1st Edition

The Freelance Photographer’s Guide To Success Business Essentials

By Todd Bigelow Copyright 2021
    250 Pages 19 Color & 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 19 Color & 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 19 Color & 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    Pulling from thirty years of experience as a freelance photographer, veteran Todd Bigelow presents a timely and detailed account of the methods and tactics best used to navigate and succeed in the profession. He explores 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. Chapters feature examples of real contract clauses and emails to better prepare readers for the practical daily activities that are essential to growing a success business. Likewise, Bigelow shares conversational anecdotes throughout to provide real insight into the world of freelancing.

    Based on the author’s sought-after Business of Photography Workshop, this book is an essential guide for emerging, mid-career, and experienced photographers interested in starting or improving their own freelance business.

    1. Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going 2. Freelancing 101: Basics To Always Keep In Mind 3. Creating Versus Earning Revenue 4. Client Development 5. Analyzing & Negotiating Photo Contracts 6. Understanding Copyright and Copyright Infringement 7. Licensing for life: Leveraging Your Images for Income 8. Rates and Terms 9. The 1099 Life 10. Glossary of Terms and Phrases 11. Resources & Suggestions


    Todd Bigelow is an award-winning freelance photographer of nearly 30 years. He has photographed for many of the world’s best publications, non-profits and corporations; is founder of the Business of Photography Workshop available nationwide; and is a contributing photographer to Contact Press Images. He received the 2019 Clifton Edom Award from the National Press Photographers Association.

    Todd has not only proven himself to be a talented photojournalist, but his teachings in the areas of the business of photography are exceptional.

    Todd was on our faculty at NPPA's Northern Short Course for several years and he presented multiple business of photography sessions to attendees of our three-day photojournalism conference. The reviews from those in attendance were overwhelmingly positive, with one person telling me that what he learned in one three-hour session taught by Todd was worth the tuition price for the entire workshop!

    I'd highly recommend his book to anyone interested in learning about the business of photography.

    John Walker

    Former Chair

    National Press Photographers Association, Northern Short Course


    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 Director of Photography, Newsweek

    Former Picture Editor, Sports Illustrated


    In my opinion, Todd’s knowledge of the freelance world and willingness to share are a great resource for new photographers. I believe his hands-on industry experience and practical advice could be a huge help to anyone considering a career in freelance photography.

    Cristina Markarian

    Program Representative

    UCLA Extension, Department of the Arts


    After spending more than 20 years as a staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times, I moved to the east coast and embarked on a career as a freelancer. I was immediately lost and overwhelmed by running my own business. Todd’s lessons about how to effectively run my business – from meeting and maintaining clients to billing to image archiving – have proved invaluable. His insights and advice set me on a path to success in the business part of photography that up to that point I’d had zero exposure to as a staffer. He got me up to speed in no time.

    Rick Loomis

    Former Los Angeles Times Staff Photographer

    Pulitzer Prize Recipient, 2007


    Todd Bigelow has written a must-read business guide for anyone considering earning their living as a freelance photographer. Todd’s wealth of experience as a photographer and an instructor guarantees the information is both relevant and easily digestible. Read this book - and learn from one of the best.

    Cradoc Bagshaw


    Cradoc fotoSoftware


    The perfect book to help you become a profitable independent photographer, whether you are just starting out or a seasoned veteran who wants to make the jump into the freelance world. There are valuable, real-life examples from his business. The section on Archives is worth the price of admission.

    William Snyder

    Three Time Pulitzer Prize Recipient

    Professor, School of Photographic Arts & Sciences

    Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)


    Todd Bigelow brings a powerful and insightful voice to the freelance photography world as both an advocate and an educator. Todd has directly elevated the careers of countless photographers, using his own extensive experience to help emerging photographers avoid pitfalls and take a more professional approach to building and growing a photography business. This book, as well as Todd's workshops, are a valuable resource to freelancers seeking success in the challenging world of pro photography.

    Andrew Fingerman




    This book contains many of the unspoken secrets that successful photographers use to make a living with their images. Todd opens the curtain to valuable business practices that all freelance photographers should understand and master. This is the stuff they don’t teach you in photo class, but will set you on a path to financial success.

    David Bergman

    Freelance Photographer

    Canon Explorer of Light


    The business of photography is evolving so much these days, even the best of accumulated knowledge can become obsolete in 1/250 of second. The schools of photography do their job molding minds and honing styles but churn-out today’s students bereft of the skill set necessary to navigate the freelance world. This book is nothing less than tactical gear.

    Jeffrey Smith

    Executive Director

    Contact Press Images


    Bigelow has written a very practical business handbook in a no-nonsense, conversational tone for working photographers. With a keen awareness of the pressures on contemporary photographers, Bigelow offers focused in-depth advice on running a profitable business. All will benefit from reading this Business Essentials guide in our ever-evolving field of photography.

    Rebekah Mininger

    Associate Professor

    Owner of Rebekah Mininger Photography