Mission of The BOP Workshop

Cliff diving, Hawaii. ©2004 Todd Bigelow.


















The mission of the Business of Photography workshop is to educate others about the reality of freelance photography. Plain and simple, stripped to the core, I want to share my experiences from the past two decades photographing for worldwide clients in the editorial, corporate and non profit worlds to help others create and sustain a career.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of workshops that cater to the creative side of photography. From Santa Fe to Maine to the Catskills of New York you can find a great workshop to help you create a vision, a look or teach you technique. But this is not one of them. This is about business. This is about learning to value yourself and your work. This is about freelancing. This is about reality.

The business of freelancing is too often overlooked, especially by the slow-to-evolve universities and colleges who are graduating very talented, creative individuals into a career of freelancing with little or no understanding of what it takes to truly succeed. That may sound like harsh criticism, and it may be, but my research and extensive personal experience has led me to understand that the vast majority of photography colleges, or universities offering degrees or certificates in photography/photojournalism, do not offer the business education needed to transition from a student to a businessperson. And, trust me, as much as photographers despise the thought of being a “businessperson,” a freelance photographer is a businessperson. You will spend a crazy amount of time dealing with issues like contracts, estimating, copyright, client development, combating infringement, licensing, and tax issues to name just a few. So, I developed this course to help others by sharing my own experiences. It’s an honest, “not necessarily what you want to hear” type of workshop at times. But, sometimes we need to hear what we don’t want to hear if there’s any hope of being successful. And sometimes it’s more important to be a voice for change than it is to be popular. At least, in my opinion it is, so this is what I do. Oh, and it’s funny, or at least I think it is, because there’s sure a lot of laughing going on each weekend. 🙂

ASMP Oregon has hosted my workshop twice.

In this workshop, you will get a unfiltered view of what it’s like in the freelance world of editorial/corporate and non profit photography. To give you an idea of what awaits, I project a motion picture like warning advising of the real potential for foul language and highly animated behavior. I will walk you through many issues and support the presentation with real emails, contracts, licenses, invoices and case studies derived from my own career (redacted, of course). Above all, I’ll stress how to value your time and photographs. I’m still out there shooting and dealing with the very issues that I speak about during the workshop, so the presentation is always evolving, and that is an important point for me. You see, once someone says “that’s the truth” it’s not actually relevant any longer because “truth” is set in time whereby knowledge is constantly evolving. I’m going to share my knowledge. There is no universal truth anyway.

Please visit the workshop homepage for testimonials that I’ve received over the past few years from newly minted graduates, seasoned veterans transitioning from staff jobs and those looking for a “second career” after retiring from a full-time job.

For course topics, dates, registration links and more, visit the workshop home page.