Top Business Books For Photographers To Read Going Into 2012

Every year I read dozens of books. And while I read a variety of different genres, business books tend to be one of the largest. As I was looking back over some of the books I’ve read this year, I decided to put together a small list of books that are perfect for finishing up 2011 with and getting ready to build a strong, successful business in 2012.

How To Market to People Not Like You
By Kelly McDonald
While most marketing gurus argue that you should develop a niched market and target them exclusively, this book will show you how to step outside that box and concentrate on core values rather than demographics. By looking at core values, you can find similar marketplaces in a variety of different places. If increasing your client base in 2012 is a top priority, this may be the book to help you think in different ways.

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions
By Guy Kawasaki
I love how Kawasaki writes – story like format that is easy and fun to read. This is a quick read that will help you think of your business and your customers in new ways. Enchantment is the art of influence and persuasion, and how it transforms the relationships all around you. Understand how to change your goals through the use of enchantment and you will quickly get into the hearts and minds of people that could be your biggest fans.

Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World
By Lisa Bloom
While not technically a business book, this book is filled with information on why women are at the top of their game in education and career options, yet still struggle to get past the “looks” obsession. (Plus its a great read for the daughters in your life as well.) With today’s focus on celebrity media, plastic surgery and reality TV, the only way to move forward from here is to Think.

The Thank You Economy
By Gary Vaynerchuk
If you’ve noticed a change in the way people market their products and in the way they  buy, you’re not alone. Today’s world is controlled by a new set of communication rules. If you don’t understand the way people now make decisions, you’ll never succeed at business. This book is a great way to help you start out 2012 in a new way. While it won’t give you a detailed plan for using social media, it will provide a blueprint to why its the only way to succeed in the future.

The Personal MBA
By Josh Kaufman
This book starts with business fundamentals and works forward from there. With a unique look at concepts and skills, its an easy way to pick up the facts you need to succeed and put them into place immediately. It’s a book filled with complex principles written in an easy to read format. Perfect for the person that doesn’t have an MBA, yet really wants to succeed in business.

Evil Plans
By Hugh MacLeod
At first glance this may seem like a strange book to include in my Top Business Books list. It’s a book filled with cartoons. Yet look at its meaning and the message it delivers. This book is a manifesto on creativity, how to find it, and what to do with it to find success within your own small business. It’s a great book to pick up read one or two on a daily basis and really think about how to apply it to your own business model.

Real Time Marketing and PR
By David Meerman Scott
I’ve recommended his previous book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR before; in this follow up you’ll learn more practical steps to take your business into the future using online marketing strategies to your advantage. I love this book as it is filled with real world examples. Pick it up, open it up to any page, and you’ll learn something new you can directly apply to your business today.

If you’re looking at expanding your knowledge of operating a photography business, there are many options out there. While most are geared towards starting a business or becoming better at picture taking, here are a few that can help you understand and build a strong photography studio within the next few months.

The Photographers Blogging Book
30 Ways in 30 Days
Become a Top Wedding Photographer
What Do I Name My Photography Business?

How Do Struggling Photographers Become Successful Photographers?

What would it be like to be a successful photographer?

Maybe you would travel around the world, photographing the most remote places on the planet.

Maybe you would create photo layouts for some of the most successful fashion houses in the world.

Maybe you would photograph celebrity families.

Or maybe you would be content to have a small photo studio, and have hundreds of local clients put you at the top of the list when it comes to a hometown photo studio.

Everyone has a dream; and no one dream is the correct way to success.

Yet in order for every dream to come true, you do need to follow a certain path.

Where Is The Path?

With all of the changes we’ve been experiencing over the past few years, its no wonder people are beginning to wonder if the dream is even possible any more.

  • The average photographer makes $29,440 here in the United States.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor, around 152,000 people listed photography as their profession in 2009.
  • Over 50 percent are listed as self-employed, a much higher percentage than any other occupation.
  • Most are self-educated, meaning they have no formal training. Instead, they rely on self-teaching methods to pick up the skills needed. This includes both photography and business skills.

So when I tell people we’ve consistently made $200k, $300k and more every year, they tend to find it almost unbelievable. Can you REALLY make that much from photography?

Yep. Its possible.

Which is why we started up our Virtual Photography Studio blog back in 2003. We wanted to give back to the community, and offer tips, resources and strategies to the majority of the photographic industry that was just starting out, and really hadn’t found a way to turn their dreams into reality.

