Earl Richardson was graduated from the University of Kansas School of Journalism. While in college, he interned with the Lawrence Journal-World, Topeka Capital-Journal, the Associated Press, and the Kansas City Star (during which the paper won a Pulitizer for its coverage of the 1981 Hyatt Skywalk Collapse). After college, Earl was a staff photographer at the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, The Topeka Capital-Journal and the Lawrence Journal-World. He left the newspaper business to start Earl Richardson Photography LLC.
Earl later went to law school because of his interest in copyright law and desire to help other photographers. He was graduated from the University of Kansas Law School (where his eldest daughter was his classmate).
While in law school, Earl served as a law clerk to the Hon. Robert Fairchild, Chief Judge of the 7th Judicial District, State of Kansas. He also participated in the Paul Wilson Defender project, which offers post-conviction appellate relief for prisoners, and won the 2007 Paul E. Wilson Advocacy Award for outstanding advocacy. After law school, Earl practiced with the law firm of Thompson Ramsdell and Qualseth in Lawrence, KS.