The Business of Photography Workshop

Welcome to the Business of Photography Workshop!

Here you will find information on the premier business course for freelance photographers named by Photoshelter several times as a “fantastic” and “inspirational” workshop. 

Scroll Down For The Upcoming Workshops (Up Next is UCLA on February 9-10, 2019 at UCLA. Registration to open November 5, 2018!)

Check Out Sony’s Photo Blog Interview With Todd Detailing How He Recovers Infringement Fees

Check Out Sony’s Photo Blog Interview With Todd Detailing How To Protect Against Infringement. 

The business minded photography workshop is geared toward photographers with an interest in a career producing images for various media outlets, nonprofits, foundations and corporations. Open to the public, it provides practical advice and information addressing the many business issues that freelancers must contend with on a daily basis and provides you with knowledge to help you manage your freelance career. I have a strong desire to maintain small classes to maximize discussion time over traditional lecture time. From my experiences in the classroom (and as a parent), a smaller learning environment facilitates better teacher/student interaction. 

There is no disputing that the evolution of photography, and especially photojournalism, has resulted in a fundamental shift in employment standards in this country. In years past, photographers emerging with newly minted degrees, or veteran photographers merely wishing to change locations, could readily find staff positions at any number of newspapers, wire services or non-profits and concentrate almost entirely on creating strong images. However, times have changed to the point that the vast majority of photographers, according to the 2010 Census, will forge their way as freelancers. As a result, these photographers will require a strong foundation in skills that go far beyond just creating striking photographs if they wish to financially sustain themselves. And that goes for everyone from veteran photographers to newly minted grads.

“Todd has clearly mastered both the art and the business of photography, as his portfolio demonstrates, and the reviews from his class were excellent.” -Carol Stewart, Assist. Director of Continuing and Professional Education at Univ. of Arizona

With over two decades of freelance work for international publications, corporations, non profits and foundations, I created this seminar to share my experiences and advice on how to go beyond creating excellent images for clients to actually making a living as a freelance photographer or photojournalist.

This workshop has benefited many young and mid-career photographers who have either entered the profession as recent graduates, transitioned from staff photography positions or have simply wished to learn the business basics for freelancing.


The great people at ASMP Oregon and Pro Photo Supply!

The great people at ASMP Oregon and Pro Photo Supply!

Workshop Topics

The continually evolving photography and photojournalism professions have clearly shifted the employment standard from employee based to freelance based. As a result, it is now more imperative than ever for independent photographers to possess a solid understanding of managing their own business if they expect to support themselves and/or their family. The workshop addresses core issues that freelancers consistently face on a daily basis while also recognizing new topics as they become relevant:

  • Understanding the Freelance Market
  • Building and Leveraging Your Portfolio for Work
  • Learning to Value Your Work
  • Client Development
  • Contracts: View and Analyze Real Contracts from Clients
  • Contracts: Creating and Analyzing Licensing and Invoice Contracts
  • Contracts: Understanding Work For Hire Contracts
  • Agency or Personal Representation
  • Website & Platform Options
  • Copyright Basics
  • Equipment Considerations & Recommendations
  • Tax Issues and Choices Facing Freelancers
  • Digital Asset Management via Image Workflow
  • Creating Revenue from Licensing
  • Combating Infringement and Methods to Recover Lost Licensing Fees
  • Image Licensing Standards and Rates
  • General Business Practices (home offices, assistants & insurance)
  • Understanding Cost of Doing Business
  • Social Media: Integration and Workflow
  • Social Media: User Generated Content & Contract Analysis
  • Social Media: Infringement Case Studies
  • Rate and Term Standards & Negotiations


The information is seminar style using real life experience and scenarios and you are highly encouraged to engage by asking questions and participating in the conversation. I continue to shoot for a variety of clients, so the workshop is continually evolving. Consequently, I’m bringing current and relevant personal experience to the classroom. You will leave the workshop with a sound understanding of the significant and specific business matters you will face on a daily basis as a professional photographer. The workshop was listed as one of the 50 Awesome Photo Workshops Worldwide in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by Photoshelter.



Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.56.09 PMWhere Has The Workshop Been Presented?

The Business of Photography Workshop has proudly worked in collaboration with the following universities, colleges and professional photography associations:

nppa-logo ua-horizontal-logo

SDSU Logo ASMP Oregon Logo  ASMP Atlanta logo

Otis College Logo Brooks Logo download

 Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.31.31 AM    Pierce College Logo   Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 3.53.38 PM           screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-12-07-10-pm



Workshop Registration & Speaking Engagements


Click to Register for UCLA: February 9-10, 2019

  • The BOP Workshop will return to UCLA for the 14th time!
  • Full, two day workshop (9:00am-5:00pm daily) presented over 15 hours will cover the full range of topics listed above.
  • This workshop is kept SMALL for deep discussions, lots of laughs and tons of time for questions that pertain to your exact concerns and experiences. (See testimonials below for what students say).
  • Great location with nearby hotels, restaurants and hangouts for before/after hours as well as lunch break!
  • Registration is OPEN. Use promo code EARLY to save and secure a seat.  