A lot has changed over the last 8 years. For instance,

Traditional marketing is all but dead. If you are still paying hundreds of dollars a month for a phone book ad, or paying thousands of dollars to be listed in a bridal magazine, you probably have been questioning your sanity for quite some time.

Online marketing has grown by leaps and bounds. Google has over 31 billion searches every single month. And Facebook has over 39 billion unique page views a month. That adds up to a ton of searching. Which means your clients are there.

Somewhere.

The problem is reaching out to them.

Why Marketing Sucks

Marketing is a love/hate relationship. You may hate it, not understand it, and doubt if it will ever work for you. Yet if you don’t focus on it and do it again and again, one thing is for certain: your business will fail.

A great photographer and a lousy marketer will quickly shut their doors.

Yet a great marketer and a lousy photographer will be in business for years.

Why is that?

Because great marketers knows one thing.

They know how to get people to love buying. Not just do it because they have to. They get people excited about the process, wow’d by the experience, and more than anything have a desire to hand over their money happily.

As we continued to build our business, we became better and better at the marketing side. And that made all the difference in the world.

We quickly understood that the easiest way to success is to stand out from the crowd. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Stay ahead of the pack, and give potential customers something they’ve never seen before.

So we looked at everything we did. If it met those qualifications, we did it. And if it didn’t, we abandoned it.

If You’re Interested In Marketing – Don’t Miss This

During the last hundred years, things have moved rapidly.

I’m sure when phone books were first introduced, having a large ad was cutting edge. Those that took out an ad were almost guaranteed success.

Then magazines and guides came along. I remember when the first bridal magazine was introduced here in Colorado – Colorado Brides. We were one of the first photographers to advertise, and also helped fill the magazine with our images. The business came pouring in because it was cutting edge – nobody else was doing it.

Then the Internet. We were one of the first photography studios to be listed on The Knot. Not only did it bring local business to us, but allowed us to grow our business nationally as well. Very quickly we were getting calls from New York, California, Mexico and even Germany. It was new. It was hot. And it made us stand out from the crowd.

If you are the first to jump at a new opportunity, you’re at the head of the pack. People will automatically find you because you are the originator, an innovator.

But just as quickly as opportunity shines its light, the entire crowd bursts onto the scene, and the opportunity is gone. So while opportunity can be magical, the most important part of an opportunity is being first in line.

As a business coach here at Virtual Photography Studio, that’s what I watch for every day. I watch for the next opportunity. The next magical innovation that allows you to spring forward from your competition, and helps you reach out in a way that makes your clients and prospects say WOW.

And that’s what I’ve found in Mobile Marketing Photography.

http://mobilemarketingphotography.com/

The Next Biggest Opportunity

Before I wrap up this blog post, I want to share with you a snapshot of why Mobile Marketing is the next big wave.

Did you know right now, there are over 1.8 billion Internet users on earth, ready to look for you in the online world? Sounds impressive, right.

Nope. What’s even more impressive is there are over 5 billion cell phones currently in use around the world. And because people carry their cell phones with them everywhere, that makes mobile a much bigger force.

If 1.8 billion people access the Internet regularly through a desktop application, imagine what they will do when they can access Internet with their mobile devices. That means you’ll quickly have 3 times the audience. And because that audience will spend much more time with their mobile devices than they ever would sitting behind a desk, you have a huge opportunity just waiting for you.

I was so excited when I started learning about mobile marketing, I quickly implemented this technology into my own business, and have gained multiple clients using this method – this year.

But that doesn’t mean this will last forever. You know how quickly new technology comes on board. And when the masses use this new method, it will quickly become old technology. Back to the “been there, seen that” philosophy.

But for now, it’s brand new and very exciting. If you quickly take it, create a new marketing method with it, and use it to grow your business, you’ll find a ton of customers waiting for you. You’ll be the leader. You’ll be the innovator.

So if you’re ready to make 2011 your year, and you want to be at the front of the pack instead of following behind, this may be your opportunity.

This may be your shot at jumpstarting your business, and seeing how far you can go with it.

It only takes one step. Are you ready to find out what I’ve been using for several months now, and what I know is going to be the turning point for more than  a handful of photographers?

http://mobilemarketingphotography.com/

Lori Osterberg

How To Add Creativity Into Your Images

About a year and a half ago, I introduced you to an up and coming photographer, Neil Creek. Back when I first met Neil online, Twitter was a relatively new site, and he was making great headway by offering his MeetHeads concept at local tweetups.

