

Books and reviews for photographers with a business

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

 

 

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tilt-shift book

Keith explains tilt and shift lenses

Keith has written a book that looks at the many ways that tilt/shift lenses can benefit your photography from a technical and creative point of view.

ISBN 9781785007712

Book now available

There is also a specific index page on the site with links to all Keith's articles, reviews and videos about using tilt and shift.

We've a whole section of the site devoted to  Digital Black and White photography and printing. It covers all of Keith's specialist articles and reviews. Other sections include Colour management and Keith's camera hacks - there are over 1200 articles/reviews here...

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