About Todd

Thanks for taking a moment to view my work and background. I am a contributing photographer to Contact Press Images based in Los Angeles, California and shoot for a wide range of editorial, non profit and corporate clients. I’m an adjunct professor of photojournalism/photography, founder of The Business of Photography Workshop, and author of “The Freelance Photographer’s Guide To Success: Business Essentials” (Focal Press, May 2021). I’ve traveled the world on assignment for a long list of clients (see below) and been fortunate to work with incredible editors, publications and agencies along the way.

I advocate for freelancers’ rights as they pertain to fair fees for assignment work as well as for licensing terms that provide for the needs of the licensee without inhibiting the rights of the licensor. I strive to help educate the next generation of photographers, the majority of whom will work as freelancers, to develop sound business practices necessary for a long, fulfilling career. 


After working for several years at newspapers, including five years as a contract photographer at the Los Angeles Times where I contributed to two team Pulitzer Prizes, I began my full-time freelance career in the early 1990s. My work incorporates portraits, documentary subjects, sports, lifestyle, news and corporate work in both stills and video. Below is a partial list of clients who have commissioned my work:

    • Sports Illustrated (19 years as a regular contributor)
    • ESPN
    • Time
    • Smithsonian
    • Politico
    • NY Times Magazine
    • People
    • Newsweek
    • NBC News
    • Vox
    • US News & World Report
    • AARP
    • National Geographic Traveler
    • Sunset Magazine
    • Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Public Radio International
    • Washington Post
    • USA Today
    • Der Spiegel (Europe’s leading news weekly) 
    • Southern Poverty Law Center
    • The James Irvine Foundation
    • Teaching Tolerance
    • Food & Environment Reporting Network 
    • Costco 
    • Target Corporation 
    • General Motors
    • SVI Holdings, Inc  



I’ve been fortunate to align with outstanding photo agencies throughout my freelance career:

  • Black Star Photo Agency: 1993-1998
  • Black Star played an integral role in photojournalism from its founding in 1935 and through the turn of the century.

    • Aurora Photos: 1998-2015

    Founded by Jose Azel, I was fortunate to be one of only a dozen photographers in the US in the 1990s under their umbrella. As they expanded their roster and archive, the agency turned from a hardcore editorial based agency to the more lucrative commercial space where outdoor action, adventure and lifestyle drove the vision. Aurora was eventually sold to Cavan Images.

    • Contact Press Images: 2016-Present

    Today I am blessed to be a contributing photographer to Contact Press Images. Founded by legends Robert Pledge and David Burnett, Contact remains a force as an independent photojournalism agency whose members and contributors are dedicated to documenting issues and news worldwide while maintaining control of their work. 


    I’m blessed to have had my work exhibited multiple times in the U.S., France and Spain. Fourteen images from my long term essay on immigration reside in the permanent collection at the California Museum of Photography. Images were also on display for many years in the California History gallery at the Oakland Museum of California. Additional work was on display at Washington DC’s Newseum for years prior to the journalism museum’s closing. I’ve also participated in group exhibitions about the turn of the millennium, 9/11 and Occupy Wall Street.


    I’ve worked since 1998 as a part-time, adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge. Courses include the following:

            • Beginning Photojournalism
            • Advanced Photojournalism
            • Documentary Photojournalism
            • Tutorial
            • Advanced Studio Lighting/Freelance Business Practices
            • Visual Communications


              • Recognized in 2017 with an Exceptional Levels of Service to Students award at CSUN for efforts in and outside of class to help my students gain the necessary technical and business skills to launch their careers.


                • The 2019 Clifton Edom Award from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) that recognizes an individual who “motivates members of the photojournalism community to reach new heights.”



    My thirty years of experience in the freelance world has taught me plenty through trials and tribulations. The combination of my experience and research has resulted in my opinions being sought by universities and by professional photographers in regards to freelance business practices. I’ve also been hired as a expert witness to provide information pertaining to copyright and licensing standards in the photo industry. I’m a staunch believer in a photographer’s right to maintain control of his work while protecting it against unauthorized use.

    I have compiled my professional experiences navigating the freelance world for over twenty-five years into a workshop and Consultation Service that focuses on the Business of Photography. The workshop addresses many issues freelancers face on a daily basis including portfolio assessment and development, freelance market analysis, image licensing for revenue, copyright issues and case studies, how to effectively combat infringement, recovering lost licensing revenue, rate/term negotiations, client development tactics, digital asset management workflow, understanding agency representation, business models (LLC, Sole Proprietor, S Corp) and social media integration and workflow, to name a few.

    I’m pleased to present this workshop as a means to help educate the next generation of photographers in a rapidly evolving market. In addition to being deeply integrated into my regular studio lighting course at CSU Northridge, the workshop (or portions of) has been hosted by the following:

              • UCLA Extension (20 times)
              • ASMP Oregon
              • ASMP Atlanta
              • ASMP San Diego
              • ASMP New Orleans
              • National Press Photographers Association, Northern Short Course (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
              • Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar
              • FotoFusion (2017 & 2018)
              • San Diego State University
              • University of Arizona
              • Brooks Institute of Photography (two times)
              • California Center for Digital Arts
              • Pierce College
              • Otis College of Art & Design
              • The Sports Shooter Academy annual conference.


    The course has been named multiple times as an “inspiring” and “fantastic” workshops worldwide. Please visit the Business of Photography Workshop page for more information, student testimonials and to register for upcoming workshops.

    As noted above, I have also provided expert witness research and testimony for copyright infringement cases. Please let me know if I can be of service.

    Feel free to contact me at info [at] ToddBigelowPhotography [dot] com, or click on the Contact tab above.

    (Above Left, talking about copyright issues to photographers during the UnderExposed event at the Old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Photo ©2017, George H. Long. Posted with permission.)


            • “The most important element in a relationship between a photo editor and photographer is trust. When a photo editor picks up the phone and assigns a photographer, they have already placed their faith in the photographer’s ability to come home with the goods. There has yet to be an assignment in the close to twenty years of my relationship with Todd Bigelow where he didn’t come home with the goods. He is fully aware of what his client needs. Not only does he deliver but he will give the client something extra. There have been many photographs that Todd has taken on his own during an assignment that were far superior to those he was instructed to shoot.”—James K. Colton, former Picture Editor at Sports Illustrated, former Director of Photography, Newsweek and currently Director at Zuma Press Images.


            • 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 the University of Arizona.


            • As someone who has completed undergraduate, Masters, and PhD programs, in addition to numerous certification and continuing education courses throughout the years, [The Business of Photography] is by far one of the best courses I have ever participated in. Both the content and the organization of the course were superb. I’m walking away from this experience with a tremendous amount of content and insights that will be directly applicable starting tomorrow!“–John Bosma, Professional Photographer  http://www.john-bosma-photo.com