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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 business tips that are wrongSome 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 hobbyWhy 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 galleryAfter 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 siteA 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.
- Becoming a freelance photographer5 Things to know - It's just over 10 years ago that I decided to put away my business suit and become a full time professional photographer. I'm still regularly asked how to do it, and what is needed.
- Where are you taking your photo business?Things you need to do. Two important ideas about running your own photography business, if you want it to last and grow. To some extent based on actually running a photo business that has lasted over 10 years...
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
- Photos for architect’s web sitesAs 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 photographyKeith 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 businessHow 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.
- 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'...
Keith’s photo business videos
- Video: Skills and changes in your photo businessProfessional photography as a changing business - Two videos: Changing your skills, and learning new ones (10m 30s) and changing your business models over time (5m 40s)
- Video: 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 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 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)
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
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...
Articles below by Keith (Google's picks for matching this page)
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