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The Business of Commercial Photography: The Survival Guide

with John Keatley

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Class duration: 9h 6m

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    12 student reviews

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About The Class

Making your photography stand out

Whether just starting out in the commercial photography industry, or ready for a new chapter in your career, John Keatley shows you how to survive in a competitive field. Known for being innovative, creative and thinking outside the box when it comes to his photography, John applies those same skills into running his business. In this in-depth course, John shares some of the key elements that allow you to be an artist and a business owner. You’ll learn:

  • How to find your style and attract the clients you want
  • How to create a bid
  • The importance of drafting a treatment
  • Estimates and billing for your work
  • Planning and scheduling your production
  • Tips on memorable branding
  • The difference between an Art Director/Agent/Art Buyer
  • Techniques for editing your portfolio

If you’re at the start of your career or ready to expand your client list, this course will be the game changer you need to create a solid foundation for a thriving business.

Topics Covered

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

  2. 02

    Understanding the Industry

  3. 03

    Finding Your Style

  4. 04

    Personal Work

  5. 05

    Building a Brand

  6. 06

    Visual Identity

  7. 07


  8. 08

    Marketing Q&A

  9. 09

    Marketing Tools

  10. 10

    Social Media

  11. 11

    Set Goals & Make an Action Plan

  12. 12

    Marketing Plan

  13. 13

    Marketing Budget

  14. 14

    Before the Shoot

  15. 15

    Why You Should Have a Team

  16. 16

    Production Schedule

  17. 17

    Day of Planning / Scheduling

  18. 18

    Protecting the Creative & Day of Shoot

  19. 19

    Wrap Up

  20. 20

    Artist and Agent Relationship

  21. 21

    Common Questions for Reps/Agents

  22. 22

    Editing Your Work - Portfolio Reviews

  23. 23

    Common Mistakes

  24. 24

    Creative & Licensing Fees

  25. 25

    Estimates & Invoices - Editorial

  26. 26

    Estimates & invoices - Advertising, Photo Libraries

  27. 27

    Creating a Treatment

  28. 28

    Billing & Payment Collection

  29. 29

    Opportunities for Growth

  30. 30

    Investing in Your Career & Moving Forward


Meet Your Expert

John Keatley

John Keatley often self-characterizes his work as a reflection of himself, rather than the individual he is photographing. In recent years ... read more

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Bonus Material

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  • pdf Keatley Reference Guide

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Bonnie Aunchman

    Bonnie Aunchman

    March 2018

    John & Creative Live - Thank you - Best. Class. Ever.! This is a GREAT class! If you are a photographer, this is definitely a MUST GET class, but even if you work with photographers as part of a creative team - you have to take this class. (I'm a Photo Stylist) John covers it ALL in this class - it really, truly is a Survival (Success) Guide. John is so detailed, honest, and generous in his knowledge/experience/wisdom in the commercial photography industry in helping you understand the business and really succeed (& stand out). When I see that John is teaching a class on Creative Live - I'm in! (I have his other valuable courses as well)

  • Creativelive Student

    Creativelive Student

    March 2018

    I was lucky to be part of the studio audience for this course. John is an awesome teacher and did an outstanding job of making sense of a very difficult side of photography for a creative to understand. He shared his 18+ years of experience, including the good and bad he has gone through. The "special guests" alone are worth the cost of this class. John has an amazing team working beside him behind the scenes. Their perspective on his business was priceless!

  • Joseph Brewster

    Joseph Brewster

    November 2019

    John gave an enormous amount of insight and practical advice in this comprehensive course. I really enjoyed a course focused more on commercial and editorial rather than wedding and family, which is more common. Great info and great work all around!

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