Student Testimonials

Todd Bigelow talks about copyright during the UnderExposed event in New Orleans. Photo ©2017, George H. Long

“I’ve got to tell you just one more time how wonderful it was to have you here. You played a pivotal role in the resurgence of our chapter. You probably don’t realize that yours was the first event our chapter has sponsored in three years. I’m going to do my best, as acting CP, to keep the energy flowing and create more opportunities for growth but what you had to offer was downright beautiful.  Any you can quote me on that.”- George Long, Acting Chairperson, ASMP New Orleans, Aug 2017

“I wanted to say thank you and that your class was one of the best things I’ve done! Really changed my strategy, structure and perspective on everything I do now!”- Emanuela Bocse, UCLA Workshop Student, October 2018.

“Thank YOU!  Probably one of the best, if not the best course I’ve ever taken.  Would greatly appreciate info on any of your courses….most of the folks I would refer are not in California though….if you do have any courses elsewhere, near any of them I’d strongly encourage them to attend.  Can’t tell you enough how enlightening the class was and how much I learned….so grateful you take the time to pass this info on to others.  Thank you again.”- Eva Scofield, Professional Rodeo Photographer, UCLA Workshop Student, April 2018.

“Over the course of a weekend, every confusing thing about copyright laws, licensing images, contracts, creating quotes and operating as an independent contractor has been demystified.  I finally understand the steps I need to take to build my business, and it no longer feels overwhelming.  In addition, Todd is a great teacher – he’s super patient and detailed in answering all questions and keeps the class entertained while packing as much info in as possible.  I wish I had taken this workshop years ago!”-Courtnay Robbins, UCLA Workshop Student, Jan 2018

“I really wish I could have taken this workshop when I first started freelancing nine years ago. I would have a lot more money in my pocket and feel much more confident about the business side of photography. Thanks Todd for doing this service for everyone who wants to make an actual living doing photography.”-David Sprague, former LA Daily News Staff Photographer and UCLA Workshop student, Jan 2018

“There was a lot of information to take in but you did a great job of teaching it and helping me understand everything.  I feel like I got a lot of invaluable information that will greatly help me as I progress through my photography career.  I’ve already got plenty of ideas on implementing some of your strategies and business practices into my work.”-Jason Refuerzo, 2017 UCLA Workshop student.

“As an amateur photographer who is trying to break into the business, I received a call out of the blue by a university looking to use one of my images for a publication with a circulation of over 60,000.  While I was excited to receive the inquiry, I was also shocked and a bit overwhelmed, particularly regarding what I should do next in answering the inquiry.  As a former student at Todd’s Business of Photography Workshop, I decided to reach out to Todd and get his advice on how to proceed.  Todd walked me through exactly what he thought I should do, what software I might need to produce an appropriate quote for licensing, and wished me luck. The image is currently being considered for the front cover of the publication and I am deeply grateful for Todd’s expertise and willingness to help me be successful!”- (Update: He got the cover and a nice licensing fee!) Tim Newman, 2016 ASMP San Diego Workshop attendee.

“What a workshop!! So much hard to come-by valuable information, so well presented and in such a short amount of time! I feel quite fortunate to have been included in our diverse group of fully engaged freelance photographers – everyone else’s questions made it that much better. Lastly, thank you for not having us walk on coals – because by the end of Sunday, I probably would have tried it.” –Ted Walton, 2016 ASMP San Diego and UCLA Workshop attendee.

“Just wanted to send a note and thank you for your two part workshop this weekend. It contained a lot of information I missed out on in my education at Kent State University. Hoping to attend your full workshop in the near future!” –Leah Klafczynski, 2016 NPPA Northern Short Course attendee.

A great group was assembled by the wonderful board at ASMP Atlanta! (Photo © Kevin Ames)

A great group was assembled by the wonderful board at ASMP Atlanta! (Photo © Kevin Ames)

“I feel that the information you share in there is so important and is stuff that isn’t discussed openly enough amongst the photojournalism community. You saw all the photojournalists taking pictures of the day rates you showed. There shouldn’t be that kind of hunger when it comes to understanding what the standard assignment rate is from a publication. People need this information and we need more people out there sharing it so we’re not all undercutting each other by mistake.”—2016 NPPA Northern Short Course attendee.

