About Todd

Todd Bigelow on assignment for Sports Illustrated.

Thanks for taking a moment to view my work and background. I am a Los Angeles, California based editorial, non profit and corporate photographer, adjunct professor of photography, founder of The Business of Photography Workshop, and author of “The Freelance Photographer’s Guide To Success: Business Essentials” (Focal Press, Summer 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.

On a personal note, I’m a husband, father of an incredibly hard working young man, politically aware, socially conscience person (thanks mom) who believes the best way to lead is by doing, not by talking

I’m proud to advocate strongly against freelance photo contracts that strip photographers of their ability to maintain control of their images, in particular Work For Hire agreements. WFH contracts are the single most destructive force in the freelance photography/photojournalism profession and have served to systematically diminish the opportunity for freelancers to earn much needed secondary income from licensing photographs.

CLIENT LIST:

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:

  • TIME
  • Sports Illustrated (19 years as a regular contributor)
  • ESPN
  • Smithsonian
  • Politico
  • NY Times Magazine
  • People
  • Newsweek
  • NBC News
  • Vox
  • US News & World Report
  • AARP
  • National Geographic Traveler
  • 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  

REPRESENTATION:

I’ve been blessed by outstanding representation from my early foray into the freelance world in the 1990s through the present. After several years in the early 1990s with the Black Star Photo Agency, I joined Aurora Photos in 1998 where I was one of only a dozen photographers in the US. 

Today I am fortunate to be a contributing photographer with work represented by Contact Press Images. Projects include New Americans, a look at immigrants seeking citizenship out of fear of a Trump presidency published by Public Radio International, Asylum Seekers in Tijuana, Mexico published by Southern Poverty Law Center, Portrait of A Neighborhood Under Lockdown depicting life under the Covid19 pandemic published by NBC News, The New Underground Economy documenting “non-essential” businesses secretly staying open in defiance of Covid19 shutdown orders published by Politico, and Black Lives Matter Protests in White Suburbia licensed/published by Vox. 

EXHIBITIONS:

I’m blessed to have had my work exhibited multiple times in the U.S., France and Spain. Fourteen of my images from a long term essay on immigration reside in the permanent collection at the California Museum of Photography. Images were also on display for several years in the California History galleryat the Oakland Museum of California. Additional work was on display at Washington DC’s Newseum for years prior to the journalism museum’s closing. 

TEACHING:

A early Eddie Adams Workshop alumnus (EAW III) with multiple additional years as a volunteer staff member, I’ve worked since 1998 as a part-time, adjunct professor teaching Beginning and Advanced Photojournalism, Documentary Photojournalism, Advanced Studio Lighting/Business Practices and Visual Communications at California State University, Northridge. I was awarded in 2017 an Exceptional Levels of Service to Students award for my work at CSU Northridge. My work educating other photographers on freelance business practices earned me the 2019 Clifton Edom Award from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). I also teach a variety of courses, including Street Photography and Portrait Photography at various times through UCLA Extension.

THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP & CONSULTATION SERVICES

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 (17 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 was named multiple times by Photoshelter as one of the top “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 todd [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.)


TESTIMONIALS:

  • “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