Facebook Pixel The Photographer's Survival Guide [BOOK REVIEW]

The Photographer’s Survival Guide [BOOK REVIEW]

the-photographers-survival-guide.jpg Today D. Travis North from Shutter Pro shares his review on a new photography book – The Photographer’s Survival Guide: How to Build and Grow a Successful Business by Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease.

It is difficult for many to turn a hobby like Photography into a business. The business side of photography is almost an art form in and of itself – something I could not fathom before reading The Photographer’s Survival Guide, a book by industry veterans Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease. The purpose of the Survival Guide is to lay out every detail and every possible situation that you may come across while trying to break into the photography industry. Throughout the book’s 224 pages, complete with illustrations and example forms (a CD is included with copies of all of these standard forms), the authors will introduce you all aspects of the business side of photography – everything from wedding photography through to commercial photography.

The authors cover an incredible range of topics. The book starts with a discussion of establishing your own style in order to set yourself apart from other photographers, carries through marketing yourself, and then it spends a great deal of time on the business methods (bidding, negotiating, invoices). It seems like a lot to cover in 224 pages, but the Stone’s and Sease’s to-the-point writing style helps to provide a lot of information in a short amount of space. They have even documented several question/answer sessions with professionals in the industry, including feedback from art producers, agents, art buyers and of course professional photographers. This of course emphasizes the fact that Sease and Stone know their business, but it also give you some incredibly valuable insight into what your future clients or producers may be looking for.

One of the most valuable chapters in the book is the chapter titled “Presenting Yourself”. As the title may suggest, the chapter is all about developing an identity through your website, portfolio and your professional stationary (business cards, letterhead, etc) and how they all relate to each other. But beyond these devices, it also discusses how to manage your portfolio and how to be your own editor: Selecting only specific images that fit into the style or identity you want to portray. Even for a non-professional, this is an important discussion. It got me thinking about my own website and my own portfolio, and I learned quite a bit. All the while, the book provides a number of examples of real professionals and their websites or their portfolios. It really gives you a good idea of what would be expected of you as a professional, and what you’re up against.


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