“Top-10 2015 business investments as a photographer: @ToddBigPhoto freelancing workshop. TY Todd + @AtlantaASMP!”—@EnriqueSamson via Twitter

“.@ToddBigPhoto Amazing, inspiring, brain busting Business of Photography workshop in Atlanta last weekend.”—@Schwarzeee (Michael Schwarz) via Twitter

“Thank you again for the class. That class could easily be a week long. I absolutely learned more in two days to move my business forward than I have in years of trial and error and being lost in confusion.”–Cory Brodzinski, 2015 Brooks Institute student.

“Thank you for such an incredible workshop. In the two weeks since, I’ve successfully recovered two licensing fees and negotiated my first long-term contract with a local publisher. Before your workshop, I would have felt entirely unprepared to pitch for and negotiate that kind of work. Instead, I went into the meeting not just knowing the value of my work, but prepared to be my best advocate. Thank you for such a fantastic forum for learning. It truly was the most beneficial thing I’ve done for my business all year.” –Annalise Kaylor, 2015 ASMP Atlanta student.

“I really mean it when I say that your class was one, if not the, most productive classes I’ve ever had. I wish I had taken this a year ago.”—Ed Sale, 2015 ASMP Oregon student.

“Thoroughly professional in his dealings with both our staff and his workshop participants. Todd has clearly mastered both the art and the business of photography, as his portfolio demonstrates, and the reviews from his class were excellent. One participant ranked Todd as ‘outstanding’ in every metric and commented that what made the workshop particularly special was the attention that was paid to each and every student.”–Carol Stewart, Assistant Director of Continuing & Professional Education at University of Arizona.

“As someone who has completed undergraduate, Masters, and PhD programs, in addition to numerous certification and continuing education courses, this is by far one of the best courses I have ever participated in. Both the content and the organization of the course were superb.”- John Bosma, 2014 UCLA student. 



Workshop Support and Student Discounts:

Below are several of the outstanding products, retailers and companies who are kind enough to offer financial support and discounts to this workshop. I do not seek affiliation with any one or any company unless I have personally done business with them and feel very strongly about their products and services. Simply put, those listed below are those who I have come to count on regularly in my freelance business. Check back as there are more on the way! And make sure to click on the links to access your discounts.


Business of Photography Consulting Services:  After several years of inquiries, the Business of Photography now offers photography consultation via Skype or in person. Services are offered to everyone regardless of workshop attendance, but the Business of Photography Workshop students can engage in the services at a 50% discount in the year following the seminar and at a 25% discount in the second year following your attendance in the workshop. Please retain the date and place you attended the workshop. Visit the Business of Photography Consultation page.


Photoshelter Logo

Photoshelter What can I say about Photoshelter? They have revolutionized the way freelancers display, distribute, market, license and connect with clients. They provide the infrastructure that governs not only my website, but nearly 100,000 other photographers worldwide. Built-in e-commerce, beautiful screen responsive websites that are easily customizable without having to code, secure cloud storage, client only access and too many other features to mention. Simply put, they are a company built for freelance photographers to grow their business. Their level of support is unsurpassed, in my opinion. If you’d like to receive 10% Off a Standard Plan, use promo code GETWORKDONE.


Cradoc Software I’m not sure there is single piece of software that I use more than FotoQuote and FotoBiz. I’ve been using it since it became available and it continues as the industry standard business software for licensing and management. Don’t believe me? Just do some research (the fact that Photoshelter has it built into their platform says it all!). It’s the best photo business management tools in the business. I’m not only a proud consumer of their product, I’m a proud recipient of their support. Please click on the photo and use the promotional code BPB0714 when requested to receive a 10% discount! Thank you, Cradoc! 



 Think Tank Photo graciously supports this workshop. You will receive a free gift on a $50 or more purchase from the leader in pro photo bags! I’ve pulled, worn and carried these bags since their inception and they are the best, most durable and modern bags on the market. Just click HERE and and insert code 141219.92f79 in the “Affiliate Code” box in the shopping cart. Remember, use code 141219.92f79 to receive free gear with every $50 or more purchase.


Camera Bits I’ve used Photo Mechanic, created by Camera Bits, since the dawn of the digital age. It’s another staple in the freelance world and in newsrooms nationwide. It continues to evolve into much more than a great editing tool by providing efficient ways to also apply metadata, rename, move, copy and transmit straight to your clients and website. Use the following promotional code for a 10% discount: PM10TODD


Roberts Camera  We all know there are many choices when purchasing gear on the internet. But we also know the importance of developing a trusting relationship with professional retailers in order to obtain the best pricing AND the best customer service. That’s what I’ve experienced with Roberts Camera based in Indianapolis and especially when dealing with Jonathan “Jody” Grober. Jody will quote you a fair price and often has the latest gear in stock when others are sold out. Check-in with him by clicking on the logo and tell him you were a student of the workshop (the link will take you to the professional and educational staff team at Roberts with appropriate contact information.)