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Making Money with Photography | Karl Taylor Course Review

By Lauchlan Toal on March 20th 2016

Are you looking to start a photography business, or expand into a studio? Karl Taylor’s course, Making Money with Photography offers to teach you the business basics and give you the knowledge you need to pursue your passion. But is the three-hour course worth its price of $147?

You might have balked at those numbers. Three hours isn’t a long course, and $147 isn’t as budget-friendly as most of us would like. While you might initially want a lengthier course for that price, you might actually appreciate having the content compressed into three hours rather than being bloated with 10 hours of filler content. Personally, I love short, dense courses. Three hours is easy to free up in a week, whereas long courses are often a serious burden on your time and productivity. So I wouldn’t worry about how long the course is, in three hours, you can learn quite a lot.

I’ll return to discussing pricing and value at the end, but first, let’s look at the content.

Making Money with Photography

 

 

Production Quality

As you might expect from someone who owns a large studio and creates photography courses, the video quality is excellent. The videos are filmed in a well-lit, professional meeting room with a large TV in the background for displaying slides. The slides are inserted into the video at times to showcase images or text when relevant, but most of the video footage is of Karl speaking. There are absolutely no issues with audio; it sounded great to me. There are no fancy effects, which gives it a professionalism suitable for the subject matter.

Presentation Quality

 

It takes a good teacher to compress information into a course like this. Luckily, Karl Taylor is great at this. He’s one of the best speakers in the business and is able to clearly articulate his ideas and keep your attention. It’s easy to tell that he’s made many courses and YouTube videos in the past, as he’s very comfortable in front of the camera. Key points and side-notes occasionally appear on screen in red to emphasize things to remember. It would have been nice to have a little more variety in location, however, like a tour of the studio.

Karl Taylor Teaching

Educational Content

 

Photography courses rarely delve into the business side of photography, even though that’s what most photographers struggle with most. Hence, I’m delighted to see a course entirely devoted to business. The content is broken up into three segments, each roughly an hour long. The first one is focused on client interaction from project flow and creative briefs to working with agencies and individuals. Karl Taylor discusses some of the photos he’s taken and how they evolved from the client’s concepts to reality. The second installment delves into pricing and the factors which influence it. There aren’t many concrete examples of pricing, but Karl does state his day rate and talks about the business decisions that he made as he grew as a photographer. If you’re looking to expand into a studio, you’ll find a lot of good discussion in this section.

Moving on from studios, the video goes into a series of different genres of commercial photography. If you’re not sure of what genres you want to tackle, you’ll get a handy overview of common kinds of photography and how you can get your start in them. The video ends with some thoughts on skills that are becoming more important in commercial photography. As a side note, one of the skills mentioned is CGI. Product photography, in particular, is being replaced, or at least supplemented, with CGI. I’ve recently started playing around with CGI because of this, with the free program Blender.CrystalSpikesRenderSubscatter

The third video starts off with an overview of marketing goals and strategy. Branding and marketing materials are well covered, strongly emphasizing the business side of photography. Personally, I found that this was some of the best information in the course – after all, it doesn’t matter how good your photography is if no one knows about you. The course finishes with a broad overview of all the key business aspects to consider and a discussion of each. Suggestions for pricing and business resources that photographers can use when starting their business as well and the course includes a handful of “business extras” – downloads like model release forms, a pricing calculator, marketing plan forms, and more.

Bonuses and Accessibility

 

In addition to the business extras, the course comes with 30 short videos focused on specific techniques and tricks, like polarizing filters, curves vs. levels in Photoshop, and using multiple light sources. While not as in depth or cohesive as the actual course, watching a few of these videos to learn a little more about elements of photography that you want to brush up on is a good way to stay well rounded.

The three main videos are viewable online and downloadable in HD 1080p. The online videos worked perfectly, buffering quickly and having no issues whatsoever. The site layout is fairly contrasty. though, so it takes a moment to focus entirely on the video when watching online. It’s really not a big issue, and having the option to download the videos means that no matter how much you hate distracting site designs, you can still enjoy the videos.

Image courtesy Karl Taylor

Image courtesy Karl Taylor

 

Value

 

At $147, this course is not cheap. If you’re happy with your current career path and don’t want to start a commercial photography business, then this isn’t the course for you. It’s heavily focused on the business of commercial photography, in particular, photography for business (though wedding photography is lightly covered). If you do want to move into the commercial photography industry, however, you’d be wise to consider this course. If you’re already in the business, you may also find value in it if you want to expand into a studio or improve your marketing and business strategies.

[REWIND: The Best Advice from Photographers Succeeding in Smaller Cities]

Keep in mind though that Karl Taylor isn’t telling you what to do in this course. If you want to have someone else plan your business, you do not want to buy this. If you want to learn more about the options and strategies available to you and decide how you want to run your business, then this course can provide you with excellent guidance based on Karl Taylor’s 20 years in the industry.

Is it worth it to you? Hopefully, this review has helped you in deciding that, and if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.

Lauchlan Toal is a food photographer in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When not playing with his dinner, he can be found chasing bugs, shooting sports, or otherwise having fun with photography. You can follow his work online, or hunt him down on the blogs and forums that he frequents.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. R. John Anderson

    Very nice lighting. Love the colors.

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  2. adam sanford

    The lighting is lovely, but two small rocks in 18 year old single malt?!

    That may qualify as a war crime in Scotland.

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