Neil has been busy as ever, and recently created an ebook that is now ready for you to learn from. His ebook, Photo Nuts and Shots: Tools and Techniques for Creative Photography is filled with over 100 pages of guidance and tutorials to help you become better and more creative with your photography.

And for a limited time, you can save 25 percent as part of the early bird special. For only $14.99, what have you got to lose?

Order Photo Nuts and Shots: Tools and Techniques for Creative Photography Today

Selling Your Photography – A Book Review

Is there still a need for assignment photography? Do advertising directors still hire out photographers on a regular basis? Can you really make money selling your photography in the media and editorial venues?

When I picked up this book, those were the first questions that ran through my mind.

I checked the publishing date of Richard Weisgrau’s Selling Your Photography book – published in 2009. Okay, another good sign the information might be relevant to where we stand today. So I sat down and started reading.selling your photography

“The market for publishable photographs is growing faster than ever before. With that growth, the demand for photographs of all types of subjects has increased.”

“Whether you are an amateur or professional photographer, the opportunities to publish your photographs are growing every day.”

Those are Weisgrau’s opening remarks. And it only gets better from there.

Selling Your Photography covers everything from beginning to end. It starts by giving you a market overview – how the current market looks for today’s photographer, and what you can expect if you start out as an advertising, media or corporate photographer. He moves through setting up your business model. And talks at great length about finding your market segments and how to reach out to your target client. He has a great chapter on licensing and pricing, and even provides samples of letters, estimates and licensing agreements for you to follow and use. And ends it by providing online resources that should keep you busy for weeks.

And in between, you’ll gain a ton of useful ideas that make this book a definite for your library if you’re serious about selling your photography.

Selling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
By Richard Weisgrau
215 pages
Published 2009

10 Things I’m Reading About Photography

I surf online a lot. So I thought I’d share with you some of the things I look through – things you might find interesting too.

10. Film … or digital? I posted on this just a few days ago, and found this another interesting read on the same topic. Read Brian Auer’s Is Film Dead? I especially found his poll interesting – 57 percent (at the time I looked at the results) found using film to be a steady or growing trend. Wow.

9. As a photographer you have to put your photos online, right? Why not on a social site.  (I’ll be there soon.) In the mean time, check out this photo of Dubai in the fog.

8. Do you worry about theft of your photos if you put them online? Start with this great post on How Every Flickr Photo Ended Up on Sale This Weekend.

7. If you haven’t had enough on  the theft of photos topic, follow this continuing discussion by Photrade.

6. For an endless list of everything photography, head over to Alltop. Alltop helps you learn all you can about individual topics – like photography.

5. What do you do with all of your digital images while you’re on the road?  Read Peter Carey’s advice for Digital Photo Storage On the Road. I’ll add one other tip. When we traveled for weddings, we would carry plenty of memory cards with us. But if we were going to travel for awhile, we would also burn a set of CD/DVD’s and mail them back to our office. You can also upload them to your backup system, via your laptop.

4. I know everyone has an opinion on Flickr, but you  can’t deny you can find some incredible images there. Take a look at these photos of the Tour de France.

3. So you wanna be a studio photographer? Why not make your own backgrounds. We’ve made a few ourselves in the past, and still use them today for certain shoots. Take a look at How To Make a Background for Studio Photography.

2. If you haven’t seen the Red One, take a look. I’ve been talking about it with a few local photographers lately. (Check out their service policy at the bottom – I love it!)

1. A photo site used to help bring awareness to important issues around the world – how cool. Photography can be so powerful. Take a look at The Homeless Photographer. Then plan on some time browsing through the other images.

Digital Photography Resources and Learning

Digital Photography Resource and Learning Are you overwhelmed and  lost with what digital photography is or what digital photography can do, we found a really cool resource that can help. I know that not everyone knows what “firmware” is or how “lag time” affects your image but you can find out lots of valuable information with this digital photography resource

Here are just  a few items that the site offers:

  • Over 4,000 full-color interactive pages organized into 153 topics.
  • Highly illustrative with thousands of images and animations.
  • Easy to follow step-by-step animated image editing tutorials.
  • Easy to understand basic and advanced practical theory.
  • Selectable learning levels:
    Beginner, Advanced Amateur, Professional.

I was amazed to see and learn more than I thought possible from a digital photography resource.