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: