Two Minutes With Todd

Two Minutes With Todd is my effort to briefly break-down important issues that freelance photographers confront while running their business. It was born from many emails and requests I receive for information related to the business issues freelance photographers face regularly. From contracts to licensing, terms, fees, negotiating quotes, archive management, workflow, copyright, infringement and more, I will break down topics very briefly to give the viewer insight and direction. By no means are these videos meant as comprehensive analysis, but rather as important reminders, refreshers and fundamental insights that you can quickly reference. Check it out if you “got two minutes,” a phrase not adhered to literally, but figuratively (they are short videos, though, I promise!) and make sure to subscribe.

For more detailed information on these and other topics, please check out my upcoming Business of Photography Workshop dates where we delve deeply into these same concerns during two full days (15 hours) of instruction. In addition, my guidebook, The Freelance Photographer’s Guide To Success: Business Essentials, (Focal Press, May, 2021) offers much more extensive insight into running a freelance photo business and is available where books are sold and directly (best price) by the publisher. 

Please follow me at Business of Photography Workshop on Twitter for updates as well.  



Applying Advice From A GroupOn CEO: Freelance photographers, especially photojournalists, like to think of themselves as unique, creative individuals with a unique client base. But there’s much advice we can take and apply from those who’ve run big corporations with thousands of employees. Let’s talk about how one CEO’s approach to growing a business can apply to even you, a sole proprietor.

Tips for Photo Students: Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, here are some tips taken from years teaching photojournalism and photography classes at various universities that I know will help you short term and in the long run.

Licensing Lifestyle: Research from years of licensing via my agency and directly makes it clear that lifestyle images are consistently in demand. Here’s some examples of my most often licensed images and why you need to always be shooting daily life.

Three Reasons Branching Out Will Help You: We’re programmed to think that only employees have job security but that’s not the whole picture. If you branch out into new areas, you can create a more secure business, avoid bad contracts and replace slow paying clients with those who pay quickly.

Helping Google Identify Your Images as Licensable: Getting eyes on your images is the goal for any photographer and especially for freelancers looking to develop licensing income. Here’s what you need to do to help Google tag your images with a Licensable badge.

Five Things Every Freelancer Should Expect: If you talk to enough experienced freelancers you can rest assured they’ve all come to expect these five things to occur.

Advice For New Photographers: Members of the photojournalism and photography community pay it forward on Twitter by sharing advice that they’d give to new photographers entering the profession.

Three Things I’ve Learned About Reporting Income: Obviously, how you report your income is vital to your taxes so do yourself a favor and avoid these three common oversights when doing your taxes. 

Do You Worry About Your Photographs Being Infringed? Unauthorized use of photographers’ work is all too common which causes anxiety and concern in the freelance world. Here’s a few things you can do to help relieve some of that stress. 

Camaraderie Is Important For The Health Of Your Business: Freelancing can feel disconnected and isolating at times, so it’s important to the health of your business, as well as your mental health, to find a sense of camaraderie. 

Real Recent Requests for Licensing & How I Dealt With Them: If you do the work in advance with your archive and familiarize yourself with licensing practices and standards, you’ll be far more successful when it comes to controlling & licensing your photos. I discuss two scenarios from this week.

Inflation Is Soaring. What Can Freelancers Do? Raising rates is always a tricky affair when you freelance. Mainstream editorial publications mostly have a “take it or leave it” offer with rates which leaves freelancers with less money when inflation soars but rates stay the same. What to do?

5 Practical (and affordable!) Gift Ideas For Photographers: Going beyond a wish list of expensive cameras and lenses, here are five simple and relatively affordable gift ideas for any photographer or photojournalist.

It’s November! Time To Assess Your Income: The middle of November is the ideal time to assess how the year has gone for you. Taking time now to assess your income provides you ample time to make adjustments that can lower your taxable income while investing in your future. 

Balancing Helping Others And Helping Yourself: It’s imperative that all freelancers, especially experienced photographers, find ways to help others. But devoting time and making a commitment to self discovery are also important which is why I highly recommend researching, studying and seeking information from a variety of sources.

Splitting Your Website In Two: Why would any photographer want to put 50,000 images on their website? Doesn’t it make more sense to only put your best work on your site? In this episode, I discuss splitting your website in two.

Which Platform Is Right For You? There are many options for presenting your work on websites, but which is right for you? Here’s some things to keep in mind that will help you run your business, not just present a portfolio. 

Options For Setting Up Your Business: There are several choices for how to set up your photo business. Here are the three most common for freelancer photographers. 

Tips For Aspiring Photographers As A New Semester Begins: It’s that time again when aspiring photographers and photojournalists are moving onto campus, registering for classes and advancing their education. As an adjunct professor, working photographer and father of a college grad, I have a few thoughts on what you can do to help yourself succeed.

