Tips and Advice for Running a Photography Business

Note: This class was recorded in May 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

Understandably many people are worried about their businesses at this time. It’s a difficult period for many businesses and of course, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Questions and concerns revolve around: do I have enough financial security to get through this? Will my clients be financially sound on the other side? How am I going to cover my rent and business expenses during this difficult time? Will the economy bounce back?

And these are all valid concerns not just for photographers but for all businesses. Later in this video, I explain how our own business nearly went bust and what we did to recover.

What can we do to improve the appeal of our business and maximize sales and what can we do now during this lockdown period to give ourselves the best chance coming out on the other side?

As difficult as it might be, try to keep a level head and good business sense. Business is not complicated. It really comes down to a few key points that if understood make working through things a lot simpler. So let’s look at business first and near the end of this video we’ll look at some of the things you can do to help yourself during the lockdown.

In this video, I outline what’s worked for me and how I’ve negotiated challenging business times in the past and what’s important to you give yourself the best chances of bouncing back and hitting the ground running when we emerge from lockdown.

1. Supply and Demand.
2: Know what your audience wants and target them with the right message
3: Up-Skill and constantly improve.
4: Stay connected and build relationships
5. Identify your best customers
6: Preparation, awareness, and strength
7: Entrepreneurialism, Passion and Motivation
8: Expert Advice, Knowledge and Mentor Guidance

Hopefully, this video will provide you with insight, some food for thought, and maybe even a necessary reality check.

If you are truly passionate and willing to put in the work you can create a patch for yourself even in a crowded market and running a business can be extremely satisfying and a rewarding career path.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. Hi Karl! A local agency that specializes in food and agriculture has asked me for an agency rate card. I’m wondering how much information to include without overwhelming them? They do a lot of food photography for local restaurants but they also do portraits of local farmers for various agricultural media campaigns. To me, these are very different types of shoots….i.e. one type I could shoot by myself with very little set-up, the other would require assistants and stylists…

    Thank you for your insight!


    1. Hi Susan, yes it’s perfectly acceptable to deliver and publish different rates for different types of work. I have different rates that are visible to my clients and include things like, working from my own studio or working abroad. Cost of assistants, pre-production rates, post-production rates and shoot rates. They all vary based on the project and the level of expertise you provide. From the clients perspective it is very easy to understand that some jobs are easier than others and therefore the prices can reflect that. Never be afraid to state things in this way.

  2. Hi Karl I need help. I took photos of an underage model, free of charge from an agency. What do I have to do to have a valid release that grants me the right to use the images?

    I also downloaded the release, but I would need a release between me and the agency, the agency I think already has a contract with the model signed by the parents

    1. Hi Mario, the parents or guardians need to sign your model release or the model agency needs to give you a release (with a copy of their own release) to allow you to publish the images on your website for your portfolio. You won’t be able to use them commercially though only for your portfolio.

  3. Thank you for this important video, Mr. Taylor! I took the time to watch this because I want to build a headshot photography business. Your steps really gave me a gut check and a wake up call on what I need to do to have a successful and profitable business. Like you mentioned, friends and loved ones like my work but how would it hold up in this market? I get so much great value from KTE — technical and business! Let me get to work!

  4. I love the brutal honesty in this vid; no BS, no trying to sell me a dream, just the unfiltered truth! It’s made me want to a take a real long cold hard objective look at myself. Thanks Karl!

  5. Hi, Karl
    I am Kaustubh from India, I have a question –
    In this video @ 14:00 to 14:16 you talked about the concepts or technical knowledge as a photographer should know, I want to gain all this knowledge, Guide me From where to start your course to learn all the terms you spoke in this video.

    I started learning from your suggestion response in “16. Simulating Sunlight.”

    If possible to do visit my site – and give your throughs on improvements.. I tried the Kiwi shot after seeing your video. – its in food session.

  6. Sorry for asking, at the minute of 14:10 how to spell the falloff ark is it? havent heard of it. Need to study the basic. Thank you

    1. Hi, it was ‘fall off are’ so I was talking about lighting ‘fall off’ which is covered in many of our tutorials. Start in the portrait section chapter one.

  7. Thanks Karl.
    This is, like all the videos in KTE, extremely detailed and clear.
    Thanks a lot for your works and passion.

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