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Best Business Practices for Photographers

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A successful photographer must pay close attention to all of each business obligation and must find a balance that keeps his or her business thriving. It takes more than just talent to get ahead in the marketplace. Strong business skills are just as important. Best Business Practices for Photographers covers the essential business topics that professional photographers nee A successful photographer must pay close attention to all of each business obligation and must find a balance that keeps his or her business thriving. It takes more than just talent to get ahead in the marketplace. Strong business skills are just as important. Best Business Practices for Photographers covers the essential business topics that professional photographers need to know in order to succeed. It does not focus on taking pictures, starting a photography business, or selling photography, but rather explains how photographers can meet important business objectives. Instead, it covers the focal points of best practices--best practices in interacting with clients, best practices in negotiating contracts and licenses, best practices in business operations. This book provides a roadmap for successfully navigating these, and many other issues, facing photographers today.


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A successful photographer must pay close attention to all of each business obligation and must find a balance that keeps his or her business thriving. It takes more than just talent to get ahead in the marketplace. Strong business skills are just as important. Best Business Practices for Photographers covers the essential business topics that professional photographers nee A successful photographer must pay close attention to all of each business obligation and must find a balance that keeps his or her business thriving. It takes more than just talent to get ahead in the marketplace. Strong business skills are just as important. Best Business Practices for Photographers covers the essential business topics that professional photographers need to know in order to succeed. It does not focus on taking pictures, starting a photography business, or selling photography, but rather explains how photographers can meet important business objectives. Instead, it covers the focal points of best practices--best practices in interacting with clients, best practices in negotiating contracts and licenses, best practices in business operations. This book provides a roadmap for successfully navigating these, and many other issues, facing photographers today.

30 review for Best Business Practices for Photographers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    An excellent reference book for the business side of photography. Loads of examples and resources throughout. That said, it's also a bit overwhelming for someone who isn't already in business as a photographer. I think the book contains a lot of great advice for getting things set up the right way from the beginning though. For the non-pro reader, I would start with the chapter that walks you through copyright registration (chapter 17). It's followed by what to do when you're infringed in chapter An excellent reference book for the business side of photography. Loads of examples and resources throughout. That said, it's also a bit overwhelming for someone who isn't already in business as a photographer. I think the book contains a lot of great advice for getting things set up the right way from the beginning though. For the non-pro reader, I would start with the chapter that walks you through copyright registration (chapter 17). It's followed by what to do when you're infringed in chapter 18 with a handy step-by-step to getting an ISP provider to remove your images from a site violating your copyright according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) starting on page 329 ("Case Study: a DMCA Violation"). Then I would read chapters 6 and 7, "Setting Your Photographer's Fees" and "Pricing Your Work to Stay in Business" to remind yourself what your work is really worth. Then I'd look at the chapters on contracts which include many examples of what clients expect/demand and what you can counter with. Harrington also discusses what the contract language means. There are several ways the language can be phrased so that it says you retain your copyright while you're actually giving all those rights away. Watch out for "exclusive," "transferable," and "sublicensable" rights. Completely avoid "work made for hire" if at all possible. From there, I might go to chapter 26 "Licensing Your Work." It just depends on what applies most to you. There's a chapter on IRS audits that has tips that would be useful for anyone. Other chapters cover more of the nitty gritty business stuff: lawyers, accounting, insurance, staff, dealing with clients, etc. Make use of the contents and index. I really appreciated how Harrington shared his correspondences with clients, and examples of invoices and licenses. "It's not our policy to..." is one of his great ways to say "No" to an unreasonable client request. There are a lot of examples in the book of what you can say to a client who insists on something (often all the rights to your image forever everywhere for one fee) or one who objects to the estimated cost you propose. I hope Harrington writes a 3rd edition to keep the information current.

  2. 4 out of 5

    James Moes

    I don't typically read business-type books, but when you're living cheque-to-cheque while trying to run a wedding photography business, the time comes where one has to be honest with himself and his lack of business skills. This book taught me: - To be a gentleman. - "What you charge for your services should not be based upon time. Rather, it should be based on skill, creativity, and usage." - "The best photographer is one who promotes and markets first himself, second his services and style, and fi I don't typically read business-type books, but when you're living cheque-to-cheque while trying to run a wedding photography business, the time comes where one has to be honest with himself and his lack of business skills. This book taught me: - To be a gentleman. - "What you charge for your services should not be based upon time. Rather, it should be based on skill, creativity, and usage." - "The best photographer is one who promotes and markets first himself, second his services and style, and finally, his price." - Meet-and-exceed expectations. - If you can offer a unique service that no one else has thought to provide or can provide, then you have a "hook" that surpasses the other photographers that the client might consider, and this will further diminish the role that price plays in the decision making process. - That you should aim for a salary (and include this in your cost of doing business). Moreover, that you should aim to give your self health benefits, etc... (as your old employee did). Then decide how much you want to shoot, add in all the costs for the year, and divide. - Make price adjustments depending on what city/market you are in. It's only fair. - It is wise to find a business coach (even Tiger Woods has a coach). - Always retain your rights to the images! This book hasn't taught me: - How to simply act on these lessons Which: - Ought not to be too difficult