Hiring A Lawyer To Pursue Infringement: If you are considering working with a lawyer to resolve an infringement claim, please keep these factors in mind before deciding who to work with.

The Cost Of A Photo Degree: The cost of obtaining and undergraduate or graduate degree in photography or photojournalism can run in the hundreds of thousands. Is it worth it? What should you consider in making your decision?

Supply & Demand: Supply and demand issues reverberate throughout our economy, sometimes resulting in sellers (service providers included) gaining an upper hand and sometimes buyers (clients) having the upper hand. It’s no different for freelance photographers and understanding the supply/demand dynamic will help you understand the profession.

Having an Efficient Workflow: Keeping an efficient workflow in mind begins when shooting, includes using the “ingest” feature of PhotoMechanic, exporting images twice (yes, twice!) and eventually to raising awareness.

Freelance Budgeting Tips: A few things I’ve learned over the years as a freelancer that will help photographers budget for their business.

How To Deal With Copyright Infringement: Combating copyright infringement is a necessary process in the digital age and these steps will help you deal with unauthorized use of your work.

Trigger Words in Photo Contracts: Photo contracts can be long and tedious documents to read, but it’s vital that you read them and keep a keen eye out for certain words and phrases.

Increasing Your Chances To License Your Photos: Stock photography is not dead. With effort and a willingness to do what’s needed to make your images available, you can generate licensing income.

There’s a BIG Difference Between Creating and Earning Revenue: As a freelancer, if you wait for clients to contact you so you can earn income, you’re going to struggle far more than necessary. CREATING revenue is the first step to earning and here’s three things you can do to help yourself.

For Aspiring Photographers: Which University Should You Pick? Now is when acceptance letters start to roll in & these 5 things can help you decide which program to pick and improve your chances of transitioning to a career.

Preparing Your Taxes: A key component to avoiding the payment of penalties and unnecessary taxes is organization. Keep these simple recommendations in mind.

Copyright And Controlling Your Work: Two examples from this week drive home why retaining copyright and controlling the photographs I produce is so important. One example resulted in a license and fee, one did not.

It’s The Little Things That Count: Staying in the freelance game for the long haul means paying attention to the often overlooked, small details that are key to creating a professional, efficient business.

Transitioning From College to Profession: Graduating from college into the profession is not easy, but diversifying will help you get started. You should also temper your expectations at the beginning and consider sources of income outside of photography as you grow your business

Documenting Historical Events: It demands that you keep some important factors in mind about how to handle, distribute and protect your photos.

Location, Location, Location: It’s one of the biggest decisions a freelancer will face: Where to base yourself. Here’s a few things to consider.

Short Term vs. Long Term: It’s easy to make decisions & only consider short term impact, such as you want to work so you take any freelance gig. But where does that leave you long term? Can you sustain a career? This week’s video looks at at 5 “Short term vs Long Term” decisions for freelancers.

Photo Insurance For Freelancers: Yes, it’s mundane and boring as hell to talk about insurance when you’re in a creative field, but freelance photographers are well advised to carry it and for reasons that go beyond protecting your gear.

Year In Review Photo Requests: As 2020 comes to an end, keep this in mind if or when your images are selected for a year in review curation.

Two Ways To Build A Photo Archive: A short look at two ways you can build a licensable photo archive and deduct your expenses incurred.

5 Key Aspects To Copyright Law: Briefly discussing five fundamental aspects photographers need to know about the US Copyright Law and protections afforded them. 

Exposure Compensation: Being offered exposure only as compensation is an all-too-common occurrence. I share how I’ve been been offered “exposure” as the only form of compensation for use of my photos and how I respond to counter those requests.

Model Releases: Not sure if a model release is required for someone to publish your photograph? This is what you need to consider.

Real Consequences:The choices we make as freelance photographers regarding image rights has real consequences when it comes to covering 5 basic expenses. 

“In Perpetuity”: There are many contractual terms and clauses to be mindful of and “in perpetuity” should definitely be near the top of that list. Looking at the ramifications of granting perpetual use of your work.

Pitching Your Projects: A short conversation on how to take your projects from idea to pitch and (hopefully) publication.

Valuing Your Images: The fight to control the value of your images is real and those requesting your work will often try to wrest control from you. 

Rights Managed License: How to manage use of your work via a Rights Managed License

The Archive: Let’s look at how an archive is set-up to serve your needs.

Work For Hire: A common contract issued to freelancers, so let’s see what it really means.

Work For Hire Part Two: Breaking down the real impact that signing these contracts has on freelancers.

Contracts/Successor Rights: A brief look at the importance of understanding how a contract clause allows for your image rights to be assigned and sold to others. Specifics related to the 2016 TIME Inc/Sports Illustrated contract which is now governed by new owners, Authentic Brands.