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5 Excellent Books on the Business of Photography

February 18, 2012 Books 5 Comments

Written by: Charlie Borland

Are you just getting started in professional outdoor photography and wondering a lot of things like how to get started or what should you charge?

Are you well established as a photographer and wonder how to increase business or how to price imagery in the new markets?

There is information everywhere on the internet to aid in most areas related to the business of photography and some of it is helpful while some is the same old rehash.

It is a challenging time and a time where photographers need to spend more and more of their time developing business which means less time doing what we all love to do: shoot!

While I find a lot of good info on the net is really scattered and I often find myself instead referencing a small collection of books in my library that are very good in regards to the business of photography.

So I thought I would share them with you:



Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington

Without a doubt this is the best book in my library. John covers everything from setting up a profitable business, to strategic planning for photo assignments, photography fees, reps, contracts, negotiating, copyright, and a bunch more.




richard weisgaru business photography book



Selling Your Photography by Richard Weisgrau

Richard led the American Society of Media Photographers for many years and has been instrumental in building ASMP and protecting and promoting the profession of photography. This books covers a lot of territory when it comes to setting up your business, marketing your wares, licensing images, and more.







Art Marketing 101 by Constance Smith

This is the newest book in my library and what I love about it is this is not a book for the stock photographer as much as the fine art photographer who might sell at art fairs or from galleries. It covers the usual stuff about setting up your business, tax planning, shipping you4 fine art prints, portfolios, the intricacies of the fine art market, art fairs, self promotion, selling techniques, and she sells client lists.






Photographers Guide to Marketing and Self Promotion by Maria Piscopo

Maria is a veteran of professional photography and had been a mainstay of the professions for many years.  She is (or was} a photographers rep for a longtime as well as a speaker and workshop leader on photographers issues. She knows her stuff! This book is different than the others listed here because it focuses specifically on marketing for photographers. How to market and get get attention, how negotiate, how to design your portfolio, and how to win the job or sale.






Marketing Fine Art Photography by Alain Briot

Alain Briot is well known in professional nature photography for his expertise on the business side of nature photography and this book shows it. In this book he says it like it is: “Photography must be your career in order to succeed” and he shows you how throughout the book. He advises photographers to move beyond ‘taking pictures’ to creating art and covers a lot of territory on just how to do that. Subjects include where to sell, how to price, establishing bestsellers, salesmanship, and developing personal skills.



All of these books show you how to do just about everything you need to create or maintain a successful photography business.

Have I missed one? If you have a book recommendation you feel is valuable to photographers in today’s markets, please leave a comment.




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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jeff Colburn says:

    I’ve heard of several of these books, and Maria is a friend of mine and knows a lot about marketing photographers. I’ve added them to my Buy list and look forward to reading them.

    Thanks for the info.

    Have Fun,

  2. Greg Vaughn says:

    Years ago I read “Big Bucks Selling Your Photography” by Cliff Hollenbeck and thought it was excellent. http://amzn.to/wIl0kM

    John Shaw’s “Business of Nature Photography” is also great. http://amzn.to/yzeeov

    Taken all together, the free guides from PhotoShelter would make a great book. http://www.photoshelter.com/mkt/research/

  3. admin says:

    Greg- While I agree with you that Hollenbeck’s and Shaw’s are great books (I have them both), Shaw’s book is really outdated. The theories and concepts are timeless, but much else related to the current business is not. I have Hollenbeck’s first edition and have not looked at his revised edition, but looks like I should.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. S.K. says:

    Appreciate the list and short descriptions. Gives me somewhere to start. Went to Amazon and took a look inside several titles you have listed and did further research by reading the customer reviews of each. Plan on purchasing a couple. Thanks to the above contributors for your suggestions.

  5. Hey Charlie… Give me a street address and I’ll send you the “Fourth” edition of Big Bucks… a lot has changed since the first book… a lot hasn’t… Best… Cliff

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