The Business of Photography Workshop

Welcome to the Business of Photography Workshop!

For personal, professional consultations, please click here

Here you will find information on the premier business course for freelance photographers and photojournalists offered nationwide by universities and professional photography organizations. Please contact Info [at] ToddBigelowPhotography [dot] com if you are interested in hosting or attending a workshop. 

Upcoming Workshops

To request to host a full or partial workshop, please contact Todd to discuss availability, cost and suggestions on how to fund it. References from universities and professional organizations who’ve hosted the workshop are available upon request. 


The Freelance Photographer’s Guide to Success: Business Essentials

Book Description: Grounded in real-life experiences and scenarios, this practical guide offers editorial, non-profit, foundation, and corporate photographers an honest and insightful approach to running a freelance photography business. Click here to purchase. 

Pulling from thirty years of experience as a freelance photographer, I present a timely and detailed account of the methods and tactics best used to navigate and succeed in the profession buy exploring the topics that define the business of freelancing, including: analyzing photography contracts; creating and maintaining an image archive; licensing for revenue; client development; registering for copyright; combating copyright infringement; and understanding tax issues, freelance business structures, and more. There are conversational anecdotes throughout providing real insight into the world of freelancing. This book is an essential guide for emerging, mid-career, and experienced photographers and serves as the foundation for the workshop.


Links To Todd’s Interviews, Podcasts & Webinars

“B&H Photography Podcast” by John and Allen (B&H Podcast’s #1 Episode in 2021)

“Licensing Starts With An Archive” on PetaPixel

Artrepreneurs Podcast” by Michael Der 

Vision Slightly Blurred” by PhotoShelter’s Allen Murabayashi 

One Good Conversation” Part Two by Matt Brown

One Good Conversation” Part One by Matt Brown

“How To Get Projects Published”  PhotoShelter Webinar

Talking Pictures” by Ken Jarecke

Fair Compensation by NPR Affiliate WXXI 

Recovering Infringement Fees on Sony’s Photo Blog 

Protecting Against Infringement on Sony’s Photo Blog 

        • Who Should Attend?

        • 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, timely 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, 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. That is no longer the case. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the vast majority of photographers will forge their way as freelancers. As a result, a strong foundation in skills that go far beyond just creating striking photographs are required if photographers wish to financially sustain themselves. And that goes for everyone from veteran photographers to newly minted grads.


“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.” UCLA Workshop Student, 2018

Photographer, Author & Business of Photography Workshop founder Todd Bigelow. ©Todd Bigelow

Why Attend This Course?

  • I have nearly thirty years of freelance work for national and international publications, corporations, non profits and foundations. My experience serves as the foundation for the course.


  • I created this seminar in 2013 and have grown it into a nationally recognized seminar hosted by major universities and leading photography organizations nationwide. UCLA serves as the Los Angeles based home for the course and they’ve held it nearly twenty times. Others include NPPA, ASMP, San Francisco State, University of Arizona, Brooks Institute of Photography, San Diego State University and many others. 


  • I know how important retaining exclusive copyright of your images is to surviving long term in the freelance field because I’ve advocated for retaining all rights to my work from day one of freelancing. There’s always been assignment work available without signing away image rights and it’s up to you to find the right balance of clients. This is a fundamental component of the workshop.


Who Benefits From This Workshop?

  • 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 have benefited from the workshop. But let me make one thing very clear; this is a reality based workshop, not some vague set of theories on “how to make it” as a photographer. It’s drawn from my real experiences navigating the world of contracts, client development, workflow, licensing standards, combatting infringement and more. In other words, I share real photo contracts, real email requests for licensing, real examples of developing clients to name a few. Like the profession, it’s always evolving. The course played a principle role in my selection by the National Press Photographers Association as the 2019 recipient of the Clifton Edom Award which honors those who inspire and motivate members to reach new heights. 


    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
        • Freelancing 101: The Basics 
        • Client Development Methods
        • Contracts: View and Analyze Real Contracts from Clients
        • Contracts: Creating and Analyzing Licensing and Invoice Contracts
        • Contracts: Understanding Work For Hire Agreements
        • Building an Archive
        • Managing and Leveraging an Archive For Income and Clients 
        • Agency Representation
        • Website & Platform Options To Manage Your Business
        • Understanding Copyright
        • Copyright Registration Requirements
        • Tax Issues and Choices Facing Freelancers
        • Digital Asset Management via Image Workflow
        • Creating Revenue from Image Licensing
        • Image Licensing Standards and Rates
        • Combating Infringement and Methods to Recover Lost Licensing Fees
        • General Business Practices (home offices, assistants & insurance)
        • Understanding Cost of Doing Business
        • Social Media: Integration and Workflow
        • 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.


    Who Has Hosted The Workshop?

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

    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 PMb         screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-12-07-10-pm


    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.  And you can quote me on that.”- George Long, Acting Chairperson, ASMP New Orleans, Aug 2017

    “Thank you so much for your time, energy, humor, and insights this past weekend! You gave us such invaluable information and I really appreciate you putting this together. I feel a lot more empowered and confident in moving forward and really making my dream a sustainable career.” – Brooke Raines, UCLA Workshop Student, 2021 


    “My head is still swimming and bursting at the seams with all of the incredible information received this past weekend at the workshop, but I wanted to take some time to thank you for your time and effort throughout the weekend! It’s clear that a lot of knowledge, hard work, and experience goes into the planning and delivery of “The Business and Photography” workshop and it does not go unnoticed. The workshop was phenomenal and I truly believe that it has changed my view of photography and my work as a whole for the better. If anything, the workshop lit a fire under my ass and showed me that I need to HUSTLE! All in all, thank you. It’s going to take time to implement a lot of the things taught throughout the weekend, but I KNOW that this workshop will pay off in the future.”- Jose Ubeda, UCLA Workshop Student, November, 2019


    “I just want to take the time to genuinely thank you so much for the passion, dedication, and hard work that you brought and put into the workshop this past weekend at UCLA. I came into the workshop feeling pretty fearful and worried and I came out feeling a greater understanding of how to navigate the freelance world but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge it’s because of the help of mentors like you and in community that make this possible. I can’t wait to recommend this workshop to my friends who are looking to do similar trajectories from jumping newspapers to a freelance outlook.”- Dougal Brownie, UCLA Workshop Student, June, 2019

    “I am fresh out of your Business of Photography course and couldn’t wait to tell you that my brain hurts! If ever anyone who wants to try a career in photography…. your course is MANDATORY! I am sure you are a hated man sharing your knowledge and “keys to the kingdom” of the businesses who are hiring newbie and ignorant photographers. I FEEL EMPOWERED now and I owe you a big THANK YOU. While I am later in years of a long artistic background you are definitely a milestone in my life!”-Ernie Stripling, UCLA Workshop Student, February 2019

    “I just want to let you know, I would’ve paid $1,000+ for your class, learned a lot from it, and it’s exactly what I was looking for!”- Brandon Magpantay, UCLA Workshop Student, February 2019

    “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. Visit the Business of Photography Consultation page.



    Photoshelter Logo

    Photoshelter They help freelancers display, distribute, market, license and connect with clients. They provide the infrastructure that governs my website and provides the foundation from which I run my entire business by providing e-commerce integration, customizable templates, secure cloud storage, client only access and many other features vital to my digital presence. Please use my referral code and save $15 (the code also provides a $10 credit to my account which helps offset costs associated with the course and my business)


    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.)