Introduction and Commercial Workflow

Turning your passion into a career is something many photographers dream of, but it requires more than just good photography skills.

In this series of classes Karl, who has run his own successful photography business for over 20 years, aims to share his knowledge and demonstrate how you too can run a successful photography business. In the following classes he covers topics such as how to make money with your photography, working with clients and to a brief, set building and props, how to grow your studio and business, pricing your photography, marketing strategies as well as other useful skills for photographers.

In this introductory class, Karl looks at what commercial photography is and unpacks the commercial project flow from client to completion. This class will help give you an understanding of the process of a commercial shoot and why it’s important to understand the different stages.

In this class:

  • How to run a successful photography business
  • What is commercial photography?
  • Types of commercial photography
  • The 10 steps of the commercial project flow
The business of photography course

Learn how to run your own successful photography business.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.



    I shot The Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles, I used to live there so I’d like to present my work to them for advertisement, especially they don’t have many good pictures on their website, I’d like to know which department to reach when dealing with an hotel and what format do you present your pictures in order to protect them from being used without me getting paid?

    1. Hi, for protection a not too disruptive water mark should do the trick. In terms of presentation I would deliver both a printed version of the images as well as an email and I would address this to the marketing director and another set to the hotel manager and director of communications. It’s perfectly fine to hit more than a few people in the same organisation and then hopefully it will end up on the correct desk. The other was is to call the receptionist and ask who is responsible for that department and tell them you have something to mail them and could you get a name please.

  2. Hello! I am setting up my ‘retirement job’ now, while I have a full time job. I am taking it slow, but also want to make sure I start on the right track, so I don’t have to change later. Your videos have been a great resource so far!
    My weak point is pricing. I always underprice anything I do, and photography is no different. I need to boost my confidence and my prices along with it.
    I have seen most of the comments saying ‘check local photographers in your area with your skill level’ and compare. But I have have no luck finding that resource yet. Probably because I undervalue myself and then look for that.
    Any tips on building that confidence up front, to get a good read on the local market, and start earning what I am really worth? 🙂
    Steve from Atlanta

  3. Hi Karl
    What would you advise to do to an amateur, who is making his living from a non-photography full-time job and who just wants to earn some money from photography to refinance his hobby?
    How did you you get your first photography assingments/jobs at the beginning of your carreer, when nobody knew you yet?

    1. I am in the same situation. Full time job, working towards my retirement job. Just getting started.
      I posted in a local Facebook group for small businesses. Offered Free 5 item product shoot in exchange for Testimonial for my site. Worked great! Since it was a small business group, word got around quickly. And I learned so much in that process.

  4. Hello! Great video

    What do you suggest for clients who don’t have a brief or ad agency? Most if not all my clients come to me with just a product and say “just shoot it creatively”.

    Watching this, I realise I am wayyyy overdelivering (no wonder I am burnt out), as I am pretty much coming up with the concept, shooting, editing, everything all by myself.

    I feel like the majority small businesses do not have an agency or art director…etc. perhaps this is something I should have as an added service?

    Thanks a bunch! Starting to realise I am not even close to charging my worth!

    1. Hi Caitlin, I think we talk through in other business classes that you should at least work with the client to have some sort of brief or direction in writing so that they can’t come back later and say ‘that’s not what I was expecting’. Often the best way is to ask the client to show you what they like, maybe from one of their competitors or the lighting style on another product. From these examples that they drag off the internet then between you you can create a set of mood boards that form the basis of the brief, then add the shot list and you all know what you are working to achieve and it also makes it easier to work out the pricing based on your day rate and how long you think it’s going to take.

  5. Hi Karl,
    Hope all’s well.
    In terms of the process, would you recommend adding a ‘Post-Purchase’ (follow-up/feedback, etc) aspect to the above 10-point process? This might be important to secure future business with the client. The photographers that I’ve dealt with in the past never offered this. Had they have done so, I would probably have remained with them. I think a lot of businesses focus much of their marketing on new customer acquisition, sometimes at the expense of retaining existing customers.
    Just some of my useless thoughts!

    1. Hi Mark, that is a very good point and it is actually something that I do with every project/client a few weeks after completion of the shoot. It maintains a great relationship with clients and often brings in new work almost immediately while you’re hot in their minds. Cheers Karl.

  6. Hi Karl,
    today I was refreshing myself with this amazing and inspirational video.

    In the effort to build a sustainable photography business I am always in need about advices on how to pitch to clients. I am more focusing on food and product photography so currently I am pitching to blogger, restaurants, food brands, marketing agencies etc.

    Do you have any advice about how to deal with follow ups if no answer is received, except for appreciation of your portfolio? Any particular strategy to follow?


    1. Hi Telang, unfortunately it requires tenacity and thick skin and not be worried about being told no. You have to call several times, write, send postcards etc etc to get their attention with your work and then you have to keep calling until you get a reply. It may be they don’t need any photography work? So you do need to be sure they are using photography or someone else and then you can justify calling them. Sometimes the offer of a first free shoot will get their attention.

  7. I’ve been trying to find a commercial photographer in my area to learn from. There are only a few here and they are hesitant to mentor. I’m so happy Karl Taylor education exists. I’ve just started, and I’m already learning things about the photography business!

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