Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography

Photography Business Books

Occasionally there are photo forum threads that ask for photography business book recommendations but one particular person’s question stood out to me. This photographer was interested in learning more about the business of nature photography and was complaining that all of the business books they had seen were about commercial or studio photography and thus did not apply to them. In my opinion, this is completely wrong.

The best book out there on how to run a successful photography business is John Harrington’s Best Business Practices for Photographers. It is a generalist commercial photography book yet I got a lot of useful info out of it and so have a lot of others judging from the reviews. It doesn’t matter what genre of photography you are involved with, the business principles are all the same. You have assignments, you license images, you have contracts, you deal with clients, legal issues, accounting, marketing, etc… All photo businesses have all or some of these elements.

This photographer probably drew a distinction between nature photography and everything else because of a romanticized idea of what it’s like to earn money as a nature photographer. The reality is that everyone from Art Wolfe down to the part-time wedding photographer has to treat what they do as they would any other business if they expect to stay in business. Without a solid grasp of business fundamentals then it is nearly impossible to make any sort of consistent progress.

With that said, here are some great photography business books that I would recommend in addition to John Harrington’s book:

ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography

Business and Legal Forms for Photographers

The Professional Photographer’s Legal Handbook

Profitable Photography in the Digital Age

Selling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets

2010 Photographer’s Market

Licensing Photography

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March 29, 2010 - Posted by | Photo Business | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hi – I had sometime spare & spent it wisely reading through several of your blog entries. Some very good ideas here & some I intend to implement. More to the point, I want to thank you for the list of books you have jotted down in your thread. I’ve heard of some titles, but othersw are new to me. Thanks….Iain

    Comment by Iain Williams | March 29, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks Iain. There are some really good business books out there but also, many are quite dated so I picked these based on how current the info is.

    Comment by Richard | March 29, 2010 | Reply


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