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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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Articles reflecting business aspects of photography

  • Turning down photography work – when the alarm bells ringTurning down photography work - when the alarm bells ringSometimes a potential client comes along wanting work that seems too just what you want to do. Watch out for the warning signs though, since there are jobs that you might be best turning down.
  • So, you want a large format printer?So, you want a large format printer?Issues and questions that you might want to think about before getting a large format printer. Do you print enough prints for example? What are you going to do with all those prints?
  • On site product product photography setupOn 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
  • So, your friends say your photos are good…So, your friends say your photos are good...So, you want to become a professional photographer, and your friends say your photos are great - what do they know? Why you should take care with who you ask for business advice
  • Just what does ‘Pro’ mean for camera equipment?Just what does 'Pro' mean for camera equipment?Does the 'Pro' label make camera equipment any better - how will it help me take better photos? The camera really does make a difference when you are earning a living, but how often should you believe the marketing?
  • Industrial photography in a foundryIndustrial photography in a foundryPreparation and subsequent image processing required when taking photographs in a working foundry. Also looks at how final size affect image editing
  • Photo business working as a cruise photographerPhoto business working as a cruise photographerThe business side of photography, working as a photographer on a cruise ship. Why you might consider a photography job on a cruise ship. Ian Kee discusses what the job entails with advice for people considering it.
  • The photographer working for freeThe photographer working for freeOne of the traps that many new photographers fall into is the 'Pictures for credit' ruse. Is there ever a good reason to work for free? What are good ways of refusing that won't offend, and are there ways that benefit you.

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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

  • Looking for a bigger photo printerLooking 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 setupOn 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?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 LicenseX-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 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.

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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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.

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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.

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