AJ Coots is a headshot and commercial photographer based in Portland, Oregon. (
In addition to being a regular contributor to SLR Lounge, AJ has been seen on and Kevin Kubota’s Photographer’s Ignite. When she’s not awkwardly composing her bio in the third person, she teaches photography + lighting workshops and speaks publicly (and privately) to emerging photographers about the business of being a creative entrepreneur.


Book Review

When I started dabbling in serious photography with my first SLR (at the tender age of 11) the first genre I learned to shoot was landscapes. I loved to experiment with...

Path to Pro with AJ

How do you know when you can finally call yourself a professional photographer, legitimately and unapologetically? When will you be able to name yourself as a real 'pro' without...

Path to Pro with AJ

Failure, SNAFU, FU-BAR, blowing it, messing up, bombing, dying. f*ck-ing up, fiasco. Failure is the scary monster under the bed that keeps many of us from sticking our little...

Path to Pro with AJ

Many young (and not so young) photographers wanting to break into the photography business offer to do 'free work' in hopes of establishing a relationship with a potential...

Path to Pro with AJ: How Wishes Can Transform Your Photography Business

If your photography business is a ‘squash’ when you’d like it to be a success, then read on. I’m going to teach you to transform it from a pumpkin to a handsome coach,...
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Turn Photography New Year’s Resolutions into Reality

Well, it’s here, that perennial season of resolutions and good intentions. We’ve made it through the holidays and the best Christmas present has been saved till last: a...

Finding the Path to Pro, Part 2: How to Work for Free

So many young (and not so young) photographers wanting to break into the photography business tell me that while they bide their time, when they can’t get paying gigs, they do...

Path to Pro, Part One: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Photography is your love, your passion. And in your heart you know that you want to transition from being an amateur to pursuing your passion professionally. You've even gotten...