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Watkins

    This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the business side of photography. Harrington covers a wide variety of topics including pricing, licensing, contracts, releases, copyright infringement, etc. He makes a few unnecessary emotionally charged statements, notably in the chapter on copyright infringement, but overall this contains a wealth of useful information for those pursuing a career in professional photography. I have read the book in its entirety but I don't think that is nece This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the business side of photography. Harrington covers a wide variety of topics including pricing, licensing, contracts, releases, copyright infringement, etc. He makes a few unnecessary emotionally charged statements, notably in the chapter on copyright infringement, but overall this contains a wealth of useful information for those pursuing a career in professional photography. I have read the book in its entirety but I don't think that is necessary for most readers. This books functions best as a reference book for how to handle the various aspects of running a photography business when this situations arise.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kieren Geaney

    A great resource for anyone with a photography. Mostly focused on US but much is appreciable to the industry as a whole, with guidelines for licencing terms which are useful if your photo might be used in national/ international press, album covers etc - basically contracting to match the use case/ volume

  5. 4 out of 5

    Teri Temme

    Fantastic resource!

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Deven

    Really great read to understand image licensing, prepping for different types of shoots, and contracts. Definitely a great resource for photographers looking to jump into commercial photography.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Cheung

    Great tips, such a huge book! I found some tips repetitive, could have been shrunk down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    I did not care for this book or the author's writing style. Perhaps a person in the very beginning of starting a commercial photography business might find this book useful. But as a wedding photographer that has been in business for several years and was looking for useful advice about running the business, I really didn't find any gems here. Very little of it was written, or could even be utilized for, portrait or wedding photographers. I think the people that may find this most useful are busi I did not care for this book or the author's writing style. Perhaps a person in the very beginning of starting a commercial photography business might find this book useful. But as a wedding photographer that has been in business for several years and was looking for useful advice about running the business, I really didn't find any gems here. Very little of it was written, or could even be utilized for, portrait or wedding photographers. I think the people that may find this most useful are business wanting to fill their days shooting executive headshots and editorial pieces for magazines. Not the typical photography business by a long shot. The writing style was so stuffy and boring, and just so dry it was difficult to read. Not at all engaging. I did give it two stars however for the mere fact that I know it would be useful for some people, as it is chock full of details and suggestions that would come in use for the right situation. He definitely knows his stuff and is great at what he does. Just wasn't the book for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jcplummer

    It was a book that really needed to be out there. Becoming a photographer is one thing, and running a successful business is on the other end of the personality spectrum. The natural ability to do both does present itself very often. John has provided what I consider to be the new textbook on the business end of photography.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Good reading, lots of little things I often forget about. When I first approached this about a half year ago I found it pretty intimidating, but most of the advice is common sense now. Definitely recommended reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hollie

    Good if you're planning to start a photography business. Very dry otherwise. ;) On a serious note, this is a great reference for anyone with a photo business, whether just starting out or deeply entrenched. Good if you're planning to start a photography business. Very dry otherwise. ;) On a serious note, this is a great reference for anyone with a photo business, whether just starting out or deeply entrenched.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Loads of great information. If I ever get enough to actually open a business, this will be my go-to guide.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Great Resource for those in going pro in Photography or Media.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Doyle

    Often called "The Photographer's Bible", it provides incredibly valuable insight on doing business as a photographer. Are you a photographer? Do you do business? Read. Often called "The Photographer's Bible", it provides incredibly valuable insight on doing business as a photographer. Are you a photographer? Do you do business? Read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    A book I refer to over and over again. No-nonsense business advice sorely needed for photographers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Very useful so far. Lots of specific advice and examples from the author's own photography business. Very useful so far. Lots of specific advice and examples from the author's own photography business.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Excellent resource (2nd edition, orange/yellow cover) and tutorial for photographers in and wanting to get into the business of photography.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Michelletti

  20. 5 out of 5

    jake gregoire

  21. 4 out of 5

    Niki

  22. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

  23. 5 out of 5

    Markus Staas

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jamileh Hayati

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kat Forder

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maria Colon

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patti

  28. 5 out of 5

    flappy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam Guss

  30. 5 out of 5

    Seth

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