Workshops Help Photographers Navigate the Precariat Class

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/90

Business of Photography Workshop 

presented by Todd Bigelow


This past weekend for two solid days Todd Bigelow shared from his perspective business tips to the American Society of Media Photographers Atlanta Chapter. ASMP believes that if everyone is fully informed about the business of photography that this will help photographers know how to run a successful business.

The meeting was hosted by The Creative Circus. The Creative Circus mission is to graduate the best-prepared, most avidly sought-after creatives in the marketing communications industry. Unlike traditional college programs their emphasis is on portfolios and really good ones. The teachers are all working professionals as opposed to many professors who have been mainly in academia.

ASMP wanted to be sure that these students not only have a great portfolio but understand how to run a business.

Todd Bigelow believes in the 80/20 rule where 20% of how to be successful is your portfolio and the other 80% is your business practices.

There were about 23 people taking the class. The majority of the class was made up of very successful photographers with more than 20+ years in the industry. Why were they taking the class you might wonder?

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/20


While photographers are not required to do continuing education to maintain a certificate–everyone taking this class understands that continuing education keeps them up on the latest ideas in the industry. 

Photographers join the Precariat Class

In sociology and economics, the precariat is a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare as well as being a member of a proletariat class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labour to live. Specifically, it is applied to the condition of lack of job security, in other words intermittent employment or underemployment and the resultant precarious existence. The emergence of this class has been ascribed to the entrenchment of neoliberal capitalism.

– Wikipedia

Todd Bigelow introduced me to the term Precariat, which was a great description of how my career had felt for many years. Photographers are not the only ones going through this, but we have joined other professions with this sense of unpredictability.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 5000, ƒ/25, 1/40

Classmates become the professor

It is quite common at all the workshops I attend that the other class participants will often chime in with expertise that is just as helpful and sometime even more than the main instructor.

Annalise Kaylor who has more than a decade of experience as a social media strategist and content marketing consultant was taking the class as well. She was able to help the class understand some of the social media realm and even gave some great examples of how photography is now used to help companies.

One such example was a well known company that used a photograph with their social media buy of 2 million dollars for a one week use on social media.

We all learned how much photography was not just helping tell stories, but being used to gather data that helps companies then to do a better job of marketing and selling this information. Just imagine if you had the names of the people who are hiring photographers for projects. You could cut down on that 80% business and spend a lot more time on the 20% of photography and increase it.

Another person taking the class was Mitzie Goldman who was a CPA and was able to add information about taxes.

When we talked about working with NGOs besides my own experience we had Gary S Chapman who has specialized in this for his entire career since the late 1970s.

I mention these classmates as just a small part of what everyone contributed in class. When you take workshops like this you will learn not just from the instructor but from those taking the class. I think of this as the serendipitous bonus factor of continuing education. Sometimes these tidbits you pick up that you had no idea might happen sometimes are the best part of the class.

Workshop opportunity I offer

This January 9 – 16, 2016, I am running a workshop with my friend James Dockery in Chiapas, Mexico.

Café Justo is a coffee grower cooperative based in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico. You will work with one of the coffee farmers to capture their story of how the coffee cooperative help to change their lives.

This workshop is designed for photographers who want to add to their skill set multimedia. We will teach you how to create the storyline, capture your subject telling their own story using audio/video, create video/stills to accompany that story and then how to put it all together using Adobe Premier Pro.

One of the most difficult parts of storytelling is access to a great story. We have put in place everything to help you tell a great story in an exotic location.

Register before the end of October 2015 and save $200.

Audio for DSLR Filmmakers

Another great opportunity for workshop is the one ASMP/Atlanta is hosting with Michael Schwarz on Audio for DSLR Filmmakers. Michael shows how to get the best quality audio while shooting DSLR video. Microphone selection, placement, recording directly to camera or with a digital recorder are critical to creating compelling motion projects. Michael explains, step-by-step, simple, best practices for shooting multi-camera interviews.

Here is a link to that 2 hour program on November 4, 2015.