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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.
Articles reflecting business aspects of photography
- Photography training directoryPhotography training directory - professional photographers who offer photography training and courses. Submissions welcome
- Personal training – specialist photography topicsAdvanced personal one-to-one training for photography and photographic techniques - specialist photography topics available for commercial clients
- Won an iPhone 3Gs – now what for a photographer?Uses of an iPhone for a working commercial photographer - suggestions for someone new to mobile networking and apps
- Reading the fine print – SWPP loses court caseThe SWPP loses a UK court case where it tried to enforce a three month notice of cancellation requirement for membership. Why joining any 'professional' organisation for photographers should be a business led decision, and why it pays to enquire widely
- Room 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 siteSimple steps for improving the quality of photos used on your web site. Things that can make a real difference.
- Saving 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
There are over 1100 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.
There are over 1100 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
- Local prints sellIf you want to sell landscape photography, then local views will almost always sell better. Some observations about the business of selling prints. Why some things work better and why you as a photographer may not be the best person to ask.
- So, why are -you- taking photos these daysWhat challenges are there for photographers in the digital age. Some of the technical and inspirational difficulties for photographers at all levels, and what you might want to do about them.
- I am not a ‘Canon Man’Does your choice of camera say anything about you as a photographer? Does it reflect pragmatic needs or have you been labelled by the dead hand of marketing?
- Again, the death of film… pt.94Kodak needs money, so it's going to sell off more businesses, including its film business. What'll be left? - will most pro photographers be inconvenienced in any way?
- Saying no to the camera update cycle?New toys are nice, but ... it's about time I listened to some of my own advice I give to people who write in and ask 'should I upgrade my camera'...
- 50 Business tips for pro photographersTips and advice for becoming a successful professional photographer. 50 things to consider when setting up a photo business.
- Pro 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?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
Keith’s photo business videos
- Video: 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 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?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 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?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: Peli 1535 Air Case review and what it's used for. One of Keith's commercial photography equipment choice videos (3 mins)
- A video interview with Keith CooperVideo: BenQ interviews Keith Cooper about his photography, printing and equipment choices. It includes looking why you might use different monitors sizes and types
Lighting, colour and web use of images
- Looking for a bigger photo printerImportant 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 setupBasic 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 LicensePerhaps 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 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 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.
Books and reviews for photographers with a business
- Book Review: The photography exercise bookBook 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 PhotographerBook 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 promotionBook 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 PhotographerKeith 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 ManningKeith 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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All the latest articles/reviews and photo news items appear on Keith's Photo blog
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.
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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